Wolfhead Distillery

Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce awards feature three Amherstburg finalists


By Ron Giofu


The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its 28th annual Business Excellence Awards (BEA) in the spring and Amherstburg will be well represented.

Three Amherstburg businesses have been nominated for awards, with the winners to be announced April 18 at Caesars Windsor.

Dan Gemus, owner/broker with the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team was nominated in the Professional of the Year category. Other nominees include naturopathic doctor Meighan Valero and AM800 radio host Lisa Williams.

Tourism & Hospitality Award finalists include Amherstburg’s Smashed Apple Catering Inc. with other nominees including Food & Beverage (F&B) and the Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast.

Wolfhead Distillery was nominated in the New Business of the Year category, along with Exodus Escape Rooms and Thrive Benefits Group Inc.

“I’m so honoured to have been nominated. When I received the news a couple months ago that I had been nominated it seemed a little surreal at the time! Being at the news conference (last Wednesday) and hearing my name announced as a finalist was incredible!” said Gemus. “Being nominated along side Dr. Meighan Valero and an old AM800 co-worker and friend Lisa Williams is very humbling. All the nominees are so deserving. It will make for a fun night in April!”

Sue Manherz, co-owner of Wolfhead Distillery with husband Tom, said they were “quite surprised and honoured” to be nominated.

“We are up against a couple great companies and wish them the best of luck as well,” said Manherz. “We have a great team here at Wolfhead and none of this would be possible without everybody’s hard work and passion for what we have created. With the support of not only local residents but out-of-town people, they have helped put Wolfhead on the map and we are excited to see what the future brings us.  Being nominated for New Business of the Year is very humbling and rewarding and we strive to keep things moving in the right direction!”

Bill Deslippe, owner/chef at Smashed Apple, noted it was their second time being nominated for a Windsor-Essex BEA.

“We are hustling out here for Amherstburg. These are our roots and everything we do is a reflection of our amazing town and the people living here. We are proud to represent and hope to take home the win this year,” said Deslippe. “Having said that, we are in the same category as our friends and fellow talented business owners Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast and F&B Walkerville. We couldn’t have asked for a better compliment than to be placed in the same category as these innovative, talented and skilled business owners. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, being compared to these greats feels like a win already for Smashed Apple, we are doing it right! We are going in proud and humbled for the nomination, but come the night of the awards, we want to take it home!”

Award recipients will be announced during a gourmet dinner and show. Tickets are on sale now at www.windsoressexchamber.org.

Award recipients announced in advance include:


Believe Windsor Essex Award

Michael Schlater, CEO, Domino’s Pizza of Canada



Patricia Soulliere, President & CEO, Soulliere Financial


The full list of 2018 BEA Finalists include:


Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalists

Radu Bogdanel, President, Fulger Transport Inc.

Ernie Nesbitt, Owner, Jose’s Bar and Grill

Vince Schiller, Owner, Southwestern Manufacturing


Professional of the Year Award Finalists

Dan Gemus, Owner/Broker of Record, Dan Gemus Real Estate Team

Dr. Meighan Valero, Naturopathic Doctor, Meighan Valero Naturopathic Professional Corporation

Lisa Williams, Radio Host – AM800 The Morning Drive, Bell Media / AM800


Young Professional of the Year Award Finalists

Dr. Maxwell Abraham, Orthodontist, Owner, Abraham Orthodontics

Dr. Abby Jakob, Optometrist/Owner of EYES Optometry, EYES Optometry

Dr. Jackie Vandereerden, Doctor, South Walkerville Medical Centre


Small Company of the Year Award Finalists

Anchor Coffee House Inc.

Forest Glade Tecumseh Veterinary Professional Corporation

Sentry Windows & Doors


Mid-Size Company of the Year Finalists

Baron Championship Rings

Flexible Industrial Solutions

Kinder Academy


Large Company of the Year Finalists


Fortis Group

Highbury Canco Corporation


Innovation Award Finalists

Inspire HUB Technologies Inc.

K3D Inc.

