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    Winemaker's Logbook

    A Vineyard Update

    A Vineyard Update

    With these milder temperatures and the melting snow, it seems that spring has started a bit early this year. This has us excitedly starting our vineyard work for the season!

    While our vinifera vines remain buried under the soil, we can start working on the canes above ground.

    Above is a picture of our Gewurztraminer vines. You can see the aerial canes above ground. There are also 6-8 canes per vine buried under the mound of soil around the vine. We start by pruning off all of the aerial canes and pulling them out of the vineyard to suppress any potential diseases that have overwintered on these canes. 

    Once the soil has dried out a bit more and we are able to get our tractor in to the vineyard, we will start to remove the soil from over the buried canes. When we have these 6-8 canes exposed, we will prune down to two canes per vine and tie them to the fruiting wire. We aim to have these practices completed before the expected bud break around early to mid-May.

    We also have about 1.5 acres of hybrid vines. These vines are much more tolerant of the winter temperatures so we do not have to bury these vines under the soil. This means that we can get started working on these vines right away. These vines get pruned to 2-4 canes per vine depending on the health and productivity of each vine. The canes then get tied to the fruiting wire in anticipation of bud break. 

    Timing of these tasks is crucial so that we can eliminate any risk of mechanical damage from un-burying and tying the vines which would reduce our overall yield. It's a busy but exciting time as we welcome this new season!

    If you have a question or a topic you would like to know more about, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at winery@harwood.co (yes..CO) and we will cover it in a future post!
    Our Tasting Room is open for purchase or picking-up pre-placed orders from noon-5pm everyday. We are not serving tastings or food pairings per provincial regulation during the spring and summer of 2020. Stay tuned for further info on this schedule.
    Harwood wines are available in many LCBO and Grocery stores all over Ontario. Here's a link Where To Buy Our Wine 


    Pinot Noir

    Pinot Noir

    I was sitting in a cozy, dark restaurant in Beaune, the Heart of Burgundy, France. My good friend ordered us a bottle of wine. He asked me what I thought. The nose was layered. It fluttered between cherries and violets and earth. The tannins were silky and soft, the acidity invited you back for more. It was complex and it was subtle. It was elegant and perfect. It was a beautiful example of a Volnay. I always knew I had a love for Pinot Noir, but tasting this wine solidified that. I wanted to make a wine like this.

    Pinot Noir is one of the greatest grapes. You can love it, you can hate it, but I just don't think you can deny it. It is a tell-all grape. It will expose you as a grape grower and as a winemaker. There is no hiding anything in a Pinot Noir, it will show you all it's cards.

    This authenticity of Pinot Noir I think is also what makes it so magical. When you taste a Pinot, you can truly get an idea of what the weather and climate were like that season, what the soil is like, and what decisions the winemaker made. It is a grape that honestly reflects it's terrior. If you over-manipulate it in the winery, you will taste it. It is a grape that demands to be respected.

    Although Pinot is grown widely throughout the world, there are few places that it showcases best. In my opinion, Prince Edward County is one of those places. We don't get the power and structure of some of the warmer regions, what we get is subtlety, concentration and beautiful lively acidity.

    Here at Harwood we grow two different clones of Pinot Noir - 115 and 667. Both clones originate from the most well known home of Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France. We keep these clones separate throughout picking, fermentation and barrel aging. Typically, 115 will give brighter fruit flavours where 667 will give a deep concentration of fruit but also an earthy note. They both comprise a portion of our final Harwood Pinot Noir.


    Pinot aging in French oak in our barrel cellar.


    Pinot grows very well on our shallow, limestone soils and fits perfectly within our shorter and cooler growing season. When we feel our Pinot grapes are at their optimal ripeness, we pick, crush and destem and then ferment at a slightly cooler temperature to preserve it's aromatic integrity. We barrel age our Pinot for about 16 months in a mixture of new and older French oak barrels of varying formats. From a winemaking perspective, Pinot is a unique grape to work with as it builds a vast amount of complexity throughout the élevage process. It can be nail-biting as you watch it age and truthfully I am not at ease until it is safe and in bottle!


    Currently we are selling our 2017 Pinot Noir online and in our retail store. 


    So I encourage you to come by and try our Pinot, we hope you'll fall in love with it too. There are many other wineries in Prince Edward County making some amazing Pinot so I also encourage you to try those too! Explore other Pinot Noir's from around the world, compare them to our county Pinot's and see if you can taste a sense of place! Let us know what you think!

    If you have a question or a topic you would like to know more about, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at winery@harwoodestatevineyards.com and we will cover it in a future post!

    Our tasting room is open 11- 6 everyday, all year long!

    Pressing at Harwood 2019

    Pressing at Harwood 2019

    A quick video view of Grape Pressing as we do it many times each fall Harvest at Harwood. Winemaker Karlee Moore and Property Manager Dave Brough running the gear.

    Read more

    Blooming in the Vineyard, Booming in the Winery

    Blooming in the Vineyard, Booming in the Winery

    So you're thinking about visiting Prince Edward County wine country? But, when is the best time to come to actually experience the happenings of the vineyard and winery? Well, there are many captivating times that you could pick. There is the hustle and bustle of harvest in the fall. There is the excitement and satisfaction of bottling which happens both in the spring and late summer. There's also veraison in early August when the vines are full of green canopy and the grapes turn colour, marking the start of their ripening process. But truly, one of the most magical and organoleptically satisfying times is now, when the grape vines are in bloom.

