Food & Drink
A Grape Celebration 25 YEARS AT QUAI DU VIN ESTATE WINERY
Like a nice wine, Quai du Vin Estate Winery has lovely layers. You arrive there via a picturesque drive along Fruit Ridge Line which runs through Elgin County’s highest elevations. The large retail wine shop is set into a slope complete with wine barrel waterfall. Inside, a staff member (often one of the Quai family) will invite you to taste and happily answer your questions. Next you can head out back to relax with a glass of your favourite in the shade of the Wine Press Terrace. From the terrace you will see an “ultimate” outdoor event area, home to the annual “Summer Sounds Delicious” music series, private functions and weddings. There’s a stage landscaped with massive rocks, a huge tent, shiny dance floor, and great (really) outdoor washrooms. Beyond that are the gently rolling slopes of the vineyards. You might get the sense that everything you see before you has come about, like a nice wine, in a natural way with liberal inputs of passion and hard work. And it has…
Rob Quai reflected recently on what has gone into the twenty five years since he and wife Lisa opened the winery that has become a pictureperfect place for quality, affordable wines and memorable events. He says, “I approach everything as a challenge but I don’t get too stressed about things. There are so many different directions we could be going in but we have tried to allow the business to grow naturally.” Over the long-term, Quai du Vin’s goal has been to expand the vineyards in order to become selfsufficient, produce wines in the European style and market them directly from the winery. Five acres of new vines planted two years ago were to provide that self-sufficiency, although two bad winters running have set them back a bit. Dealing with the LCBO has recently become more streamlined, but Rob says, “From the beginning our philosophy has been that we would have to be producing a much larger volume in order to compensate for the reduced margins of selling through the LCBO and
RELISH ELGIN SUMMER 2015
Relish Elgin promotes the people, places, businesses and events that make Elgin County and St. Thomas, Ontario unique.