* This is my fifth and final post in a series about Prince Edward County Winemakers that Uncork Ontario and I will be doing during the lead up to Terroir: The County Wine Celebration on May 3rd. I’m so excited to introduce my readers to even more PEC wineries!
Photo from the Half Moon Bay website
Half Moon Bay Winery uses only County grapes to produce their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay. They use minimal intervention and no pesticides or fertilizers to create wines that truly express the terroir of the County. That's why it makes perfect sense that they will be one of the many wineries participating in this year's Terroir Festival on May 3rd in Picton. Leading up to the festival, I asked Owner and Winemaker, Brian Mitchell, some questions about owning a vineyard in PEC.
Why did you choose Prince Edward County for the winery?
I love this area. I have been visiting here for about 30 years. I love the environment and the people and the spirit of the place It's very much like the east coast, where I grew up, except with better restaurants. When I started investigating areas for growing grapes I checked many places in the Niagara area and the Okanagan. They are both easier growing areas, and the Okanagan has a lot more sunshine, but I found a waterfront farm on rough land in the County and fell in love. The cool climate and limestone base make for hard farming, but provide the wines with delicious minerality and solid acidity.
What sets you apart from other PEC wineries? Any unique elements?
Another great aspect of the County is that everyone works together in spite of our many differences. We are a small winery, producing less than 1000 cases a year. We don't use chemical pesticides and we only make wines from grapes that we grow. We focus on quality. This year we plan to make more use of our beautiful waterfront. You are a smaller producer - do you plan to expand or stay at a boutique level?
This year we plan to expand our processing to improve efficiency and to build a more inviting tasting area, but we will not be expanding our vineyards or production. We will remain a boutique winery. Why do you participate in Terroir? Anything special planned for this year?
Terroir is the fun wine event of the year for me. I get to meet a lot of new people who are interested in wine and I get to chat with many of the grape growers and wine makers that I will never get to see once the new season is in full swing. It really feels like a celebration. Terroir is scheduled a little earlier this year and most of my spring releases are not yet ready. So I'm not planning special. Just bringing a few great old wines to celebrate the new season. Cheers!