Going "off-vine" for a few months leaves me woefully clueless on what's new in the world of wine. So it's no surprise that I've only recently heard of (relative) newcomers Stone Crop Acres and Clos du Vully.
Stone Crop Acres Winery and Vineyard is based in Morrisburg, Ontario. Owner and certified sommelier Norene Hyatt-Gervais planted her vines in 2007, laying in cold climate varieties like Marquette, Louise Swenson and Frontenac Gris. Initially, Hyatt-Gervais sold off her fruit to other buyers, but in 2016, she decided it was time to start making her own wine. (Back in the day, her dad was buying grapes for his home brew, which percolated in demi-johns in the basement ... not like what some folks do, with the whole Rubbermaid bins covered in cheesecloth ...)
The first vintages were released this year, just in time for the grand opening in July of the tasting room and retail shop. Four whites and a Nouveau-style red that sold out in a month. Stone Crop's first barrel-aged red, a Frontenac Noir/Cabernet Franc blend, will be the highlight at the winery's Christmas Cheer event, starting this Saturday, December 9.
Vignoble Clos du Vully is run by winemaker and grape grower Jan Daniel-Etter with his partner Anne Grenon. Together they tend five thousand vines of cold-hardy grapes and craft artisanal whites, reds and rosés, both sweet and dry, from their own fruit and from extra procured from growers in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In May 2016, they opened the doors of their barn-turned-tasting room and welcome guests every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., year-round. Gift baskets, gift certificates and wine (of course!) are all available for purchase.
Need some other ideas for the holidays? Skip the malls and day-trip to some of these local gems for great wine and merrymaking:
Domaine Perrault, Navan - Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11-5, until December 24. Marilys has got to be one of my favourite rosés; the reds are big, robust and perfect for long winter nights.
Jabulani Vineyard and Winery, Richmond - The winery's annual Christmas event will be held on December 9-10 and 16-17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy mulled wine, hot chocolate and nibbles with a side of live music. All it costs is a donation (either cash or non-perishable food items) to the Richmond Food Bank.
KIN Vineyards, of Carp, Ontario, will be at the Christmas edition of the Ottawa Farmers' Market this year. Find them in the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne this weekend and next.