Did you get invited to a wine tour that you really should attend but you don’t love wine that much? Are you a wine-no? Do you want to turn up the excitement on the wine tours? Or are you just overwhelmed by the amount of Ontario wines you can sample? Well, we have some good news – there’s more to do at wineries than just drink wine! You read that right, we’ve put together a list of things to do that are beyond the bottle. The wineries in the Prince Edward County area have more to offer aside from the typical wine-experts kind of activities. Read on to find out what PEC vineyards are thinking outside the wine glass.
2274 Prince Edward County Rd, Bloomfield, ON K0K 1G0
Huff Estates has plenty to do that doesn’t solely include sitting and drinking wine. The Oeno Gallery is located on-site and includes beautiful artwork and sculptures from local creatives. They have also commissioned authentic artists and artisans from the U.S. and Zimbabwe, print-makers from Vietnam, photographers from China, painters from Mexico, and glass artists from Czech Republic. My favourite part of Huff Estates is their wood-fired oven pizza, it is absolutely delicious and pairs well with watching a beautiful sunset on their large patio. If you’re spending a little more time at Huff Estates Winery, check one or two of their packages off your list – choose from wine and dine, couples events, bee creative and live music packages.
561 Danforth Rd, Wellington, ON K0K 3L0
Karlo Estates is the definition of a rustic Ontario vineyard – with the repurposed barn, cozy tasting room, natural light, Muskoka chairs scattered across the property and the abundance of hiking trails. If you’re looking for a little more than wine tasting while visiting this quaint spot, make sure to ask an employee about the dry stone bridge, the hiking trails, and any upcoming events. Karlo is the first vegan winery in the WORLD – talk about impressive! Whether you’re vegan or not, I recommend learning more about their plant-based focus and trying a sample too. If you want to explore the County landscapes, Karlo Estates is the place to do it. They have over 100 acres, 93 of which are beautiful hiking trails; I’ll let you in on a little secret as well –you’re allowed to bring your wine glass with you.
629 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON K0K 2J0
I’m sure I have said this about every vineyard in Prince Edward County, but Closson Chase is truly a beautiful spot with its rolling hills and historic buildings. Make time to view the charming purple barn that now holds the tasting room as well as the church beside the winery. The church was built in 1840 and then renovated and moved (down the road) to the Closson Chase property in 2007. You can actually see the church roof from the road, custom-designed by Helga Boelen and inspired by ‘Hospices de Beaune’, the 15th-Century hotel in Burgundy. If you’re feeling peckish, be sure to also visit The Swinery. This vineyard also has mouth-watering food to enjoy – the menu includes an incredible pulled pork sandwich, charcuterie boards, lobster rolls and gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
990 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON K0K 2J0
The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estates is a family-run (mother and daughter) winery filled with feel-good memories and plenty of opportunities for some R&R. When brainstorming food options, the owners thought it would be best to take advantage of the wonderful landscape and view, so they put together a picnic basket menu. It’s simple; just order from inside the winery, pick your location, pick a wine (optional) for your glass (or bottle – we won’t judge) and then take your classic wicker basket filled with local cheeses, meats, pickled items and maple tarts to your spot. Very Instagram-worthy indeed!
1243 Greer Rd, Wellington, ON K0K 3L0
Tiny but mighty, the name Rosehall comes from the hamlet just south of the winery that was established in 1820 and is home to only 50 full-time residents. Rosehall Run Vineyards is a 150 acre property that was a working farm before it became a vineyard. Now it is a stunning property with hints of farm life still remaining (spot the chickens running around), plenty of natural light, and modern services to make your tasting experience the best. They also provide private tasting sessions with winemaker Dan Sullivan, a one-on-one sneak peek of the wine process. If you’re still looking for more, browse the Greer Road Grocer. The Grocer is exactly as it sounds – a little grocer in Rosehall Run Vineyards that stocks the shelves with local products from farmers and artisans in Prince Edward County.
49 Hubbs Creek Road, Wellington, ON K0K 3L0
If you’re daydreaming of leaning back into a Muskoka chair overlooking the water with a crisp glass of wine, Keint-He Winery and Vineyards is the place. In close proximity with several other PEC wineries and downtown Wellington, this vineyard is easy to find and drive or bike to. Sip on one of their main wines like a Pinot Noir and snack on local cheese and meat while enjoying the hill-top view of Lake Ontario. They are complete with knowledgeable staff, a fresh water bowl for the puppies (they love it if you bring your dog), a kids menu that includes quesadillas and freezies and plenty of local cheese, meat and wine to buy in-store to eat there or take home for later.
17598 Loyalist Pkwy, Wellington, ON K0K 3L0
If you stroll through the wine aisles at the LCBO looking for the prettiest bottle, as I do, then you have probably noticed Sandbanks’ wines – there are a lot of them and they all include that vibrant orange on the bottle or label. If you put aside their vast selection of wine, check out their NEW apple orchard and the Rita Thivierge Art Gallery. Yes, Sandbanks Winery just purchased an apple orchard and they’re now making apple wine – it’s a sweet twist and it was sold out within weeks! The pop of colour found on each label is all thanks to the talented Rita Thivierge. Browse her collection at the winery art gallery and be prepared to feel uplifted and calm from the bright colour palette she uses.
Many of the wineries in Prince Edward County also offer a variety of events all throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled for live music, full moon dinners and picking parties – the ultimate behind-the-scenes activity. So whether you’re visiting the County to sip local wines or to get your hands dirty (purple with grape juice at picking-parties to be specific), there’s something to do for everyone.