Prince Edward County Wineries

5 wineries to visit in Prince Edward County

The Prince Edward County wine region in Ontario reminds me a little of that old ad campaign that touted pork as the other white meat. This is the other wine region to the more popular Niagara Peninsula, which tends to get more attention based on its greater size and proximity to Toronto. But as local wine enthusiasts have discovered over the last few years (some sooner than others), Prince Edward County is the home of some passionate winemakers who are turning out some of the province's best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Located to the south of Belleville, it's just close enough for day trips, but given the area's ample inns and bed and breakfast options — and that fact that you'll want to try a lot of wine — it's better-suited to weekend visits. Here are five wineries worth checking out in Prince Edward County.

Norman Hardie
Probably the best known producer in the region, Norman Hardie proved that the Prince Edward County could produce world class Pinot Noir in the mid 2000s. Now that lots and lots of people know this, it's gotten progressively more difficult to get your hands on the stuff, but surely one of the best ways is to make the trip to the winery. While there, you can also order some surprisingly good pizza to enjoy on the quaint patio that overlooks the vineyard. 1152 Greer Road.

Huff Estates
Huff Estates is a winery that breaks with the Burgundian-drive of the region by offering a wider selection of varietals, including award-winning Pinot Gris. That said, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are still excellent. Aside from the wines, one of the big draws here is the inn. When staying on the property, you can feel free to drink your face off without the worry about driving. After all, who really wants to spit when tasting wine. Sommeliers I'll give a pass to, everyone else is ordered to swallow what's in the glass. 2274 County Rd.1

Hinterland Wine Company
When planning a winery road trip, it's a good idea to avoid hitting up producers who all focus on the same thing. Leave that to the wine nerds. If paying your first visit to Prince Edward County, check out the fantastic sparking wines at Hinterland. That's all they make here, and they're some of the province's best. Note well, the winery is only open by appointment Monday to Friday. 1258 Closson Road.

The Old Third
This is a winery in a barn that reeks of charm (note: that sentence does not). The Old Third is what I might call a traditional Prince Edward County producer in that the focus is on Pinot Noir — and only Pinot Noir. It's not cheap at $42 a bottle, but if you were to pick a wine that was demonstrative of the region and its potential, this would be a strong candidate for a blue ribbon. By appointment only. 251 Closson Road.

Exultet Estates
Housed in what was once a cheese-making operation, this is the ver definition of a boutique winery with very low production numbers and very high quality standards. The specialties are Pinot and Chardonnay, but there's also some intriguing dessert wines on offer as well. These are some of the most expensive wines on the list, but certainly competitive with what decent Burgundy will run you at the LCBO — and that's the league these wines play in. 1106-1112 Royal Road.

For a full list of wineries in the region, check out the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association.

Photo by Pat Anderson

Thanks to the New Listerine UltraClean for sponsoring our wine-soaked adventures.

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