Browsing Tag

Prince Edward County

Meet our Wineries: Trail Estate Winery

Trail_Estate_Small_Less4cmGuest blog by Hannah Stein

In 2011, Anton and Hildegard Sproll embarked on the journey of owning a vineyard, when they fell in love with the 14 acre property situated where Benway Road intersects the Millennium Trail in Prince Edward County. No strangers to hard work; they had just retired from running a successful bakery for 30 years. The family has all its bases covered to start up a business, with son and graphic designer, Alex Sproll and daughter and accountant, Sylvia Sproll. They enlisted the help of winemaker and grape grower, Mackenzie Brisbois to craft their wines. Trail Estate Winery is a passionate winery that strives to produces terroir-driven wines of exceptional quality.

We spoke to Alex Sproll about the highlights of his family’s own, Trail Estate Winery

What sets your winery apart from others?

I think that what sets us apart is our focus on great food-friendly wines, made in small batches. This allows for the making of wines without being excessively commercial. This year, for example, we made some skin contact whites in insanely small batches and they’re brilliant! It’s not to say we’ll always keep things that small, but we do have the flexibility for it. This allows the winemaker to consistently push the envelope and provide interesting tasting experiences for guests — and we’ve got no animals on our labels! We also want to get people to interact with the winemaker and learn more about viticulture and wine. This year, we’ll be having a set of winemaker-led tours and tastings every Friday and structured tastings every Saturday. They’ll last anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour and are bound to be a great addition to the winery.

Which of your wines is your personal favourite and why?

I don’t have a favorite; I think one of the great things is to keep trying new things! If anything though, I do prefer wines with great floral and flinty aromatics — be it Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Sauv Blanc or Chardonnay — I just find them more lively and interesting. Wine should have life! I shy away the majority of Merlot, Cab Sauvs or anything else too sweet and cloying.

What should people most look forward to when visiting your winery during this year’s Terroir Run?

This year, watch your step! Since we’re in a bit of an expansion phase, the entrance is through the roll-up door at the back, therefore, we’ve shifted the tasting bar to be in the middle of the winery. It’s a bit make-shift but the tasting bar is now literally beside the barrels! It’s also all smooth gravel around our winery at the moment, so runners can enjoy our section of softer, pothole-free road!


Meet our Wineries: Closson Chase Vineyards

imgres-5Guest Blog by Hannah Stein

Opened in 1998, Closson Chase Vineyards is a quality-driven wine producer, located in beautiful Prince Edward County. Their vines produce premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and their dedication to quality, small-scale harvesting and production practices help to make their wines stand out. In their high-density, 30-acre vineyard, all grapes are hand-picked, and carefully selected, as to consistently produce the best quality wines possible. With the skills of winemaker Keith Tyers, Closson Chase is committed to creating distinctive wines that rival the world’s finest.

We spoke to Erin MacInnis of Closson Chase Vineyards, about all that this winery has to offer…

What sets your winery apart from others?  

At Closson Chase, we are viticulture focused; we take the time to tend to our fruit and give it what to needs to thrive in our particular climate. Our staff are dedicated to sustainable practices throughout our vineyards and winery.

Which of your wines is your personal favourite and why?

I love the Vineyard Chardonnay, as I feel it is a very pure interpretation of the diversity of both our soil and climate.

What should people most look forward to when visiting your winery during this year’s Terroir Run?

The wine, of course!

Meet our Wineries: Norman Hardie Vineyard

Norm and Rebecca

Norm and Rebecca

Guest blog by Hannah Stein

Set amongst the vines, Norman Hardie Vineyard is situated in idyllic Prince Edward County, Ontario. Winemaker and owner, Norman Hardie first opened his doors to the public in 2005 and his wines can now be found across Ontario, in many Canadian Provinces, and in numerous international markets. On a clay limestone hill in Prince Edward County, Norman’s passion for fine wine is put to the ultimate test.

We spoke to Norman Hardie, winemaker and owner of Norman Hardie Vineyard, about the highlights of his winery…

What sets your winery apart from others?

What sets my winery apart is our commitment to quality; crafting exceptional wine from the unique terroirs of Ontario is the cornerstone of our operations, and continues to be our guiding principle. However, our pursuit of excellence doesn’t end in the cellar; every year our team welcomes visitors from near and far to enjoy wood-fired pizzas with a glass of wine on our patio. It is truly a County experience that’s not to be missed!

Which of your wines is your personal favourite and why?

