Wine Tour – Prince Edward County

Posted 2006.08.04 0.00 in Wine by Stephanie

So, yesterday my mum and I did a little tour around Prince Edward County, Ontario. We checked out a couple wineries, tasted some wines, had some good food, and generally a nice little time. As an aside, I will point out now that while my mum is not much into wine, I am a wine lover. I have trained on how to properly taste wine; I maintain my own wine cellar; and I have accumulated almost 300 tasting notes over the past 3 years. I am not a ‘professional’ but I am a very serious amateur.

I’ll post some detailed tasting notes from the four wineries in future updates. For now, here are some observations on the area as a whole. Before I get into the commentary though, some points:
1. These opinions are mine alone and you are free to disagree and have your own opinions.
2. These opinions are based on visits to the four wineries listed in the 2006 Wines Of Ontario guide book published by the Wines of Ontario organization.

The wine industry in Prince Edward County is fairly new, and my tastings experiences certainly reflected this. In stark contrast to tasting counters I have visited in the Niagara region, those in Prince Edward County were unaccustomed to serious wine tasters, most were staffed by inexperienced persons who did not seem to know much about wine or wine tasting.

None of the wineries’ staff seemed too interested in discussing their product, or their winery, or the region, or in fact anything. All of them were caught off-guard by my request for a spitoon, and only one winery actually had one. Only one winery had their own sheet of tasting notes on display, and by the end of the day I had only met one winery employee who seemed to know much about wine. (The others may have but they weren’t interested in talking.)

Several of the wines themselves showed promise, which is of course the important thing. Prince Edward County is not yet a VQA appelation, as near as I could tell. Several of the wines are rated VQA Ontario which is a fairly general designation. The rest of the wines were labeled generically as Ontario or Prince Edward County, but neither of those designations have any meaning, from an international or quality control point of view. Click here for more information on the VQA and what it means.

All in all, it was a day of mixed results. I think the wine industry in Prince Edward County, from what I saw, is still somewhat immature and has a ways to go yet before they can compete with the Niagara region. It would be interesting to go back there in 5 or 10 years, to see how they’ve progressed; which wineries will improve, which will be gone or changed hands.

Stay tuned, over the next few days I will post my tasting notes: 13 wines from 4 separate wineries, plus a bonus review.

Wines of Ontario
Image from Carmella Estates website.