By Diva Shari Parsons
CLINTON – Sunny days call for jumping in the car and exploring our area.
I had seen an article on the new Maestrom Winery located southeast of Clinton, the first commercial winery in Huron County, and since my hubby had worked in the wine and spirits industry for many years and was interested in checking it out, off we went.
Although the address for the winery is in Seaforth, we discovered that we had to input Clinton on our GPS in order to find it. The winery is on Sanctuary Line just off Hwy. 8. There were smallish home-made road signs on each side of the highway and another one at a large, tan brick farmhouse.
We went down the driveway and parked under some trees across from the garage. One of the garage doors was open and we could see that inside was a small office and a table with wine bottles upon it.
We were greeted by a tall, pleasant young man named Brian, son of vintners Jim and Catherine Landsborough. I asked Brian about the inspiration for the winery’s name and he told me that it came from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Descent Into the Maelstrom”. The following is an explanation from the winery’s website:
“The Name – A Maelstrom is a powerful tidal current or whirlpool. In literature a Maelstrom is almost always used metaphorically to depict adversity and the hidden opportunities presented by that hardship. We chose the name to reflect our belief that challenges give rise to opportunity and, as is the case in Edgar Allen Poe’s descent into the Maelstrom, sometimes opportunity comes in the form of a wine barrel.”
The Landsborough’s descent into the maelstrom began in 2009 with the planting of the first vines of a single variety of grape. Now in 2015, there are eight acres planted with eight different varieties of grapes and it has been their first year of wine production. Maestrom Winery produces two white wines, Frontenac Blanc and Chardonnay, and two red wines, Tempest and Pinot Noir.
Brian offered us a wine tasting which I deferred to my husband as he is the “expert” and I am sensitive to yeasts. My hubby’s favourite was Tempest but he said that all the wines were comparable in quality and taste with any of the similar VQA wines that he has dealt with.
Maestrom Winery is also branching out into hard cider. They would like to use local apples but last year’s crops were damaged by frost in this area so this first cider pressing is made using apples from Collingwood. Unfortunately we were unable to sample the cider as it was not quite ready.
Both the wine and the cider are bottled at the winery. The wines range in price from $21 – $25 a bottle and while you can buy less expensive wine in a store, one must remember that this is a new, small output facility. You can purchase using cash, debit or credit.
After a pleasant and informative chat and wine tasting, we asked if we could see the vineyards. The vines are located just down the road on cattle pasture land. We enjoyed a stroll down the road admiring the ripening fruit in the quiet sunshine – quiet except for the blasting of the bird cannons – large and loud “pop-guns” on stands amongst the rows that go off at regular intervals to discourage the birds from sampling the tasty grapes.