Days of Wine and … More Wine

What can you do on a beautiful autumn afternoon?

We decided to head out into the country to sample some of nature’s bounty. Normally we would be trawling farmer’s markets at this time of year – buying up fresh fruit and vegetables – but this trip took on a different flavour.

pic5It wasn’t a deliberate plan on my part to go winery hopping, but our journey took us into the wine growing region of Prince Edward County east of Toronto. and wine tasting just seemed like the right thing to do.

pic2We found the wineries rather quiet so the staff were more than willing to chat with us as we sampled various vintages from crisp whites, to medium-bodied reds, to refreshing sparkling wines.

pic8

This region is further enough north, compared to the Niagara Region, that their growing season is a few weeks shorter.  That means that their wines lack really deep, rich tones but they are lovely drinking wines … although rather expensive.

So while we happily sipped our way through 3 wineries, my pockets simply weren’t deep enough to bring any of these babies home.

pic7

Instead we were content to eat a fabulous lunch sitting on the terrace at Casa-Dea Estates overlooking the vineyards simply enjoying a sunny day in the country.

pic3

The part that surprised me the most?  The wine samples were all free … I’m told that is one of the advantages of visiting mid-week when it’s much quieter.  Maybe that doesn’t surprise experienced winery-hoppers, but for me, finding anything free these days is an unusual treat.

I think I might need to come back again to explore this area in more depth.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Around Toronto, Nature, Outdoor Stuff, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Days of Wine and … More Wine

  1. Su Leslie says:

    Sounds, and looks from your photos, like an idyllic day. There are still a few wineries near where I live (where the land hasn’t been sold for housing developments, grrrrr) and visiting them does make for a lovely afternoon. Tasting tends to be free; I only know of one local winery that charges. And the tasting rooms vary from the incredibly glamorous — with restaurant — to one of my favourites, where the winemaker works in an old milking shed and does the tastings in one corner. Rustic; but great wine.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That’s exactly what we encountered too! Although we visited only 3 wineries, they were each very different … from the rather elaborate and sophiscated, to the very simple … “rustic” being a great word to describe it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photos, beautiful blog. When I lived near Napa and Sonoma County, my guy and I would do a bit of wine tasting (back in the days it was free). Now it costs money, and the younger set buy way too many samples and giggle more than enjoy the taste of the wine. Me? give me a nice bottle of cabernet, a sunny spot, a plate of cheese and crackers and my man, and I have a well-spent day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you . I appreciate the kind words.

      I think you’ve just described a perfect afternoon 🙂

      From what I understand, the wineries see a lot of traffic on the weekends, especially in the summer. Certainly there will be a contingent of samplers who aren’t interested in learnng about the actual wines but simply sampling as many wines as they can … hence the sampling fees.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. badfish says:

    Sounds like one fine day out in the country!! And if it’s free…count me in. I was a waiter once in my life, and had to learn about wines, and thought I’d cultivate a taste for the stuff. But to be honest, I just don’t like most wines, especially the ones most people think are the best. Or hard drinks in general.

    Like

  4. Fall is the perfect time to go wine tasting – that pic of the grapes is yummy! Most places in California have tasting fees (some $, some $$$), but often they will apply the fee to the purchase of a bottle. I don’t know how you got away without buying anything, my resistance is often overcome at about the third taste or so.

    Like

  5. Phil Taylor says:

    I work in New York wine country and it sounds just like your area. Fall is a great time to go winery hopping. What types of wines are native to your area?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I didn’t know NY had a wine region too. Learn something new everyday. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
      Mostly we were seeing Reislings and Chardonnays on the white side and Pinots and Cabernet Franc on the red.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phil Taylor says:

        We see a lot of Rieslings, Chardonnays and sweet reds. Also if you want to spend a lot for a little you can try some Ice wine. The Finger Lakes area of NY has a ton of wineries. It’s a great area to visit in the Fall

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          Thanks Phil. I predict a road trip in my future. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Finger Lakes area but have never visited. I must add it to the list. I can imagine that it is simply stunning when dressed in its fall colours.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Joe says:

    Wonderful images Joanne and the best thing about going to the wineries in this area is my car seems to ride smoother on my way home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love, love wine tastings. We have a little hidden gem close by our house, a nursery with a big wine section and once a months we go there and come home with another great find ;-). Great post, beautiful area~!

