Gourmet Travel - Waupoos Estates Winery - Prince Edward County Ontario Wine Tour

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Prince Edward County Ontario Wineries in Canada - Southern Ontario Gourmet Travel
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Prince Edward County Ontario Wine Tour - Waupoos Estates Winery

The County - Southern Ontario Wine and Food Culture Comes of Age

by Wade Rowland - Part 4

The Prince Edward County wineries are all virtually brand new (the first opened in 2000; there are now a dozen), and it's fascinating to see the different approaches taken by their developers. This is an industry that attracts the passionate, especially here in the marginal regions. The initial investment ranges from enormous to staggering. (Just to establish a vineyard costs about $25,000 an acre, and the vines begin earning revenue only after three to five years.) People do not do this to get rich quick.

Ed Neuser of Waupoos Estate Winery in Prince Edward County Ontario Canada
Ed Neuser of Waupoos Estates Winery
Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
Photo © Christine Collie
Ed Neuser and Rita Kaimins' Waupoos Estates Winery is one of the region's earliest. Construction details in the production facility, retail store and the restaurant pavilion near the lake betray his background in mechanical engineering. Many structural features were custom-made at his own firm's shops, which have also crafted Ontario's biggest roller-coasters and the Wilderness Ride at Toronto's Ontario Place. With about twenty acres under cultivation, Waupoos is producing about 50-60,000 bottles of wine a year.

About 10,000 visitors a month pass through the retail store and tasting bar during each of the summer months, and many of them stay for lunch or dinner which is served in Gazebo Restaurant overlooking Prince Edward Bay. Visitors arriving by boat can dock at the winery's expanse of engineered docks capable of accommodating larger vessels.

Unfortunately we arrived the day after the kitchen had closed for the winter season. But we did sample the 2002 Vidal, Riesling, Charonnay Reserve, and a rare St. Laurent of the same vintage, plus 2003 Baco Noir and Cabernets. Without going into detail (and getting in over our heads) we can report that the Waupoos wines we tried tended to be light and crisp, with a subtlety we enjoy and which bodes well for aging.

In fact it's safe to say that it's rare indeed to find an unpleasant wine anymore at an Ontario winery (though of course some may not suit your taste), so successful have been the VQA quality assurance program and the provincial regulatory regime designed to rid the industry of its early reputation for frat-house binge wines of the Baby Duck variety. That history is now well-buried, and visitors can expect to discover some international-calibre knock-outs at any tasting.

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