In the year 1669, French explorers Dollier and Galinee travelled by canoe along the miles of sand beaches and shoreline of Lake Erie. At what is now Port Dover, they made camp for the winter. Here they discovered what they described as an earthly paradise. Galinee was so awed by what he saw, and perhaps inspired by what he tasted, that he came to foretell the region's wine future:
"I will tell you, by the way, that the vine grows here only in the sand, on the banks of lakes and rivers, but although it has no cultivation it does not fail to produce grapes in great quantities as large and as sweet as the finest of France. We even made wine of them, with which M. Dollier said holy mass all winter, and it was as good as vin de Grave. It is a heavy, dark wine like the latter. Only red grapes are seen, but in so great quantities that we found places where one could easily have made 25 to 30 hogsheads of wine!"
The Journey of Dollier and Galinee (1669-1670)
Jump forward over three hundred years. Seven individuals inspired by the land and it's rich history, heritage and various cultural backgrounds, formed the partnership and established Burning Kiln Winery. These individuals (Frank DeLeebeeck, Mike McArthur, Scott Fixter, Dave Pond, Todd Saunders, Steve Malo and Gord Malo) combined their skills, talents and passions for people and place to create a destination full of wine and adventure.
Norfolk County is located in Ontario's South Coast and geographically rests on the huge delta sandplain left over from the glacial deposits from thousands of years ago at the end of the last ice age. With a moderate climate and long growing seasons, the area eventually became home to abundant flora and fauna as well many great farms that included tobacco. The Burning Kiln name recalls the dangers of early tobacco farming and marks the end of this traditional farming activity today. From these ashes and traditions has emerged the rebirth and renaissance of what Dollier and Galinee had discovered - great land, great wine and great adventure!
The vineyard lands have adopted the noble European vinifera varietals including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Savagnin vines first planted in 2006.
Burning Kiln celebrated a remarkable first harvest in 2010 after a long summer of sun and warm lake breezes. The first wines will be released in the Spring of 2011. The architectural design has likewise transformed a traditional barn into a must-see structure with scenic views over those same waters and sand beaches written about by discoverers long ago. Come and experience for yourself the beauty, tastes and adventure when Burning Kiln Winery opens its doors to you in the spring of 2011.