Prince Edward County Wine
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Prince Edward County Wine is produced in Prince Edward County (PEC) located in south eastern part of southern Ontario, the most southerly part of Canada. Prince Edward County was designated as the fourth and newest Designated Viticultural Area (DVA) in Ontario in 2007. A DVA is a wine producing region for which rules and regulations are set down by the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) of Ontario. VQA Ontario is an organization officially delegated by the government of Ontario to administer and enforce the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999 There are currently some 30 commercial wineries (as of 2010) and over 50 wine grape growers in Prince Edward County, cultivating more than 700 acres (280 hectares) of vineyard, producing 757 tons of grapes and 6130 hectolitres of wine annually (as of 2007).
Since Prince Edward County (locally known as "The County") was first settled in the 1780s by United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, it has been known for its agricultural products, initially grains (especially barley) and later tender fruits — at one time it supplied one third of all canned produce in Canada. In the late twentieth century the PEC canning industry disappeared as the greater part of the fruit and vegetables sold in Canada are now imported. However, the twenty-first century is witnessing the establishment of a new high value agricultural industry in the County: wine growing, i.e. viticulture along with wine making.
The first wine grapes were planted in the mid-nineteenth century and achieved some notoriety when Dorland Nixon was awarded a gold medal for his wine at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition. The modern era began when Phil Matheson planted an experimental vineyard with vinifera grapes in the 1980s while Ed Neuser and Rita Kaimins established the first commercial vinifera vineyard for their Waupoos Estates Winery in 1993. They were granted the second winery licence in the County (after Grant Howes and the County Cider Company in 1996) and opened their winery in 2001. During the first decade of the twenty-first century, new wineries have emerged at a furious pace, with approximately 30 in operation in 2010.
The éminence grise behind the establishment of the County wine industry is Geoff Heinricks, who was the first to propose that Prince Edward County could one day be a major player in the Canadian wine industry. He thoroughly investigated the soils and microclimates of the County and concluded that the cool climate coupled with the all-pervading limestone base would be an ideal situation for the grapes of Burgundy (i.e. Pinot noir and Chardonnay). He also provided some other strong recommendations including the various relatives and clones of Pinot noir (Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, and Pinot Meunier), St. Laurent, Melon de Bourgogne, Gamay, and Riesling, and has given serious consideration to several others. He described his endeavours in a popular book as well as a monograph that is available on line. Geoff and two partners recently opened the Keint-he Winery, though he was dismissed and replaced in 2011 after harvest.
The majority of County wineries are in the west central region, particularly in Hillier Ward where the Hillier Clay Loam soil formation is predominant. According to Geoff Heinricks, this soil is thin and composed mostly of a mix of limestone and shale gravel; it encourages the vine roots to reach deep into the underlying limestone where they are then assured of good access to both water and drainage. Most of the other wineries are more widely dispersed over the eastern and southeastern regions of the County. They are planted in a variety of complex soils, but all lie atop limestone bedrock at various layers, gifting the limestone subsoil. The situations of all the wineries are summarized on the County viticultural map.
This table lists many of the most prominent such vineyards, but it is not comprehensive and may include some that are no longer active.
|Black River Vineyards||?||?||?||?|
|Bloomfield Estates Winery||?||Hillier Clay Loam||?||?|
|Cold Creek Vineyards||?||Hillier Clay Loam||Pinot noir||?|
|Domaine Darius||?||Hillier Clay Loam||?||?|
|Hilltop Cellars Inc.||?||?||?||?|
|Hubbs Creek Vineyard||2002||Hillier Clay Loam||Pinot noir, Dolcetto, Pinot gris||?|
|Fieldstone Estate Vineyards||2001||Hillier Clay Loam||Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Syrah||?|
|Robert Thomas Estate Vineyards and Winery Inc.||?||Ameliasburgh Clay Loam||?||?|
|Terra Fertilis (Trivia Vineyard)||2009||Hillier Clay Loam||?||?|
|Two Bridges Vineyards||?||Ameliasburgh Clay Loam||?||?|
|Vignoble Plamondon||?||Ameliasburgh Clay Loam||?||By Chadsey's Cairns Winery, Bergeron Estate Winery, Lift Haus Winery|
|Wicked Point Vineyard||?||Farmington Loam||?||?|
- Government of Ontario (1999), Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999
- PECWA (2010), Prince Edward County Wine Region
- Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association (2010), History
- Statistics Canada (21 March 2007), The Canadian Fruit and Vegetable Canning, Pickling and Drying Industry
- Waupoos Estates Winery, About Us (Our Winery)
- Webb, Margaret (14 June 2008), Everyone's in This Together
- Wine Access Magazine (2010), Canadian Wine Annual
- Heinricks, Geoff (2001), "Varieties", Starting a Vineyard in Prince Edward County, Bloomfield, Ontario: The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward
- Heinricks, Geoff (2004), A Fool and Forty Acres, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, ISBN 978-0-7710-4054-2
- Heinricks, Geoff (2004), Starting a Vineyard in Prince Edward County, Bloomfield, Ontario: The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward, ISBN 0-9692049-2-2
- Keint-he Winery and Vineyards, 2009
- Heinricks, Geoff (2001), "Terroir", Starting a Vineyard in Prince Edward County, Bloomfield, Ontario: The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward, ISBN 0-9692049-2-2
- PECWA (2008), Wine Tour Map