In July, Sal D’angelo was working 12-hour days in the vineyard, supervising a crew pulling leaves to expose grape clusters to the sun, cutting top growth from vines to force the plant’s energy to be directed into ripening the fruit, and ensuring only the requisite number of clusters was left hanging on vines. After 30 years in the business, he knows that effort in the vineyard has to be made before one can expect quality in the winery.
A true family man, Sal’s conversations are peppered with family references. His daughter, Stephanie, runs the wine shop, B&B and handles administration. Son Chris manages a winery of the same name in Amherstberg, ON. His mom and dad make regular visits from Ontario. On a recent stay at the winery, Sal’s brother asked him why he never goes anywhere
His reply? ‘’Because I am already there.‘’
Meticulous in his record keeping, he can open his beloved Blackberry and find spreadsheets on everything to vineyard spraying schedules to each check of wines in barrels. It’s that attention to detail, he says, that helps make consistently great wines.
And it shows. In the wine shop are fine expressions of Merlot-Cab Franc, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Sette Coppa Riserva. Coming along nicely are new vintages of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, Sette Coppa and his first ever Rosé.
And yet to be bottled is their sweet dessert wine called Dolce Vita Rosso, a Port-style wine with a twist using icewine and brandy from their own vineyard and distilled by Maple Leaf Distillery in Penticton.
They will be ready by the time this story is in reader’s hands. And these fortified dessert wines won’t last long.
~ Lorne Eckersley