Terroir – The unique terroir of Prince Edward County will one day be world renowned for growing Burgundian varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That’s a bold statement! But, many vintners, we among them, truly believe it. The County is a cool climate growing region that benefits from consistent lake breezes. Our vineyard is planted near the rocky shores of Lake Ontario in soil known as Ameliasburg Clay Loam which has a depth of 12 – 24 inches. The limestone bedrock and stony texture of the soil allows for excellent drainage in the spring and acts like a wet sponge throughout the growing season. This forces the vines to grow deeper during the hot summer months and produces smaller yields with highly concentrated flavours. The proximity to the lake is a blessing as it delays the start of bud break in the spring, normally past the point of frost danger, and extends the ripening season in the fall.
Farming Approach – The secret to great wine is healthy ripe fruit, which means it all begins with the farmwork. All canopy work is done by hand. No herbicides are used, with weeds removed manually and via cultivation. ‘Sprays’ to combat insects, and disease are mostly organic. Conventional sprays are rarely used. Leaf thinning is kept to a minimum, with a preference for long slow ripening. Harvest is done by hand with small picking baskets. Fruit is processed without delay.
Winemaking Philosophy - Our focus is on good farming. We believe that if you begin with healthy fruit and then trust it, the winemaking will almost look after itself. We use minimal intervention with the appropriate elevage for the current year’s conditions. So far, our fruit has allowed alcoholic fermentation to be achieved using only the wild yeasts on the grapes and naturally present bacteria has resulted in malo-lactic fermentation. We have not had to use enzymes, nutrients, colour or tannin additions & hope to avoid all of these in the future. The fruit will decide. There is limited pumping, racking, and use of sulphur. The use of oak barrels is balanced to the wine style. All wine is bottled without fining or filtration and is corked by hand.
We proudly work with Geoff Heinricks, who shares many of the same beliefs in terms of both his approach to farming and winemaking in the County. We are grateful for his invaluable contributions in establishing Last House.
Last House is a family affair and while we've all toiled in the vineyards and the winery, one person has made a very special contribution--André's youngest brother, Denis. Every year since we first planted, Denis (a passionate and knowledgeable wine lover) has flown from Calgary and used his holidays to work tirelessly alongside his brother for several weeks in all seasons. Heartfelt thanks and love. Your muddy boots are waiting. Cheers.