Country Dream featured vineyard philosopher

Everything Seems Normal. But It's Not.

Woody is looking sad. He has no one to welcome to the winery.

Hey Folks, we hope you are all keeping safe and healthy.  Things are pretty quiet here with the tasting room closed and no one coming down the driveway. Woody is a little bored.

I looked around the winery today and did a status check on everyone else…

 No signs of distress amongst the chickens.  Egg production is up again after a brief downturn when I turned off their light.  Good chickens!
The Babydoll sheep are looking fat and fluffy.  Maybe this year we will get them working in the vineyard like they were supposed to.  

The creatures are as happy as ever. Innocence and bliss.

Spring has begun.  Everyone is healthy here.  Our family is doing well.  The Kids are home and everyone is together for a brief time, which is valuable because our family is at the critical juncture where the Kids start to leave the nest for post secondary school.

 My broken ankle is nearly fully mended, which is just fabulous. 

 Spring has sprung and beautiful sunny days have returned to the County.  I am spending time working in the vineyard, which is tough manual work but for some reason I love to do it.  It challenges my body in a good way and gives me a deep restful sleep – great for lowering stress.

 This year we have responsibility for both vineyards at By Chadsey’s Cairns Winery: the Applehouse Vineyard and the King Eddy Vineyard.  Back in the days when we only dreamed about Prince Edward County, these were the vineyards in my dreams – nice rolling land, a southern aspect, with views of Lake Ontario.  Now here we are . 

 When I’m in the King Eddy Vineyard, I gaze at the deep azure waters of Lake Ontario and try to imagine an invisible pestilence blowing across the land, infecting all the breeze touches.  I try to imagine it, but I can’t.   The view is too pretty.

Let us help you stay stocked with delicious locally produced wine. You can help us by ordering direct from our winery.  Our tasting room has been closed for two weeks with no opening date in sight but you can still order wine via our web site at http://www.brokenstonewinery.com or by phoning Tim directly at 416-557-7565.  We will deliver for free if you live in the County, are a wine club member, or if you order more than six bottles.  

Plan to pay electronically with a credit card or Paypal via our web site – that’s a lot safer than cash or cheques these days. 

Ordering wine from us keeps you safe – only Micheline or I will pack your wine. We wear latex gloves to handle your order and personally deliver it to your safe location.   

Entrepreneur, Winegrower and Father. I write about going for your dreams, living authentically, raising a family and building a winery from scratch in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

4 comments on “Everything Seems Normal. But It's Not.

  1. Heather Sadler

    Very interested in your winery! Are your wines sulphur-free? do you use natural yeasts or commercial yeast?

    • Hi Heather,

      Thank you so much for reaching out.

      The short answer is that we do use low levels of sulphites in making our wine and on bottling it. In fact, all wines – natural or not – will have some sulphite in them because yeast produces sulphites when it ferments. We use commercial yeast so we can consistently ensure a delicious result from our fermentations.

      It sounds to me like you are interested in the idea of “natural wines”.

      Although there is no official definition of a natural wine, typically this philosophy follows the route of using natural yeast for fermentation, low or no use of sulphites, and little-to-no fining or filtering on bottling.

      Although natural wine techniques can result in interesting wines, it is a risky approach from a winemaker’s perspective and can produce widely variable results. Commercial yeast, sulphites, and filtration are all used for very good reasons.

      Commercial yeast can be from a number of species but the main yeast used is Saccharomyces Cerivisea. This is the same species used in making bread and beer making. It is very good at fermenting sugars into alcohol and at multiplying rapidly to outcompete all the other yeasts and organisms that want to consumer the sugars in raw grape juice. Commercial Saccharomyces Cerivisea is usually isolated from naturally occurring yeast that created particularly delicious wines on a consistent basis, then propagated and sold.

      Another important property of Saccharomyces Cerivisea is that it can tolerate SO2 or sulphites that inhibit the activities of spoilage yeasts as well as inhibiting the growth of vinegar bacteria. This means that a winemaker can add SO2 to grape juice, and then start the ferment with commercial yeast, and have a high chance of a good result, as long as the process is started with healthy grapes.

      Now, let’s consider the natural winemaker who has the philosophy of using only whatever organisms happen to be on the grapes and in the air at harvest to ferment the wine, with no sulphites. Because Saccharomyces Cerivisea is such an aggressive fermenter and outcompetes many other yeasts, if there is some around it’s possible that the wine will ferment with similar results. But there are many other villianous yeasts that can get in the wine and excrete off flavours like turpentine, paint thinner, horse manure, etc. And if there is a little bit of exposure to oxygen, acetobacter, uninhibited by SO2 can turn some alcohol into vinegar.

      Ultimately our goal is to please our customers who would like a high quality, clear wine with no off-flavours or objectionable aromas. In order to do consistently produce high quality wines, we believe the judicious use of sulphites and commercial yeasts are critical. We aren’t saying that natural wine can’t be high quality and delicious — we just think the winemaking approach is unnecessarily risky and can too often result in an inferior product, because the winemaker has a lack of control of the process.

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