Posts Tagged ‘new winery in Prince Edward County’

Another reason to visit The County!

Posted by David

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Broken Stone Estates Winery
–  July 2016 –

What motivates a family to start making wine? In the case of Tim and Micheline Kuepfer, the answer had as much to do with family growth as it did growing grapes. Broken Stone Winery is their new venture that has completely changed their family’s life and their family life…for the better.  

This husband and wife team (with their 3 daughters in tow) opened their doors only 2 years ago.  We are excited to introduce you to the family & their small batch wines. We are certain that you’ll enjoy the trio of wines just as much as our team of Sommeliers did!

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find these SUPERB wines. Each one has been specially selected for its outstanding quality and food friendliness!

2015 Chardonnay Moderately oaked and balancing stunning fruit and acidity, this is a perfect match to summer fare.
2014 Pinot Noir – Classic County Pinot Noir, this  well-structured wine offers big fruit and earthiness.
2014 Reserve Pinot Noir – This is an eye-opener! So much flavour, beautifully tempered oak, and a richness we love to see in our Ontario reds.

Hand-crafted, hand-selected

Broken Stone Winery is one of those “off the beaten path” wineries that even visitors to The County seem to overlook.   We are certain that now you have discovered Broken Stone, you will want to visit Tim & Micheline to meet them & explore their boutique winery.

Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Broken Stone wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (FB Savvy Selections bottle728-8926) or send me an email to  

Cheers & enjoy the sunshine!!

Debbie & Savvy Team



Broken Stone Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan


“Down to earth”. It’s a phrase you hear a lot when talking to Broken Stone owners Tim and Micheline Kuepfer. This husband and wife team use it to describe their winemaking philosophy and to talk about the impressive wines they make.

But it comes up most often when they discuss why they chose to get into the challenging – and sometimes heartbreaking – business of wine.

Simpler Things

Until 2009, the Kuepfer family were typical urbanites. Micheline’s marketing and demographics career was taking off, Tim was working in finance. They were raising their three daughters in Toronto and had the kind of active lives that comes with success and financial security.

But they felt something was missing. Tim had spent summers on his grandfather’s farm, stacking hay bales and enjoying the pleasures of a simpler life. Between school and swimming and hockey and soccer and everything else the city offers, were their daughters getting the same experience?

Micheline put it best: “We both wanted to go back to a simpler way of life and to show our girls that when you dream something you can make it happen if you put a lot of hard work into it.”


New Roots

Broken Stone family pixThe decision was made to buy three acres of fields on Closson Road in Prince Edward County. Tim immediately fell in love with the gravelly soil and they agreed to plant vineyards. The Kuepfer family continued to live in Toronto during the week and spent the weekends in The County, eventually planting rootstock for the three Pinots – Noir, Gris, and Meunier – and Chardonnay.

Tim took courses through UC Davis, one of the world’s best oenology schools, and in 2011 they broke ground and opened Broken Stone Winery.  From the beginning, Tim and Micheline’s daughters visited the vineyards to run in the fields, to help with farm chores, and to build their new tree house.

Heartbreak Grapes

It hasn’t all been fun and games. While the family business has developed well, with thousands of vines planted, a new winery and tasting room built, and rave reviews for their beautiful wines, there have been setbacks.

Each weekend, the Micheline & , Tim along with their daughters PLUS & Micheline’s mother along with the 3 girls,,  leave their home in the city home and head to The County to live in a trailer on the property. Tim recalls waking up in the middle of the night last year, feeling chilled and smelling smoke.

“I knew right away that we had frost,” he said. “I could smell the hay burning in my neighbour’s fields.” (winespeak: having bonfires in the vineyard is one technique winemakers use to increase the temperature of the surrounding air during frosty nights) That cold evening is burned into everyone’s mind who lives in The County: May 23, 2015. Most grape growers The County were hit hard. Tim estimates that they lost 90 per cent of their crop.

