Three local wineries ranked among the top 20 in Ontario

Dan Sullivan of Rosehall Run in the winery's vineyard. Rosehall, Karlo Estates and Closson Chase have been listed amongst Ontario's 20 best wineries (Rosehall Run photo)



An industry trade website has found fit to place three Prince Edward County wineries on its inaugural list of the top 20 wineries in Ontario. announced  Ontario’s Top 20 Wineries of 2020 just prior to the new year calling the selections a “diverse collection of producers from around the province, honoured for their outstanding wines and ability to deliver on customer experiences.”

Karlo Estates, Rosehall Run and Closson Chase were recognized as part of the group of 20 that included wine producers such as Inniskillin, Cave Spring and Stratus.

Karlo Estates.

Despite the recent launch of Ontario-based VineRoutes in February of 2020, the organization’s team pondered over three years’ worth of winery visits, tasting hundreds of wines, all the while measuring the customer experience. From those visits, the team selected the wineries that consistently delivered exceptional wines, service, quality to price ratio (QPR), and other experiential attributes to assemble ‘Ontario’s Top 20 Wineries of the Year’.

“We felt we had to pay tribute by doing something bigger, something different than just presenting a proverbial top 10 wine list.” explained Carmelo Giardina, editor “It’s been a challenging year for the wine industry, of course not just here in Ontario, but everywhere.  We felt we had to pay tribute by doing something bigger, something different than just presenting a proverbial top 10 wine list. It had to be ambitious, but without seeming like we were exercising something that was reaching beyond the scope of our qualifications.”

The evaluations were panelled by Vineroute wine enthusiasts who observed key experiential attributes when finalizing their selections. Quality of wine represented the most weighted factor, with other influences consisting of:

  • customer visit experience
  • overall service
  • facility
  • portfolio variety
  • price point & QPR

Among the review remarks:

Closson Chase “Experts in crafting premium chardonnay and pinot noir (try their pinot gris too!), they’ve helped put Prince Edward County on the map. Their focus on the customer experience matches their penchant for producing quality, terroir driven wines.”

Karlo Estates  “Situated on a historic property, people don’t just come here for the wine, they come to experience the barn, the bridge and the fascinating stories. The winery tends to have a wider array of offerings, consisting of interesting single varietals and eclectic blends that showcase both the style and image of the winery and of its winemaker, the very celebrated Derek Barnett.”

Rosehall Run “This place is among a few top tier producers operating out of Prince Edward County right now, producing consistent, elegant and approachable pinot noirs, chardonnays and sparkling wines as well as innovations with unique varietals.”

Closson Chase Vineyards.

Giardina also emphasized that it was important that VineRoutes focus on making this a local story, keeping things within the brand’s wheelhouse so to speak.

“The idea to spotlight the ‘winery’ rather than a singular ‘bottle’ seemed to be an obvious winner considering the numerous stories we’ve shared all year that have either put the emphasis on the place, the process or the wine maker, as opposed to the wine,” said Giardina.

Giardina added prioritizing these wineries in such a way is done to make casual consumers and wine enthusiasts alike aware that it’s these places that are making significant progress.

“Maybe that comes in the form of sustainability and wineries that represent innovative approaches. Maybe it’s terroir-driven decisions that influence quality. Or perhaps it’s a dedication to a more focused and committed understanding of the customer experience. With just over 180 wineries operating throughout the province today, these picks represent the top 10 percent,” he said.