Address: 1152 Greer Rd. Wellington, Ont, K0K 3L0
Phone: (613) 399-5297
Norman Hardie is the South African owner who began his brand and legacy in the Prince Edward County as one of the regions best vineyards and wine production. Also, the first to start the wood-fired pizza.
You know this is a busy winery when there is someone directing your parking. Take note, this is a one way entrance. You slowly drive up the narrow unpaved ravine path, with grapes and vines grown on both sides. It sets up a mysterious or suspenseful atmosphere to develop a series of surprise or expectations afterwards. Was it fulfilled?!
On a long weekend, Monday afternoon, the parking lot was full and was so busy. Everyone were hustling and bustling around us, stirring a trail of dust and dirt behind their tracks. The estate, a barn like structure built with aluminum sheets, was built on a little hill overlooking part of the vineyard. This vineyard has more than 100 acres, quite large. It was beautiful, gorgeous and relaxing. You see endless rows of vines, greenery, blue sky and floating white clouds.
We were recommended by locals that this is a must go to winery either for their great alcohol or their renowned wood fired oven pizza or both. The pizza oven patio is opened from 11am to 6pm on Thursday through Monday from June to late September; in May, only Saturday, Sunday and long weekends at the same hours. Their tasting bar is opened seven days a week from 10am to 6pm from April through early December; from January through March, the bar is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm. Plan your visits accordingly.
**I did not go wine tasting, therefore, my review or blog post is on the pizza. Why did I not go wine tasting? I honestly had too much wine during my visit at Prince Edward County and I could not resist buying another bottle if I liked it. I needed to save myself from over the roof bills!**
As we wait for our table, we are welcomed to explore the barn and around the winery.
Right at the entrance of the barn, you walk into an indoor open dining area, the kitchen and wine making factory.
You walk up a flight of stairs to the second floor, which is the wine tasting bar and souvenir retail area.
It ultimately opens outdoor to another part of the vineyard and more wine making factory. I did realize, they use the new technology in their wine making process. Instead of using wood barrels, the juice and wine is encased in a large metal container. This probably gives the wine more consistency and limits the variables to errors or problems. It is easier to control.
The barn maintained its interior rustic look, using barrels as display. It looks sleeker and cleaner with the aluminum metal finishes. Quite contrasting but it offers a modern contemporary style and is design forward compared to a lot of other wineries in the area.
They specialize in traditional Italian pizzas. Our seat was directly in front of the wood fire pizza oven. We watched the dough and pizza making process. They were extremely busy, producing at least five to eight pizzas every five minutes. The dough maker was turned onto extreme power mode, kept turning and stretching nonstop. When done, he passed it to the topping maker. Afterwards, to the wooden rod to insert into the oven. The teamwork belt and speed could not be compared.
Do not drink the water. It tasted like the ice or water holding fresh oysters, extremely nasty. They probably assumed everyone would order a wine to pair with their infamous pizzas.
Salsiccia Bianca ($16) was made of sausage, flor di latte, garlic, hot pepper, and sauteed onions. The pizza was kind of tasteless. I loved the melted cheese and the strong onion flavour but it did not impress me. I could not taste the garlic nor the spiciness of the hot peppers. All it had was the aroma of the drizzled olive oil on the top. There was a lack of sausage too. Each bite I had was mostly the thin crust and cheese. The crust was quite burnt too, because that was all I can taste, more so than anything else.
Funghi ($17) made of flor di latte, oyster mushroom, garlic, and brie. This pizza was much more appealing and satisfying. The oyster mushroom added crunchiness to the texture of the crispy crust. But overall, the flavour of the pizza was stronger. The brie was really fresh and had that strong dairy flavour, when matched to the garlic and olive oil. In general, the brie gave life to this pizza, otherwise it would not have tasted as good.
I think the pizzas were a hit or miss. After a full day of oven usage, I am pretty sure there is soot built up, and also depends on how strong the fire is. Pizzas can be easily burnt because the crust is extremely thin like crackers. I do wish there was a little bit more toppings and less dry. I will try them one more time, but I want to go with the standard traditional Margarita PIzza next time. Nonetheless, this is one of the better traditional wood fired Italian pizzas eatery I have tried.