“We’ve always bought good quality fruit from other growers and other regions,” he said. “Last year, with the frost wiping me out, I had to buy more grapes from Niagara.”


What’s Next?

Fingers crossed, 2016 is shaping up to be a fantastic vintage, Tim reports, who recently left his finance job in the city and now works full time at the winery.

They’re playing with a few ideas, like branching into sparkling wine (“We’re not there yet,” warned Tim) or trying a Nouveau Pinot Noir, allowing customers to enjoy the wine shortly after it’s made. They’re also building a small cottage alongside the winery, replacing the Airstream trailer they’ve called home for the past six years.

More than anything, Micheline and Tim are proud of what their family has built.

“Each winery has its own personality,” Tim said. “We really want to focus on estate terroir-driven wines, hand-made. We think it’s important to stay down to earth and stay genuine with our lives and how we interact with other people.”  There is that phrase again!




Time to have a mini-tasting!

We picked two Pinot Noirs made with County fruit.  Take note, the two Pinot Noirs are the same vintage, yet have vastly different characteristics.  We recommend you taste them at the same time. Gather a group of friends, give each of them two tasting glasses, and be amazed at the distinctions between these two fabulous wines. Which one is your favorite?


Broken Stone Winery ChardonnayChardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula 2015, $20 

Micheline prefers unoaked Chardonnay while Tim likes lots of buttery oak. They hit the perfect balance here by putting 25 percent of the wine in oak casks and then blending it with the rest.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This has lovely peach and apricot notes, with some red apple and minerality. There are hints of butter and coconut, with vanilla rounding out the long finish. Full bodied, and with above average acidity, this is a wine to enjoy with friends.

Suggested Food Pairings: We like this with a rich cream soup. Or take advantage of the harvest and make a thick corn chowder.

Cellaring:  Drink at 7-10ºC. Can be cellared for up to a year.

Broken Stone Winery Pinot NoirPinot Noir VQA Prince Edward County 2014, $25

“ Wow! Pow!” commented Savvy Sommelier Debbie after one sip.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: With a medium cherry colour and juicy, juicy sour cherry and smoke nose, this is the very definition of a County Pinot Noir. On the palate, it offers blackberries, red cherries and red Twizzler candy. Bracing acidity and medium tannins balance the fruit, with a lovely earthiness throughout.

Suggested Food Pairings: We like to pick up on Pinot Noir’s earthy notes and pair this with mushroom dishes. Wild mushroom risotto, anyone?

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, yet this could be cellared for up to 3 years. Serve between 14-16ºC.


Reserve Pinot Noir VQA Prince Edward County 2014, $35

Broken Stone Winery Reserve Pinot NoirThis is a surprisingly big Pinot with intense flavours. The winemaker notes that it was aged 12 months in French oak, and bottled without filtering.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Swirling & nosing the glass, we found sweet black cherries and caramel with lots of cedar. In the mouth, it’s plush with notes of red rose, dark cherries, cedar and vanilla. Medium acidity with medium-plus tannins. There’s a rustic quality that our Savvy Sommeliers fell in love with.

Suggested Food Pairings: “”This wine would pair well with…a bigger glass!”, chuckled David Loan (the newest member of the Savvy Team) Still, it could match to any of the big, red meat dishes you might ordinarily look to Cabernet Sauvignon with, such as BBQ rib eye or shish kebabs.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.


Broken Stone Winery Tim in the vineyard

All photos above credit to: Broken Stone Winery




With Broken Stone Chardonnay…
Summer Corn Chowder

Recipe & Photo credits CookingClassy
Serves 6

IngredientsBroken Stone Winery Summer Corn Chowder

 8 ears fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob
3 Tbsp (45mL) butter
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch (0.75-1.5cm) pieces
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1/4 cup (65 mL) all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups (1 Litre) water
1 lb (450 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces
1/2 tsp (3 g) dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) half and half
1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey
2 – 3 Tbsp (28-42 g) chopped fresh chives
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)



Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes.

