Huron County quickly becoming Ontario's latest wine destination with another new winery
WINGHAM, ONT -- Philip and Judy Keightley recognize they aren’t spring chickens anymore, but that’s not stopping the Bayfield grandparents from opening Huron County’s sixth winery.
“We first made wine when were first married, 47-48 years ago. Our kids think we’re crazy, they say ‘Mom, Dad, you’re too old, why don’t you retire?’ We don’t because we like a challenge,” says Philip and Judy, the founders and owners of Huron Estates Winery.
Four years ago, the Keightley’s planted a few hundred vines on the edge of Bayfield.
They’re now harvesting grapes from 5500 vines.
After starting some traditional varietals with mixed results, they’re now growing cold weather varietals, designed specifically for Ontario’s sometimes frigid winters.
“I think eventually Huron County’s going to get known for good quality wines from the cold climate vines.
That’s already happening with Maelstrom, Cornerfield, Schatz, and 2nd Streetlight. They’re already producing good quality wines from their own growth,” says Keightley.
With five wineries, seven breweries, and two cideries, Huron County is home to it’s own mini-Niagara.
When Huron Estates Winery opens, hopefully by the end of next year, that will make six wineries, most built in the last four to five years.
“I think Huron County was trying to model this whole thing on Prince Edward County, and the way they started only 25 to 30 years ago, and they’re quite established now,” says Judy.
The excitement surrounding the burgeoning industry means volunteers come out to help the Keightley’s harvest their grapes.
Roger Lewington is one of those volunteer pickers.
“The Keightley’s have done a lot in the community, so I think a lot of people are willing to come out, and it’s just fun,” he says.
The Keightley’s hope to have their Huron Estates Winery built and operational by the end of next year, just south of Bayfield. For more on Huron County’s current wineries and breweries, you can visit www.Ontarioswestcoast.ca.