Robert Bell's

Wineries to Watch for in 2018

These are the wineries I feel will leave their mark on Canada's wine future in 2018. They are listed in random order.

Noble Ridge

Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery

Noble Ridge Vineyard and winery made quite a squash at the award events in 2017. This included a Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines.

Noble Ridge Vineyard Winery lays in the Okanagan Valley at the northern most tip of the only desert in Canada. The winery is named for the noble varieties of grapes grown and the ridge that divides the land on which they thrive. 

Jim and Leslie D’Andrea began their winery in 2001.

La Frenz Winery

Located on the Naramata Bench. I have always enjoyed their wines especially their fortified wines. On our two visits to winery we arrived to find every seat in the tasting room occupied. No worries they made everyone feel welcome!

La Frenz was named Best Small winery at the 2017 Nation Wine awards. Ensemble Reserve 2015, won Platinum  at the Nationals.

Elise Martin, youngest daughter of owners Jeff and Niva Martin has joined the team as vineyard manager. Just more talent to make La Frenz a key winery to watch in 2018.

Tantalus Vineyards 

Situated on the eastern slopes of the Okanagan Valley, overlooking the shores of Lake Okanagan and the township of Kelowna. Originally known as Pioneer Vineyards, the site was first planted to table grapes in 1927 and today is known as the oldest continuously producing vineyard in British Columbia.

The winery is dedicated to crafting exceptional Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. David Paterson is the winemaker. 2014 Old Vines Riesling, Okanagan Valley won Platinum at the Nationals.

Tantalus has a new state of the art LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) built winery featuring a modern, gallery style tasting room showcasing some of Canada's most well known artists.

Truis Winery

What is there to say about Truis that has not already been said. It continually ranks among Canada's best wineries. Trius Winery is a Niagara winemaking pioneer.

Australian born Craig McDonald leads the winemaking team. Trius 2015 Showcase Clean Slate Sauvignon Blanc Wild Ferment and Riesling Ghost Creek Vineyard 2015 received Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence. They stole the show by winning a third Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence with their 2014 Vidal Icewine.

We could also easily put Truis on our feature page Best Wineries to Visit in 2018

Redstone Winery

Wow what can you say about this remarkable winery. Named 2017 winery of the years. Winner of more rewards they we have space. The 38-acre Lincoln Lakeshore property was purchased in 2009 by Moray Tawse and is home to a newly opened hospitality centre and a locally-inspired restaurant.

Paul Pender is the director of Viticulture and Winemaking. Rene Van Ede is the winemaker

We believe that a biodynamic wine produced from quality fruit sourced from a healthy vineyard contributes to both the health of the land and the pleasure and well being of the individual enjoying a glass.

Potter Settlement Artisan Winery

The winery was founded in 2000 by Sandor, Ken and Maureen Johnson on land that has been owned throughout the generations by the family since the early 1800's.

Hastings County's first winery-to-be, situated just north of Tweed, Ontario on Potter Settlement Road (nestled between Highway 7 and Highway 37 - linking Toronto and Ottawa). Located on the very edge of the Canadian Shield - 'Potter Settlement's' sandy, highly mineral terroir and organically-grown grapes offers a unique selection of delicious and intensely flavourful wines found nowhere else in the world.

The family winemaking consultant is Robin Johnson a Brock University graduate in the Oenology and Viticulture program. He has worked making and selling wine in Niagara, Ontario. He has been employed by Constellation Brands, Thirty Bench, Flatrock, Colio Estates - as well as boutique wineries in British Columbia.

Culmina Family Estate

Culmina Estate winery-photo by Robert A Bell 

The new 2013 Hypothesis, the flagship red from Culmina Family Estate Winery, is the best of the three vintages released to date from the winery.- John Schreiner

The Triggs family only began planting its Golden Mile vineyards in 2007 and made the winery’s first vintages in 2011.They have a long term goal for producing quality wines.

The Triggs' ultimate goal is to make wines that fully express the most desirable characteristics of the varieties planted, and the uniqueness of each block of terroir; wines that are elegant, rich, intensely flavoured, and capable of long term cellaring. The winemaking process is guided at every stage by two key principles: gentle handling / Minimal intervention


Daydreamer is a small family run winery based on the beautiful Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. It is the brainchild of Rachel and Marcus Ansems MW who have both been involved in the wine industry for over 15 years

Marcus has achieved international success with his wines earning more medals and awards than can be listed. For the last five years he has travelled to over 20 countries working as an international wine buyer and consultant. Marcus recently became the 5th Master of Wine in Canada and the only University qualified winemaker/viticulturist MW in the country.  He also won the Villa Maria Viticulture award and the Errazuriz Wine Business award for the best performance in the Master of Wine Examinations.