While whisking, slowly pour in 5 cups water.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes.

Add in thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove bay leave then transfer 2 1/2 cups of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth.

Stir the mixture back into the pot then stir in half and half and honey.

Sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.


With Broken Stone Pinot Noir …

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Recipe and photo:
Serves 4

IngredientsBroken Stone Winery Wild Mushroom Risotto

9 1/2 Tbsp (143 mL) butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds (675 g) fresh wild mushrooms
(such as porcini, hen of the woods, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake); large mushrooms sliced, small mushrooms halved or quartered
7 cups (1.750 Litres)(about) low-salt chicken broth
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup (100 g) finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/4 cups (231 g) arborio rice
1/4 cup (62mL) dry white wine
1/4 cup (62mL) dry white vermouth
1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving (optional)



Melt 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt.

Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl.

Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 6 tablespoons butter, remaining mushrooms, and salt and pepper.

Bring chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm.

Melt remaining butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add white wine and vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add 3/4 cup (187 mL) warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls (187 mL), stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes.

Stir in sautéed mushrooms.

Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls (187 mL), stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese, if using. Transfer risotto to serving bowl. Pass additional Parmesan cheese alongside, if desired.


With Broken Stone Reserve Pinot Noir…
Summer Beef Kebabs

Recipe & Photo credit:
Serves 4-6

IngredientsBroken Stone Winery Kebabs

Marinade Ingredients:

1/3 cup (850 mL) olive oil
1/3 cup (850 mL) soy sauce
3 Tbsp (45 mL) red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (62 mL) honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Kebab Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs (750 g) top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large bell pepper
1-2 medium red onions
1/2 to 1 pound (227 g to 454 g) button mushrooms
About 20 bamboo or wooden skewers



Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the meat. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably several hours or even overnight.

Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This will help prevent them from completely burning up on the grill.

Cut the vegetables into chunks roughly the width of the beef pieces. Thread the meat and vegetables onto double bamboo skewers. If you keep a little space between the pieces, they will grill more evenly. Paint the kebabs with some of the remaining marinade.

Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, and how done you would like your meat, turning occasionally. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Enjoy your summer with your Savvy Selections!


A gem in The County

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Trail Estates Winery
–  June 2016 –

Winery owners are reporting across Ontario, that their vineyards are growing vigorously. In fact, some wineries have already started trimming & pruning their vines (this typically happens at the end of June).FB Savvy Selections bottle  This month in Savvy Selections, we feature a relatively new small, family-run winery located just a few minutes outside of Wellington, Ontario – in the heart of the Prince Edward County wine region. Trail Estate Winery has an interesting background, and as you’ll soon read on, some very interesting wines too!

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find a trio of absolutely DELICIOUS wines. Each one has been specially selected for its unique ability to pair with summer foods, patios, and friends!

2014 Riesling – A super fresh, aromatic wine that has an interesting mouthfeel that adds weight and body while keeping a light and crisp mouthfeel.

 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé – An aromatic and refreshing red, fruit-driven Rosé based on mostly Pinot Noir with just a hint of Gamay Noir thrown in for structure.

2014 Gamay Noir – This blend of grapes from Niagara and The County – resulting in THE perfect summer sipping red wine – light enough to enjoy with lighter summer fare, but structured enough to stand up to most BBQ’d meats.

You won’t find Trail Estate Winery wines at the LCBO

Trail Estates is a boutique winery boldly growing their portfolio of wines and inventory! Our Savvy Sommeliers are confident that you will enjoy each sip of the wines in your Savvy Selections. They are perfect summer time wines. Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Trail Estate wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections. Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to

Debbie & Savvy Team


Trail Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Shawn McCormick

I’ve been writing tasting notes on Trail Estate wines since their first creations. I was really excited to author this month’s article as the wines have been getting consistently better each time I sample them….we hope that you will enjoy this month`s choice wines.

