Trail Estate Winery opened its doors in 2014 in Prince Edward County. The family-run winery is located less than ten minutes east of Hillier—not far from popular spots Grandge of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery and Hinterland Wine Company. After running Sproll’s Fine German Bakery in Kitchener for nearly thirty years, Anton and Hildegard Sproll traded in baking for winemaking. They were joined in the new endeavor by their daughter Sylvia and son Alex and have planted six acres of vines in addition to an existing acre of Baco Noir. While awaiting their newly planted vines to bear fruit, the Sprolls, along with the winemaker for their first vintage, Matthias Luck, and current winemaker, Dan Tweyman, sourced grapes from around Prince Edward County and Niagara.
Trail Estate's 2013 vintage was made in tiny quantities and the portfolio is based around the two stalwarts of Prince Edward County: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They've also added aromatic grapes to the mix like Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling. Being such a new winery, I knew very little about Trail Estate and their wines six weeks ago, but I had a chance to taste through the lineup and become acquainted with what I quickly recognized as a very solid first vintage. My favourites were the 2013 White (a blend of 90% Riesling with 10% Gewürztraminer) and the 2013 Unfiltered Pinot Noir. The White is on the drier side, with characters of citrus, mineral, a hint of perfumed aromatics, orange blossom and spice. It's great for white drinkers who find Gewürztraminers a bit too intense and don’t mind it when their Riesling shares the spotlight with another grape. The fruit for the Unfiltered Pinot Noir was sourced from the Lincoln Lakeshore VQA and the wine is soft-textured with a refreshing, bright finish. This is a Pinot with tons of spice and darker cherry fruit characters.
I'm excited to try the wines as fruit from their property comes online. The winery and tasting bar open up in two days (April 17th). Stop in and say hi next time you're in the County.
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.