    Like

  8. Paula says:

    I love wine tasting! And free wine tasting is even better! With all these responses it seems I’m not alone in this, and there being so many wineries around the world, perhaps we should all get together for a grand tour – not so free, but a great time will be had by all.
    And, although cheese and wine is indeed fantastic, chocolate and wine is a must!

    Like

  9. Heyjude says:

    Now this is what I call a “Grand Day Out”. I love wine tasting, but haven’t been to any here in the UK though there are several vineyards now. I hadn’t realised there were some in Canada other than the Ice Wine which is very expensive, though now I have written that I do recall Canadian reds. I have ‘done’ tasting in Sonoma (fees), Australia (free) and South Africa (fees). Must admit I like the free tastings and probably more inclined to buy a bottle. I am only sad I wasn’t with you.

    Like

  10. Sue Slaght says:

    This looks fabulous Joanne! I’m with you about anything being free these days is a bonus! If it happens to be wine well then all the better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ohh, yes. Finding a good, free wine tasting is a treat! I don’t even mind a $5 fee. And I agree, they pour a bit heavier on weekdays. 😉

    Like

  12. Ah. Winery region near Toronto. [scribbles note in “What to do in Canada” notebook]

    I did a winery tour to Napa when I was in San Francisco in 2009 and I nearly had a heart attack at the tasting fees. They are very rare here and the few we have come across that have charged tasting fees have always taken them off the price of a bottle purchased.

    Like

  13. hilarymb says:

    Hi Joanne – reminds me of South African days … mind you our English wine estates are pretty good now too. I loved days out at the estates … sampling, cheeses too … and generally just relaxing into the warmth of time and space within the surroundings of the vineyard and its countryside – looks great … cheers Hilary

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Interesting you mentioned cheese 🙂 There are also many artisanal cheese shops in this area and we’ve already decided that another trip in required in the near future. What’s better than wine and cheese? 😉

      Like

  14. Corina says:

    I used to live in Sonoma County, California. My daughter and I would go winery hopping every two or three weeks. We knew the good ones that were either free or very reasonable and the ones where your tasting was free if you bought a bottle of wine. We also knew the ones that were way out of our range. One that I remember was $25 for a flight of 5 wines. Nope. Not doing that one. I left the area in 2008. I miss it. And I miss the wineries. One day, I’ll go back without children that I am responsible for and go winery hopping again!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Yikes! $25 for a flight of 5 is steep!

      This was my first foray into winery sampling and I must say it was a great way to spend an afternoon. I would imagine the experience wouldn’t quite be the same if we were fighting crowds.

      Like

  15. NancyTex says:

    Several weeks ago, Ed and I were in that neck of the woods and finally went to check out the Drake Devonshire Inn (sister property to the Drake Hotel downtown) . Fantastic dinner & property in an idyllic location! Highly recommend stopping there for dinner the next time you’re out that way doing tastings!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks for the tip! We will definitely be heading out that way again for more *research* 😉
      There are apparently many artisanal cheese shops out this way and we hope to get out and go on a cheese tour and buttertart tour before the weather turns.

      Like

  16. We love wine tasting on our vacations but we never find any free ones. Lucky you!

    Like

  17. Well, in that case, when doesn’t wine tasting seem like a good idea?? BTW my MIL is in town. I am getting to the end of my rope but she is spoiling us by taking us out to dinner every night. We just went to an Italian place where they gave out free gelato samples. Almost made up for the stingy portions. Anyway, just thought I’d share my tasting experience.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      The only downside was that I had to moderate my sampling considerably because I was driving (brilliantly played by my friend!) but I loved it!
      Gelato sampling also sounds lovely. At least your MIL is taking you out and not expecting to be waited on every evening. How long is she going to be visiting?

      Like

  18. bikerchick57 says:

    Any day is a good day to visit a winery and taste samples…because after enough samples, you won’t care about the weather. Toast!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. treerabold says:

    Though I’m not a wine drinker…it sounds like a wonderful day!!

    Like

  20. Lynn says:

    Prince Edward County is such a beautiful area to explore. Sounds like the perfect kind of day to me!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s