Black Prince Releases Solera’s Cask – The County’s First “Apera” Aged In 80 Year Old Spanish Sherry BarrelsJuly 12th, 2015 | Posted in event
Joe Hache – Picton Gazette July 9, 2015
Back in May I led a bus group through Wine County stopping at 5 – 6 wineries. At Black Prince our group had a special sneak peek tasting of a secret nectar – released this Father’s Day!
This 10 year old masterpiece has been aging in giant 80 year old oak Sherry casks straight from Gonzalez Byass in Spain ! Even after a century of use they are as sweet and aromatic as new, thanks to master Cooper Pete Bradford.
“We were very fortunate to find these casks !”, exclaims Pete, “they had been long forgotten, and when I showed them to Geoff (Webb, Black Prince’s Winemaker) he nearly fell-over – but he had the old gold we needed to try to give them a second life.”
It is worth noting that this Sherry is a natural wine that does not need alcohol fortification to achieve its character. Geoff points to the significant Spanish proportion of the BPW shareholding where he was able to source original recipes, allowing the production of these wines which stand a close quality scrutiny to Amontillado and Oloroso (cream) sherrys.
“It is all about the Barrels”, says Geoff, “that wood had seen so many vintages and was so saturated that when we warmed them up as part of the re-coopering process they literally started to ooze a caramel like substance extracted from their decades of making Sherry in Spain – that is when we knew we had something very special”.
Once Spain became part of the European Common Market the use of the word Sherry was banned outside of Spain. Australia introduced the word Apera replacing “Sherry” and this word was also adopted by many Canadian producers.
Black Prince ran a contest on FaceBook to help name this wine. From the hundreds of suggestions that poured in SOLERA’S CASK was chosen which represents the traditional method of making Sherry known as Solera – a multi-level stack of Casks which always draw down from the very top Barrel to bottling from the ground level barrels – replenishing from the barrels above.
Solera’s Cask is a County first and available directly from Black Prince – it makes a very fine Aperitif.
A mellow nose with lots of fig. Supple flavors of smokey Sultana raisins lead to a medium off-dry finish of apricot, nut and orange peel. Old Gold, this velvety 10 year old classic is County grapes aged in real Spanish Casks from Gonzalez Byass.
Scenes of Sandbanks…and Beyond 2014 – WATER – Original art show and saleOctober 6th, 2014 | Posted in art show, event
OPENING on November 1st from 2-5pm
The show will continue November 2 to November 23, 2014 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 5pm)
Black Prince Winery
13370 Loyalist Parkway, Picton
Proceeds from the show will be directed to the Friends of Sandbanks Provincial Park – towards future projects.
Water is the driving force in nature – Leonardo da Vinci
The County is surrounded by water, has several lakes, rivers and streams and yet is one of the driest Counties in Ontario.
There can be many themes on Water. It falls in many guises from a gentle Irish mist, to golf ball size hailstones, to drifts of pristine snow. We drink it as is, infused with coffee or Scotch, tea or lemons. We play on it, skating on frozen ponds, swim lengths in a pool, and who hasn’t lobbed water balloons at passing canoes. Water supports and gives life to everything on earth, from water lilies on a tranquil pond to massive hydro electric plants near James Bay.
To that end we are honouring Water in all its shapes and forms. Works of art that celebrate Water and all its incarnations will be presented. Over forty County artists are featured in the show in a variety of media. Acrylic to Watercolour, Embroidery and Quilting, Jewellery and Glass, Ceramic, Stone and Metal.
Enjoy a glass of wine in Black Prince’s Tasting Room and feast your eyes on ‘Water’ in the Art Cellar.
Turning Wine into Vinegar – Not Water into WineAugust 15th, 2014 | Posted in event
Back in June, I had a chance to visit Black Prince Winery to toast the opening of the new Barrel House and local Oak Barrel Works in the renovated Barn.
While we were there Pete and Geoff let me know that the Barn was also being prepped for a unique new venture to be Opening soon…well soon is NOW !
