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Vineyards don’t take time off. Even in the middle of a pandemic, with no vineyard crew to do the work, vineyards still don’t take time off. It was apparent early in the year how extraordinarily difficult -- unprecedented, even -- the 2020 vintage was going to be for County growers. The Spring arrival of migrant workers, the main labour force in viticulture, was uncertain. With shifting shutdowns and miles of red tape to navigate, it was unknown at times if they would get here late, or not at all. It was bound to be a challenging year for any grapegrower, and...

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We knew there would be difficulties caring for our new baby vines after they went into the ground, but we had no idea how soon they would start. Lee got a call from the planting team as they were driving away from the vineyard: “With this heat wave and drought, you should be covering the vines to make sure they survive.” Our vineyard was set up for geotextiles. It was supposed to be a vineyard that we never had to bury, but that’s exactly what we were being told to do. The day we finished planting ended up being the...

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Last week Redtail Vineyards completed what may be the largest single-year vineyard planting in all of Prince Edward County — 32,000 vines spread over 24 acres in just less than 3 days. The vines arrived in two shipments on Friday afternoon, about two-thirds from our neighbouring wine region of Niagara and the rest from California. On arrival the team quickly worked to transport them into cold storage, packing our tiny facility with boxes and boxes of vines. The final two pallets, after making their long journey from the West coast, collapsed as they came off the trailer. The entire staff...

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Spring arrived in the County this year with an unwelcome guest as the COVID-19 pandemic hit a tipping point in Canada. We made the difficult decision to shut down our tasting room and retail store in mid-March, in the hopes of reducing the number of spaces where community spread could occur. As we watched Canadians implement physical distancing measures across the country, we tried to imagine what summer in the County could possibly look like. It seemed clear that a change was essential, and we would have to let go of some of the plans we’d made for the season....

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The snow hit hard and heavy this November. Overnight, the County was covered in a blanket of white, with frosty temperatures and shorter days heralding the end of the 2019 season unequivocally. Our little solar winery hung onto every drop of sunlight possible. We shut off nearly all power in the production building to save every precious ounce of battery life for heat — important if we don’t want our wine to freeze into barrel-sized ice cubes. Our work on the Farmhouse kitchen finished just in time for the change of seasons, so we set up our winter tasting room...

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