St Hubertus & Oak Bay Family Estate

The Kelowna based winery seems to be the one one thats gets the most positive feedback on Twitter. Everyone speaks highly of their wines.

The St Hubertus and Oak Bay Vineyards where originally planted in 1928 by J.W. Hughes during a time when good agricultural land was plentiful. Since 1984, the Gebert Family use sustainable farming practices on their 76 acre vineyard, to produce wines that reflect the terroir of the north Okanagan valley under the St Hubertus & Oak Bay label. All wines with the exception of the "bubbly" use screw caps

St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery have achieved the Salmon Save certification  

Awarded The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines in 2016

The Chase Wines

The newest winery in Lake Country led by the very passionate winemaker Adrian Baker. Owned by Dennis O’Rourke founder of Sureway in 1973, nurturing the company from modest beginnings in water and sewer construction into one of Western Canada’s leading construction contractors.

The O’Rourke site has a long and relatively steep slope down toward Okanagan Lake.

The anticipation is extremely high for this winery

Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards

Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards

The Lightfoot family have been farming in the Annapolis Valley for eight generations, Lightfoot & Wolfville provides a truly unique farm winery experience. Embracing organic and biodynamic agriculture. Located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

They focus on classic vinifera includes ChardonnayPinot Noir,Riesling, and other German-styled whites specifically selected for our microclimates.

Winners 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines. They held their grand opening in 2017. Consulting winemaker is Peter Gamble.

Creekside Estate Winery

Creeside Estate Winery

Creekside has been doing its premium thing on the Niagara Peninsula since 1998, when owner Laura McCain jumped at the opportunity to pursue a growing passion for wine, purchasing a 15-acre vineyard and winery on Fourth Avenue near Jordan.

Creekside 2015 Iconoclast Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc won Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence.

The winery boasts one of the oldest and largest underground barrel cellars in Niagara.  Rob Power is the winemaker focusing on  Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah — but also crafts some top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Viognier and Pinot Noir and a few other varitals.

Gray Monk Estate Winery

Gray Monk Estate Winery

Any time a major winery is sold it brings about a sense of anticipation and excitement, especially when the purchaser is one of Canada's leading wine companies Andrew Peller LTD. What plans does Andrew Peller have for the future of Gray Monk!

The Lake Country winery has a proud history and a reputation of excellence.

Odyssey White Brut 2014 awarded The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines

Tinhorn Creek

The heart of the Golden Mile Wineries. The winery that Sandra Oldfield built. A major player in the advancement of Okanagan wines. Sold! Yes, sold to Andrew Peller LTD! The excitement, the anticipation.

What will the future hold for Tinhorn Creek?

Watch closely in 2018 but expect as always quality wines.

Black Hills

It was in 1995 that Bob and Senka Tennant founded Black Hills winery. To me it became known as the winery that closed early each summer. Why? The wines sold out quickly they were in such demand.

Bob and Senka moved on, the winery was sold to Vinequest Wine Partners Limited Partnership. Who in the Fall of 2017 sold the winery to Andrew Peller LTD, making it a winery to Watch for in 2018.

Wild Goose Vineyards

How do you not have Wild Goose Vineyards as one of the Wineries to Watch in 2018. They have produced top quality wines year after year after year. They will do it again in 2018.

They have received eight Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines since they were established in 2003

The Smoke and Oak Brit provides world class cuisine  to the Okanagan.

Martin’s Lane Winery

Producers of award winning Pinot Noir and Riesling wines that draw discerning enthusiasts worldwide.

A ‘gravity-flow' winery (designed on different levels to allow wine to flow, rather than be pumped, from one stage of the production process to the next, built into the Kelowna hillside overlooking the Lake.

Part of the group of wineries owned by Anthony von Mandl is best known as the owner of Mission Hills Family Estate Winery. Shane Minn is the winemaker.

The winery is not open to the public.


Magnotta is Ontario's third largest winery and the only company of its kind in Ontario licensed to produce and sell wine, beer and distilled products. With over 3,500 awards to date for product excellence, Magnotta is Canada's most award winning winery.

Their Magnotta NV Blanc de Blancs received Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Ontario Wines.

I have a feeling 2018 will be a memorable year for them.

Malivoire Wine

Malivoire located in Beamsville, Ontario has pioneered an innovative, eco-centric approach to wine growing. Malivoire considers itself more a grower than a maker of wines - our philosophy is that the vineyard is where wine is given its life and soul.