The Grand Opening is this weekend – Saturday, August 16 at Black Prince Winery, but I got the “cooks” tour early – a sneak peek that was a real eye-opener !
Canadian Vinegar Cellars offers local barrel-aged wine vinegars crafted right here in The County by Pete and Marla Bradford and Geoff Webb.
Pete and Marla have already established a cult following for this exciting wine by-product – quietly making wine vinegars for the last five years on a small scale and aging them in the local oak barrels that Pete makes or re-coopers.
Marla explained that it was time to expand, “ We have worked with Geoff Webb and Black Prince Winery on a number of projects over the years and have a great respect for what they are doing with local wine so it was a natural for us to expand our production right here on the Loyalist Parkway in Picton”
Highly sought after by Chefs and Foodies alike these special vinegars are ideal for marinating and cooking meats and make great salad dressings and even dips !
We tasted some of the vinegars being made from these wines while admiring the oak casks they are resting in. Pete let me in on a secret – the key to making great wine vinegar actually starts with good wine (many people believe that only bad wine is turne
d into vinegar, but not so – if the wine is bad then the vinegar will be bad) so start with a good wine that you want to conv
ert into vinegar and add the very crucial secret ingredient to the process – a good “mother”.
Pete explains that vinegar “mother” is like a sour-dough bread starter and must be cultured and lovingly nurtured over time (and will last for years and get better with age if treated right) – his mother is carefully locked away in a safe room at Black Prince.
Once a wine is chosen to be made into vinegar it is inoculated with the “mother” and placed in a suitable oak barrel leaving a lot a head space (not full). The wine/vinegar is then “bubbled” in the barrel – using air forced through the liquid to evaporate the residual alcohol. This process can take weeks or even months depending on the level of alcohol in the wine that must be eliminated before bottling (by law wine vinegars must contain less that 1.2 % alc/vol. to be sold legally). Pete strives for zero percent ~
While alcohol is being eliminated the natural volatile acidity (VA) in the wine increases and takes over from the fruit while it turning it to vinegar – all in oak barrels which are at the same time imparting wood flavours and letting the wine vinegar breath and develop over time.to be made into vinegar it is inoculated with the “mother” and placed in a suitable oak barrel leaving a lot a head space (not full). The wine/vinegar is then “bubbled” in the barrel – using air forced through the liquid to evaporate the residual alcohol. This process can take weeks or even months depending on the level of alcohol in the wine that must be eliminated before bottling (by law wine vinegars must contain less that 1.2 % alc/vol. to be sold legally). Pete strives for Zero percent alcohol.
In many ways it is the opposite to making wine, Geoff grins, “We are embracing ideas and practices that keep most winemakers up all night worrying – adding oxygen and raising the acidity in the wine as much as possible in a half empty wooden barrel would scare the crap out of any normal winemaker”.
The results are stunning ! Canadian Vinegar Cellars at Black Prince Winery has 10 different wine varieties in production including Chardonnay, Gamay, Melon, Pinot Noir and Foch – Pete remembers the first wine vinegar they ever made, “Geoff had 1000 litres of Marachel Foch wine from the Black Prince Estate vineyard back in 2008. It was good wine but a little high in acidity so they were not going to bottle it that year. I knew it would make the perfect base for our first vinegar so we took the plunge. We sold it all out a year later – over 2,500 bottles !”
Pete’s enthusiasm is catching. Since then they have been experimenting with many other grape varieties and other types of wood for the barrels – Cherry, Hickory, Oak and Ash to name a few. In fact Pete invented the first C H O A barrels originally for wine (Black Prince and County Cider both won medals) but has also found that that combination of woods also produces screamingly good vinegars – and the CHOA now accounts for a full line of different vinegars, particularly Chardonnay.
“The barrel-aging of these wine vinegars makes them truly unique – all local, all Canadian products”, says Marla, “We do not know of ANY other production like it anywhere else in Canada, and it is right here in The County !”
