Monday, March 30, 2009

Meadows by the Lake

We are pleased to let you know that the “Meadows” has re-opened after the heart-breaking kitchen fire last Fall. You’ll love it-it’s nicely renovated after the damage, but feels warm and friendly like it always did. We’re so glad to have Wayne & Neda & the staff of the Meadows back! It sure has been a long winter without them!

aside: To those of you that do not live or have a cottage, or summer home in the area, the Meadows was built some 87 years ago, we learned this weekend. As a note of trivia when we applied for our winery license in 2002 we learned that the township we are in was "dry" until 1983. The Meadows, while only 3 miles west of us, is across the township line, and that township was not dry since prohibition in 1920's. At any rate, the Meadows is a great neighborhood restaurant - roadhouse, with great character, and in my opinion, the best Lake Erie Perch anywehre although their menu has many, many more items. We are sure glad they have reopened!

Photos: 2007 Cabernet and 2007 Blanc de Blancs, Courtesy Essex Wine Review -both served at the Meadows.

Bald Eagles Return

Yes! They’re back….the bald eagles have migrated and are back. Not only are the bald eagles the King of the Raptors, and a sign that the Lake and our environment are becoming healthy once again, they also are important to us in the vineyard. They are important as they are territorial. When our vineyard is part of their territory other birds are not allowed in. This is a huge help to us in August and September in protecting the grape crop from the starlings. While eagles normally are fish eaters, the other birds still respect their land territory-even hawks and falcons. Being just 600 meters(yards) from the lake shore, their preferred food is right here. They will go for other birds or small rodents, but only if they are very hungry.

We'll post a photo once we get one. They are very difficult to get a decent photo of as they fly very, very high above the vineyard.

Note: These pictures are just a few of many great ones I received from Len Strahl.

Just to show how difficult to get these photos- the photo below is the one I took of the Bald Eagles. Thank you Len, and thank you John!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Staff Pick!-2007 VQA Baco Noir

We are pleased to have had our 2007 VQA Baco Noir wine selected by the Belle River LCBO store as their Staff Pick. As I understand it all the staff must vote on the product they pick as their staff pick for promotion by the till. Thank you!

Our Baco is a heavier red wine, with blackberry and currant flavours. It's a great wine with all the grilled red meats, tomato sauce pastas and lamb.

The wine writers and sommoliers are also putting it at the end of the meal with dessert--ie Dark Chocolate and richer desserts like Cherries Jubilee. This wine matching would be as an alternative to a dessert type wine like icewine.

Photo courtesty of Essex Wine Review.

Monday, March 16, 2009

VQA 2006 Duet the Favourite at the Wine & Cheese

What a wonderful time and great turnout to the recent Wine and Cheese event at the Harrow Agricultural Hall on March 6th. Many great people turned out. A great band-local too! Great food and 14 wineries!

We brought 7 wines, but by far the most popular was the new Duet! We brought twice what we thought we needed, and we ran out an hour before the end of the event. We hope you enjoyed the event as well.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Budburst is still six weeks away

With Spring seemingly just around the corner, we are in the vineyard preparing for budburst. Grapes are one of the last plants to bud-out in spring. Our earliest variety is Baco Noir. In an early spring, budburst on this variety would be the last week of April. In a late spring-year bud burst for our Baco Noir would be mid-May.
We remove 90% of last years growth before spring-or budburst. Only the canes (or shoots) developed from the previous year are fruitful, and we only need 10% of what a normal year grows to produce a normal crop. If we leave too many buds, the grape crop will not mature properly. If we leave too few, we will encourage too much vegetative growth on the vines, and the fruit will not mature properly as well. As in many aspects of winegrape growing and winemaking, assuming cleanliness and timeliness of practices, balance is the key.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Surely Spring is Here…

We started pruning our Baco Noir this week. Normally when we start pruning it is quite cold with little sign of birds. This past week though , we noticed a number of birds. The Canada Geese were flying in formation North as were the elegant and pure white Trumpetor Swans. While these birds are great to watch, a sure sign of spring is when the red-winged black birds return to the creek that runs between our two vineyard blocks. The red-winged black birds are our early migratory birds and also resident birds. These particular birds are also beneficial to us as they eat many insects that could be pests to our grapes. We are pleased that they were back this week.
While these birds are familar to us here at the Lake Erie Shore and just inland, a great many birds migrate through this area via Holiday Beach and Point Pelee. Holiday Beach is only 5 miles west of us here at Erie Shore, and Point Pelee National Park only 21 miles east of us. These areas see many more birds than we do here and has been recogniced by Birder’s World Magazine as one of the “top 15 birding spots in North America” has also been dubbed the “Warbler Capital of Canada” .
If anyone has interest in following the bird migration, The Friends of Point Pelee and Point Pelee National Park welcome “birders” each spring to experience the avian migration phenomenon from Canada’s southernmost mainland. They offer to teach birding techniques and identification as well as interesting facts about the park. Anyone can take a guided bird hike, but registering for guided bird hikes at 8:30am, 1:00pm or the evening twilight hikes at the DeLaurier Homestead is recommended. Birders could also register online or by phone 888-707-3533 or 519 326-6173. There are maximum numbers for each hike, so advanced registration is recommended.

Also of note is the:

FESTIVAL OF BIRDS 2009 –May 2nd-18th, 2009, Point Pelee National Park of Canada

and the: Festival of Hawks this fall at Holiday Beach Conservation Area (5 Miles West of Erie Shore Vineyard) September 12th through September 26th from 9am to 3pm. See their Website: ERCA: Calendar of Events