Trail Estate is one of the newer wineries to enter the scene in Prince Edward County, and they have wasted no time making a name for themselves! I had a chance to talk with their head of Marketing and Sales, Alex Sproll (left in family photo below) about the history and the future of the family business.

Wine Not?

When asked how the winery came to be, Alex explains that his parents, Anton and Hildegard Sproll (left centre & right in photo) had bought the winery property while on a weekend trip to The County back in 2011. With an existing, small (1.5 acre) vineyard on the property, they originally had no plans to start a winery. That idea is credited to the neighbouring wineries, including Jonas Newman of Hinterland Wine Company, who encouraged them to do something with the great property they had acquired. Being of the entrepreneurial spirit, Alex`s parents figured “Why not?”. They planned to do something “small and doable”. As anyone in the industry will tell you, “small and doable” quickly turns into a a mountain of work! 

Enlisting the help of their graphic designer son Alex and accountant daughter Sylvia (centre in photo), they just needed a winemaker. Enter Matthias Luck, a winemaker who was looking for a new opportunity. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Initial Wines & Standing Out

To get started, the family needed more juice than they could source from the vines on their small plot of land. So while they planted enough acreage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to get them going, they sourced fruit from elsewhere in Ontario. Initially many of their wines have been made from Niagara fruit, relying on reputable growers such as Steve Kocsis and Ed Hughes. Not happy to be just another Niagara Riesling or Chardonnay, they have focused their portfolio on small lots and have experimented with different styles in order to stand out. “Small lots, done well” would be a great descriptor for the winery style.

Trail Estates MackenzieThe “Mack Effect” 

Last year saw a change in winemakers, with Mackenzie (Mack) Brisbois returning to her County roots. “Mack” has an amazing reputation for her winemaking skills, and they have been unleashed on the wines coming out of Trail Estate in the latest vintages. To wit, she produced 6 different Rieslings and 3 different Sauvignon Blancs, with the production sizes ranging down as low as 10 cases. These wines all had wide appeal with wine connoisseurs and the general public alike (myself included!) – a rare & impressive feat!

The Sprolls have handed a fair bit of control over to Mackenzie and her more natural winemaking techniques, and everyone is benefitting from that influence.

What’s Next?

This weekend marks a vine planting event at the winery, and they hope to plant about 2000 vines, increasing the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings, as well as repairing some damaged vines from the previous winters.

The winery itself is growing too. The small Quonset hut is being expanded out the front to add a proper tasting room. Alex expects that the construction will be complete later this summer, hopefully to accommodate the large crowds that visit The County during harvest. Trail Estates all bottles

On growth of the region, Alex marvels at the new blood coming to the region – folks like Mackenzie, along with legendary Ontario winemaker Derek Barnett – whose reputation will draw new talent & experience will influence others. About changes in the wine biz, with wineries experimenting with wine varieties, wine styles, tasting room formats, Alex mentions , “It’s all about a rising tide floating all boats. The industry and all its players are definitely continually raising the stakes, and we, the consumers, are the key benefactors of these changes! “



With all of the wines we had to choose from, it was still easy to pick the wines for this month’s selections – after all, a white, a rosé, and a red make for the perfect summertime assortment! Our team of Savvy Sommeliers enjoyed the wines sipped on their own, yet you will find them all easy to pair with your favourite summer dishes. Trail Estate likes to keep their wines towards the drier side, and this combined with great cool climate acidity makes them the perfect match for summertime & picnic fare!

Trail Estates ReislingRiesling VQA 2014, $23.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Of the 3 white wines the Savvy Sommeliers sampled, this was the standout white wine. The nose exhibits steely minerality, citrus, beeswax, peaches, and ripe apple. There’s a hint of something creamy on the nose that gives a hint to the winemaking process. On the palate, honeyed peaches hit first, then that creaminess kicks in for a second before wet stone and lemony acidity cleanse the palate.

