Over the years, customizing the orchard & vineyard at the Hounds of Erie Winery has been an ongoing passion project. Choosing the location for a quality winery is no small task. Elements of consideration included climate and weather patterns, proximity to fresh water, soil consistency, and the most important – the type of vines & apple trees that will bear the most successful fruit for our location.
All these factors considered led our family to beautiful Clear Creek, Ontario. The winery benefits from the Lake Erie Macro-climate being only 2.5 km away from the water. This means cool summer breezes and mild winter weather.
In 2012, we started by planting a small test vineyard that consisted of four french vinifera varieties, and a handful of table apple varieties. Fast forward to today, and we have changed our focus to specializing in modern hybrid grape varieties known for their high-quality output, and over 21 varieties of hard cider apple varieties – ranging from French, English and North American heritage apple varieties.
2014 brought in the first planting of Frontenac Blanc & Marquette.
2015 introduced Petite Pearl
2017 added to the existing Marquette vines.
2018 saw the second addition of Petite Pearl
2019 an exciting year for planting included Frontenac Blanc, Petite Pearl, L’acadie Blanc, as well as an opportunity for a test site of Crimson Pearl, T.P 1-1-12, and St. Cliche.
2020 will bring a 1.5 acres of expansion that includes Frontenac Blanc, L’acadie Blanc, and Petite Louise. Experimenting is always part of the vision at Hounds of Erie and includes testing new trellis system, 4-arm Kniffin training system.
Due to the orientation of Lake Erie, our sub-appellation is known for constant higher than average westerly winds. This natural air-movement helps to reduce disease pressure in the vineyard. The winery site has a unique soil profile with 40-100 cm of sandy-loam textures over silty clay loam till. This profile enables the vines the benefit of having good drainage while maintaining access to ground water and rich clay-till minerals. This has proven very useful during droughts such as those experienced in 2016 and 2020.
Making our winery as fruitful as possible has lead us to thinking outside of the box. Unlike other wineries we have adopted a 6.5’ trellis system with a pendelbogan design. Since our soil is highly vigorous we knew we needed a design that allows the vines to evenly spread out their growth energy and maximize sunlight exposure for even ripening.
In choosing the proper grape it was obvious that there were hundreds of choices, being specific to the unique location we started with a few and have steadily expanded ½ an acre or more per year