How to Do a Prince Edward County Wine / Beer / Spirits / Cider Tour – Without Driving 🚗
It can be a drag to be the designated driver in an area known for its lovingly handcrafted wines, inventively brewed beers and deliciously dry ciders, not to mention the dozen spirits on offer at the distillery. While friends are getting giggly with their bubbly, you’re cooling your heels. It’s even worse to contemplate a full day of generous pours in this rural paradise, then having to arrange a way home in a place without Uber.
Here are some options to have the best of both worlds.
Sit back and let us 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.
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.
Wine tours with Sandbanks Vacations & Tours are led by guides who determine your wine preferences, then design a route to suit, taking in some of the The County’s hidden gems.
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 the Lavender Farm and the SHED alpaca farm. They also do tours by bicycle and offer brewery tours that include stops at three to four breweries, at least nine samples and a behind-the-scenes look at one brewery operation.
Zac and Luhana Littlejohn run a farm stay with workshops focused 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.
Lori Ann Bedford, operating as County Vine Tours, offers wine, beer and food truck tours – three of our favourite things! She’ll take groups as small as two and help plan an itinerary that suits you. Picnic lunches and charcuterie stops can also be arranged.
A County Experience focuses on private, bespoke tours, exploring wineries, breweries, farms, artisanal cheese makers and great dining experiences.
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 and 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.
You’ll find a warm and welcoming community of cyclists at the Bloomfield Bicycle Co., a meeting place for cyclists living in and visiting The County, with group rides of varying skills offered throughout the week. Their site 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. There are 16 bikes available, including a tandem bike, and a lesson to be sure you’re competent/comfortable operating the bike.
Although bicycles are not motorized, cyclists still 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.
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. Hartley’s Tavern doesn’t disappoint with it’s 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 just on the 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 round-a-bout you can stop in to The Waring House for a ‘County Sampler’ on weekends – reserve your spot!
Anyone staying in Wellington is spoiled for choice with East & Main, Pomodoro, The Courage, and Drake Devonshire each highlighting locally sourced bevvys 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.