Nestled among 100 acres of lush vineyards that have blossomed for more than 25 years, Mastronardi Estate Winery cultivates 18 different kinds of grapes that resident winemaker Lyse Leblanc transforms into a prize-winning slate of wine varietals. Lakes Erie and St. Clair sandwich the region, naturally maintaining a suitable vine-harvesting climate that yields the building blocks of sweet dessert wines, crisp whites, bold merlot-cabernet amalgams, and sparkling varietals. Visitors tap into a rainbow of elegant elixirs during tours, tastings, and seminars, decamping to the winery's European-inspired tasting boutique, where a knowledgeable staffer points out oft-overlooked subtleties, such as the pinot grigio’s hints of honeydew and longing. Mastronardi Estate Winery donates a portion of proceeds from the floral-inspired Brianjë riesling to the Batten Disease Support and Research Association in memory of the daughter of owners Eadie and Tony Mastronardi.
Peanut Centre Nursery has prepared horticulturists for the growing season with their vast selection of plants, supplies, and services for the garden and yard since 1973. They grow the majority of their plants locally—including shrubs, shade trees, and perennials—and ensure that they are well-adjusted to the surrounding environs. They also offer landscape design services, as well as a rewards program, which allows frequent shoppers to exchange Green Card loyalty points for free merchandise and insider tips on how to paint their thumbs green like the pros.
Meleg's produce professionals grow a seasonal selection of fresh fruit and vegetables on a 65-acre farm and transform pickings into jams and ciders. Visitors venture into the orchard where they pull peaches straight from the tree during the summer ($0.70/lb.) and arm-wrestle branches for apples ($0.70/lb.) and the locations of secret exits to the corn maze in the fall. Patrons take a break from traversing the trees to browse the orchard's store, where arms overflow with twelve ears of sweet corn ($5) and 250 millilitre jars of strawberry jam ($3). Starting September 15, the cider mill wakes, lets out an ear-splitting yawn, and begins producing sweet apple cider ($3–$5) and vinegar ($10–$15).
Not too much. Not too little. Just right. Since 1981, the knowledgeable Maidstone Tree Farm staff have been insistent on finding the goldilocks zone: that unique balance of water, sunlight, and fertilizer that helps every type of plant and tree in their garden thrive. They begin by hand-selecting flora—20-foot maple trees, many-coloured hydrangeas—that flourish in Windsor-Essex County's soil and climate. Across their 15-acre garden, they arrange their plants based on how much sunlight the plants need, clustering Asiatic lilies in sun-dappled patches of soil, and huddling green, blue, and yellow hostas in the cool shade. Then, they fine-tune their drip-irrigation system to quench the thirst of the trees, shrubs, and perennials without over-watering them. The great pains taken by the green thumbs at Maidstone Tree Farm result in plants that leave the garden centre at the pinnacle of health, ready for rearing and teaching multi-branch high fives.
At Benthic Scuba Center, a PADI Five-Star Development Center, a knowledgeable staff draws on more than 40 years of collective experience as they unlock the ocean's depths for seafaring visitors. Certified instructors lead all levels in dive courses such as Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, and Air Diver Specialty. In addition to instructing divers, the centre also houses a vast selection of diving gear from top brands including Sherwood Scuba, Poseidon, and Oceanic, and loans rental equipment ranging from wetsuits and hoods to gauges and rubber duckies. The staff can also repair and maintain equipment to ensure safe aqueous excursions.
At Anne’s on the Avenue, proprietor Anne Waters and her staff of fashion experts curate a collection of women’s styles from well-known labels and up-and-coming designers from Europe and Canada. Trendy wearables from Joseph Ribkoff, Frank Lyman, and Spanner grace the racks, dressing guests to the nines for formal or casual events with seasonal dresses, sweaters, scarves, and jewellery. Consultants employ Anne’s passport for style during private consultations to help clients assemble flattering ensembles for any occasion, from classy office cocktail parties to runway-style sashays to the mailbox.