Canada is rich with charm, but Prince Edward County in Ontario is overflowing with it. A short 2.5 hour drive from Toronto, this (almost) island county is an agriculture, wine and entrepreneurial hot spot.
Invited to tour the region to help kick-off their two-week ‘Wassail’ celebration, I was going in blind.
What the dickens is a Wassail?
Historically, the term Wassail means to celebrate the end of harvest while ushering in the change of season. It is an age-old tradition that also involves travelling from house to house singing, feasting and sipping local specialties.
Local specialties are what Prince Edward County is starting to be known for. A vibrant wine growing region, the terrain here is limestone and clay loam and the weather can dip quite low, so ‘winter grapes’ like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive.
Our first stop was Lacey Estates Winery. A family-run vineyard, opened in 2009, serving up delicious Chardonnays, Pinot Gris, Baco Noir, Rieslings, and Pinot Noirs… We even sampled a Gewürztraminer fresh from the barrel.
Next was lunch at The Courage in Wellington.
The type of restaurant you wish was in your neighbourhood so you could eat there all the time. So county chic, so incredibly delicious, fresh and local.
Feasting on their ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ bowl and sipping Rosehall Run’s Pixie Sparkling Rosé was such a treat. The owners moved from Toronto to start up this place and locals have welcomed it whole-heartedly as it was packed!
From here we went to visit Chetwyn Farms – an alpaca farm near Hillier and Wellington.
The Shed is their ‘modern-day farm shop’ housed in an old chicken coop. You can watch the quirky and adorable alpacas while you browse the array of alpaca products – from yarn to intricately woven blankets.
What I love about The Shed is it uses the talent of local knitters to create most of what is sold.
Next was a visit to Closson Chase Vineywards near Hillier. The most instagrammable vineyard around. Houses in a lavender-coloured barn from the 1880s.
This vineyard’s location is a must-visit and their Pinot Noir is a must-taste. I always prefer a white over a red, but this wine was incredibly delicious and there was nothing better than sipping it in their garden with the sun setting… No filters used!!
From here the celebrations began! Wassail kicks off each year with the coronation of the new King & Queen of Wassail! The community gathers in Wellington’s City Hall and local winemakers are chosen by the community to fill these titles for the year.
Wassail runs November 26, 27, Dec 3 and 4th this year. You can check out all the Wassail events to take part in by following this link.
You can have self-driven fun, or, stay overnight and book a bus tour. They are $25pp and take you to up to 5 wineries.
Hotels are limited in The County, but if you luck out and there are rooms available – The Drake Devonshire is the most spectacular hotel around. In the centre of Wellington, this Toronto import has truly embraced The County vibe, while offering a completely chic, extraordinary overnight and dining experience.
If you attend Wassail, I’d love to hear about it! Tag @immfab on your pictures and don’t hesitate to ask me about more Prince Edward County has to offer.
M Fab Wasn’tCrownedQueenThisYear