They won Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Ontario Wines in 2012 and two in 2013.

Shiraz Mottiar, was named winemaker of the year at 2017 Ontario wine awards.

Hinterland Wine Company

Prince Edward County, Ontario has a major sparkling wine producer! Their wines sell out quickly

Nicely located between Lake Ontario and Consecon lake Hinterland benefits from a nice micro Climate. The winery operates out of Benway Barn. Jonas Newman and Vicky Samaras own the winery

Gobal Mail wrote " the flagship Les Etoiles is a ringer for good Champagne"

They also produce a very good cider.

Konzelmann Estate Winery

At one of the more prestigious wine events Intervin International Wine Awards  Konzelman won 13 awards!

Konzelmann is Niagara’s only lake front winery, located on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Konzelman family has a rich history for winemaking starting in Germany in 1893.

Domaine Acer

Founded in 1972 by Charles-Aimé Robert, Domaine Acer specializes in the production of high quality maple syrup.

For 5 years, with the help of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and a scientific officer, he worked on the design of alcoholic beverages from maple sap winemaking.

Domaine Acer Charles Aimé Robert and Domaine Acer Val Ambré, awarded Platinum at Nationals.

Located in Auclair, Québec

Ripples Estate Winery

British Columbia's Fraser Valley has another fruit winery you must visit, even if it is a bit off the beaten path. Ripples Estate Winery is a family owned business located just east of Abbotsford and west of Chilliwack, close to the USA border. A most beautiful part of the Valley.

Their wines are bursting with wonderful fruit flavours. They won a gold and silver at 2017 Nationals.

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery is the Official Wine Supplier for the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival. Located in Oliver this is the Little winery that can.

They were presented with four major awards in 2017. Including Best Value Merlot. The Merlot also received Gold at the Nationals.  Crimson Rhapsody won the People’s Choice award for “Best Red” at the Edmonton and Calgary Wine Fests.

Awarded The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines

Kew Vineyards

Kew Vineyards is an estate situated within the Beamsville Bench appellation and has a long history and respect for growing some of the areas most coveted wine grapes. We often hear good reports about their wines on Social media.

Kew Vineyards 2012 Heritage awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines

The winemaker is the talent Philip Dowel

Karlo Estate Winery

There are number of good wineries establishing a reputation for themselves in Ontario's Prince Edward County. Karlos Estate is definity one of then under winemaker Derek Barnett.

Karlo is the first Certified Vegan winery in the World. This vegan certification is a result of their belief in the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle on health and environmental welfare.

On site the largest dry stone bridge in North America, this mortar-less structure is made up of 45 tonnes of locally quarried chocolate limestone.

Henry of Pelham

Henry of Pelham

There is so much one can say about Henry of Pelham located on the Short Hills Bench at the base of the Niagara Escarpment (a United Nations biosphere) in St. Catharines, Ontario. The winery is owned by the Speck family who trace their connection with the property back to 1794. The Heritage and tradition of producing fine wines here is more than enough to keep your eye on the winery.

Sandrine Bourcier winemaker is entering her second year with the winery. Awarded Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines in 2017 and 2016.

Flat Rock Cellars

The Jordan Ontario, winery has 65-acre vineyard, and is very tightly focused on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling.

In 2015 they took home two Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines for Riddled Sparking 2009 and Gravity Pinot Noir 2012. They were awarded again in 2017 for their 2014 Rusty Shed Chardonnay

The  Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2016, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment awarded Platinum at 2017 WineAlign Nations.

This winnery has proven trak record and I see them as winners again in 2018.

Burning Klin

Never count out the skills of winemaker Lydia Tomek to Head Winemaker of the award-winning St. Williams based winery known for appassimento style wines.

Broken Needle Rosé 2016 is one wine you should look for.

The winery sits atop the escarpment overlooking the UNESCO-designated Long Point Bay World Biosphere Reserve.

Cep d'Argent Winery

The Eastern Townships most northern Winery located on the sloping hills between Magog and Sherbrooke. The vineyard began its operation in 1985 with the planting of 10,000 vines from a French hybrid stock called " Seyval blanc ". Today the winery produces 10,000 cases of wine a year and with production plans to produce over 20,000 cases.

Sparkling wines are now their new forte

Slowly but surely Quebec wine industry is reach acclaim.

Matos Winery

Matos Winery

One must also keep an eye o the Martime wineries other than Nova Scotia. In St. Catherines Prince Edward Island you have Matos owned by Jaime and Heather Matos, who were both born on the island of Pico in the Acores, just off of Portugal.