Ro-Matt International Inc.


Tourism & Hospitality Award Finalists

Food & Beverage (F&B)

The Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast

Smashed Apple Catering Inc.


New Business of the Year Award Finalists

Exodus Escape Rooms

Thrive Benefits Group Inc.

Wolfhead Distillery Inc.


Pillars of our Community Award

Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario

Transition to Betterness

Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society



Wolfhead Distillery first Canadian venue to host Banksy art exhibit



By Jolene Perron


According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Saving Banksy” is “the story of one misguided art collector’s attempts to save a Banksy painting from destruction and the auction block.”

The painting featured in that Netflix documentary has made its way to Amherstburg’s own Wolfhead Distillery and is on display until tomorrow evening.

Banksy is an anonymous graffiti artist from England, known for their street art which combines dark humor with graffiti, and use of a stenciling technique.

Jason Freed, event owner/organizer with Campus Crawl Tours explained when he originally submitted his pitch for Saving Banksy Canada, he submitted offers to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Niagara On The Lake and Windsor. With Windsor being his hometown, he pushed hard for the border city to be a part of the tour.

Along with the original Banksy painting, local artists are also displaying their art at Wolfhead Distillery as part of the showcase until Thursday November 16.

“I was lucky enough to see some of Banksy’s artwork when I was living in England so that’s when I became a fan,” explained Freed. “The reality is that most people will never get the opportunity to see an original Banksy in their lifetime, so we’re very proud to be hosting one of the most sought after pieces of contemporary art in the world in our hometown.”

In order to be selected to host the painting, the venue must hold an art exhibit, promoting graffiti/art which is free to the public. Wolfhead Distillery has been hosting the art exhibit, which allows attendees to observe the Banksy painting as well as a 200 square foot warehouse space stacked full of local art since Tuesday, and will remain on display for free until Thursday at 5 p.m. Freed explained since they were already hosting the free three day event, they were also able to host ticketed events to help offset the costs.

“The ‘Dinner With Banksy Party’ (Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.) features a gourmet British themed menu, music and also includes a distillery tour and sample tasting as well,” explained Freed. “It’s definitely a unique date night. How many times can you say you ate dinner with a painting worth more than $1.5 million?”

Wolfhead Distillery co-owners Sue Manherz (centre) and Tom Manherz (right) stand with Banksy painting “caretaker” Brian Grief (left). The painting will be on display until Thursday November 16.

The official closing night gala Thursday features celebrity DJ’s flying in from New York, live art battles, silent auctions and more. The event runs from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. Thursday. All of the event proceeds for ticketed events are going to charities such as United Way, who has a mural project Wolfhead Distillery is supporting.

“We are honoured to host an internationally admired and respected art piece. Not only does this piece bring recognition to Wolfhead and Windsor-Essex, but it also allows us to draw attention to local causes and charities,” explained Stephanie Saad, marketing and logistics director at Wolfhead Distillery. “The evening events were created to celebrate the arrival of the art piece. The painting is a symbol of expression and creativity and to support these ideas within a community we decided to involve local artists, musicians and charities.”

For more information about this week’s events, visit http://campuscrawltours.com/saving-banksy-united-way-closing-night-gala.

Second Chance Animal Rescue’s “Dinner at the Distillery” held to sold out crowd



By Ron Giofu


Second Chance Animal Rescue’s fundraising dinner brought a packed house to Wolfhead Distillery.

The first-ever “Dinner at the Distillery” brought in a sold out crowd of roughly 75 people for dinner with the evening also featuring silent auctions and raffles.

Cherie Smith, president of Second Chance Animal Rescue, said it was an opportunity for the group to raise funds to support their operations.

“We rescue animals and adopt them throughout Windsor-Essex County,” she said.

Julie Bortolotti of Second Chance Animal Rescue (left) greets Grace, the rescue dog adopted by Sam Manherz, during “Dinner at the Distillery.”

