Canada’s Pelee Island on Lake Erie a sight to truly behold

The winery is modern – with a tasting room and gift shop.

I recently took the Jet Express from Port Clinton to Pelee Island in Ontario for dinner and a wine tasting.

It was my fourth excursion on the fast-moving hydrofoil, and as always, the evening proved to be both educational and lots of fun.

For anyone who has only shuttled around the Ohio islands on the Jet, I recommend taking one of their excursion trips. A full listing of the upcoming summer’s offerings generally appears on the company’s web site ( by April. There’s always a birding expedition to Canada in early May and a run to Detroit for a riverside fireworks show in late June. Fall excursions generally include heading to Cleveland for Browns football.

The wine-tasting trip generally takes place in August or early September. It is very popular and sells out fast, so I recommend booking early. I was shutout in 2016 and the 2017 trip was cancelled due to high waves on Lake Erie.

Weather this year (Aug. 10) was perfect and we zipped across the lake to Pelee Island in less than an hour. There were shuttles from the dock to the winery, but since the evening was so nice, we elected to walk the mile or so.

Pelee Island is the largest island in the Western Basin. It is mostly agricultural. And in addition to the vinyards that supply the winery, we saw field upon field of soybeans and other row crops.

The winery is modern – with a tasting room and gift shop. The buffet meal was served picnic-style on the patio. The barbecue was average, but acceptable.

Wine was included with the meal and appeared to be limitless – much to my surprise. I had always been led to believe that Canadian wine was “junk,” but the cabernet I had was excellent. I guess you can’t believe everything you hear about Canadian wine.

We paid an extra $20 each to tour the island on a little bus with two college-age girls as guides.

There wasn’t all that much to see beyond an old, abandoned winery that locals want to restore and an “international” airport that serves mostly commuters from the U.S. mainland. I was surprised to hear how many Americans have seasonal homes on the island.

You can drink wine and drink in the lush natural scenery and coastline. Both seem to make time stand still on the island. No wonder so many Americans escape there in the summer.

I hope the increasingly frosty relations between the U.S. and Canada will not be detrimental to excursions like those of the Jet Express. The Canadians are great folks with a beautiful country.

One of my former co-workers at the Ohio DNR used to say that Canadians have an inferiority complex because they are not Americans. He said they have a beautiful country with an abundance of natural resources that they often don’t appreciate. He might have been right.

But from what I see, they really have nothing to feel inferior about.

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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