Stanners and Waupoos win Double Gold #ACWC


Stanners Vineyard

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.

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Spring Wines / Bay of Quinte Tourism Site

Please visit my blog Spring Offerings at Prince Edward County Wineries at the Bay of Quinte Tourism website

Going to the Dogs

John and  Sacha Squair are going it alone in the Prince Edward County wine region. They aren’t in Wellington, the Closson Road, Hillier, South Bay or North Marysburgh. They aren’t even near heavily trafficked roads like Huff Estates, Sugar Bush or Black Prince.  They are out in the middle of nowhere wine related  on Fish Lake Road way beyond Demorestville,  and there’s not another winery in sight for at least half an hour of driving.

Standing out from the crowd.
It’s not the only way John Squair stands apart from the other wineries. After seven years working with Sandbanks Estates Winery, John knows that there are three ways to approach running a winery.

3 Dog Winery

3 Dog Winery

You can have deep pockets and be a purist and use only Prince Edward County vinifera grapes, you can grow affordable hardy grapes which the market is not all that interested in buying, or you can use what you have and blend it with grapes from Niagara and make enough to pay your bills

John opted for #3, actually, he  had no choice. He and Sacha had planted grapes for their own wine consumption on the Fish Lake Road property back in 2003, but they both continued to hold down full-time jobs. With his 50th birthday on the horizon, John realized the time was right for them to start their own winery. There was one problem, you must have five acres of vines planted  to start a winery, they only had three.

Getting by with a little help from his friends
Undaunted, he sent out an email to everyone  on his  contacts list who loved wine and invited them to a planting party. After seven years at Sandbanks, John knew a lot of people and they all turned up. There was even a waitlist, County Cider donated cider, Barley Days donated beer,  Rosehall Run, Karlo Estates, Lighthall  Vineyards and others donated wine. Food was donated by Seed to Sausage, Fiddlehead Farms, Pyramid Farms and Ferments as well as desserts from Moonlight on the Lake B & B. It was a huge success, despite the rain. At the end of it all, he had 7 acres of vines planted, more than enough to meet the legal requirements;  however, only three acres of mature grapes were ready for harvest and the other four acres would take three more years before they could be picked. Continue reading