Bonfires, gift baskets, beef Wellington and wine bagatelle, wineries from Hillier to Wellington are offering three weekends of tastings, events and gift ideas to celebrate Wassail and to ensure that people have a last chance to select some of the best Prince Edward County wines to tide them through the winter. Wassail runs for the upcoming three weekends from November 23 to December 8.
Some guidelines for Wassail. If you are hoping for a free wine tasting, you'd better arrive singing Christmas carols. Some wineries are offering mulled wine for free; others are offering free tastings. Bite sized snacks may be free as a wine pairing but most are local treats which are for sale. If you really hate to pay for a wine tasting, buy a bottle of wine, the tasting fee is often waived when you purchase one or more bottles of wine and you go home with a great bottle of wine that you know you like - so its a win-win for everyone.
Stanners Vineyard in Hillier are leading the way with a bonfire for a Wassail kick-off "All Around the Fire" on Friday, Nov 22 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, with a candlelit procession of wishes, snacks, songs and stories, all requiring plenty of blankets. Each weekend of Wassail, they will be offering Mary’s delicious turkey and vegetarian pot pies, mulled wine or non-alcoholic apple cider, and craft instruction provided by Fiona Stanners.
At Hillier Creek, on the Loyalist Parkway, they are offfering mulled wine to warm you up, baked treats and gift baskets for sale.
Across the road, Harwood Estates, are in party mode for the whole family. The first Saturday Nov 23, Pleasant Bay miniature horses will be on site for the kids to pet and buggy rides. Mulled wine and mini tortieres will be offered. On Saturday Nov 30, McColl Farms will be bringing lambs and sheep to pet and white mulled wine and lamb Octoberfest sausages made with Harwoood's Windward White wine blend will be served. On Dec 7th, Mark McGreevy will be performing with his accoustic guitar from 1:30 - 3:00 pm, and red mulled wine and Morrocan pulled pork sliders will be offered to warm you up. The wine and food treats will be repeated on Sundays.
They will have a kareoke machine loaded with Christmas music and song books for people who want to sing for their wine tasting. A selection of gift baskets will be for sale.
All three wineries on the Greer Road are getting into the Wassail spirit.
Norman Hardie will be serving slow cooked County raised beef stew served with their County Pinot Noir and they are open daily from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Casa Dea Estates will be serving mulled wine and traditional Italian cookies. Their shop is also full of gift ideas.
Rosehall Run's gourmet shop, the Greer Road Grocer, located in their winery will be welcoming carolers with treats. Everyone who purchases a bottle of Rosehall wine receives a surprise gift from their Wassail tree.
In Wellington, Keinte-he winery will be offering mulled wine and giving guests the chance to roast chestnuts over the outdoor bonfire. Wine and cheese pairings from the Agrarian Cheese Market will be available within the winery.
Richard Johnston, at By Chadsey's Cairns has been a leader in the Wassail celebrations over the years and this year is no exception. BCC are offering three kinds of mulled wine (try the rosé, it's really special) . Nibblies for sale will include roasted chestnuts, local cheddar slathered with icewine mustard on slices of baguette, and delicious mini beef Wellingtons from East and Main. The vineyard will be lit by candles and there will be a bonfire each Saturday night that weather permits with wassail toasts and caroling. They will be releasing their newest Chardonnay and Riesling and also taking orders for Darkling a TM red sparkling from St. Laurent grapes.
The County's most widely known winery, Sandbanks will be offering mulled wines on the first weekend, chocolate and wine pairings the second weekend, and grapevine wreath making workshops on the third weekend.
Read The second weekend of Wassail in PEC for information on bus winetours for $15 start at Huff Estates or the Waring House.
Look for other Wassail 2013 columns
Wassail, wine and cheese touring in Waupoos.