The sun is shining, the grapes are growing, the wine is good.

This is where you want to be with friends on a lazy summer afternoon as it stretches into a breezy evening. And we were there. So were the musicians, Karen Morand and Allison Brown, performing as a duo up on the deck while we sat at one of the umbrella-topped wood picnic tables on the lawn.

Usually the Pelee Island Winery tour on Pelee Island is something we do only when friends and family come visiting. But instead of merely playing tourists, when our friends, the Tiessens, invited us to join them at the Pavilion for the 4:00 tour, the four of us found ourselves unexpectedly playing hooky from the world of making deadlines, fighting lawsuits, running the Lake Muse B&B (I exaggerate in this particular; Lynn’s guests were happily off being tourists themselves, I imagine), and certainly from cutting the grass, repairing the steps to the beach, and all the rest.

The Tour


Derek outside of the Pelee Island Winery Pavilion on Pelee Island, explaining some of the finer points of viticulture to our tour group.

Do you know what terroir means? Besides talking about the grapes on the vines, Derek did a good job of arousing our interest in other fascinating sights that awaited visitors to the Pavilion:

The Wine


(Photo courtesy of

Although most of Pelee Island wine is made on the mainland in Kingsville—other than the  ice wine, the very sweet dessert wine that is made from grapes frozen on the vine—there are plenty of varieties of wine to be tasted at the end of the tour in the downstairs tasting room and plenty of wine to be tasted at the tasting bar on the main floor of the pavilion and wine to be purchased and taken out to enjoy in the wine garden, with or without food from the Deli Hut. Lots of choices to taste, to try, to take home with you:

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Viticulturist Wolfgang Moritz recommended the Monarch Red for us to Ron, but Lynn and I were doing our own comparison at the tasting bar, alternating sips of the very buttery Meritage Red and the less expensive Vinedressers Red, which ultimately won out (we appreciated this choice later when we discovered it made it easier to indulge in a second bottle and prolong the evening!).

Tapas and Pizza

You can buy your own meat to barbecue on the grounds or order something already prepared from the Deli Huts. Some Fridays nights are Tapas and Pizza Nights. This past Friday was.

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We split an appetizer platter and a stone-oven pizza, and then another. At a table across the way were a dozen of other Pelee cottagers doing just what we were: eating, drinking, relaxing. Pavilion Manager Sherry Bondy was sitting at another table, planning for Saturday’s wedding at the Pavilion, determining just where the head table should go, given where the sun would be.

The Sounds of Summer

Music, laughter, birdsong. And a scrap of a poem shared:

“. . . I’ve come to think that what we know of our lives

often has nothing to do with understanding,

 but with some accidental loveliness

we put our hopes in, the excess, say,

of a thrush fluting its elongated ee—oo—lay;

or the way a flock of goldfinches

yellow the air they fly through without asking.”

— from “Massachusetts Audubon Chart No. I, 1898 by Robert Cording, published in the July/August 2012 issue of Orion


Another fine Pelee Island sunset . . .


. . . with Hen Island floating gently on the horizon . . .


. . . we said our goodnights and called it a day, another wonderful Pelee day!

How to Get There

Take the Pelee Island Transportation Company ferry from Leamington (beginning August 2nd, from Kingsville, ON) or from Sandusky, Ohio. Enjoy the 1.5-hour ride from the Ontario mainland or the two-hour ride from the Ohio mainland. Soak up the sun, be mesmerized by the waves, make new friends or enjoy the old, and when the ferry docks, walk the short distance south on West Shore Road, along the water, to the Wine Pavilion, and raise a glass to summer!