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Wineries watching for signs of recovery after frost bites PEC vineyards

Prince Edward County’s Winegrowers Association is hoping it will be business as usual this season for the County’s 40-plus wineries despite last weekend’s frost.

“Last weekend’s weather was the coldest on record for several decades,” said Kathleen Greenaway, chair of the association, “We’re farmers and we manage whatever mother nature chooses to dish out.”

Greenaway said the extent of the damage to this year’s crop will not be known for some time but already there are signs of recovery.

Environment Canada says temperatures near Prince Edward County fell to lows last Friday and Saturday that haven’t been seen on those dates since before 1935, when it began keeping records in the area.

“In the aftermath of the severe cold incident early Saturday morning it is heartening to see the County wine industry rally,” she said. “We remain confident that our winegrowers will produce the fine quality of wine in 2015 that visitors to the County have come to expect. In the meantime, it is business as usual.”

The Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association represents more than 30 winegrowers in Ontario’s fastest growing designated viticultural area.

Vineyard planting began in the late 1990s in the County.

Greenaway says that despite an occasionally challenging microclimate, PEC wineries have flourished, producing award-winning, world-class wines vintage after vintage.

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  1. Snowman says:

    @Wolf:
    The last cannery closed after the 1989 crop was harvested.
    Cobi foods in Bloomfield. Tomatoes and pumpkin were the crops.
    I too believe that Phil Mattheson had grapes planted after the mid 1980’s.

  2. Mark says:

    And some of it was local. My family had made wine from County grapes for over a century!

  3. Marnie says:

    You probably heard that county people were drinking wine back in those days. It just wasn’t local vintage.

  4. Mark says:

    Depends what grapes you are talking about. Wild grapes have been here for centuries. Concord grapes have been here a very long time.

  5. Wolf Braun says:

    My understanding is that people were growing grapes when we still had a canning industry. Can someone confirm that?

  6. Sarah Moran Collier says:

    Marnie and Chuck, it probably was the early eighties indeed, because now that I think about it, the vines were already in the ground by 1986.

  7. Marnie says:

    Might even be early eighties Chuck. Phil used to write a column in the Gazette I think. He had the idea of growing grapes here a long time ago. It did not originate with the present-day vintners.

  8. Chuck says:

    So late eighties or long before?

  9. Marnie says:

    Phil was one of the first to pursue the idea of growing grapes in the county. It was long before the 1990s’.

  10. Sarah Moran Collier says:

    Just to give some respect to the pioneers of the difficult work of establishing vineyards here in the county, Phil Mattheson was planting in the late eighties and there may be others too.

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