Huron County’s first commercial Winery & Cidery are open for business.
Jim Landsborough and Catherine Peckitt-Landsborough have roots deep in Huron County. Jim and his ancestors have farmed in Tuckersmith Township located in the Municipality of Huron East since 1834. And the present 100-acre spread Jim and Catherine call home was once part of her family farm. However since 2009, this industrious couple has put down quite different roots, while embarking on an enterprise that‘s brought a new industry to Huron County—wine making.
And not just ordinary wines. Their goal has been to produce the highest quality wine from the very best grapes that Huron County can grow. Following considerable research, which included hiring renown cool climate consultant, Kevin Ker to assist with site and vine selection and visits to numerous wineries in Canada and the USA, as well as a one acre test plot and several trial batches. Maelstrom’s vineyard now spreads over eight acres and comprises 9,600 vines.
Huron East has proven to be just the place to deliver the moderate adversity that grape vines require to produce excellent fruit—the plants need stress to condense the grapes, which results in the most flavourful wines. This boutique winery is growing several hybrid grape varieties developed as cold-hardy, disease tolerant, and early ripening. And Jim and Catherine have also put in vitis vinifera, pure bred European vines, planted on a root stock that makes them hardier. Maelstrom Winery will produce red, white, and rosé wines as well as blends and sparkling cider.
Ably assisted by their sons, Brett, Blaine and Brian, who are very much involved with the business, this visionary couple is looking forward to further developing this unique initiative, one that’s sure to heighten the profile of Huron County with wine-lovers and tourists alike.
With perseverance, and passion, the Landsboroughs have nurtured their dream to reality. Maelstrom Winery & Cidery with its exceptional products is now ready for sale, and open to the public Friday to Sunday (each weekend) from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at their acreage, just west of Seaforth at 78925 Sanctuary Line off Highway 8.
“Our business is an adventure and a venture,” she goes on. “The weather here is just what specialty grape vines need to thrive. A bit like those who come to Huron County—and either see the beauty of its storms or move on. We make the cold and snow work for us at Maelstrom Wines.”
The Landsboroughs retained winemaker Marius Gitoi, a knowledgeable and skillful vintner experienced with cool climate wines and cider, and who, at one time, taught university courses on wine analysis and wine chemistry in his homeland of Romania. To say Marius “knows” his wines is an understatement! Recent tasting parties have been a huge success—Marius has taken Maelstrom’s excellent wines and made them superb.
Whether it be their ruby red Marquette, the unoaked fruity Chardonnay, or light and spicy red blend, aficionados are sure to be impressed with Maelstrom wines—especially as they are the first ‘grown and bottled’ in Huron County.
Another coup for the winery is that it includes the only commercial plot of mutant Frontenac Blanc vines in Ontario. This sure-to-be-popular white—only just being released for sale now—started out life as a red. However, its grapes mutated on the vine and evolved to what became Frontenac Blanc, a fruity, light, semi-dry wine, often chosen over Chardonnay by wine tasters.
Of note as well is Maelstrom’s cider, another specialty of their vintner Marius. Flavourful, semi-dry, with a softness, crispness and aroma that is unmistakably of apple, this cider is all natural—wild fermentation, natural yeast, pure processing and finished with natural low carbonation.
Be the first to partake of these firsts for Huron—outstanding wines made from the very best grapes Huron County can produce and a cider like no other. Maelstron Winery & Cidery – the toast of Huron East.
Shop in person, order online at www.maelstromwinery.ca or telephone 519-233-WINE (9463). Retail store open Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
Maelstrom Winery & Cidery 78925 Sanctuary Line. Just 5 kilometres west of Seaforth Ontario off Highway 8
Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer
Municipality of Huron East (519) 527 0160