Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Prince Edward County for the second time. The region has really exploded in the last 5 years and now there is just so much to do. One of the big draws is all the wineries, there are now 40! Between my two trip I’ve visited a good number of wineries and vineyards. This guide has my favourites, some other solid places, ones we won’t be back to and ones I hope to go to on my next visit. I’ve also thrown in a cider house, distillery and brewery that are too good to miss.
I previously published a little Prince Edward County Winery guide from my first visit to the region but this new one will combine some of the same info but with new insight as some of the ones we visited last year weren’t as great the second time around. To start things off lets get to my favourites!
Top 5 Favourite Wineries
Hinterland Wine Company: Hinterland is known for their sparkling wines and for good reason. Their located in Hillier where a large concentration of the wineries are so it’s easy to visit many around. The winery itself is lovely with nice outdoor space for tasting and a patio kitchen. The prices for tastings vary depending on the wine. They also did a special fall release of an orange wine in collaboration with the chef/owner of Joe Beef in Montreal. Their tasting room is a good size and you can wander over to the vines where there are some chairs. They do cater to large groups so it can get busy so go early.
Lighthall Vineyards: Lighthall is in the Milford area of PEC and east to get to if you’re coming from the east. They’re pretty small but their wine is impressive. They stood out on our most recent trip not only because the wine was great but the service was friendly and informative and they serve their very own cheese with the wine tasting for a great price. It was hard enough not to buy every single wine but throw in the cheese and I could have easily dropped a few hundred dollars. As mentioned they are small and their tasting room really only accommodated about 10 people so larger groups may have to wait a bit.
The Old Third: I think this is one of the smallest wineries in PEC as they only produce a couple varieties and they sell out quickly. The first year we went at the beginning of summer they didn’t have any wine to sell and this year they only had a few hundred bottles of a Pino Noir and a Chardonnay. We ended up buying 3 bottles of the Pino Noir and it was our favourite of the weekend. We also got to chat with one of the owners who was very friendly and told us all about their process. The tasting room is a beautiful old barn so there is lots of room too.
Closson Chase Winery: Although Closson Chase doesn’t have my favourite wine the experience we had their was lovely. The winery is one of the prettiest in PEC, they are known for the large purple barn tasting room and old church in the vineyard that is so picture perfect. They have a great little casual restaurant that offers an alternative to the many pizza lunch options at other wineries. Then the outdoor tasting area in the garden is so pretty and relaxing. They are very popular so it can get busy but even though we visited around 1pm we didn’t have an issue getting a spot or getting service.
Half Moon Bay Winery: This is a no frills winery that makes a great product. It’s fairly close to Lighthall in Milford and very under the radar. When we visited we were the only ones there. The owner hopped off his tractor when we arrived and took us into the tasting room in the bar. The wine was delicious and it was hard to pick which ones to buy. Although I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit Half Moon Bay, definitely stop by if you are in the southern part of PEC.
Favourite Cider House, Brewery & Distillery
County Cider Company: This has been my first stop on both my visits to PEC. It’s one of the prettiest locations with a view on Lake Ontario. The cider is great and even if you’re not a big cider drinker it’s worth a stop for lunch on the patio and a delicious wood fired pizza. The tasting room is in an old barn that is notable for the big barn quilt on the front, you can find these folk art pieces all over PEC.
Matron Fine Beer: Matron only makes 3 types of beer but they do them really well. Their little brewery in Bloomfield is down a dusty road in an old barn. The bar area has been beautifully renovated so you can relax with a pint.
Kinsip House of Fine Spirits: This is another one of the prettiest places in PEC and it should really be on your list. Kinsip makes great gins, vodka, whisky and other spirits and bitters using ingredients they grow on their farm or that are sourced locally. The old house with the tasting room and the patio area are so pretty. If you don’t want to taste the spirits individually they also have a little cocktail bar so you can try them in a mixed drink. This place does get busy so you may need to get on a waiting list when you arrive and then wander the grounds while you wait.
Other Solid Winery Options
Hubbs Creek Vineyard: This little family run vineyard makes a great wine. It’s another no frills winery and easy to hit as it’s in the Hillier area close to many wineries.
Long Dog Vineyard & Winery: The first time we visited PEC Long Dog was our favourite, we had a great intimate experience and the wine was delicious. This time when we visited the wine was still good but the experience was poor. It really depends on who is serving you. If you are visiting wineries in the Milford area stop by but don’t go out of your way as the experience can be a mixed bag.
Broken Stone Winery: We had a nice time visiting Broken Stone and the wines were very good. Although it was busy we didn’t have to wait long and the staff were very friendly. We sat on their patio and they brought over some bread with olive oil so eat with our wine. They also had live music which made the whole experience very memorable.
Morandin Wines: This little winery hasn’t been open very long but their wine was pretty good. Although I wouldn’t go out of my way for them if you’re passing by it’s a decent stop.
Another brewery we enjoyed in the past was Parsons Brewing Company close to Picton. We also tried Clafeld Cider House which was good and they had interesting flavours but it wasn’t as nice of an experience overall as County Cider Company. But it is just down the road so it’s any easy stop and they have a food market.
Wineries We Won’t Be Back To
Huff Estates Winery: The first time we visited Huff we had a nice experience and a decent lunch but this time the experience was very different. It was very busy as is expected on a Saturday afternoon but we were completely ignored. Even when we made it up to the bar when some room cleared no one made eye contact with us or acknowledged us. We waited about 15-20 minutes without anyone speaking to us and left without tasting any wine. Although we really like their Vidal we won’t be back and cannot recommend it, there are so many nicer and better places in PEC.
Karlo Estates: Although the wine was pretty good it wasn’t a favourite and it gets busy. Also the overall experience and level of service just wasn’t there. We went on our first visit to PEC but skipped it this time.
Casa-Dea Estates Winery: This is a larger winery in the region and it definitely has more of a corporate feel. The tasting room has a gift shop with cheesy wine signs like “it’s wine o’clock”. The wines themselves weren’t great and overall were a bit sweet. Not a great experience and not great wine so give it a pass.
Waupoos Winery: Although the winery is pretty the experience was very similar to Casa-Dea Estates. The wine wasn’t great and was fairly sweet and the tasting room isn’t very nice with those cheesy wine signs. Another one to pass on.
Wineries For The Next Visit
Driving around PEC you pass so many wineries that looks nice and interesting but the problem is there are so many places but only so much time to visit them all. We already have a list of places we’d like to visit next time. We’re especially looking out for natural wines, orange wines and other unique varieties.
I hope to be back in Prince Edward County again soon to return to my favourite places and try some new ones! Read my complete Prince Edward County Travel Guide for more!