The location of Prince Edward County set in Lake Ontario, is technically an island and thus for hundreds of years has been away from the mainstream trends of mainland life, thus preserving many Loyalist traditions.
The roots go back to 1784 when United Empire Loyalists took over the land. Recognition came from Lord Dorchester in 1788, when the area became one of four numbered districts in Meckleburg. This name was changed in 1792 to Midland with the districts becoming 19 electoral counties. At this time the island peninsular was named after Prince Edward the Duke of Kent (1767-1820) the fourth son of George III, who at the time was Governor of Upper Canada residing in Niagara. Prince Edward County was subsequently incorporated in 1850 and became a municipality prior to Confederation in 1867.
The earliest evidence of grape production dates from 1850 when Samuel J. Cotter planted a vineyard. Soon after Dorland Noxon of Allisonville also planted a vineyard and became a serious wine maker, winning a medal and diploma at the 1867 International Exhibition in Philadelphia.
Within the above context we wanted to give our winery a name that recognized the nature of our history. The Prince Edward connection seemed the best source and sure enough after looking at all the Prince Edwards of history we found “our” Prince, the Black Prince first son of Edward III born in 1330.
The Black Prince carried his father’s escutcheon with bars indicating that he was the first born and heir. The bars were never removed as he predeceased his father by six months in 1376. In 1343 aged twelve, he was entitled Prince of Wales. He subsequently became a fabled war hero, commanding the English forces at the battle of Poitiers and Crecy and then seizing the port of Calais.
He was also a bon vivant and champion jouster. He would go from tournament to tournament incognito (purportedly in black armour) so that all comers would challenge him.
It is at this point that many fascinating commonalities between the Prince Edwards can be seen.
The Black Prince was appointed Governor of the English Colony of Aquitaine centered in Bordeaux, a wine region. Prince Edward was appointed Governor of the English colony of Upper Canada based in Niagara a wine region.
Both were bachelors, and were recalled to London by aging fathers to marry advantageously and reproduce.
Prince Edward had an arranged marriage and fathered Queen Victoria. Black Prince refused the marriage arrangement; instead he selected his own bride, the beautiful wealthy widow of the Duke of Kent. Black Prince thus through marriage had another commonality with Prince Edward; they were both Dukes of Kent.
Black Prince returned to Bordeaux with his bride where many children were born including the future Richard III. The couple led an opulent lifestyle between campaigns, until in 1376 ill health forced Black Prince back to London where he died. He is buried in Canterbury Cathedral.
The Black Prince Winery Escutcheon depicts the genesis of the founders.
The top left quadrant shows the logo of the Opimian Society. Through the Opimian Vineyard Trust (OVT)an investment was made to help start the winery in 2001. OVT has since sold its shares in Black Prince Winery to Kylix International. Diagonally in the bottom right quadrant is the reflected enlargement of Lucius Opimius.
At bottom left are 7 kylix cups representing the families who have over a 20 year period contributed to the creation of Black Prince Winery. They are the Blakelys, Bogerts, Christies, Gordons, Hedges, O’Donovans, Sambrooks.
The top right recognizes the entities that comprised the founding of Black Prince Winery. *Val O’Donovan, John Sambrook, Geoff Webb, Fraser Blakely (Kylix International) and Rod de Courcy-Ireland, representing himself and the Opimian Vineyard Trust.
*Val O’Donovan passed away in February 2005. In his memory, Val’s widow Sheila donated an antiquarian book to Black Prince Winery about Edward III and the Black Prince written by Joshua Barnes in 1650, and personally donated at that time to the reigning monarch James ll. This book has subsequently been returned to the O’Donovan family.
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