The Bay of Quinte area is the gateway to almost forty wineries in Prince Edward County as well as nearby Adolphustown and Tweed. Some date back to the 1990s but the majority opened within the last decade with a few more opening this year.
Where should a wine tourist begin?
Fortunately most wineries are located in clusters in areas where the land includes elements such as fractured limestone, sand, gravel and clay loam soil which make for great grape growing.
Hillier, Wellington, the Closson Road, Milford, South Bay and the area around Waupoos all have their own terroir with differing soils and microclimates that make their wines unique.
Unlike the well established wineries of Niagara with huge production facilities, Prince Edward County wineries are often family-centred enterprises which make boutique wines in small batches. As a result, many of the best wines are only sold at the winery and not through the LCBO. Visitors often meet the owner or the winemaker in the winery’s retail store and get an insider’s look at how a winery works. There are special winery events every weekend from May to December.
Leading County winemakers pride themselves on their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay comparing the soil and summer climate to Burgundy in France. Unfortunately winters are far more severe here than even Niagara and so the European vines have to be buried every fall to survive the cold. The extra work is reflected in the higher price of some County wines. Other wines to look for include Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Many wineries also grow winter hardy hybrids such as Leon Millot, Baco Noir, Frontenac Noir and Gris, Vidal and Seyval.
No one should have to be the designated driver for wine touring. Local tour companies, including Sandbanks Vacations Wine Tours, Spotlight Limousine Wine Tours, and Prince Edward County Wine Tours offer a variety of packages with knowledgeable guides.
For the locations of all the wineries as well as the cideries, distillery and brewery click this interactive map.