The first time I visited Stanners Vineyard in 2012, I was told they specialized in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Almost every Prince Edward County winery I visited that year were doing the same two wines. How do you compete I wondered, when all 30 of the other wineries in the region were featuring the same two wines.
Father and son team, Cliff and Colin Stanners have diversified a little over the years with one of the best County Pinot Gris which is only made in small batches, a Riesling and a Cabernet Franc, but the focus and the love has been on the Pinot Noir and this year they are getting national and international recognition for that dedication.
WSET the Wine and Spirits Education Trust offers educational programs for people in the wine and spirits business. My cousin Paul has a WSET Diploma Level 4 which provides specialist-level knowledge in wine and spirits, for both the trade professional and serious wine enthusiast.
Paul is an architect in the UK but his company supports life long learning, so when asked what he’d like to take courses in, he chose WSET. Although it has nothing to do with his work, it gives focus to a lot of his travel choices.
He took classes once a week for two years. The course involved written papers on wine regions, styles, viticulture, vinification and marketing as well as blind tastings similar to those on WineAlign‘s annual So You Think You Know Wine Challenge videos requiring experts to identify the grape variety, region, quality and age of a selection of anonymous wines.
When Paul visited us in Ontario, he wanted a wine tour in Prince Edward County which included a visit to Norman Hardie’s Winery. The Wine Society of UK of which he is a member imports cases of Norm’s unfiltered County Pinot Noir and Norm’s Niagara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Continue reading →
2015 was a year of discovery while wine touring in Prince Edward County and beyond.
I emerged from winter cold storage in May for Terroir in the County and my blog 42 Splashes of Wine outlined the joys and dangers of being a wine blogger and elicited some much needed advice from other wine bloggers afterwards on the protocols of spitting. I’m looking forward to next year’s Terroir when hopefully I will be able to walk a straight line on my way back to the car, which is never driven by me.
Terroir set the tone and provided the leads for some of the most fun writing assignments I had this year. Continue reading →
It’s a scientific fact that women have more taste buds than men. In fact 35% of women qualify as ‘super tasters’ and only 15% of men but most of us know good when we taste it. Winemakers are super tasters, or they wouldn’t be in business long. Another interesting fact: the majority of LCBO wine purchasers are women age 40 and older, Which might add to the success factor of women winemakers.
While researching a recent article for County and Quinte Living Women of the Grape, I had the privilege of meeting fourteen of those Super Women Tasters who work in winemaking in Prince Edward County. Not only do they make great wine but they have added significantly to the development of the County as a respected wine region. The first five are part owners of the wineries as well as winemakers. Continue reading →
A grape cluster in the early stages of veraison as the grapes start to ripen one by one
There was a joyful tweet that went out from one of the Prince Edward County wineries in early August. “Veraison has started!”
Veraison is that time of the year when the grapes start to ripen and change colour . The clusters are quite beautiful as they don’t all ripen at once. A cluster can have all possible shades between green to deep purple.
It’s also the sign to the viticulturalist or vineyard manager to get the pruning started. Although they could let the vines carry as many grapes as they can grow, the juice would be thin; however, if the grapes are pruned back to the best bunches, it forces the plant to give the grapes all its attention and the flavours will be more intense.
The pruned off grapes however don’t need to be wasted they can be turned into Verjus, an unfermented grape juice that is a mix of pressed ripe and unripe grapes that can be used in cooking or is great in martinis or salad dressing. Continue reading →