There aren’t many days on the farm that I don’t encounter an unknown automobile meandering slowly down our driveway. They approach very cautiously, sometimes stopping multiple times, seemingly contemplating whether this could possibly be the place they were looking for. If I’m working in the grape rows anywhere near the driveway I try to flag down these folks and invite them in for a tasting. Most times I end up chasing their vehicle while waving my arms wildly. Come to think of it, perhaps that is exactly why most of them speed away in a cloud of dust.
Then there are cars that come in with a purpose. They see me in working in the rows before I see them, and they end up scaring the crap out of me as they sneak up and snap me out of my iPod-induced trance. For some reason these are usually the unabashed people I end up becoming fast friends with. Steven and Jennifer Vipond fall into this category.
Last summer I watched as a red Volkswagen Beetle pulled right up to where I was doggedly defoliating some Clone 7 Shiraz vines. I trotted out to meet them and noticed the “Bruce Wine Bar” logo on their rear window. We exchanged pleasantries and I subsequently sent them up to our barn for a tasting with Wilma. Two hours later, I watched from the far end of that Shiraz row as the red Beetle pulled away. That was how our relationship with Steven and Jennifer began.
They are the proprietors of Bruce Wine Bar and Kitchen, located in Thornbury, Ontario. The Lowreys and the Viponds hit it off right away and Jennifer even ventured all the way from Thornbury to help us hand pick our 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. What an enjoyable time that was, our last hand pick of the season on a gorgeous Fall day. They have carried our wine at Bruce ever since that fortuitous first meeting.
I’m pleased to say that I finally have the chance to travel to Thornbury and dine at Bruce. They will be hosting a Winemaker’s Dinner featuring Five Rows on Wednesday, May 9th. The menu will feature our 2008 Shiraz, 2009 Cab Sauv Icewine and mark the debut of our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. If you would like to join us and meet Steven and Jennifer, please contact them at the restaurant or flag down the next red Beetle you see. You just might get lucky.