How to Do a Prince Edward County Wine Tour Without Driving 🚗
A wine tour (or beer or cider tour) is an iconic County experience. But being the DD while your friends giggle into their bubbly can be a drag. Here’s how to book a tour and/or a guide who’ll help you discover handcrafted wines, inventively brewed beers, deliciously dry ciders, sweet and surprising mead, not to mention the spirits on offer at the distilleries.
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Let someone else do the driving
Cronkie’s Tours Plus lets you set the route; they provide the vehicle and driver. They can accommodate from one to 15 passengers for a wine tour.
Prince Edward County Wine Tours takes you to four or five wineries on a half-day tour or seven stops for the full day tour. It’s more than just a ride, it’s an insight into the history of the region, the wineries, the grape growing process and what makes the wineries unique.
A wine tour with Sandbanks Vacations & Tours is led by guides who determine your wine preferences, then design a route to suit, taking in some of the The County’s hidden gems.
Or have County vintages come to you. Sommelier Jay Whiteley will arrive at your door with everything needed to take you on a private wine tasting adventure in the comfort of your holiday home. He’ll lead you through a 90-minute tasting of six of The County’s finest wines and share the stories behind the wines and the history of winemaking in The County.
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Go for something totally unique and book with Vintage Car Wine Tours. Sam Grosso’s been collecting classic cars for years – he’s got Lincolns and Chevys and Oldsmobiles from the 50s, 60s and 70s in classic and candy colours. Take the backroads in style!
A County Experience focuses on private, bespoke tours, exploring wineries, breweries, farms, artisanal cheese makers and great dining experiences. Guide Chris Pengelly will take guests behind the scenes, or bring the scene to them. He’ll also lead customized tastings in the comfort of your vacation accommodations.
The County Wine Tours takes in more than just wine. Focusing on the features of Closson Road – where you can find The County’s main concentration of wineries – tours include stops at four to five wineries, a minimum of 12 samples and a stop at Prince Edward County Lavender and SHED alpaca farm. They can also do a wine tour by bicycle.
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Zac and Luhana Littlejohn run a farm-based workshops focusing on culinary pursuits like the lost art of sourdough fermentation, but they also offer County wine tours that can be customized and come with an optional picnic to complete the day.
Half and full-day tours are offered at Tina’s Wine Tours, which includes visits to award-winning wineries to sample incredible wines and learn the history of wine-making and how grapes are grown here.
Sommelier Ian Nicholls leads County Sips tours, starting in Kingston taking in five County wineries. With a wine expert at the helm, you can expect to learn about The County’s terroir and what goes into produce an award-winning vintage.
Two wheels and a corkscrew
A bicycle tour can be one of the best ways to see The County and if you’re interested in a spin around Hillier‘s wineries, you can see and taste quite a lot without having to pedal too far. Greer and Closson Roads are the epicentre and Closson Road Cycles starts you off in the middle of things. You can do a self-guided tour moving at your own pace, or join a guided tour that will take you to three or four wineries.
County Bike Rentals will bring the bike to you, and collect you when you’re done, taking the guess work out of how to get back to your accommodations. Rentals include a helmet, lock, light, map, water bottle and emergency road service, with folding bikes and mass rentals available for big groups.
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Bloomfield Bicycle Co. is a meeting place for cyclists living in and visiting The County, with group rides of varying skills offered throughout the week. Their website also has a wealth of information on cycling routes and they produce the hugely popular cycling map of Prince Edward County. In addition to bike sales, they also offer bike rentals from Bloomfield.
Ideal Bike in Wellington can get you outfitted with all you need for a self-guided cycling tour of The County, and can tune up any problems that might arise with your own set of wheels. They’re also a source for fat bikes, if serious trails or winter riding is your thing.
If the sound of a bicycle appeals, but not the actual pedaling, consider a hybrid electric bike from Pedego Prince Edward County. Pedal as much as you like or twist the throttle to add a bit of extra push and see as little or as much of The County as you like. An e-bike can help you get up the hills or the windy roads of Waupoos. There are 16 bikes available, including a tandem bike, and a lesson to be sure you’re competent/comfortable operating the bike. Their location is conveniently next to the newly refurbished Millennium Trail, which provides an off-road corridor to travel the entirety of The County.
If you’re looking for electric bike rentals closer to Sandbanks, East Lake Electric Bike Rentals and Sales has your back. Theyruns out of the old East Lake Canning Factory on County Rd. 11 just two minutes down from Sandbanks Provincial Park and they sell and rent speciality Daymak electric bikes and mobility scooters. They also offer weekly bike tours on Saturdays.
Just east of Wellington is Westlake EBikes, which rents and sells a variety of E-Bike types. Their rental bikes are designed to be comfy enough to use all day, and capable enough to go anywhere in PEC. The bikes can be booked via their website, and picked up next day or they can deliver them to where ever you would like to start your journey from.
Cyclists share the road with vehicles, other cyclists, pedestrians and even tractors in our neck of the woods. Anyone operating a bicycle should take the same precautions as if they were driving a car when it comes to navigating the roads and alcohol consumption. Always wear a helmet, keep hydrated, obey the rules of the road and call your rental company or a taxi if you need a pick-up.
The County Carriage Co. offers wine tours via horse-drawn carriage, a scenic way to take in the beauty of the vineyards, shorelines and rich history of The County. ‘Nuff said.
Hail a taxi
Taxis can be chartered for a tour in advance – keep in mind that you’re in the country, so there’s really no such thing as “hailing a taxi” but taxi details are worth keeping on hand even if you’re headed for dinner and want a drink or two with your meal.
Cronkie’s Cab Company covers The County, as does Terry’s Taxi and Taxi Guy. They’re all familiar with the various wineries and can help you decide where to go.
Walk to the local watering hole
Staying in town? There are a few spots where you can walk to craft beverage businesses or even the nearby pub that carries County products and go on a virtual tour from the comfort of your table.
In Picton head downtown to The County Canteen or Acoustic Grill for local and seasonal offerings of beer, wine and cider. Hartleys Tavern doesn’t disappoint with its wine list either! If you’re up for the 4km walk you can do a walking tour of Parsons / Prince Eddy’s / 555 Brewing Co. Black Prince Winery is on the western edge of town but worth the trek to nosh on their wood-fired pizza and try samples from Canadian Vinegar Cellars onsite. Off the Sandy Hook exit on our beloved roundabout you can stop in to The Waring House for a ‘County Sampler’ on weekends – reserve your spot! Or keep trekking for Barley Days Brewery. If it’s hot, reward yourself with a brain-numbingly cold cider slushie from Crimson Cider.
Those staying in Bloomfield can duck over to Matron Fine Beer to try what’s on tap or pick up takeout cans. Or get what’s local and on-tap at Flame + Smith or the Bloomfield Public House Market.
Anyone staying in Wellington is spoiled for choice with East & Main, La Condesa and Drake Devonshire each highlighting locally sourced bevies on their menus. Bonus: Midtown Brewing Company is right in the centre of town.
Whether you’re getting to and fro via horse or your own two legs, remember that The County’s wine, beer, spirits and cider are about the terroir – not getting tanked. Refuel with plenty of water throughout the day, indulge in the wide variety of local eateries popping up at almost every winery/brewery, and don’t feel badly about not drinking the whole tasting flight – that’s what the spittoon is for. And never drink and drive.
Content updated May 2021