Traynor Family Vineyard, the project of Mike and Rebecca Traynor, is a new winery to break ground in Prince Edward County, ON. They are in good company, joining one of the most exciting growing regions in the country!
From a young age, Mike's background has been wine. He worked in retail shops and completed sommelier and winemaking courses before landing a gig as an operations manager at Huff Estates. Later, he became the winemaker and general manager of Oak Heights.
In December 2008, Mike eventually purchased his own property in Prince Edward County - a plot of land used to grow corn near Hillier, just off the Loyalist Parkway. Enlisting friends and family, he planted five acres of vines in the spring of 2009, opting for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as hybrid varieties Frontenac Gris and Marquette. The first harvest was in 2013, and because the vines were still young, Mike ended up purchasing much of the fruit they used from Watson Vineyard in Niagara.
Frontenac Gris and Marquette are two varieties I hadn't come across before. Mike has worked with them in the past at Willow Springs Winery and says he likes their winter hardiness and disease tolerance — he can consistently rely on their production and can take risks with vinifera grapes, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Traynor Family Vineyard wines are brand new to My Wine Canada, and we were able to sit down and taste the line-up. It's very early in the life of the winery, especially considering that much of their first couple of vintages have been made from purchased Niagara fruit, but they are definitely one to watch and taste from as time goes on and their wines become more quintessentially Prince Edward County.
My favourite so far is the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. It has the classic grass and citrus notes, but also an intriguing lifted fruit aroma of guava. It's bright, fresh and very easy to drink. Chardonnay has proven to be a star in the soils of Prince Edward County, so their 2013 Chardonnay is in good company with notes of tropical fruit, flowers, fresh baked bread and a hint of flint.
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.