Muscedere Winery: Where Family and Fun Are Never in Short Supply
Muscedere Winery is a family run vineyard in Southwestern Ontario specializing in small-batch wines. It’s their family-focus that helps set them apart from the crowd.
Driving down a typical country road you’d never know that one of the best wineries in Windsor Essex County was lying right beside you.
Muscedere Winery, in the township of Harrow, blends right into the typical Southwestern Ontario scenery. Narrow county roads lined with farms showcase some of the best of the province’s agricultural offerings. And amidst it all, a vineyard bursting with grapes and delivering flavourful reds and a handful of whites to those who are willing to venture off the beaten path in the region.
Parking at Muscedere Winery, my family (My wife Christina and our two boys) took in the beautiful building that houses the shop. Its homey atmosphere immediately gave the sense that we were simply there to visit old friends. And as we entered the backyard we were warmly greeted by Melissa Muscedere and invited to sit at a table beneath a beautiful decagonal gazebo. Nearby, Melissa’s mother, Pat, was standing in the shade of bar cooking. The smells of wood-fired pizza filled the air.
You see, part of what makes Muscedere stand apart from many of the large wineries in Niagara, Windsor, and Prince Edward County is that this small-batch winery is completely family-run. And visiting Muscedere Winery isn’t about signing up for a tour of the vineyard and exiting through the gift shop. It’s about becoming a part of the family. And that is a beautiful thing.
About Muscedere Winery
Muscedere Winery sit’s on a gorgeous plot of 163-acres on County Rd. 18 about 15-minutes east of the town of Amherstburg. In 2000, over a family dinner, the concept of the winery was dropped by Muscedere brothers Fabio and Rob and when the entire family bought into the idea, the Muscedere Winery was born.
They looked at their property and found that it was ideal for grape growing. 13-acres were cleared and meticulously prepared. And by the spring of 2003, the first four acres of Vidal, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc went in the ground. The success of the vineyard led to the quick addition of Pinot Noir.
In 2005 the family expanded the vineyard to include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Finally completing their planting with the addition of Barbera and Nebbiolo in 2008 to complete their goal of crafting traditional Barolo from the Northern Italian varieties.
More than 20-years after the idea for the winery was first broached, the family home is still where all of the action takes place. And on any given day you can find Muscedere family members hand-picking the grapes, serving at the tasting room, or checking the barrels to ensure the wines at Muscedere meet the family’s high standards of quality.
The family still hand-harvests only the best grapes from their 13-acre vineyard. Crafting small lots of 100-200 cases of each of their premium wines. They have a strong belief that these small hand-crafted lots allow for each variety to be treated with utmost attention and care. This ensures that the unique characteristics of each remain distinct and untainted. This attention to detail is evident in every sip.
Enjoying The Muscedere Vineyard and Tasting Options
Melissa Muscedere sat down with us to chat about the wine options available. The casual chat perfectly blended into the atmosphere of the winery. Apart from the menu, it truly felt as though we were visiting friends for a backyard social rather than a business.
Muscedere Winery is especially proud of their reds. Melissa explained that they’ve found that the reds, especially Pinot’s and Cabernet Sauvignon grow especially well in the fertile soil of their property. But, after enjoying flights of both their whites and premium reds, I can tell you that their whites aren’t something you should ignore either. Especially, if, like me, you enjoy your whites dry and not too sweet.
The reds are rich, complex, and full-bodied. Our premium flight consisted of a 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, a delightful 2017 Meritage, and a velvety 2016 Syrah. All were enjoyed slowly as we took in the views of the nearby vineyard from the shady comfort of the gazebo. It was the Cab Sauv that won us over and we couldn’t leave without taking some home with us.
More Than Just A Vineyard
Part of the magic that lends itself to that family-feel of Muscedere Winery is that there is more to this winery than just the wines. The family has a deep love for animals, and a visit to Muscedere isn’t complete with saying hello to friendly faces of the goats, chickens, ducks, and cats that roam the grounds near the gazebo.
These animals at Muscedere Winery help make this a truly family-friendly vineyard in Windsor Essex where kids will have as much exploring to do as the adults. And, as I was visiting this winery with my 7 & 10-year-old boys, this was truly appreciated.
I’ve visited some of the best wineries in Ontario, throughout Canada, and around the world. And one thing that I often find lacking is an appreciation that enjoying a glass can be a family affair. Many wineries take themselves too seriously and won’t make an attempt to offer a little entertainment or education for the younger crowd. But not Muscedere, their family focus goes well beyond the 7 family members that have combined to run this winery.
Exploring Muscedere and Other Southwestern Ontario Wineries
Windsor Essex is the oldest of all of the wine regions in Ontario. Yet many of their wineries fall under the radar. Part of this is because, unlike areas such as Prince Edward County and Niagara, the wineries of this region of Ontario are much more spread apart. The land here is used for just about every type of agriculture in the country. Vineyards are spread out as far south as Pelee Island in Lake Erie.
Many visitors base themselves in the city of Windsor and explore out from there. Still others enjoy the sites of towns such as Leamington and Amherstburg, which let them focus on the more rural areas of Winsdor/Essex.
But no matter how you plan your visit, make sure to include Muscedere Winery in your itinerary and become part of the family.
Many of these businesses and restaurants are anxious for visitors after a tough year. So let’s support local and make the most of your Ontario travel experience.
Do you have a favourite attraction or restaurant in Ontario? Head over to the Ultimate Ontario Facebook Community and join the conversation! You’ll find an amazing group of people passionate about Ontario and who love to share their local secrets.