"It's All About the Dirt"
The home vineyard is located in the countryside near Port Dover, Ontario. This area boasts
warm summers, cold protection in the winter from the proximity to Lake Erie, good drainage
and ideal air circulation. Mixed sand and clay is a major factor in the flavour profile of
our grapes. Soils are composed of both living and non-living components. The living components
include bacteria, fungi, other microbes, and a variety of animals and plants. The non-living
components include visible and microscopic rock fragments (sand and silt), smaller minerals
(clays), new and old organic matter, water, and air.
Our vineyard benefits not only from the unique soil composition, but also from the surrounding
valley and waterway around three sides of the vineyard which promotes better air flow and
reduces the possibility of early frost.
Smoke & Gamble Wine Company also follows the practice of tighter vine spacing. Tighter vine
spacing has recently become the trend for high quality vineyard plantings. The thought process
behind this is that a grower can farm efficiently while maintaining a lighter, more balanced
crop level per vine.
To maximize sun exposure, a unique trellis design, along with skilled hand-work such as
pruning, shoot and fruit thinning, and leaf removal compliments our hands-on artisan attitudes
The home vineyard of just over five acres was established in 2008, with plantings of Riesling,
Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
Our growing and harvesting process spares no effort to achieve the highest grape quality from
each crop. The vines are planted to an 8x3 spacing on the home vineyard, and 7x6 on the
Lawrence vineyard. The tighter density in each row allows the vines to compete for attention,
while the larger spacing allow more airflow.
Our vineyards are managed according to premium vineyard management practices, including:
Shoot and sucker thinning (promoting optimum cluster and berry development)
Three types of moisture monitoring covering both vine and soil. These are tools for close
monitoring of deficit irrigation, which promotes smaller concentrated berries and reduced
yield. Later in season this is also used as a tool for canopy management for optimum sun
Early season cane tucking and leaf removal
Multiple trimming of vines for optimum canopy management and sun exposure
Late season crop thinning for smaller berries, yield and quality management
Annual vine balance management including fruiting cane lengths and number of shoots per vine.
This helps provide a balanced vineyard, balanced crop and uniform cluster/berry ripening.
Diversion canes utilized to moderate vine vigor and vegetative growth (canopy management) as
well as cluster and berry size (crop load, balanced fruit zone).
Vigorous perennial and annual mixed cover crops planted for better water management and vine
devigoration for more concentrated fruit.
We tend the vines by hand, and the grapes are hand harvested to preserve them at their best
condition until the moment they are crushed. This devotion to the vines and attention to
detail are the foundations of our winemaking philosophy.
"He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long." - Martin Luther, 1777
"Twas a woman who drove me to drink. I never had the courtesy to thank her." - W.C. Fields
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