5 Kid-Friendly Prince Edward County Wineries (Really!)
This week we asked our friend Catherine Joy to share her favorite kid-friendly wineries in Prince Edward County. Enjoy!
Although gone are the days of aimlessly meandering from one vineyard to another on a daylong wine tour, it is possible to enjoy some of Prince Edward County's 40 wineries with young kids.
Tips on visiting some of PEC's kid-friendly wineries with a baby or toddler:
In the summertime, keep winery visits to weekdays, to avoid the heavy tourist crowds.
Carriers are best for older babies during tastings - and do keep an eye on your little ones to ensure small hands don’t topple over any bottles on display!
Bring bubbles, chalk, and a soccer ball to give little ones something to do outside while the adults enjoy a tasting. For inside tastings, coloring books or stickers work best.
Invite along friends or extended family if you can, so that no one is left looking after the little ones (or drinking) alone.
Limit your winery stops to one a day - and plan for a kid-friendly activity before or after.
Keep your tastings short and sweet - 1-3 tastings are ideal, anything more and you risk waining interest on the part of your little one. Opt instead for a glass outside while you relax and play with your little one.
Always check the winery’s website before making a visit, to confirm hours of operation. You don’t want to make a drive to find out the winery is closed for a private event or a day of rest.
Below is The Littlest Passport’s list to the top kid-friendly wineries in Prince Edward County, along with a nearby kid activity “pairing” to round out the excursion.
5 Kid-Friendly Prince Edward County Wineries
1) Huff Estates Winery
Huff Estates Winery (2274 Prince Edward County Rd 1, Bloomfield, ON) is an excellent choice for parents with young kids, since there is plenty for the kids to explore and enjoy while the adults take turns partaking in a tasting.
Oeno Gallery, which shares the grounds with Huff Estates, has an outside sculpture garden that offers kids plenty of space to run around, darting from one sculpture to another that peeks their interest.
Huff Estates Winery offers a relaxed, kid-friendly eating experience. A parked tuktuk beside the outdoor pizza oven entertains the kids while waiting for their meal. The casual eating area offers pizza slices and wine with picnic table seating. If you're looking for whole personal pizzas (or other offerings) you will need to dine in the restaurant, either indoors or on the outdoor patio. Do note that the restaurant's menu is limited to full size pizzas after 4pm.
Kid-Activity Pairing: Enjoy an outdoor pizza lunch at Huff Estates Winery, followed by a trip into Bloomfield to get Slickers ice cream (271 Bloomfield Main St, Bloomfield, ON) - flavours include Campfire and Apple Pie - then stroll downhill for approximately 3 minutes on Country Road 30 to Mill Pond Park. The park has a gazebo with seating, and after the ice cream is eaten (or melted), your little one can burn off some of the sugar in the park's small, well maintained playground.
If sparking wine or cider is your thing, definitely stop by Hinterland (1258 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON), considered by locals to be the best sparkling wine in Ontario. The owners have a son who they actively engage on their vineyard, so they also understand how to cater to families, with toys and outdoor games, roosters to view, and outdoor beer hall seating for enjoying a glass along with snack food.
If traveling with extended family or friends, call ahead to make a reservation (details on website). And according to the owners, Saturdays are mayhem, so do definitely visit on a weekday.
Kid-Activity Pairing: Pair Hinterland with a trip to the best playground in the County - Wellington’s Adventure Playground - overlooking Lake Ontario, along with a delicious bite at Enid Grace Cafe (303-1 Wellington Main St, Wellington, ON K0K 3L0), open for breakfast and lunch, with out-of-this-world pastries. If going for lunch, ensure you visit early, as selections often sell out.
