Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County

44° 0' 1" N


77° 15' 2" W




about this subregion

Nestled along the northeastern shores of Lake Ontario, the Prince Edward County wine region is a hidden gem with over 800 kilometers of stunning shoreline. This picturesque enclave has garnered acclaim for its high-quality wines, and its success can be attributed, in large part, to the moderating influence of the lake's breezes, which play a pivotal role in shaping its unique terroir.

The lake breezes provide a temperate climate that extends the growing season, allowing grapes to ripen to perfection. In areas most influenced by these breezes, summer temperatures hover around a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius during the day, while the nights bring a refreshing coolness. This diurnal temperature variation is a winemaker's dream, ensuring that the vines remain cool and the grapes are protected from potentially damaging cold nights.

Although the region's winemaking journey began in the 1980s, it wasn't until the early 2000s that the industry truly took off. Today, Prince Edward County boasts over 40 wineries and is experiencing rapid growth. While renowned for its excellent production of white wines, particularly the aromatic and elegant Riesling, the region is now making strides in establishing a reputation for its red wines as well.

Prince Edward County's combination of natural beauty, favorable climate, and dedication to winemaking excellence makes it a destination for wine enthusiasts seeking a taste of Ontario's flourishing wine culture.


vinerra illustration

Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

Nestled in the heart of Ontario, Canada, lies the picturesque Prince Edward County wine region—a charming haven situated on the shores of Lake Ontario. This captivating area is nestled on a sprawling island, embraced by the tranquil waters of the Bay of Quinte to the north and linked to the mainland by the historic Murray Canal. With the azure expanse of Lake Ontario as its southern border, Prince Edward County emerges as a paradise for wine aficionados, boasting a rich tapestry of vineyards and wineries set amidst stunning natural landscapes.

Located just a leisurely 2.5 to 3-hour drive east of Toronto, the vibrant capital of Ontario, lies this serene oasis—a sanctuary where time seems to slow down amidst rolling hills and lush pastures. As you traverse the idyllic countryside, you'll be enveloped in a world of vinous delights, with vineyards peppering the scenery and quaint towns exuding charm and character.

Yet, it's not only the region's scenic beauty that makes Prince Edward County unique—it's also the distinctive terroir that shapes its wines. Here, amidst limestone-rich soils and a temperate maritime climate, winemakers craft exceptional wines with unparalleled quality and character, drawing inspiration from the land's bounty. From crisp Chardonnays and elegant Pinot Noirs to sumptuous ice wines that sparkle like jewels, each bottle narrates a tale—a tale of the land, its people, and the enduring heritage of winemaking in Prince Edward County.

Venturing through this enchanting region, you'll unearth a treasure trove of vinous wonders waiting to be discovered. Whether you're savoring award-winning wines at one of the county's esteemed wineries or relishing farm-to-table delights at a cozy bistro, every moment is imbued with a sense of warmth and hospitality that epitomizes Prince Edward County. So, raise your glass in celebration of the spirit of exploration and the timeless allure of Ontario's most captivating wine destination.

The climate of Prince Edward County, a picturesque wine region in Ontario, is distinguished by its unique interaction with the surrounding natural elements, primarily Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte. These bodies of water play a crucial role in shaping the region's viticultural character.

During the warm summer months, the average temperatures in the County hover around a comfortable 22°C, largely due to the cooling breezes that drift in from Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte. This maritime influence is a defining feature of the region’s climate, moderating the temperatures and providing a much-needed respite during the peak of summer. These breezes are not only refreshing but also crucial in maintaining a balanced climate for grape growing.

The topography of Prince Edward County further contributes to its unique climatic conditions. The landscape, characterized by an undulating terrain with hills and valleys, offers varied exposures to the vines. This variation in exposure, coupled with the broad, flat limestone base that underpins the region, creates an array of microclimates within the County. This diversity is pivotal in growing a range of grape varieties and in producing wines with distinct characteristics.

The region’s climate bears a resemblance to the famed Chablis region, known for its cool climate wines, and aligns with the Burgundian style preferences of local winemakers. This similarity extends to the style and flavor profile of the wines produced in Prince Edward County, often drawing parallels with these prestigious French wine regions.

Moreover, the wine region of Prince Edward County is in a phase of dynamic growth and evolution. Winemakers in the area are continually adopting innovative techniques and embracing new technologies in viticulture and winemaking. This spirit of innovation, underpinned by the region's unique climatic conditions, has led to the development of new wine styles and blends, further enhancing the appeal of Prince Edward County as a wine destination.

The interplay of the maritime climate, the distinct topography, and the rich limestone soil composition collectively bestow Prince Edward County with its unique viticultural identity. This distinct identity is reflected in the elegant reds, crisp whites, and fine sparkling wines that are characteristic of the region, marking it as a notable and distinct wine-growing area in Ontario​​​​​​​​​​.