The winemaking notes indicate some extended lees contact (winespeak: this is what gives the wine that slightly smooth characteristic before the cleansing acidity kicks in). 

Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy with spicy grilled shrimp, chicken satay, or Thai pizza.

Cellaring: Drink at 7-10ºC. Can hold for a few years.

Trail Estates RosePinot Noir Rosé VQA 2014, $21.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Beautiful pale pink colour. Wild strawberry and an interesting clover flower notes on the nose give only an illusion of sweetness to come. There are hints of cherry vanilla, tangerine, and orange blossom, and a spice one taster thought was cinnamon. The palate starts slightly sweet vanilla-cherry, with a slight roundness before going to rhubarb and cranberry for a crisp finish. The 6% Gamay adds some nice structure to the 94% Pinot, and the neutral barrel ferment gives that roundness noticed.

Suggested Food Pairings: A very versatile wine that will work with many dishes including summer salads (grilled lettuce), light appetizers, and grilled salmon. Try it with the following recipe for Tomato, Cucumber & Feta bites.

Cellaring: Drink now. Serve between 7-12ºC.

Gamay NoirGamay Noir VQA 2014, $25.95

Gamay Noir is a wine of growing interest to winemakers and consumers alike. Cold-hardy, fresh, and fruity, #GoGamayGo is a call to action seen throughout social media for this grape.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A blend of 70% County fruit and 30% Niagara fruit, the colour shows a lovely medium ruby. The nose hits you with lovely cherry vanilla notes, a light white pepper spice, and lovely ripe red fruits. The palate hits both red and black cherry notes, fresh vanilla, and light spice notes before the cleansing acidity leaves you asking for another sip.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair with simple BBQ fare like Italian burgers (see recipe below), sausages, or grilled vegetables.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.



With Trail Estates Riesling…
Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Recipe & Photo credits
Serves 4

IngredientsAll Recipes - Spicy Grilled Shrimp

1 large clove garlic
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 wedges lemon, for garnish


Preheat grill for medium heat.

In a small bowl, crush the garlic with the salt. Mix in cayenne pepper and paprika, and then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with garlic paste until evenly coated.

Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.

With Trail Estates Pinot Noir Rosé …
Tomato, Cucumber, & Feta bites 

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 4 (appetizers)

This is a recipe that my son Keiran whipped up in the kitchen and its amazing…and says summer all over it!


4 small Lebanese cucumbers
6 cocktail tomatoes (or 8-10 grape tomatoes)
4-6 oz. feta cheese (block style)
Olive oil
Dried oregano


Slice a thin slice of skin off one side of the cucumber (the full length of the cucumber) so it will sit flat on the chopping board. Slice the remaining piece into two and separate, leaving the “bottom” piece down.

Slice the feta cheese into equal thickness portions the width of the cucumber.

Slice the tomatoes thin.

Assemble in layers – cucumber, feta, tomato & top with the top layer of the cucumber.

Insert 6 toothpicks into each “assembled cucumber log” to hold the layers together. Slice into 6 equal bite size portions.

Arrange on a serving plate or platter.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano (and salt and pepper if you want) and serve.

With Trail Estates Gamay Noir …
Grilled Italian Burgers

Recipe & Photo credit:
Serves 4-6

IngredientsBetty Crocker Italian Burgers

1 lb lean ground beef
½ pound bulk mild or hot Italian sausage – removed from casing
2 Tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
6 slices mozzarella cheese
12 slices Italian bread or panini buns
½ cup sun-dried tomato mayonnaise
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced


Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

Mix beef, sausage and bread crumbs in large bowl. Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 1/2 inch thick and 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Cover and grill patties 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160º.

Top patties with cheese. Cover and grill about 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.

Add bread slices to side of grill for last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, turning once, until lightly toasted.

Spread toasted bread with mayonnaise; top 6 bread slices with lettuce, tomato and patties. Top with remaining bread slices.

 Enjoy your summer with your Savvy Selections!