Area wineries team up to launch new label for 1812 bicentennial and tall ship festival



By Ron Giofu


Six area wineries have united to produce a new label specifically with the War of 1812 Bicentennial and Sails to See Festival in mind.

Wine launch Wine launch2The unveiling of “Stowaway 1812” occurred last Thursday morning at the Commissariat and is a collaboration of Colio Estate Wines, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Pelee Island Winery, Oxley Estate Winery, Smith and Wilson Estate Wines and Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Each winery will produce a different wine varietal, with each winery highlighting an 1812-era Tall Ship. Each wine is one of a collection of six and are now available for purchase at participating wineries.

“This is such a great collaboration,” said Lynette Bain, vice president of tourism programs and development with Tourism Windsor-Essex County-Pelee Island (TWEPI). “Our wineries work so well together.”

Bain stated, “we’re really doing great things” and noted that four communities have pulled together for the regional Sails to See Festival, which sees tall ships come to the region Labour Day weekend. Two tall ships will be in Amherstburg that weekend.

Those who purchase a “boarding pass” will not only get to board all nine ships scheduled to be in the region that weekend but also taste the six different wines on board, she added.

Tom O’Brien, president of Essex-Pelee Island Coast Wineries, stated the idea originated about one year ago.

“We were excited about it,” he said. “We are proud to help commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial and the Coastal Trails: Sails to See Tall Ships Festival through our wine initiative. We believe strongly in the regional collaboration both the festival and the wine represent. Stowaway 1812 not only represents a defining moment in our nation’s history but also represents the present vision of regionality and co-operation within our communities. This signature line of six distinct wines within one region are limited edition collector’s items that will augment the experience of visitors to both our wine region and our 1812 region.”

O’Brien reminded people that “we make amazing wines in this county” and “it’s yours to come out and enjoy.”

Wine author Tony Aspler noted that “this is where wines began in Canada” and called this region one of the country’s “best undiscovered secrets.” The Stowaway vintage offers great value for the price.

“These will become collectors’ items,” he predicted.

“Travel the wine route, the Coastal Trails Route, and Route 1812 to collect all six bottles,” stated Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island in a press release. He adds, “The collaboration amongst the wineries and amongst the communities speaks volumes to the precedent we are setting as a region.”

Kyra Knapp, southwest region War of 1812 project facilitator, told the audience assembled at last Thursday’s announcement that “we are the only region whose tall ship festival falls on a commemorative date in the War of 1812, the only region who has a collaborative festival, and the only region with a collaborative wine, which is a Stowaway in the truest sense. We are thrilled to be blazing the trail in terms of innovation and collaboration.”

A barrel of the wine will also be hitting the trail as well. From July 19 to September 1, a special barrel of one Stowaway 1812 varietal will be stowed away aboard Liana’s Ransom one of the Tall Ships participating in the August 30-September 2 Coastal Trails: Sails to See Tall Ships Festival in Windsor, Amherstburg, Kingsville and Pelee Island. This special barrel will travel the Great Lakes throughout the Tall Ships 1812 Tour, presented by Redpath Sugar, produced in partnership with the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2013 and end its journey Sept. 1 in Pelee Island.



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