        Pictured above is a "cluster" of flowers in bloom.
    This structure is also called an inflorescence

     Did you know that each grape starts as a flower? A grape flower begins as a closed structure allowing the reproductive organs to be enclosed by a cap called a calyptra. The species of grapevine that we commonly grow, Vitis Vinifera, are self-pollinating and considered perfect flowers. This means that the flower has both male and female parts. The female organ is at the base of the flower and is called the pistil. It has an opening on the top of the structure called a stigma. Five stamens surround the pistil and each stamen has an anther on top which is the male organ containing the pollen. When the cap (or calyptra) falls off the pollen lands on the stigma and pollination occurs. Eventually the pistil will form our beloved grape and we enter the stage known as fruit set.

    Pictured above is a grape flower with the parts labelled. 

     So let's do some math: there are about 75-100 grapes per cluser; about 15 clusters per vine; 1200 vines per acre, and we have about 15 planted acres (allowing for some mortality) - that's 20,250,000 flowers! The entire vineyard is filled with this sweet soft scent and it looks gorgeous too.

    Pictured above is the beginning of fruit set. 

    In addition to our vines being in bloom, there are a few other things you might see while you're visiting the winery. In the vineyard, you will see our team thinning the shoots of the vines. This opens up the canopy allowing light and air through. In the winery, we just finished a really large bottling which means that there are some special releases coming up in the next week or so! Stay tuned!

    If you have a question or a topic you would like to know more about, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at winery@harwoodestatevineyards.com and we will cover it in a future post!

    Our tasting room is open 11- 6 everyday, all year long!



    Deconstructing Our Windward White

    Deconstructing Our Windward White

    Harwood Estate Vineyards Windward White - a fresh, enticing and fruit forward wine that is versatile with food or delightful on it's own. Sounds simple enough, right? But beneath this fairly simple and clear description is a complex matrix of thought, skill and individual components, all woven together to build this complex yet effortless wine. Let's take a deeper look.

    Windward White is one of our most popular wines. We have been making this wine since 2012. It is also one of our most widely available wines and can be found in our retail shop, online, in select LCBO's and grocery stores. A significant feature of our Windward White is that it is a blended wine. It can be broken down to its components of 4 different grapes: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Vidal and Chardonnay. The individual characteristics of these grapes and the percentages of them that we use all work together to create our seamless Windward.


    Our 2018 Windward White patiently waits in tank for bottling. 

    The art of blending has been practiced for many years in winemaking history and there are many regions famous for this practice. Consider Bordeaux, France - one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world. A bottle of Chateau Latour can sell for well over $1000. Bordeaux is typically a blended wine made from different variations and combinations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Often you will see a variation of this blend in Ontario called Meritage. Blending is a skill that we, as winemakers, must learn and continue to develop throughout our career. It requires the ability to taste a particular wine and understand how it's characteristics will interact with other components. It involves a lot of trial and error in the form of many tastings - it's hard work, but someone has to do it, right?!

    When we begin constructing our Windward White we first start by creating an organoleptic picture in our mind - an ideal for what we want the wine to be and to express. We then look for the base wines that will help paint that picture. So for our Windward, we want to create an experience for our senses that is full of flavour and freshness; one that entices you to take another sip. We want a wine that is complex enough to pair with your favourite meals, but simple enough that you can enjoy on it's own. We selected four grapes that will help us achieve this. Let's look a little deeper at each of the components:

    Riesling: Riesling is high in acidity. We use this as a backbone to support the blend and provide freshness. It imparts a lively citrus character and depending on the vintage, it can also provide notes of tropical fruit, apricot, green apple, lime and honey. The backbone of acidity also helps contribute to a long finish.

    Vidal: Vidal is all about the mouthfeel and the aromatics. It adds pleasant flavours of peach, honeysuckle, pineapple and citrus. It has a richly textured palate which adds body and complexity to the blend.

    Chardonnay: Chardonnay is one of those grapes that sort of has it all. It adds weight, flavour, aromatics and acidity. It's not a grape that is excessive in any of those departments, but is just right and helps provide a solid base for the additional components of the blend.

    Gewürztraminer: Gewürztraminer is an aromatic grape, and we love the tropical notes of lychee, mango and the zesty notes of grapefruit and orange peel mixed with it's delicate florality that enhances the nose of our blend.

    Now that we have selected our base wines, this is where the trial and error comes in. We perform a series of tastings and blending trials which include different combinations of these wines until we find that perfect combo. From year to year, the percentages of the grapes in the blend will change. This is due to vintage variations and how we feel the wines are tasting, but we tend to always keep those four grapes. After we have decided on the components of our blend, we blend the wines together, stabilize and bottle!

    From a winemaking perspective, blends are fun to make. They also help us maintain consistency amongst a style of wine from year to year. Our Windward White isn't the only blend we do! Our other blends include Admirals Blend, Meritage and our County Red - all available for tastings in our retail shop in Hillier, Prince Edward County, Ontario! We hope to see you soon!

    If you have a question or a topic you would like to know more about, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at winery@harwoodestatevineyards.com and we will cover it in a future post!

    Our tasting room is open 11 - 6 all year long! Click/Tap here for directions.