I make sure to visit Prince Edward County every summer because it holds a special place in my heart. It’s also the perfect weekend getaway being a 3 hour drive from Ottawa and there’s lots to do. I wont lie, when I first heard that it was known as the wine county, I was a tad skeptical about the concept of delicious wine grown in Canada, but wow was I wrong! If you’re a wine lover, this is the spot for you. Prince Edward County has over 40 cute wineries and a growing craft-beer and cider scene. Wine not your thing? You can also spend the day relaxing at the iconic Sandbanks beach, eating at quaint restaurants and stay at pretty boutique hotels and B&B’s. Personally, I recommend doing a mix of all of these things for the ultimate getaway weekend. Prince Edward County brings that small town feel that I love and crave every once in a while. Due to it’s cooler climate, the county specializes in chardonnay and pinot noir (two of my favorites).
My favorite wineries in the County
It’s so hard to narrow down my favorites spots because PEC features so many nice wineries, but I definitely have a few on rotation every visit. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order:
1) Closson Chase Vineyards
Closson Chase is the iconic purple barn that you can see driving along Closson Road and see on everyone’s Instagram with good reason. The first vines were planted there in 1999. In 2002, the barn was restored and the winery had it’s first harvest in 2003. Throughout the years, they received recognition in both the New York Times and the Spectator. I love the aesthetics of the barn, but I enjoy their wine tastings in the cute garden area even more.
My favorite wine: Chardonnay, 2017 pinot noir & 2018 pinot gris.
2) The Huff Estates Winery
The Huff is a definitely a staple in Prince Edward County. They first opened in 2004 and out of all the wineries, they offer more of a modern twist. In addition to being a winery, they also offer a nice 21-room inn and a restaurant. The Huff property is gorgeous for wine tastings and you can walk around the properly and visit their sculpture garden. If you visit, I highly recommend having their woodfire pizza! Honestly, it’s delicious. Thank me later.
My favorite wines: Oaked chardonnay, pinot noir reserve, vineyard old vine cab frank, pinot noir rosé.
3) Hinterland Wine Company
If you love a bit of bubbles (and who doesn’t?) you’ve come to the right place! Hinterland is known for their sparkling wine across the county. Depending on the day, they also serve food (with the exception of summer 2020 due to restrictions). This is usually my go-to spot for a glass of sparkling and oysters at the end of the afternoon. They have a nice tasting room, not fancy but a good vibe. The friendly, knowledgeable, people running the place makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
4) Sandbanks Winery
Sandbanks Winery offers a very large menu with various tasting options. I can’t speak for all of them, but the ones that I have tried I really enjoyed! They also have great pizza and charcuterie board options and the service is always lovely. The property includes a tasting room and boutique, a barrel room and a large outdoor picnic area. In the picnic area, you can enjoy your wine tastings and live music regularly.
My favorite wines: Sauvignon Blanc (winery exclusive), Entre nous chardonnay, Entre Nous Fosh Reserve.
5) The Old Third
The old third is a small, high density vineyard and winery and they make unfiltered pinot noir, cabernet franc and chardonnay. They also make a traditional method sparkling cider from local, golden russet apples. The Old Third makes it to my list because I’m obsessed with the beautiful aesthetics inside. It’s worth stopping in just to walk around and feel the cozy vibes of the barn and admire the view from upstairs and sip on some wine. Seriously, I wish I could reserve this barn and host an event or something (or maybe just live in it).
6) Grange of Prince Edward Winery:
The Grange made it to my list because it’s one of the original wineries in the County. I enjoyed it because it has a pleasant country atmosphere, and you can watch the chickens wandering around freely! It makes for a low key, stress-free vibe. They are located at the very end of Closson Road and it worth a visit if you end up in the area. Many of the wineries I listed above are on Closson Road so it makes sense to drive the extra 5 minutes and check out the Grange. They have also teamed up with Old Salt Cocktails who runs a Moble Bar and also a sausage truck in case wine tasting is not your thing or if you’d like to enjoy a cocktail and food.
7) The County Cider Company:
Last but not least, I also recommend visiting the County Cider Company. While they do not offer wine, their Cider is delicious and their property is impressive. It’s worth visiting even if Cider is not your jam. They have a great restaurant for food too and a very large property with vintage cars on site.
I will list of a few of my personal favorite restaurants in the county, but bear in mind that there are so many more places that I haven’t tried and I’m sure they are all lovely. Here are my favorite in no particular order:
–Drake Devonshire (also a great place to stay)
– East & Main Bistro
–County Cider Company
–The Huff Estates Restaurant: I recommend their firewood pizza for lunch.
Other things you should do in PEC:
Prince Edward County has a beautiful lavender farm that’s worth visiting and you can browse their boutique that offers a large array of lavender products. Prince Edward County also has a beautiful sunflower field that you can stop in and visit and they have an ice-cream shop where all proceeds go to charity. Do make sure to visit both these spots if you happen to be in the County during bloom season, you and won’t regret it.
As mentioned, a beach day at Sandbanks Provincial Park is a must and I also would highlight recommend that you visit the Sand Dunes too! (both very close to one another and situated in the Sandbanks Provincial Park). While the Sand dunes location offers a beach to swim at too, the other beach is much nicer, in my opinion. I always spend the day at sandbanks beach and then head towards the dunes at the end of the day to catch the sunset.
*Pro tip: Sandbanks beach gets VERY busy during the summer months! If you want to make sure you can have a beach day, I do recommend that you go early in the morning to get in. It would be unfortunate to visit the county without spending a few hours at Sandbanks beach. Many times after 11am the parking reaches max capacity. Trust me, it’s worth going early to experience the beautiful turquoise water and have a day to relax. You can pack a lunch (my preference) or eat at the little restaurant near the parking.