They have won a few silver and bronze medals at the Nations and Finger Lakes Events. Perhaps they are now established enough to produce gold winning wines.

Cassini Cellars

Cassini Cellars

After falling in love with the Okanagan during a vacation Adrian Capeneata and his wife bought a organic lavender farm south of Oliver in 2006. Planting began in 2009 chose primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with just a few rows of Pinot Gris. Adrian believes in the reds

Award best winery at InterVin, International Wine Awards 2017. Awarded two Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines in 2017. Two double gold at Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2017and the list goes one.

Keep your eye on Cassini Cellars.

Kitsch Wines

Born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, Trent and Ria Kitsch have long been eager to get their hands dirty and nurture the land they love. After selling a successful underwear company, the couple moved back to Kelowna in 2010, planted a vineyard, and started a family. 

Their 2015 Riesling awarded Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines in 2017

Winemaker is Grant Biggs.

Maverick Estate Winery

Maverick Estate Winery

The grape vine has nothing but compliments for this Oliver family owned winery. The owners are Schalk J. De Witt, Lynn J. Safroniuk, Elzaan and  Bertus Albertyn. The wine just seem to get better and better.

Bertus Albertyn is the well respected winemaker. Awarded Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines in 2017

Lariana Cellars

The Internet is a Buzz about their wines.  A boutique-style winery featuring small lot, handcrafted wines from Osoyoos, BC. 

The reviews are extremely good on the 2013 and 14 Carmenere.

The winery is owned by Dan and Carol Scott The Scotts, who intend to limit production to about 1,200 cases a year, built a plain Jane winery with a modest tasting room. They invested instead in top flight equipment, including the California-made concrete egg in which Carol and consulting winemaker Senka Tennant make Lariana’s Viognier. 

CC Jentsch

CC Jentsch

Located on Okanagan's famed Golden Mile. The winery is owned by one time fruit farmers Chris  and Betty Jentsch The CC comes fro their middle name, Carl, and his wife`s middle name, Coelho, which means rabbit in Portuguese.

The vineyard directly behind the winery, affectionately known as the “Blue Barn” block, has the mighty Testalinden Creek flowing through the center of it. There are 2 foot bridges for crossing and a small picnic area nestled beside the Merlot.

 Their Small Lots Malbec was a double gold winner at the All Canadian Wine Championships this year.  The Small Lots Cabernet Sauvignon won gold this year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. The Small Lots Cabernet Franc won silver at the same competition

They gathered a number of awards at 2017 Nations.

Road 13

Located in Oliver this winery exceeded expectations in 2017.

Owners Pam and Mick Luckhurst  like to say it is all "about the dirt" Perhaps so the wines are certainly good.

They won the BC Icon RED competition in 2017. They claimed 13 awards at the Canadian Nations 2017.

Watch for them to achieve again in 2018.

Painted Rock

Located on 400 Smythe Road near Penticton over looking the east end of Skaha Lake. They produce outstanding wines.

The greatest influence in 2018 may have to due more with the efforts of owner John Skinner than their wines. John is a strong supporter of the Canadian wine Industry. Working to promote free trade from province to province. He also works to promote Canada's wines around the world.

Okanagan Crush Pad

Now established as one of the leading wine producers in the province owners the husband and wife team Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie are promoting free trade between the provinces as well as promoting Canada's wines around the world.

Located in Summerland they produce organic wines under the Haywire and Narrative names. Winemaker Matt Dumayne joined in 2013 from New Zealand via Australia, California and Oregon, works closely with Italian consultant Alberto Antonini and Canadian native David Scholefield.

They were the first to introduce concrete tanks to BC.

read more

Vignoble de l'Orpailleur


 l’Orpailleur planted its first vines in 1982 in the beautiful Dunham Valley, one of the most welcoming and wonderful regions in Quebec. Today, the production borders 165,000 bottles.

In 1986 they added a restaurant and terrace.
2012 — Construction of a new building which became the new cellar. This building now provides for an ultra-modern hall with a 180-degree view on the vines on the second floor, and welcomes corporate groups, private receptions and weddings

A vineyard is built by each person’s hard work. L’Orpailleur is what it is today thanks to a team that has supported me in pursuing my wildest dreams. Every team member is moved by a passion that sets the standards higher in terms of product quality and clientele service. Without them, L’Orpailleur wouldn’t have the same flavor.”

Two of their wines were awarded the Double Gold medal at the 15th edition of the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. 

Andrew Peller Ltd.

The Ontario and now BC giant Andrew Peller Ltd.

Normally We would not consider placing an actual Company here but after they purchased three huge wineries in the Okanagan what else could we do!

