David May and Jenny Lajoie from the Provincial Marine Amherstburg Reenactment Group toast with glasses of the Stowaway 1812 wine during a ceremony in Amherstburg on Thursday. Six local wineries have collaborated to produce a series of commemorative War of 1812 wines.
Forget popping corks. Historical reenactors fired a replica cannon here Thursday to launch a series of commemorative War of 1812 wines.
The Stowaway 1812 label wines celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and this summer’s festival of tall ships.
The Stowaway 1812 effort by six local wineries marks the first time they have collaborated to produce wines under one label.
“The price value is extraordinary,” said Tony Aspler, a wine writer. “I think you should collect all six wines,” he told the small crowd gathered at King’s Navy Yard Park.
The wines, three red and three white, cost $14.50 each and feature a striking silhouette of a different 1812-era tall ship. Each winery is selling its Stowaway 1812 wine on-site.
As part of the Stowaway 1812 promotion, a special barrel of wine will be “stowed away” on the Liana’s Ransom, one of the tall ships in the Coastal Trails: Sails to See Tall Ships Festival in Windsor, Amherstburg, Kingsville and Pelee Island Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. The barrel will travel throughout the Tall Ships 1812 Tour presented by Redpath Sugar. Aspler plans to taste the wine before and after its journey to document the aging effect on wine from all that sloshing en route.
The wine will be bottled and auctioned off and the commemorative barrel displayed at Pelee Island Winery, said Kyra Knapp, a War of 1812 project facilitator for Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.
She expects the festival of tall ships here to draw 125,000 visitors to the area. The response to the Stowaway 1812 wines alone has been enthusiastic, from wineries and public alike.
“People are excited about something special like the Stowaway wines,” Knapp said.
Lynnette Bain, with Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, hopes the Stowaway initiative leads to more collaborative efforts among local wineries. “Sometimes, it just takes leaders to be trailblazers. We can work together and try these projects out,” Bain said.
Such efforts can help boost the visibility of wineries, Aspler said, describing the wine region as one of the country’s best-kept secrets. The area needs to attract people and expose them to the region’s wines, he said.
For information on Stowaway wines, contact the wineries:
Colio Estate Wines, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Oxley Estate Winery, Pelee Island Winery, Smith and Wilson Estate Wines and Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. Visit the winery organization website epicwineries.com.
Visit coastaltrails.ca or call 1-800-265-3633 for tall ship festival event information.