This is the 6th post in a series on the upcoming Terroir event in Prince Edward County (Details here).
The title of this post is a quote I had seen attributed to Tim Kuepfer, who together with his wife Micheline, own & operate Broken Stone Winery in the Hillier region of Prince Edward County. The expression sums up their lives pretty well, as they split their time between Toronto and the County, with most weekends and vacations spent tending to the vines and the wines they produce. The distance can be challenging, and with three girls, this sometimes means Micheline stays in Toronto to get the girls to their activities while Tim travels alone to the County to tend to the grapes.
When they purchased the property in 2008, there was less than 2 acres of vines already planted, but the vines hadn’t even been trellised. They figured they would tend to the vines and hadn’t originally planned to be hobby grape growers or winemakers. They just had a longer term vision that they wanted to live in the County eventually, and the vines gave them a great excuse to visit regularly. They bought a tractor and trellised the vines. Within two years they were able to harvest the grapes. They processed they at Sugarbush Vineyards, and the result got them enthusiastic about the potential of their little vineyard. After that season they planted up to the 5 acres required to get a manufacturing license.
Originally, Tim was doing all the work himself but he soon realized the expanded 5 acres was just too much for one person and they started hiring labour to assist in the vineyards. They now have almost 3 acres of Pinot Noir, 2 acres of Chardonnay, and some Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris. When I ask about winemaking versus grape growing, Tim’s response is similar to Battista’s at Hubbs Creek “We believe most of the wine making happens in the vineyard, and our job is simply to create the conditions to let delicious wines happen.”. Broken Stone’s wines reflect little manipulation, keeping them as true as possible. Given that the Terroir event is really a celebration of those vineyard conditions, Tim’s statement and his winemaking really resonate with the theme.
When I ask what prompted this adventure, Tim says years ago Micheline had asked him what he wanted to Christmas, and he told her “a book about packing up the family and sailing around the world, or moving to the County”. Micheline found him “A Fool and Forty Acres” by Geoff Heinricks. The book would become Time’s guide to just about everything related to this adventure, and he prizes that on a visit to the winery, he was able to get Geoff to sign the copy he carries in his car. Tim laments that the hardest thing about chasing his dream has been the time he is forced to spend away from his family…they originally thought the whole family would be in the County all the time, but that romantic notion was more dream than reality.
At the end of our discussion, I ask Tim why folks should stop in and try his wines. We chat idly about location and the wines, but then Tim nails it:
“I think people who want to see someone who is putting it all on the line, and going for their dream should stop in and see us”.
Having had dreams of moving to the County myself, I can’t think of any better reason!
Location: 524 Closson Road, Hillier, Ontario K0K 2J0
Hours: Fri-Mon, 11-5 starting Victoria Day Weekend