Word has it they are working on additional purchases in Ontario. Yes in 2018 they could once again rock the Canadian wine industry!

The Company's award-winning premium and ultra-premium brands include Peller Estates, Trius, Hillebrand, Thirty Bench, Sandhill, Copper Moon, Calona Vineyards Artist Series VQA wines and Red Rooster. Add to this Tinhorn Creek, Black Hills and Gray Monk. And More!

Please see Andrew Peller Ltd


Festina Lente Estate Winery Ltd.

Located in the Fraser Valley across the street from Township7. . The meadery is owned by Teresa Townsley and Bill Townsley. You can feel the passion and dedication of Tersesa the moment you walk into the tasting room.

If you enjoy desert wines the Silvanas with a touch of pure Canadian Maple Syrup is the one for you Barbara and I were both impressed by the wine.

Our visit

Rosewood Estate Winery

Beekeeping is very important not only to Niagara’s local environment, but Rosewood and the Roman family too. The Roman’s have over 85 years, 3 generations worth, of beekeeping experience, and today keep hundreds of beehives scattered across the Niagara Escarpment & Greenbelt. 

One of few wineries that produce grape wine and Mead. Watch not only for their meads and honey products but their wines too!


Red Rover

Red Rover is New Brunswick’s oldest commercial-scale craft cider, and served its first customer at "The CiderHouse" in February 2014.

Their flagship cider beat out 77 other entries to be crowned king of Modern Dry Ciders at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition.

They will be the cidery to watch in 2018.

Cidrerie Milton

Quebec is famous for ciders. One that stands out is Cidrerie Milton than can trace their routes back to 1927.

A the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition their  Cid Rosé named Best Cider

Watch for their products.

The Old Third

The Old Third Vineyard is located on a steep south-south-east slope in Hillier, Prince Edward County

Social Media tell me they make a very good cider.

The winery is owned by partners Jens Korberg and Bruno Francois who began their passion of starting a winery in 2004

SouthBrook Winery

One of the giants of Ontario's Niagara region starting in 1992. Passionate about good food and fine wine, Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier decided a winery would be a perfect addition to their successful market garden and farm. So they converted their 100 year old barn into a winery. Southbrook Vineyards Canada's first biodynamic winery certified by Demeter

They now make cider. Their Wild Ferment Apple Cider was highly praised by the Globe and Mail. The cider employs juice from Nova Mac, Liberty, Nova Spy, Goldrush, and Pricilla apples harvested at Avalon Orchards, a certified organic orchard in Innisfil.

@ThornburyCraft @CountyCider @SpiritTreeCider @WestAvenueCider all make some good ciders in Ontario.

Honourable mention

Cave Spring- Ontario winemaker Angelo Pavan receives winemaker of the year award at the Cuvee Tasting and Gala 2018

Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery -Abottsford BC The passion, the drive, the hospitality. Good wines and only their first year.

Black Market - the passion is there. Watch for them!

Vineland Estate. Vineland, Ontario You never want to leave this elite winery out of the conversation.

Kings Court, Niagara-on-the Lake, I have tasted a couple of their Wines, the Wild Blue Berry is delightful

Fashion Estate their wines are gaining in popularity!

Stag’s Hollow Okanagan Falls, consistently good wines year after year

Border Town Osoyoos never count them out producing good wines since day one

Township7 Naramata / Langley - much improved cellar of wines

Orofino Spectacular wines like the Blind Creek Collective Consensus 2014 puts them on the list.

Clos Du Soleil Keep your eye on them! Producing quality wines from  Upper Bench of the South Similkameen Valley, in British Columbia, Canada. 

Inniskillin Niagara Estate one of the giants of the Canadian wine industry. Producing amazing wines. One must try their icewines.

Big Head - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Focusing on wild fermentation and the appassimento winemaking method (kiln drying of the grapes), Big Head Wines is producing small-batch artisan wines.

The View Kelowna, the grape vine says this wineries is producing impressive wines

Larch Hills- sitting on top of the hill overlooking the valley near Salmon Arms a resurgence in the quality of their wines.

Upper Bench Estate Winery Naramata, Estate Chardonnay 2015 awarded with Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence.

Moraine Estate Winery - Naramata BC, Experienced winemaker Jacqueline Kemp will make this a winery to watch!

Coteau Rougemont winery - Rougemont, QC worthy of a closer look, winner of numerous local awards


The Wineries to Watch for in 2019

The Wineries to Visit in 2019

Best Wineries to Visit in 2018.

Best Wines of 2017

May 2108 be your best year ever!

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