Natalie Preddie is a travel and lifestyle writer, speaker and guest expert on Cityline, Your Morning and Global’s The Morning Show.
This March we celebrate International Women’s Day and women’s history month, a time to recognize women around the world: past, present and future. As with many industries, the wine business has historically been male dominated. But every year, more and more female winemakers and vineyard owners arrive on the scene in a big way.
Currently, Ontario is home to a number of women-run wineries and female winemakers, each bringing a unique character and flavour to not only their wines, but to their beautiful properties and winemaking techniques. Although we cannot currently travel to each of these distinctive wineries, we can still celebrate Ontario’s women winemakers, their wines and the ways they are bringing their vineyards into our homes.
This mother-daughter-run winery is located in beautiful Prince Edward County. When mother, Caroline Granger, first returned to her childhood farm, she had no idea how to grow grapes and run a wine business. But she had a vision, a passion and drive. Twenty years later, alongside her daughter, Maggie, she’s established a successful winery in the County.
What differentiates Grange is its focus on the health of the natural ecosystem and its low-intervention approach, allowing for each bottle to be a true product of the land. The nurturing, thoughtful energy is apparent both in the bottle and on the vine.
Prior to lockdown, this picturesque property hosted scenic events, retreats and intimate private dining packages. Now, Grange Winery is staying connected with wine lovers by offering group virtual tastings and events.
Guided by a wine steward, guests can sample four Grange wines, accompanied by tasting notes, a keepsake glass and a lively Q & A session. And because Caroline and Maggie know that we all need something to look forward to this winter, Grange is offering a public Mid-March Blues Group tasting that will review the history of winemaking in Prince Edward County and the philosophy behind their winemaking.amphora method.
Leaning Post is a family dream come true for Nadia Senchuk and her husband, Ilya. From an idea in Winnipeg, where the pair met, to a vibrant vineyard in Stoney Creek, this winery has a woman at the helm and has recently brought on a female assistant winemaker.
Here, women are integral to the success of this business and the delicious wine they produce. Nadia is a true entrepreneur, overseeing all aspects of the business from sales to operations while Ilya handles the grapes and winemaking. For the Senchuks their goal is to translate a time and a place into liquid form.
Before lockdown, Leaning Post offered its wine club shipments of six bottles four times a year, along with tasting notes, harvest details and access to exclusive events. Not only has the wine club continued, but the winery also offers delivery, curbside pickup and virtual events and tastings.
Similar to the tasting experience at the winery itself, Nadia leads guests through a sampling of four Leaning Post wines and discusses terroir, tasting notes and winemaking techniques. Leaning Post is also holding unique virtual events such as the upcoming Freaks and Geeks tasting led by Ilya, while Nadia will be hosting private tastings and open virtual tastings every Friday and Saturday.
Famous for its commitment to small-lot wines, this award-winning winery is led by winemaker Emma Garner. Through Garner’s talent and guidance, the winery has won gold and platinum at both national and international competitions, making it the most awarded winery in Canada.
Located on the Beamsville Bench, this charming vineyard offers many exclusive wine-tasting experiences and exciting events. From personal guided tours and tastings (picture snowshoe hikes and tastings through the ice-covered vines), Thirty Bench also takes part in parties such as the Graze the Bench wine festival and also hosts its own annual soiree Riesling Rocks the Bench.
But until guests can safely visit the vineyard, Thirty Bench is creating new traditions by offering private virtual tasting experiences. Based on your preferences, the winery will curate and ship a tasting kit, and a dedicated winemaker will guide guests through a fun and delicious affair. To book your virtual tasting, visit the Thirty Bench events page on its website.