In 2001, long before Prince Edward County was the hottest up-and-coming wine region in the country, there were only a few sparse wineries. One of these pioneers began as Peddlesden Wines, which soon became Carmela Estates. For a stretch they employed Norm Hardie, one of the County's future stars, as winemaker and vineyard manager. In 2009, Carmela Winery was bought, refurbished, and after a grand opening celebration in 2010, was given new life with a new name: Casa Dea Estates Winery.
The property, two kilometers from the shore of Lake Ontario and its moderating effects, features 65 acres of vineyards in Prince Edward County's famed clay limestone soils. The winery and tasting room reflect the region's history in Loyalist-era architecture, and has become a popular wedding destination, being relatively accessible from Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The winery has its own restaurant, La Pergola, where you can eat Italian fare alongside Casa Dea's wines.
Working with Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc, winemaker Paul Battilana's portfolio is made strictly from Prince Edward County grapes, all varieties that have proven themselves in the cool climate. Embracing another thing Prince Edward County does so well, he also bottles two sparkling wines—Dea's Cuvée, and Dea's Rosé.
Casa Dea's portfolio features a range of wine from great value picks like the bright, fruity and earthy 2013 Gamay, and unique picks like the 2014 Eva, made from dried Chardonnay grapes using an appassimento style to make a rich, spicy, and complex wine.
Check out their wines offered on My Wine Canada, and drop in and pay them a visit next time you're in the County!
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.