This local team has the vision and talent to go far. Already well-known for quality wine aged in local oak barrels it seems a natural progression for them to produce wine by-products like local wine vinegars right at Black Prince. “We may be the first Canadian Vignerons to promote local vinegars. Most people think we are crazy to be developing vinegars on the same premises as a winery”, laughs Geoff, “but if you are careful and sanitary and keep the two productions apart, it actually makes a lot of sense. We are just closing the circle, working with the same basic ingredients – grapes – just in two different ways”.
The results are impressive and I certainly recommend a visit to Black Prince Winery and Canadian Vinegar Cellars – not just for their love of local wine, but now also for the first local County wine vinegars. With names like “Holy Shit”,
“C H O A” and “Gone Fishin” there is something for everyone…with a baguette, some blue cheese and sear-fried mushrooms you are in for a real treat ~ and afterwards you can also enjoy a nice glass of wine !
Check them out this weekend at Black Prince Winery on the Loyalist Parkway right in Picton.
Cooper, Winemaker team together to make some fiery new creationsJune 22nd, 2014 | Posted in event
On Father’s Day I dropped by Black Prince Winery to toast the Opening of the new Cooperage and Oak Barrel Works in the renovated Barn. Black Prince General Manager and Winemaker Geoff Webb and Cooper Pete Bradford have worked together and experimented with wood and wine since 2006 on a project by project basis, and have now teamed-up to craft and recondition barrels to age wine in casks of all shapes and sizes made only at this winery in Picton. “It was a natural progression”, smiles Pete, “Geoff and I have had a terrific arm’s length work relationship for years so it was time to team-up and see what we can do together locally at Black Prince”.
This team has already produced exciting results and the winery was busy all day on Sunday with tours and demonstrations of the new cooperage led by Pete and his apprentice Ian Hutchinson.
Sampling the wines aged in these local barrels now made right on the property was a treat indeed and we enjoyed traditional Chardonnay (comparing the same wine oaked and unoaked !), Merlot and of course the Black Prince Cabernet Franc. Geoff and Pete have also experimented with different and unique wooden wine barrels over the years including Pete’s original design C.H.O.A. barrels (Cherry, Hickory, Oak and Ash) that won them a silver medal for their C.H.O.A. Chardonnay (and also won County Cider Gold for Ice cider) at The Royal Winter Fair.
While we were there another secret came out – the Barn was also renovated for a unique new venture Opening in late July at the Black Prince…Caverns Vinegar Company will offer local barrel-aged wine vinegars crafted right here in The County by Pete Bradford and Geoff Webb.
Highly sought after by Chefs and Foodies these special vinegars are ideal for marinating and cooking meats and make great salad dressings. We had a “sneak peek” at the new space already housing many of these vinegar barrels including giant 600 litre Brandy Casks directly from Spain that will be used to barrel-age “brandy” vinegars . We also feasted on a meal of some fresh pulled-pork sliders made using these local barrel-aged vinegar and a super local vinegar BBQ sauce !
This afternoon’s visit was a real eye-opener and shows some of the new and exciting wine trends created by local talent and happening right here in The County. When it was time to leave, with a wink Geoff revealed another “secret project” that will be launched by this new team using some of those magnificent large Sherry Casks later this Fall – so we will have to check back with them soon…
Until then the enthusiasm and energy of Pete Bradford and Geoff Webb burns brightly at Black Prince Winery. Visit them this summer on selected weekends for live barrel making demonstrations, knowledgeable conversation and terrific local wines (and now vinegars !).
OUR BARREL COOPERAGE OPENING THIS WEEKEND !June 13th, 2014 | Posted in event
***COME VISIT ON “FATHER’S DAY” – SUNDAY, JUNE 15th – GRAND OPENING OF OUR LOCAL OAK BARREL COOPERAGE – LIVE DEMONSTRATIONS – BRING DAD ! ALL FATHER’S WILL BE TREATED TO A FREE BBQ PORK -BUN FEATURING LOCAL BARREL-AGED VINEGAR BBQ SAUCE (with any purchase)***
We’re SUPER excited for this new adventure with Pete Bradford ~ Come see why !
