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New season, new changes in Wine Country

By Charlotte McParland [1] 


PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – With thousands of tourists ready to flock to Prince Edward County, more than 30 wineries are getting ready for the new season. Some of them are doing so by introducing creative new ways to attract a crowd.

The Black Prince Winery [6] is one of many wineries bringing in changes for the upcoming season.

Geoff Webb, winemaker and general manager at Black Prince, said they will be creating a wine village with a barrel-maker, a new vinegar-making program, and a new make-your-own facility where anyone can come and make their own wine.

Pete Bradford, the wineries’ “cooper” is also another unique feature to their winery. Coopers are barrel-makers and Bradford is one of the last in all of Canada.

Bradford makes his barrels completely out of local wood, and says that this makes their wines 100 per cent Canadian.

Oliver Webb, marketing student from Loyalist College says their winery will stand apart from others for many reasons.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/good-prince-wineries-1159am.mp3 [7]

At Huff Estates Winery [8], another winery in the county, they use only local bread and cheese to accompany their wine tastings, and said they are rebranding to allow tourists to blend and mix their own wine from the barrel and then have it corked at the end to take home or have it shipped to them.

Every year the county–just a short 20 minute drive from Belleville–is visited by tourists from all over for its abundance of wineries, a growing industry since the beginning of the 21st century. But what makes the county so great for its wine?

It begins with the right climate and the soil found in Prince Edward County; Hillier Clay Loam or Ameliasburgh Clay Loam. This specific area of the county is one of the driest in Ontario.

The agricultural soils, combined with good drainage and clay plains are what makes the county a farmer’s perfect situation for harvesting.

The area is moderated with a sufficient lake effect breeze from Lake Ontario that makes the climate ideal for the wine growing seasons, by shielding off the fall frosts, and allowing the grapes to harvest longer than in other areas of the country.

Steve Magnotta is a sales associate at Terra Estate Winery [9]. In an email, he said  “our vineyard is graced with mineral rich limestone, the Holy Grail element in cool-climate viticulture”.

“We have soils with rock that absorb the heat of the day and then release it to ward off the coolness of night, as well these stony, gravelly soils that are able to drain off excess water…” he said.

Lyn from Huff Estates didn’t want to give out her last name. She attributes their tasty grapes from the rich soils of the county.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/huff-estates-better-clip1117am.mp3 [10]

Throughout the winter, all of the vines are taken off the wires and buried by hand and covered with soil to keep the buds safe from winter freezes.

Webb from Black Prince Winery [11]said that this past winter was a little different than the others with the warmer temperatures.

“It was challenging in the beginning because there wasn’t enough snow, and the snow is an insulator. With the right amount of snow we don’t worry about the temperatures when it drops well below freezing,” said Webb.

The snow, he explained, is used as a hibernation tool for the vines.

Webb said he’s looking forward to the start of the season. It officially opened up last weekend at Maple in the County, but the busy tourist season doesn’t start until the long weekend in May.


With the upcoming season in Prince Edward County quickly approaching, there is no shortage of rich agricultural history for the nature lover and new and exciting activities for the wine lover.