Winery Articles

Mom & Daughter Wine Making Team

When I first visited The Grange of Prince Edward it was basically a one person show.  Caroline Granger had her finger on the pulse of every aspect of the winery.   She would lead visitors through the vineyards that she loves, regaling them with the loyalist history of her family farm, as well as the complex details of viticulture and winemaking.  She looked over the winemaking, the viticulture, the tasting room and sales herself.  She was the “chief, cook, and bottle washer”.  These days however there is another force to reckon with at the Grange. 

 

When I first went to The Grange,  Caroline's daughter Maggie was home from school for the summer and was helping out but I saw her as a very shy person.  That perception was totally removed from my mind when I recently brought an Opimian tour through the county and we stopped by The Grange.

 

As is usually the case when I go there Caroline has the group out front and she tells the history of her operation and explains how and why she got involved in the industry.  This time however Maggie started jumping in with her observations and I was completely thrown back.  We then proceeded into the wine making part of the operation and it was now Maggie leading the discussion.  It was a Mother Daughter team leading the tour and it was not something I had seen there before!  I saw a young lady that had stepped out of the background and was standing as an equal beside her Mother ... I had to find out more and went back the next day to talk to Maggie.

 

She told me that she had started working with her Mom when she was 13. She said that she was the first vineyard crew that her Mother had and that she helped on weekends and summer vacations. She fondly remembered that she liked hanging out with her mom and all of a sudden they were all just hanging out in the vineyard instead of the backyard.   She laughs and says she got paid in hours at the beach back then and says it "wasn't a bad gig"!

 

Maggie remembers that one of the first jobs she had was watering the baby vines. In 2001 they had a 9 week drought that started right when they planted the vines and newly planted vines need rain water to survive. So they bought a tank that could be pulled behind the tractor and she explained how her and Caroline walked behind the tractor with hoses giving each vine a few liters of water.

 

Maggie eventually went away to school thinking that she would never be a ‘farmer’ again! But over the 4 years of school, she started to focus on cultural studies that in turn brought her attention back to wine. All of a sudden after being away she saw the industry in a different light and she was really excited to be a part of it. And she's been working with her mom more and more since then. Its just been the last few years that the relationship between Mother and Daughter has evolved to become full time in the winemaking and everything that comes with that. Maggie now admits that her interest lies in the vineyard. She believes that great wine is made from great grapes and she wants to cultivate the best possible fruit that they can and hat means continuing to learn and grow all the time.  Sounds an awful lot like her Mother talking!

 

It is always a joy to visit the Grange when friends visit the county as I know they will be impressed with the ambiance of the winery (from the impressive tasting room overlooking the mill pond to the spectacular barrel cellar) as well as the large selection of great wine that Caroline, and now Maggie, is always on hand to pour.  This Mother Daughter team is a force to be reckoned with!

 

Joe Haché

Sippin' in the County 

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