SCENES OF SANDBANKS – BEYOND THE HARVEST Original Art Show & Sale Nov. 2 – Dec. 2, 2013October 13th, 2013 | Posted in art show, event
Art on the Shelf – Opens May 10thApril 26th, 2013 | Posted in art show, event
Black Prince Winery is proud to host the 3rd annual Art on the Shelf, Original Art Show and Sale, May 10th to May 26th with an opening reception on Thursday, May 9th from 7pm – 9pm.
The premise of the show is to promote the symbiotic relationship between art and literature. The artists will be inspired by their favourite book.
This new show, located in the art cellar, will house almost 3o local artists utilizing a wide variety of disciplines including; fabric art, pottery, sculpture, photography, oil, watercolour, encaustic and acrylic paintings.
Gerry Putman’s artwork, shown above, will again be featured on a red wine that will be available for sale for a limited time. The released date for this wine is the end April .
Visitors are invited to experience Art on the Shelf in the relaxing ambiance of Black Prince Winery, renew memories of your favourite author through the creative eye of our many talented local artists and enjoy delicious wine.
Funds raised from this show will be directed thru the Friends of the Picton Library and will be used to further improve facilities of the library. Thanks again to Doug and Evelyn Slone for volunteering to make art shows like this available in our community !
Art Show opens October 21stOctober 2nd, 2011 | Posted in art show, event
Black Prince Winery is hosting the 5th annual Scenes of Sandbanks and beyond, original art show and sale, October 21st to November 6th.
This year’s show, located in the art cellar of the winery, will house over 4o local artists utilizing a wide variety of disciplines including; fabric art, pottery, sculpture, photography, oil, watercolour, encaustic and acrylic paintings.
Visitors are invited to experience Scenes of Sandbanks and beyond in the relaxing ambiance of Black Prince Winery, renew memories of The County through the creative eye of our many talented local artists and enjoy delicious wine.
Proceeds from this year’s show will be directed thru Friends of Sandbanks and will go to a sign for Lakeshore Lodge.
Mary Brett Aimee Buikema Carol Burrill Pat Busscher
Hedy Campbell Florence Chik Lau Margaret Coon Shelby Del Gatto
Pauline Dinham Cynthia Dinsdale Charles Drever Shauna Duguay
Theresa Durning Kathryn Elliott Tom Field Kenneth Flitton
Brandy Gale John Gregg Elizabeth Hutchinson Andrew Innes
Doug Johnson Dona Knudsen Dayna Law Steven Loney
Donald McClure Judith McClure Gerry Putman
Gwen Reilly Christine Renaud Kirei Samuel Marjorie C. Seguin
Geraldine Sharpe Peter Sly Ian Swenson Pat Sztuke
Susan Wallis Jacob Wiens Mel Wilder Colleen Wilder
Sarah Renaud Wilkinson
A Crush on a PrinceNovember 11th, 2010 | Posted in Cabernet Franc, event
Last fall, 5 adventurous souls from Engine Communications in Belleville, challenged themselves to eat locally for five days. Highlights from their adventure were filmed by TVCOGECO and will air November 11th at 8pm, viewing areas are listed here .
This adventurous group discovered some interesting things along the way and one of those was regarding beverages, although coffee is not grown within 100 miles, grapes sure are and there is an abundance of local wine readily available for consumption.
During the fifth day of their challenge the group made their way over to Black Prince Winery for a tasting, it was the harvest season and we thought it would be fun to challenge them to a little crush off. Lined up in the plant they were given 2 minutes to crush as much juice out of a bucket of grapes as they could using only their hands. A good time was had by all and the winner of the challenge was Shaun. Congratulations, Shaun and thanks to all for being wonderful sports!
Checkout this delicious local recipe Roasted Chicken with a Butter & White Wine Sauce
“100 Mile eating can be really amazing with a little extra effort in the kitchen.” Bryna Jones