Prince Edward County

Appellation Overview

Limestone bedrock, stony soils, low yields, excellent fruit concentration
Pinot noir vineyard, Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

Prince Edward County is located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, just south of Belleville, and encompasses the County, Amherst Island and a narrow strip of land to the north. At a latitude of 44°N, this is Ontario's most northern appellation and relies on the lake to provide a moderated and productive cool climate growing season.

Much of the appellation, where most vineyards are located, is separated from the mainland by the Bay of Quinte and completely surrounded by the waters of Lake Ontario. Bays, inlets and coves surround "The County" as it is known, creating more than 500 miles of shoreline, including a the well known Sandbanks beach.

Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

Officially identified in 2007 as a VQA appellation of origin, Prince Edward County terroir features loose gravely soil types that lay atop the broad Trenton limestone plateau. These soils provide good structure, ample drainage, shale and minerals for healthy development of vines and fruit with character.

Terroir

Topography

The topopraphy of Prince Edward County is irregular with deep valleys digging into the broad flat Trenton limestone that is the foundation of this appellation. A gradual rise from north-east to south-west is crossed by a number of long east-west gentle ridges and occasionally steep rugged escarpments.

On the northern and eastern shorelines high rocky bluffs rise to an elevation of a hundred feet or more while the western shore has many inlets with sandy shores and large sand bars which define bodies of water such as West Lake and East Lake.

Prince Edward County is an appellation full of micro-climate and terroir conditions that provide the basis for the distinct in the wines that are produced here.

Notable Features

The broken limestone bedrock and stony soils of this appellation allows for excellent drainage in the spring and acts like a wet sponge throughout the growing season, forcing vines to grow deeper during the hot summer months and produce small yields with concentrated flavours.

Soil

Soils throughout this appellation are mostly reddish-brown clay loam to sandy loam that overlay a limestone bedrock embedded with shale fragments. The stony surface and numerous rock and shale fragments within the soils allow water to drain into the limestone, which ensures good drainage of winter-melt and substantial root penetration for mature vines. This rocky soil also allows good heat conduction and retention and encourages early warming in the spring.

Climate

Most vineyards in this appellation are located in areas that receive maximum benefit from lake breezes. Prevailing southwesterly breezes travel steadily across the Bay of Quinte which moderate temperatures throughout the year and are especially beneficial during the warm summer months, keeping average temperatures around 22 degrees C., with pleasant cooling during the hotter days and keeping cool nights at bay.