Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) and Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) Wine Country, joined by Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, launched the brand new “Passport to EPIC Wine Country” at the Waterfront Tourism Information Centre in Amherstburg, Ontario, on June 11, 2015.
The passport is a savings booklet that sells for $10 offering visitors over $100 in value and a chance to win a $400 VIP experience. The Passport is filled with special offers from participating wineries and local businesses, providing visitors with valuable savings as they journey through Essex County’s Wine Country.
TWEPI also released the 2015 Wine Route Map, a very popular fold-out publication that highlights our wineries and complementary attractions and accommodations. 100,000 copies will be distributed in Southern Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio. An online version will be available soon.
David Languedoc co-owner of the Dalhousie Bistro in Amherstburg was in attendance and his restaurant provided local Ontario artisanal cheeses, veggies, wine jelly, and fresh baked french bread for guests to sample. The Oxford Harvest, Celtic Blue, and St. Albert Cheddar cheeses are sourced from Gunn’s Hill in Woodstock, Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc. in Lancaster, and St. Albert Cheese Co-op in St. Albert. “We’ve brought some wine jelly and it is delicious with the cheese and the bread which is warm because it was literally baked 30 minutes ago,” said Languedoc. The cheeses are all available at the Dalhousie Bistro and can be paired with their selection of local wines.
The Dalhousie Bistro is just one of many businesses providing special offers in the Passport to EPIC Wine Country. Other local businesses offering specials in the passport include Jack’s Gastropub, Mettawas Station, Merli’s Coffee House & Eatery, Guesthouse Getaway, Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast, Marlborough House Bed & Breakfast, Farm Dog Cycles, Grape Vine Tours, and W.E. Trolley Tour.
Informative descriptions of participating EPIC Wineries are found in the passport and include Colchester Ridge Estate Winery (CREW), Colio Estate Wines, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Mastronardi Estate Winery, Muscedere Vineyards, North 42 Degrees Estate Winery, Oxley Estate Winery, Pelee Island Winery, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, and Viewpointe Estate Winery. The special offers these wineries offer in the passport are fantastic. For example, Oxley Estate Winery is offering a complimentary food and wine pairing valued at $10. Just this one offer covers the small $10 investment into a Passport to EPIC Wine Country.
“The money that we collect will all go back into the passport program,” explains Lynnette Bain, TWEPI Vice President of Tourism Programs.
“We’re very excited about the passport,” says Tom O’Brien, founder and co-owner at Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards. “We have an untapped and unrecognized gem down here in Windsor Essex County with the combination of the wineries, parks, birding, fishing, and tourism.”
“We recognize that our wine region is steadily growing its market share of the $3.3 billion Ontario wine economy. These two marketing initiatives underscores TWEPI’s commitment to this industry sector,” said Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island. “Winery Tourism has been identified as a key source of revenue generation and job creation for the local area. The Passport and Map being launched are designed to increase visitation to the local wine region as every bottle of Ontario wine generates $40 of economic impact”.
“Through our continuing partnership, EPIC and TWEPI have leveraged outside funding and developed this marketing platform that will entice new visitors to Essex County. Passport programs have proven an effective marketing tool in other regions and we are excited to begin implementing ours here”, said Steve Mitchell, President, Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) Winegrowers’ Association.
“Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation is pleased to work with TWEPI, EPIC and its winery members to help promote the region as a destination known for great wine. We want to encourage tourists to enjoy the Wine Country experience and the many other complementary attractions in the region such as world class beaches, birding, and other unique culinary experiences,” said Jim Hudson, Executive Director, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation.
The Passport will act as a tool to capture visitor data in order to keep them informed and engaged on future regional tourism offers.
Details about the passport can be found at the EPIC Wineries website.