Smith added they also rescue animals from “kill shelters” in Quebec, Ohio, Texas and Georgia. Animals are treated by veterinarians including being spayed and neutered. When an animal is ready to be adopted, it is placed into a foster home before it is adopted. Smith noted there are reference and background checks done to all people looking to adopt.

Second Chance Animal Rescue tries to hold two dinners per year as well as other fundraising events in order to fund themselves, as it is a non-profit organization. As part of last Thursday night’s dinner, attendees got a chance to meet the dog Grace, who is cared for by the Manherz family. Sam Manherz, daughter of Wolfhead owners Sue and Tom Manherz, brought the dog to the dinner where the public got a chance to see her.

Fundraising events like “Dinner at the Distillery” also gave them a chance to educate people on how to care for animals and what Second Chance Animal Rescue is all about. Second Chance Animal Rescue was founded in 2015 “to heal, help and re-home pets of all ages and size” with their mission being “to provide the necessary veterinary care for animals in need and to place animals into homes where they will be treated with love and respect.”

For more on Second Chance Animal Rescue, visit www.scarescue.org or www.facebook.com/scarsecondchanceanimalrescue. They also have a Twitter site found by searching @scarescue.

Second Chance Animal Rescue asking community for support with unique event



By Jolene Perron

A local rescue is working with a local distillery to put a new spin on fundraising dinners.

“We have heard that the food at Wolfhead Distillery is like taking a traditional pasta dinner and elevating it to a much higher level,” explained Julie Bortolotti from Second Chance Animal Rescue. “We are having roasted rosemary chicken, penne in vegetarian sauce, salad tossed in Wolfhead Vodka Dressing and rolls with butter. By request, a Vegan/Vegetarian option will be available.”

Bortolotti explained they have two fundraising dinner events per year, which gives them an opportunity to celebrate all of their accomplishments and chance to get together with other supports to thank them for their contributions towards helping the animals.

“Animals hold a soft spot in my heart and that is the main reason why we agreed to do this fundraiser,” explained Sue Manherz, co-owner of Wolfhead Distillery. “We recently started fostering animals and ended up keeping our second foster dog. Second Chance Animal Rescue does a fantastic job helping and re-homing so many animals that I am happy to help them out. I wish there were more organizations like them.”

While they won’t be able to have any animals at the location, they will have a PowerPoint presentation with photos of adoptables and of animals that have been adopted out. Additionally, they will have our binder of animals available for viewing.

Second Chance Animal Rescue is holding a fundraiser dinner at Wolfhead Distillery on Howard. The proceeds will go towards helping meet the needs of animals like Tessa, until they find their fur-ever homes.

Second Chance Animal Rescue is holding a fundraiser dinner at Wolfhead Distillery on Howard. The proceeds will go towards helping meet the needs of animals like Tessa, until they find their fur-ever homes.

“The unfortunate situation is that there are already so many unwanted animals all over the world and a rescue can only save so many,” said Bortolotti. “That is why we encourage people to consider opening their hearts and their homes to the ones that find themselves without a loving place to lay their heads at night. We also promote spaying and neutering to help curb the overpopulation of unwanted animals who can – and many do – live life on the streets, scrounging and fighting to survive.”

The funds raised from this event will be directed towards veterinary care for the rescued animals. Bortolotti said every animal that makes their way to Second Chance Animal Rescue is provided with flea treatment, deworming, up-to-date vaccines, spay/neuter and microchip. The costs of veterinary care far exceed what they raise through adoption fees alone so it is imperative that they come up with creative, new and fun ways to raise the money to pay for these expenses. Periodically, Bortolotti explained, when they run into unexpected medical issues with animals, they also create GoFundMe Campaigns to quickly raise the funds for these unexpected needs.

“Many of the dogs that have come through our rescue have found themselves dumped in high kill shelters because they were no longer wanted by their families,” explained Bortolotti. “We also – when space permits – accept animals (both dogs and cats) that are surrendered by their owners and, periodically we are able to help tiny kittens that caring people pick up from the streets. In each instance, we carefully review the circumstances and ensure that every animal that becomes part of Second Chance Animal Rescue, is healthy before they are made available for adoption.”