3) Grange of Prince Edward County Vineyards & Estate Winery
Run by a mother-daughter duo of wine producers, a visit to Grange Winery (990 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON) will have you planning your next family outing to PEC - in the winter. That’s because the vineyard’s beautiful old chalet screams cozy with warm wood throughout, a large stone fireplace and giant windows to let the sunshine - and spectacular views - inside. Boardgames, tables, and cozy seating allow families to spend some relaxing time together while parents savour a glass. Since the boardgames might be a bit advanced for younger kids, bring a few books or indoor activities of your own to ensure you can sit, sip, snuggle, and enjoy the moment.
Seasonally, The Grange offers wicker picnic baskets packed with a local cheese and charcuterie board that guests can enjoy throughout the property. Baskets are $35 and serve two to four people (wine not included in price).
Kid-Activity Pairing: Grange is a 15 minute drive from North Beach (The Littlest Passport’s recommended PEC beach for babies and toddlers). So start the day at the beach, before heading to Grange for a picnic lunch. Or if you’re visiting Prince Edward County in wintertime, spend the morning outdoors making snowmen or sledding, then head to Grange to warm up by the fire.
4) County Cider Company
On a beautiful clear day, head to the Waupoos area of the County to soak up sunshine and beautiful water views. Have lunch at the County Cider Company (657 Bongards Crossroad, Waupoos, ON), which has a casual menu (offered seasonally) offering a number of vegetarian options, as well as kid favorites like 10” wood fired pizzas and burgers on their patio with a stunning view of Prince Edward Bay. While little ones wait for their food, take a self-guided tour of the orchards.
If you are visiting Prince Edward County on Mother’s Day weekend, when the County Cider Company’s patio opens, delight in fresh apple pies, take in the beautiful apple blossoms in bloom, and pet one of the visiting lambs.
Kid-Activity Pairing: Swing by the petting zoo at Waupoos Estates Winery (3016 County Road 8, Picton, ON), with rabbits, goats, sheep and pot belly pigs! Chickens and ducks also roam the property. There is a chocolatier and candy store also on site, so be forewarned before setting foot inside with your little one!
If you are visiting PEC between May 24th and July 14th, 2019, Macaulay Heritage Park in Picton (35 Church St, Picton, ON ) runs a Loose Play Cafe, where children can play with a large number of materials - natural and man-made - letting their imaginations run wild. The cafe includes coffee, tea, juice and treats, as well as free wi-fi for the adults. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children 5 and up; open Wednesday-Sunday from 9:30am-4:30pm. After enjoying the Loose Play Cafe in the stunning church that comprises part of Macaulay Heritage Park, explore the other buildings, the garden, and trails.
And even if you’re not visiting summer 2019, be sure to check out the Macaulay Heritage Park website to learn about any upcoming, creative kids programming!
5) Karlo Estates
Housed in a barn, Karlo Estates’ (561 Danforth Rd, Wellington, ON) tasting menu includes treats for kids - grape juice packs as well as light snacks like salsa, guacamole and hummus - allowing parents to keep their little ones occupied and content through a short tasting. And if (when) your child gets restless, take him to find the six cats that roam the barn and property.
Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic basket and blanket to set up by the dry-stone bridge just south of the estate's vineyards. Bring along some plastic cups, and ask the estate to uncork one of their bottles. The little ones will have room to run around safely while the adults enjoy a glass in peaceful surroundings.
Also impressive - Karlo Estates is the first vegan certified winery in the world. If that's your thing, you can read more on the winery’s website.
Kid-friendly pairing: The town of Wellington is only 4 minutes away from Karlo Estates. Hit Wellington Park’s Adventure Playground (19 East St #17, Wellington, ON) where parents can enjoy views of Lake Ontario while kids play in the impressive community-designed-and-built playground (complete with tot area). Then grab a mid-afternoon bite at hipster hot-spot the Drake Devonshire (24 Wharf St, Wellington, ON). Between 3-5pm, Drake Devonshire offers a snack menu, but with plenty of options to fill up the adults, and the Kid’s Menu runs all day (yup, kids are welcome and offered their own menu) . Mid afternoon is the perfect time to avoid the larger crowds - and to avoid having your toddler or baby out at a restaurant during their “witching hour”.