PrestonWine.ca is VERY pleased to be able to offer you, our constant amateur wine makers, great 2011 Niagara premium quality fresh grape musts and juice from the vineyards of award-winner Ed Hughes (website) - a viticulturalist committed to sustainable farming techniques and a premium grape harvest. This is our first Niagara offering for some time and, as we do with our premium Brehm Vineyards frozen musts and juices, we have selected the best quality fresh Niagara fruit musts and juices for your wines.
Ed Hughes, very recently honoured by the Ontario Grape Growers Association and the Royal Bank of Canada as their 2011 Grape King - ambassador for Ontario Grape Growers - and his family live on their 20-acre Beamsville, ON, sustainably-managed vineyard.
(Photo Ctsy. NiagaraThisWeek.com)
The following is a excerpt from a blog article, posted by Rick VanSickle on his Wines in Niagara blog, September 2011.
Grape Growers of Ontario Chair, Bill George Jr. says, “We are thrilled to have Ed serve as the 2011 Grape King and act as an ambassador for grape growers and grape growing in Ontario. Ed is a dedicated grower who is concerned with the sustainability of Ontario’s vineyards and has implemented several bio-controls at his Beamsville operation.”
“The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is delighted that an individual with Ed Hughes’ passion is being honoured as the 2011 Grape King. To recognize an individual whose approach to grape growing embraces sustainable and eco-friendly practices is to be celebrated. Ed is truly a custodian of future grape growing in Niagara. ” says Kimberly Hundertmark, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.
“The Grape King represents grape growing excellence throughout Ontario. Ed’s involvement in industry research and his innovation in the vineyard makes him a great ambassador for grape growers across the province,” says Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario.
Ed's interest in grape growing begin in the early 1990’s when, as a cook at the Four Seasons Inn on the Park, he attended a Sommelier course to study food and wine affiliations. In 1993, Ed purchased a 3-acre farm in Beamsville and began growing grapes there in 1995. In 1999, Ed expanded his operation by purchasing a well-established 21-acre vineyard that was planted with a combination of hybrid and concord grapes.
Today, Ed farms over 20-acres of VQA premium quality vinifera grapes. He sells exclusively to Malivoire Wine Co. in Beamsville and has also developed a business selling high quality grapes to amateur wine makers and a number of wine clubs in Southern Ontario.
As Ed’s interest in viticulture continued to grow, he enrolled in Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) program to learn how to improve the grape quality in his vineyard, with the hopes of starting a small family winery.
Over the last 10 years, Ed has started to implement bio-controls in his vineyard and has investigated new ways to improve the sustainability of the vineyard, including developing a more natural ecosystem and experimenting with high density planting.
In 2010, Ed was awarded the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence for his innovative work in the vineyard. Ed lives with his wife, Caroline, and their two children in Beamsville, Ontario.