Terroir Run: Meet the Wineries by Hannah Stein
The County Cider Company & Estate Winery is a family-operated estate winery, specializing in mouth-watering hard ciders. Carefully crafted from the best apples, grown on their family farm and nearby orchards, the ciders are made with 100% pure apple juice. Located on the picturesque island of Prince Edward County, in Southeastern Ontario, their tasting room and retail store welcome visitors from May to November. Visitors are also encouraged to take advantage of the establishment’s dramatic view from its patio, perched high above Lake Ontario — the perfect place to enjoy a glass of cider, or wine, with lunch al fresco.
We spoke to Grant Howes, owner and cider-maker of County Cider Company & Estate Winery, about all they have to offer…
What sets your winery apart from others?
We were the first winery in Prince Edward County, but our biggest difference is that we’ve always specialized in hard apple cider. Our farm has been growing apples for over 150 years, and we also now have one of the largest plantings of tradition european cider apples in North America. Our ciders are Prince Edward County based, while carrying a history of traditions from as far as England and Normandy. Our family of ciders ranges from traditional English-style ciders to flavoured ciders such as, pear and blood-orange; all sweeter ciders that tend to be more attractive to our younger customers. Our main focus is, however, and will continue to be, traditional ciders, made from our own apples.
Which of your ciders is your personal favourite and why?
They’re all my favourites! Right now, I would say that our Tortured Path, which we’ll be releasing this late spring, is my favourite, because it’s a culmination of over 20 years of experimentation with growing different apple varieties from from traditional cider growing areas such as, Somerset and Normandy. We’ve proven that, not only can grow these apples incredibly well, but also, we can make ciders that are exceptionally flavourful and consistently receive positive consumer responses.
What should people most look forward to, when visiting your winery during this year’s Terroir Run?
It’s a very laid-back place; we have an outdoor restaurant and offer over six different types of ciders on tap as well as beer and wine. We’re always promoting local wineries as well, probably many of which will also be a part of Terroir Run. Overall, it’s just a nice place to kick back — and we’re dog friendly!