On July 7th, I joined iYellow Wine Club for their Summer Wine Escapes: Prince Edward County Wine Tour to Casa Dea Estates, Huff Estates and Karlo Estates. Due to inclement weather, the planned Beach Day at Sandbanks Provincial Park was omitted and promptly replaced with Casa Dea Estates. I was impressed by their ability to adapt to the weather conditions.
The group met at a Starbucks downtown and left Toronto at 9:30 am on the luxury coach. Everyone was given a bag with snacks, water, Wine County information and a Wine Tour Map. There were washroom stops planned. There were six new people including myself who had never been to the iYellow Wine Club before and one woman who has been since 2005. Angela Aiello, the Founder of iYellow Wine Club planned an informative Wine County talk for the group of 21. She was very knowledgeable. I learned that the wine’s colour comes from the contact with the skins. I also learned that too much rain dilutes the wine and every cluster of grapes produces one bottle. Prince Edward County is known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir since the producers are putting a lot of money into their premium wines. The wineries are spread out so you have to be willing to drive around.
The group arrived in the quaint Prince Edward County at Casa Dea Estates, the largest winery which had a country feel. The group sampled the 2010 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir before going into the cellar. I really liked the Pinot Gris and that Casa Dea Estates gave a pamphlet where I could checkmark the wines I tried. Angela was very knowledgeable and asked interesting questions at the wineries. Our group had lunch which consisted of salad with balsamic dressing, bread with olive oil and balsamic, pasta with tomato sauce, and red or white wine followed by coffee. I decided to have the 2009 Riesling, but the 2010 Gamay was also offered. The lunch at Cucina Italiana was delicious and provided a good base for the rest of the day. Casa Dea Estates has a gorgeous wedding area.
On the way to the Huff Estates, Angela served iYellow Cabernet Merlot on the bus and had the first of two giveaways for two wine glasses. Huff Estates has their own guest rooms if you want to stay overnight. I tried the 2007 Cuveé Peter F. Huff Sparkling, 2010 South Bay Vineyards Rosé, 2010 Cuveé Janine Sparkling Rosé, and my personal favorite, the 2010 South Bay Vineyards Merlot which was oaked. I had never tried red wine until this wine tour. They also had an indoor and outdoor Oeno art gallery which I enjoyed.
The last winery was Karlo Estates. Angela Aiello said that they are “the most innovative winery in Ontario”. The group tried Pinot Gris paired with olive, Chardonnay Choa with chips, Lake On The Mountain Riesling with cheese, Frontenac Gris Rosé with spicy sausage, Pinot Noir with tamari covered almonds, Cabernet Franc with asiago, Merlot with brie, Quintus with Balderson cheddar, Petit Verdot, White Port with pecan, and Red Port with walnut. My favorites included Chardonnay Choa which was smooth like butter, Merlot, White Port, and Red Port which I had two glasses since I liked it so much.
Overall, I had an amazing day at three great wineries which were very distinct and I learned a lot. Don’t worry if you’re not a wine aficionado, they will teach you the steps to drinking wine and it’s very approachable. Casa Dea Estates had a casual country atmosphere, Huff Estates was very modern, and Karlo Estates was an upbeat barn. Angela ensured that everyone had a great time throughout the trip. The group arrived back in Toronto around 8:30 pm and a Hailo Cab voucher was provided.
They still have their Niagara Wine Country By Night to Jackson-Triggs, TBA, and Flat Rock Cellars on August 17 which will include a barbecue and campfire.
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