Blogcation Retreat 2015 was a great success and I would love to share one of our half day tours with you. The goal of Blogcation Retreat is for online influencers to join together and rejuvenate mind, body and blog. For myself, all of these goals were achieved. A chance to talk shop, bounce ideas and learn from each other, all while relaxing and enjoying Prince Edward County, Ontario was a welcomed break.
If you are not familiar with Prince Edward County you really should acquaint yourself soon. A paradise filled with wineries, artisan cheese shops, and fantastic vistas at every turn making it a story tellers or travellers dream destination.
Here are some of my favorite moments from Blogcation Retreats’ Wine Tour with Daniel and Sandbanks Vacations & Tours.
We were treated to a winery tour where we learned so much about wine, drank wine and bought wine. The one thing that struck me was the passion that vineyard owners have for their craft. Speaking with the wine makers , you can see the pride they put into their product. Many of the vineyards we visited are off the grid and self-sufficient which pleased the green energy and wine lover in me.
Our stop at Stanners Vineyard was during the hottest time of the day. I can not tell you how appreciative I was of the coolness of the above ground barrel room. The barrel room is kept cool due to its Straw Bale construction method. Very cool. The wine at Stanners Vineyard was also appreciated on this part of the tour. Family run, a love of nature and great wine has led to many awards for the wines from Stanners Winery. definitely worth a stop in while you are in Hillier, Ontario.
Jonas from Hinterland Wine Company was busy working on specifications for his upcoming brewery (County Road Beer coming soon) but took time to show off his sparkling wines. The sparkling wines tastes of summer and instantly cooled us down. Hinterland has a different approach when it comes to their vineyards and the grapes they grow. They are matching the grapevine to the soil and climate calling themselves matchmakers. It is working. Oh and there is also snacks available here. YUM!
Harwood Estates Vineyard is completely off the grid, using solar power to create a new favorite of mine. Just Desserts is a great summer wine that is indulgent and pairs well with chocolate or poured over fruit or vanilla ice cream. You can see in the photo above some little round crackers. I had to buy a box as they were soooo good. I call them Goldfish for adults but their real name is Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co. My favorite is the rosemary flavoured cocktail cheddar shortbread. This vineyard offers FREE DELIVERY of their wines to Southern Ontario and other places in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba. Take a peek at their website for more information.
Hands down the most passionate wine makers I met on our tour were the husband and wife team at Domaine Darius. Dave and Joni are passionate about making perfect (there is no other words needed to describe their wines) small batches of wine. Dave is a wine maker with over 30 years experience and a trained wine judge with Wine Judges of Canada. Joni and Dave’s wine is not sold in restaurants, not advertised and some are limited to one bottle per person – and is strictly enforced. The Frontenac tastes like creme brulé in a glass and is perfect to enjoy in the wineries beautifully landscaped gardens. The pair at Domaine Darius love hosting people as much as they love sharing their wine and it shows.
Kimball and Liz from Lacey Estates Winery are a dynamic duo that love to share all there is to know about their wine. Kimball is the winemaker and Liz is the overseer of the tasting room and retail store and they are both great ambassadors for their winery. We were lucky enough to have a private uncorking at our rental home (more about that later!) and enjoy a tasting at the winery. You will find hand crafted, small batch wines at Lacey Estates and a family connection. The logo – as seen in the photo above- bears a part of the Lacey family crest… canon balls pilled on top of each other. It is ok… I thought they represented grapes too. The newly released Rose Emily was named after a helpful and no doubt surprised daughter. The Rose Emily was also a group favorite and one you should check out when in Prince Edward County.
I have to say that if you are considering hiring someone like Sandbank Vacations & Tours for a wine tour… DO IT! Last year friends and I toured the county on our own and I feel we missed out on so much! That is where our guide Daniel filled in the void. Daniel was knowledgable, courteous, full of county inspired short stories and even lent a helping had to the vineyard owners when needed! The added bonus of not worrying about a safe and comfortable drive helped me love the idea of having Sandbanks Vacations & Tours host my next Prince Edward County wine adventure.