Monday, March 18, 2013

Prince Edward County, Ontario

Just back from a whirlwind "Rest & Relaxation" and "Research & Development" trip to beautiful Prince Edward County. 
From one end to the other the county is a beautiful drive full of scenic vistas and old farmsteads brimming with artist studios, wineries, restaurants, shops, inns, beautiful homes and so much more that the whole weekend was a fabulous adventure.  The scenery reminded us of Prince Edward Island or a tour around Isle d'Orleans outside of Quebec City but so much closer to home.  A break from the everyday, a very luxurious birthday gift for me and a true adventure, we highly recommend it to everyone! 
Our pockets are a bit shallower after leaving quite a bit of coin behind to the very hardworking, deserving individuals scattered around the region.  Our heads are filled to overflowing with ideas as we plan our own winery.  So many friendly people to offer suggestions, tour us around, give us inside information as to the ins and outs of the industry...and perfect that we were able to go during the "off season" because they would have been too busy to chat had we gone when things are in full swing as they are swamped in the summer with so many people.  Scott and I hit too many places to count! While a bit milder in temperature than our area, some growers there are also using the hybrid vines we grow in their wines and what we saw overall was a huge success story for their County. 
What the people of Prince Edward showed us was anything is possible if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get down to work, be hospitable and maybe just a little bit crazy thrown in with a whole lot of brave!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if Pontiac followed in their footsteps?  We already have so much, we're just not that great at showing off!  A permanent arts trails, taste trail, and so much more?  I'd love to know how they combined the initiative to grow their communities into the sensation it is...the results are stunning and something that they should all be very, very proud of!
Just a few "not to miss" stops we recommend-
The Manse, Picton -gourmet meals, luxurious accommodations, friendly, caring people...I already miss your shower, your sheets, and would love to steal recipes for so much of what you served!
Devils Wishbone Winery, Lake on the Mountain- they are running their business out of a fabulous old barn that they are renovating as they fun and fabulous!...Thank you Paul and Jennifer for touring us through and humouring "the beginners"
Exultet Estates, Milford-they were bottling with their 3 kids, which is very reminiscent of how we roll around it or not it's a family affair and one that seems to be working! 
Harwood Estates, Hillier-Don and Judy thank you for your time and tour and the recommendations of how to grow and of other places to visit!
Redtail Vineyard, Consecon - an off grid, organic winery...Thank you, Gilbert for taking so much of your day to talk with us, educate us and go the extra mile, we love your barrel room!
As for the "big guys" these places are also very worth the visit:
The Grange, Hillier-a stunning building
Huff Estates, Hallowell-.a very modern winery, inn and in every sense, but very friendly none the less!
Closson Chase, Hillier-informative, friendly and neat decor
The Barley Room at The Waring House, Picton -where we got to celebrate St. Patty's with pub food, local cider and beer and great entertainment.  Scott even broke into song at shows end which kept the revelry going for a good while after as other talents throughout the audience joined in.  He even attracted the attention of a true Irish man so impressed with Scott that he was homesick for Ireland!
Black River Cheese Company, Black River- I brought home a block of Maple Cheddar..super yummy and also a 6 year old that I can't wait to taste!

As many spots as we got to visit, there are many more we did not get to but wanted to and I suspect they all would have been just as hospitable, just as eager to recommend a visit to their neighbours and just as wonderful, not to mention all the fabulous wine!

We will be back!
You should definitely go too!

Some of our purchases...these made with the same varieties we grow!


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