Please see my Five Rows Winemaker’s Journal for all future posts. Thanks for reading!
For those interested in a special culinary experience, I encourage you to join us for our upcoming Treadwell Winemaker’s Dinner on March 22.
This night is always a treat for my family, an opportunity to catch up with friends and share the amazing creations put together by the Treadwell team. It is an oasis of sorts in the midst of the winter grind.
Call James for details or to book a spot at the table (905-934-9797).
Back in the fall, we were visited by St. Catharines Standard photographer Bob Tymczyszyn on a few occasions over the course of harvest. The images he shot and subsequent article he wrote can be read here.
I will be forever grateful to Bob for capturing some special moments I enjoyed harvesting Syrah with my Mom and pressing Cab Sauv with my Dad. These are times I cherish, yet can’t truly appreciate until I see them through the eyes of someone creative like Bob.
I’d like to thank Rick VanSickle for including us in his latest article “The Fantastic Four: Exciting New Niagara Wineries That Are Setting The Bar For Excellence”.
It’s especially satisfying when someone takes the time to thoughtfully share the way we’ve chosen to craft and present our wines. Rick has been a great supporter of Five Rows since we first opened back in 2008. To hear him describe the unique manner in which my mother entertains her guests makes me happy and proud. Rarely does a week go by wherein I don’t receive a heartfelt thank-you note from someone who has been introduced to our wines by Wilma. I’m a very lucky Winemaker (and son).
To be featured alongside Kevin and Thomas is a fun coincidence, as our journeys have been somewhat intertwined. It was back in 2002 that Kevin and I worked together at Creekside Estate Winery, a formative time when pie-in-the-sky dreams of starting our own wineries were just taking shape. We spent many days discussing those future plans while working side by side in the very Queenston Road vineyard he now uses for his wonderful 2027 Cellars Pinot Noir. Thomas discovered the Lowrey Vineyard while tasting some of the early Inniskillin Alliance Pinot Noir’s that we were fortunate to be a part of. As mentioned in the article, he now sources fruit from our old Pinot block for his Bachelder series of wines.
There are days when I feel overwhelmed. It usually occurs around this time of year when despite my best efforts, I just can’t seem to catch up to the work that needs to be done. There are weak moments (humid, dizzy moments) that I actually begin to second guess my calling. Who on earth would be stupid enough to willingly submit themselves to the rigours of thinning grapes in this oppressive heat?
Just as I convince myself that my afternoon efforts might be better spent monitoring the progress of 2011 Pinot Noir barrels in the cool confines of the barn, I spot a cloud of dust emanating from the far corner of our 60 acres. Cue the proverbial forehead slap…
There is an individual in the center of that dust cloud who’s work ethic is second to none. He skillfully guides the tractor and disk, eventually making the careful wide turn for the next row. Four rows over, three rows back. A pattern he has repeated time and again for the last 40 years.
I get to the farm in the morning and he’s out there – I leave in the afternoon and he’s still out there. We may pass each other at some point during the day, but no words need to be spoken. That cloud of dust is his example. My second guessing comes to an abrupt halt. When I was younger I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to do all the tractor work. Now I hope that day never comes.
As I sing his praises, a comical beer commercial flashes to mind and it occurs to me that my father might just be, “The most interesting man in the world” (or at least St. Davids). Some proof:
His pre-dawn enthusiasm puts my Golden Retriever to shame.
Powdery Mildew is afraid of him.
His internal alarm clock laughs at my snooze button.
‘Hydration’ is a foreign term to him. He drinks beer and coffee, and when he’s really thirsty…Lipton Cup-a-Soup.
He could jump-start a canoe.
He doesn’t buy new golf clubs, he buys a new wrench (mainly because he broke something and can’t find the wrench he bought last week…and he can beat you with his old clubs anyway).
Happy Father’s Day to all the early risers and “Stay thirsty my friends!”
Hot Wax Meets Cool Climate Shiraz.
Our 2008 Pinot Gris joined some exclusive company recently with its inclusion on a special year end list. You can read about it here.
Wilma’s Five Rows of Lavender
Finally…some quality time with Lucy!
I get a chuckle when I look at how much she’s changed over her first nine months of life. Here is the pictorial evidence.
Our weekend retail hours have proved to be an extremely positive experience. We’ve been able to forge some great relationships over the last couple of months that I’m sure will last for years to come. It’s so exciting to hear that people have enjoyed their visit to Five Rows. Tour Director and Sommelier Andrew Brooks (Crush on Niagara Wine Tours) recently had this to say in his latest web update:
“Wes Lowrey is another newcomer to release micro amounts of crafted wine. Wines are sold out of the barn on the charming grow site at the base of the St. David’s Bench (off York Road in Niagara on the Lake). Wes has a contagious enthusiasm that makes you want to sell your house, quit your job and plant a vineyard!”
One quick note: Our store will be closed on Sunday, July 19th for a previous family commitment. I do encourage you to come visit us any weekday, just give a quick call ahead to set up a time.