The Dinner at the Distillery will be August 24th at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 each, and are available by e-mailing scarescue.julie@outlook.com.

Second Chance Animal Rescue will also be holding a silent auction, and is planning a few other surprises for the evening.

“I’m looking forward to the event, although I am so busy running around that I never get an opportunity to enjoy the food,” said Bortolotti. “The venue is amazing and the staff at Wolfhead Distillery are very accommodating.”

Manherz explained this is only their second fundraiser, since they don’t have a special private room and have to shut down for the public. However, she said being able to help in any way is always a great feeling.

“I know its not one person that can do everything – it takes a team,” said Manherz. “And every little bit helps and if I can’t donate my time right now at least we can be here to help support by offering our services and establishment to fund raise for a wonder cause.”

Bob Probert Memorial Ride brings the roar of the road to Amherstburg



By Jolene Perron


The sound of motorcycles could be heard and felt in the streets of Amherstburg Sunday afternoon.

The annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride brought well over 1,400 motorcycle enthusiasts to town, all riding for the same cause – to raise money for Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital’s angioplasty program in memory of Probert, who passed away of a massive heart-attack July 5, 2010.

The event raised over $120,000 this year.

Dani Probert stands in front of a sea of motorcycles in the parking lot of The Fort Family Fun Centre  Sunday.

Dani Probert stands in front of a sea of motorcycles in the parking lot of The Fort Family Fun Centre Sunday.

“It seemed like a no-brainer at the time,” explained Probert’s wife, Dani. “He loved riding, he loved old cars, he loved this entire lifestyle and it was a nice fit for us and it’s just grown every year since that and here we are at year seven and we’re closing in on the $700,000 mark raised for cardiac care right here in Windsor-Essex. I’m pretty proud of that.”

Dani said as she was pulling in to their stop at The Fort Family Fun Centre, she was told there were still bikes leaving Thunder Road Harley Davidson, where they begun their ride.

“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, the planning that goes into it, the time that goes into it and coming up to this day is an emotional day,” said Dani. “As we celebrate Bob and it’s a reunion of sorts with all of our friends and family, and all of the participants, its also a sad reminder that he’s not here. It’s been seven years. But out of something so tragic that we’re able to pull something off like this and be positive, and to do something wonderful for our community that Bob loved so much, raising money for our home, he loved that.”

Probert was well known for being a Canadian professional ice hockey forward. He played in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.


A sea of motorcycles fills the parking lot at The Fort Family Fun Centre June 25.

A sea of motorcycles fills the parking lot at The Fort Family Fun Centre June 25.

He is also well known for being a great father to his kids Brogan, Tierney, Jack and Declyn, ages 23 through 17, who Dani believes will be on bikes in the ride in no time.

Rider Ward McNab has been participating in the ride for five years, and knew Probert as a teenager. He said he loves the ride, and appreciates that it’s for a great cause.

Buck Twenty took the stage to entertain riders as they enjoyed their first stop on their ride through Essex County Sunday.

Buck Twenty took the stage to entertain riders as they enjoyed their first stop on their ride through Essex County Sunday.

“I just remember him being a real fun-loving kid, and really dedicated to the sport of hockey,” said McNab. “I think this is a great event, the family just puts together an awesome event. I hope it keeps growing like it has been.”

Remembering Probert,, Dani said he was a young rider who began riding in his twenties. She said he got his first Harley in 1993, followed by another bike in 1994, and soon he had a garage full of bikes of all types and styles. She said he really enjoyed it, he had a passion for bikes.

“Bob was just a big kid,” said Dani. “He was an awesome father and I love to see my kids smiling today when we get to hear stories from fans and old teammates, they share stories that we’ve never heard before and as a mom that’s the most important part for me, for them to experience bits of their dad through old team mates and family.”

The 2017 Bob Probert Ride also made another stop in Amherstburg this year, as they also pulled into Wolfhead Distillery as part of the day’s events.