Within the vine-strewn landscape of Prince Edward County's wine region, the soil composition stands as a silent architect, shaping the very essence of its distinctive viticulture. Let us uncover the intricate tapestry of soils that define this enchanting terroir:

  1. Hillier Clay Loam: Dominating the region is the illustrious Hillier Clay Loam, a testament to the geological legacy etched into the land. Formed from a 500-million-year-old limestone deposit, transformed by the ancient dance of glaciers during the last ice age, this soil emerges as a rich blend of clay and limestone gravel. Its heavy texture provides a steadfast foundation for the region's world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines, boasting excellent drainage and ample room for mature root systems to penetrate the depths of the earth.
  2. Reddish-Brown Clay Loam to Sandy Loam: Overlaying a bedrock of limestone interwoven with shale fragments, these soils unveil a mosaic of reddish-brown clay loam to sandy loam textures. Characterized by their stony surface and abundant shale fragments, these soils foster a harmonious balance of water drainage and retention, ensuring the vineyards' vitality throughout the seasons. With a knack for early spring warming and optimal vine root penetration, these soils create an environment ripe for viticultural success.
  3. Stony Soils: Nestled within the landscape are the stony soils of Prince Edward County—an integral component in the region's viticultural tapestry. With their innate ability to conduct and retain heat, these soils serve as guardians of warmth, coaxing the earth to awaken early in the spring. This pivotal feature sets the stage for optimal vine growth during the critical growing season, fostering a nurturing environment where vines flourish and grapes ripen to perfection.

As we delve deeper into the earth's embrace, we unearth the profound influence of each soil type on the terroir of Prince Edward County. From the minerality that whispers of ancient limestone to the complexity that unfolds with each sip, these soils imbue the wines with a sense of place—a testament to the enduring connection between land and vine. Indeed, in Prince Edward County, the soil is not just the foundation—it is the very soul of the wine, weaving a narrative of richness, elegance, and unparalleled quality.


Prince Edward County, situated on the northeastern shore of Lake Ontario, is a burgeoning wine region noted for its cool climate varietals and limestone-rich terroir. The county's sandy soils and cool climate provide ideal conditions for a variety of grapes. This unique terroir, marked by high calcium levels in the soil, gives the grapes distinctive flavors and aromas. The region is also characterized by a shorter growing season, which impacts the cultivation and harvesting of grapes.

  1. Pinot Noir: In Prince Edward County, Pinot Noir thrives due to the region's unique conditions. The area's soil and climate are similar to those in Burgundy, France, which is also known for its Pinot Noir. The vineyards in Prince Edward County experience a delayed start to the season and an earlier end compared to other regions like Niagara. The microclimates influenced by Lake Ontario winds and the limestone soil contribute to the distinct minerality in the wines. The area's cooler conditions and shorter growing season result in lower yields (about two tonnes per acre in the County versus four tonnes per acre in Niagara), justifying the slightly higher prices of County wines.
  2. Cabernet Franc: This grape variety, while not as extensively detailed in the sources, is also a prominent red varietal in Prince Edward County. The cool climate and soil conditions that benefit Pinot Noir likely also influence the cultivation of Cabernet Franc, although specific cultivation practices were not detailed in the sources.
  3. Chardonnay: Chardonnay is one of the key white varietals grown in Prince Edward County. The limestone-rich soil and the region's microclimate contribute to the unique flavor profile of Chardonnay wines produced here. Some wineries in the region, such as Black Prince Winery, experiment with oak aging, including using local Prince Edward County white oak for barrels. However, the specific agricultural and climatic requirements for Chardonnay in this region were not explicitly detailed in the sources.
  4. Riesling: Riesling is another significant white grape variety in Prince Edward County. The cool climate and soil composition play a role in the development of this varietal. However, like Chardonnay, specific cultivation details for Riesling in Prince Edward County were not extensively covered in the sources.

In summary, the unique terroir of Prince Edward County, marked by its cool climate, limestone-rich soil, and influenced by Lake Ontario, plays a significant role in the cultivation of these grape varieties. The shorter growing season and specific microclimates within the region impact the agricultural practices and yield of these grapes, contributing to the distinctiveness of the wines produced in this area​​​​​

Prince Edward County, a unique wine region in Ontario, Canada, is renowned for its distinct terroir that imparts a unique character to its wines. The region, with its limestone-rich soils and cool climate, is particularly suited for growing specific grape varieties that result in wines with unique aromatic and flavor profiles. Here's a closer look at the most common wines from the Prince Edward County region:

  1. Pinot Noir: This wine is a staple in Prince Edward County, known for its earthy and cherried profile in single-vineyard expressions. The cool climate and limestone-rich soils contribute to the development of a distinct terroir in these wines, offering a unique tasting experience.
  2. Chardonnay: The Chardonnays from this region often exhibit a light, crisp character, enhanced by the unique terroir of limestone and shale gravel soils. Some wineries, like Black Prince Winery, experiment with local oak aging, which adds a subtle complexity to the wine, imparting flavors of woodsy oak and apple.
  3. Riesling: Rieslings from Prince Edward County tend to have a distinctive aromatic profile, with peach and pear notes being quite common. Some wineries experiment with barrel aging, leading to unique expressions of this varietal, including off-dry, dessert-style tastes.
  4. Cabernet Franc: This type of wine is produced in a fruit-forward style in the County, displaying a smooth and easy-drinking character. Typical flavors include a dark fruit core with nuances of earthiness, plum, raspberry, and vanilla, often with a hint of peppery notes.

These wines reflect the unique terroir and winemaking traditions of Prince Edward County, offering a diverse and distinct range of flavors and aromas. The region's emphasis on quality and experimentation has led to the production of wines that are not only expressive of their grape variety but also of the unique environment in which they are grown.