Are you ready to get your wine on?! Well, I highly recommend grabbing your overnight bag and a sunhat and reading on! Be sure to make Belleville your destination – it’s the perfect spot with fully-equipped accommodations, plenty of delicious places to eat and it’s right around the corner from Prince Edward County – the queen of wine regions in Ontario. So if you’re looking to escape the city or you’re celebrating something or you’re like me and wish to take a wine crash-course and explore the area more, this wine itinerary is perfect for you.
304 Front Street, Belleville, ON
You probably just spent the morning driving on the beloved Hwy – 401, which means you deserve a little break before hitting the road again. Head to L’Auberge De France for breakfast – it really is a cozy little slice of France in downtown Belleville. Grab a coffee beverage and a treat while sitting on their cute front patio. I suggest ordering a latte to get you started on the Instagram-worthy shots. Also, do not forget to snag a delicious hand-rolled croissant. They are baked fresh every Saturday morning – choose from butter, pain au chocolat and almond delectable-melt-in-your-mouth-pastries. Get them early though! These favourites sell out pretty fast.
561 Danforth Rd, Wellington, ON
If you’re looking for a winery that encompasses the beautiful County landscape, this is the one. Karlo Estates is a rustic, peaceful, and welcoming property. Driving in you can spot the large refurbished barn, Muskoka chairs and picnic tables scattered all over the property, an old dry-stone bridge and maybe one (or three) very well-loved cats wandering the property. Karlo’s serve and sell a variety of their own local wines from their award-winning Chardonnay to their bubbling hot-summer-day Rosé. Be sure to sample a couple of their wines made locally, including the vegan wine – yes, I said VEGAN wine.
629 Closson Road, Hillier, ON
By now I’m sure you have acquired quite the appetite, which brings this itinerary to Closson Chase winery. Not only does this winery have a charming property and classic wine choices, but they also offer appetizing food options! The kitchen at Closson Chase is called The Swinery and the menu includes, you guessed it – a pulled pork sandwich that is out of this world. Of course, there’s more than pork menu items here, you can also enjoy a charcuterie board or vegan and gluten-free dishes.
2274 Prince Edward County Rd, Bloomfield, ON
The absolutely perfect spot to end a wine tour – Huff Estates. Be sure to take advantage of the daily wine tours that run from 10 am to 7 pm, the endless amount of beautiful views and the large patio and restaurant overlooking the vineyards. Sit and relax with an unoaked chardonnay and a tasty homemade wood-fired pizza while watching the sunset. I can’t think of a better way to end a Saturday.
11 Bay Bridge Rd, Belleville, ON
After your bellies are full of wine and pizza, hop back onto Hwy-62 and enjoy a relaxing country drive back to Belleville. The Ramada Hotel in Belleville is the perfect place to crash after a long day. Check-in if you haven’t already done so and take a swim in the outdoor/indoor pool (great for the whole family) or if you’re already exhausted, do what I do when I’m traveling and get cozy in the hotel bed and binge HGTV until you fall asleep, dreaming of sunshine, country landscapes, good food, fresh air, and incredible wine.
449 Dundas Street West, Belleville, ON
It’s day two of your winery itinerary! But first, enjoy a classic Sunday brunch at Birdy’s Casual and Fine Dining. Birdy’s is just down the road from the Ramada and offers the perfect combination of casual and fine dining. Dress it up or down and fill up on some classic blueberry pancakes or the quiche of the day. Birdy’s is the go-to place to experience fresh and local food made in-house. Many of their suppliers are within the Belleville and PEC region (you may spot a couple of County wines on their bar shelf).
17598 Loyalist Pkwy, Wellington, ON
Back to the wineries! Dive right into tours and tastings by making Sandbanks your first stop – it’s another winery with a view! Located along the Loyalist Parkway, you will fall in love with the waterfront view and the quaint town of Wellington. Here, enjoy a glass sitting in a colourful Muskoka chair amongst the vineyards or get a couple of samples at the cozy tasting gazebo. Extensive tours are offered daily, ask one of the representatives to sign up or check out one of the many tour signs and stops for a schedule. If you’re already feeling the heat, be sure to pop inside for some A/C, boutique tasting and possibly some shopping (the local cheeses and plaid shirts are my top picks). The staff at Sandbanks are so unbelievably knowledgable and approachable, with the customer service of living in a small town and the passion of a wine-lover.
49 Hubbs Creek Road, Wellington, ON
Right around the corner from Sandbanks Winery is Keint-He. Driving into the parking lot you may feel like you’re visiting someone’s house, but once you enter you see a very pristine lobby filled with shelves of wine, excited staff members, and a fridge with local treats (including a kids menu too)! Keint-He Winery focuses on wines that showcase the County region, only using grapes that are locally-grown and perfecting chardonnays that are enjoyable for all palettes. Try some samples at the bar and then pick a spot on their outdoor patio. A friendly staff member will bring your selected wines and snacks out to you as you take in the hill-top view of Lake Ontario.
990 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON
Next stop: the Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards! At this point, hunger is probably sneaking in, which means it’s a perfect time for a picnic. I did say to bring a sunhat, didn’t I? A wine weekend getaway wouldn’t be complete without sipping wine and eating cheeses on a blanket amongst the grapes. Ask a representative inside and you will be outfitted with a wicker basket full of local cheese, meats, pickled items, bread and a bottle of wine of your choice. Pick a spot to stretch out along the property and enjoy! This service is great for groups of two or more. If sitting in the grass isn’t your cup of wine, look into their daily tours. Enjoy a sneak peek at their large processing room and discover what a traditional barrel cellar looks like.
1243 Greer Rd, Wellington, ON
If you planned this weekend to get away from the urban hustle-and-bustle, Rosehall Run Vineyards is the ideal final stop. Rosehall is a hidden gem that is proud of their history and 150-acre farm and vineyard. The tasting room is filled with large windows to embrace the natural summer light and the rural scenery. In the tasting room, enjoy an array of award-winning wines. Sip your favourite wine inside or outside in their picnic area. Be sure to also browse The Greer Road Grocer, a section of the Rosehall Run Tasting Room that provides the best selection of grocer products from local farmers and artisans in the PEC area.
Sadly, if you’re at step eleven of this winery itinerary, that means it’s time to pack up and head home. Spending a weekend in Belleville and Prince Edward County is a magical experience, and doing a wine tour is just skimming the surface of things that you can do in this region. If some of the featured locations aren’t for you or you wish to explore more, check out the links below for additional accommodations, dining experiences and wineries. Cheers!
Additional Things to Do – with thirty-three conservation areas to discover, you’re bound to meet your nature craving.
Stay a While– accommodations to suit any traveling style.
Still Hungry?– meals in the Bay of Quinte for your snack attack.