Harvest is a busy time at the winery, but a lot of the work happens behind-the-scenes, and that includes the team’s outing to a local orchard in Prince Edward County this season. Traynor tries to grow as many of the ingredients as possible on the property, including the herbs and plants used in the Vermouths. It only makes sense that the same philosophy applies for other favourites, like the Ophelia Piquette.
Last year, the Traynor team decided to update the recipe to the Piquette from water added to grape skins, to two thirds water, one third cider added to grape skins. The reason for that is the natural acidity and natural sugar in the apples, so it makes it a more natural way to add those factors into the Piquette and balance the flavour.
With the nature of — nature — this year the team was unable to get the order from the same orchard as last year, so Mike began to look for solutions. When the ingredients for products can’t be grown on the vineyard, the priority is to look at other farmers and growers within the County to keep Traynor’s products hyperlocal. The great thing about the community in Prince Edward County is how collaborative it is, so the team remained positive an opportunity would pop up.
A few days after discovering this dilemma, Mike was driving past The Eddie and noticed they still had plenty of apples on their trees. He drove in and inquired about their plans for the apples, and he was pleasantly surprised to find out there were no plans for them quite yet. With new owners to the property, the orchard was maintained, and visitors could pick their own, but there were still loads of apples left and it was nearing the end of the season.
Shortly after the Traynor team took a field trip out to pick three apple varieties on the property: Macintosh, Empire and Mighty Reds. Normally these varieties are used for eating or cooking, but they also have the sugars needed for the Ophelia Piquette.
Right now, the apples will only be used in the Piquette, however Mike is always looking to experiment and explore different avenues beyond grapes when it comes to the world of wine and cocktails. This is just one avenue to integrate other fruit into the program, but Richard joked that he wouldn’t be surprised to see apples and other fruits being used in other ways in future harvests. Have you tried the Ophelia Piquette this year? It’s the perfect bottle to sip on with a charcuterie board and appetizers in the colder months, and a patio favourite when it warms up.
Do you have a favourite new Traynor wine? Share it with us @traynorvineyard so we can taste it along with you.