My current favourite wine is our 2013 Unfiltered Chardonnay. The chardonnay has an exhilarating acidity, a rich mouthfeel and exceptional length. It’s also a perfect pairing with a tarte flambe pizza on the patio.

What should people most look forward to when visiting your winery during this year’s Terroir Run?

Again, this year the Terroir Run participants will be ending their run at Norman Hardie Vineyard. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the enthusiastic runners with a glass of wine on the patio overlooking the vines. It is always a fantastic lunch, filled with delicious treats from local producers, the best from neighbouring wineries and, of course, artisanal pizzas from our own wood oven.

The County Cider Company & Estate Winery

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.

Photo courtesy of the County Cider Co

Photo courtesy of the County Cider Co

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!

How are you training for May 28th?

Our good friend Malcolm Jolley of Good Food Revolution has taken up running specifically to participate in our 6th annual run.

APRIL 1, 2016 by Malcolm Jolley

Training for the Terroir Run

Terroir Run in PEC
In my last post about my participation in the Terroir Run in Prince Edward County I wrote about my anxieties concerning running my first 10km event. After another week of training, I feel much better about my ability to complete the course and I look forward to the physical challenge. I’m getting better at the running. What’s now worrying me is wine drinking part of the event. Of course participants in the Terroir Run are not obliged to drink the traditional bottle of wine during the race; it’s a family event, after all. But Andrew and Rebecca Mackenzie organized the Terroir Run along the principles of the French tradition of Les Courses des Vins. Theses wine fuelled races combine the fun of sport with the opportunity to taste new wines along the route of the course. To qualify as a Grand Maître de la Course the rules require participants to consume the equivalent of 750 ml of wine, sourced only from the wineries along the route, from five minutes before the starting gun to before crossing the finishing line. Not an easy task if one wishes to make the run in a respectable time.

There are competing theories on the origins of the French tradition of Les Courses des Vins. Some posit them in Roman times in Provence as a way of both cheering up and training gladiators before their blood sport. Others say it was originated in the Languedoc to celebrate the bloody suppression of the Cathar Heresy. Over the Maritime Alps in Piedmont there is a close tradition of running and wine just after the harvest that is said to be tied to the celebration of the Roman Goddess Ceres and then adapted to Lombard Christian ritual as a way to celebrate victories against Saracen (Muslim) invaders who were forbidden to drink wine. Another wine and running ritual exists in the Catalan region of Spain, its original purpose obscured by the mists of time, though there is speculation that it came from New World traditions in South America, where runners would stimulate themselves with cocoa leaves.

Whatever and wherever running with wine takes its ancient origins, the Courses des Vins really hit its stride in the 1920-30s in France. As Rod Phillips writes in Alcohol: A History, during that time the French government was desperate to encourage wine domestic drinking after the disaster of American Prohibition. In 1926 there were regional trials that culminated in a Championship race not far from Bordeaux in Bergerac. The Bordelaise won, placing both in first and third place (a Champagneoise claimed second). This still holds as a controversy in France as it was thought the Bordelaise had a secret weapon they put to use on the 7th kilometre: Sauternes!

Anyway, there are number of strategies runners can take, such as waiting until being right at the finish line to drink an entire bottle in one go (risky). But most opt for a sip and go approach, taking advantage of the winemakers who line the route offering runners small cups of wine as they proceed and monitoring consumption to ensure each runner drinks at least a bottle’s worth. It sounds ridiculous, but until there were reliable sources of fresh drinking water, wine was often used as a way of hydrating the body during physical stress, not least at the time of the grape harvest. The trouble with bringing this model to the 21st century is that it’s hard to train for. So far, I have drunk a small glass of white wine before heading to the gym and treadmill. At the gym, more wine can be concealed in a water bottle (I’m not sure of my gym’s policy on alcohol, and am too embarrassed to ask), but drinking it while running without spilling some and releasing bouquet has proved difficult. As the weather improves and I move my training to the outdoors I will use a camel back and should be ok. For the sake of road safety, I shall have to run on a nearby track.

Right now I have been sticking to rather lean Prince Edward County Chardonnays from Norman Hardie, Rosehall Run and The Grange of Prince Edward. At some point I am going to have try a bigger bodied wine from Closson Chase, and then start varying into Pinot Noir. (Actually, Closson Chase has a Pinot Blanc that I bet might be the perfect wine to run on, I’ll have to get my hands on some.) There are also the lovely County Cider Co. ciders and beers from County Road Beer Co. that are part of the run (see all the participating producers here), which should come handy for refreshment, but don’t technically count towards the “bottle”.

Stay tuned for more notes on my training…

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.