After a successful trip through some of Niagara’s finest vineyards back in May, your dynamic duo, Tatiana and Shane, ventured to another of Ontario’s gems to uncover more delicious secrets trapped in grapes and bottles. However, after some precarious moments on bicycles and the usual bickering one would expect when two people attempt to hit a baker’s dozen of vineyards in a single day, we opted to upgrade both our ranks and our method of transportation. This time, we would do Prince Edward County in leisurely style along with four other close friends.
The premise was simple enough: six close friends would explore the best of PEC’s food and drink scene in a single weekend. What we hadn’t counted on was the sheer breadth of options available to us and the near impossible task we would set ourselves on of exploring as much as we could. However, first, we had to get there… which brings us to a word from our sponsors.
Not owning a car myself, I was fortunate when, instead of having to pick up a rental, Modern Mississauga editor, Jay Kana, managed to secure us a 2017 Ford Escape. Being a far more frequent cyclist than driver, I won’t pretend to write a car review talking about how comfortable, roomy, or convenient the Escape was. However, being an eager roboticist, I will gladly comment on the fun I had cruising down the 401, playing with the Escape’s impressive Lane-Keep and adaptive cruise control technologies. Much to my car-mates displeasure, I squealed with joy every time the Escape jerked itself back on the road with my hands hovering just inches above as we entered a wide bank or the car, somewhat aggressively, jumped on the brakes as the cruise control system sensed the car ahead of us slowing down. There may or may not have been a solid 15 minutes where my hands never touched a single control on the car other than the volume buttons. Needless to say if Ford, a traditionally more conservative automaker, is already this far along, the future of self-driving is looking bright.
We did so much in PEC that I can’t possibly mention it all. There were naturally a few duds and disappointments, however, I’ll invoke mother’s law and just not say anything at all about them. In grand total though, the weekend saw our group visiting 11 different vineyards (apparently that’s just the magic number), 3 microbreweries, and a couple of phenomenal restaurants. We left the area with 5 full cases of wine, aching livers, and plenty of great memories.
At the top of my list was the slightly-off-the-beaten path Long Dog Vineyards. It was a beautiful little estate that had likely the most consistently solid wines of anywhere on the trip and after speaking to the owners about their patience and priorities, we understood why. For my money, their Top Dog Pinots are some of the best I’ve had in Canada.
Other honourable mentions go to the bubbly fun times at Hinterland, the unique experimentations of Rosehall Run, the equally gorgeous grounds and wines at Closson Chase, and the expensive-but-worth-it things going on at Norman Hardie. A big shout out to the guys at Prince Eddy’s too for some great beers and hilarious good times.
That gives you a decent sense of where to go in PEC and here’s my suggestion for what to bring back:
10) Trail Estate 2015 Unfiltered Chardonnay
9) Grange of Prince Edward 2016 Pinot Gris Select
8) Rosehall Run Indigo
7) Hinterland Cherry Cider
6) Norman Hardie Pinot Noir Unfiltered
5) Slicker’s County Campfire Ice Cream
4) Hinterland Borealis
3) Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay
2) Long Dog 2012 Top Dog Pinot Noir
1) Rachel’s Butter Tarts