Back in those days I had no idea this county even existed, but then he mentioned the neighbouring city of Belleville, and all I could think of was the cold winter temperature toward Kingston and Montreal as I am quite familiar with winter driving to Montreal to visit family. I immediately thought that this guy was crazy for even planting a vine in the region. As I vaguely recalled the area where his vineyards were located and happily drove in the direction of Waupoos, to my surprise, I saw rows upon rows of vines enjoying the summer heat and sharing the land with mature apple trees, which have been there for generations. Ed Neuser created his dream winery after retiring from his company in Toronto. The only wine available for tasting at the time was their Vidal, and it showed promise.
|Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Stanners Vineyards|
|Richard Karlo, Leo & Vivian in the Karlo tasting room|
|Breakfast fruit starter|
|Grilled duck breast on a bed of fava beans|
This visit would not be complete without a mention of places we stayed and dined. Henderson House B & B is a delightful stop in Consecon, with a peaceful garden setting and wonderful hospitality, not to mention the well-made breakfast. We also enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Tall Poppy, with delicious sandwiches and salads from organic produce straight from the owner's garden. We also dined at East & Main, website: http://www.eastandmain.ca/index.html, in Wellington. My former client who was the sommelier at a plush restaurant in Toronto opened East & Main in August 2009 - a bistro dedicated to locally sourced food. My dinner was memorable for the well-executed grilled duck breast on a bed of sautéed fava beans. Kimberly Humby and her partner, David have brought their skills to make this restaurant one of the best places for lunch and dinner in the county. Another famous chef runs a popular bistro called Harvest, in nearby Picton.
I believe that Prince Edward County is now poised to capture serious attention from wine and food lovers alike. What is happening in this tiny part of Eastern Ontario is giving real hope to the positive evolution of wine culture in Canada. The time has truly come for us to be proud of Ontario wines in the global marketplace. Some people even refer to the county as the Sonoma to Niagara's Napa comparison. In many ways, it is quite true in terms of the more pastoral landscape of the county, as well as the growing attention to local fare and more down to earth winery designs and presentation. Not having a casino or the falls obviously attracts only visitors who really want to escape for some peace and quiet, with some fine dining and excellent wines.
|Sunset on Lake Ontario|