(Toronto) For one intrepid Ontario winemaker, the cool rainy October and devastation caused by rain and wind due to Hurricane Sandy was not a problem, rather it was an opportunity for business.
“Many Niagara wineries and grape growers, hoping for a longer warm and dry spell in October got quite the bad news,” says Charles Fajgenbaum who owns Fermentations!, a make-your-own-wine operation located at 201 Danforth Avenue in Toronto.”With the cool and rain forcing harvesting sooner than they may have wanted, both wineries and home wine makers looking to take advantage of what should have been a bountiful harvest, were disappointed. Fortunately, I made the opportunity to go to Spain, and come back with 20 tons of the finest grapes that Mother Nature can provide.”
Not grapes from any vines, but vines in the Montsant Appelation, a mountainous area surrounding Priorat, whose vineyards, with a unique soil type called Licorella (limestone infused with quartz-like crystals), are tended to by family members providing grapes to a winery operated by family members.
The grapes, organically grown and hand harvested, were crushed, and put into 22-kilo containers, loaded into a 40-foot reefer, and shipped to Toronto.
This Saturday, at Fermentations! beginning at 11 am and going until 2 pm, Charles will be putting the first lots of fermented grapes through his press, a significant step in the process of making wine. The grapes are available to Fermentations! clients for on-premise winemaking. Branded as Grapemasters grapes, they are also available to home winemakers looking to buy best grapes.
In 2011, wines made at Fermentations! were pitted against commercial wines, in front of a panel of experts. The majority of the time, the experts were unable to determine which was the “amateur made wine”, often selecting commercial wines in the flights, as the one made by Charles.
Information about Fermentations! is available online at www.fermentations.ca. A photo essay, as well as a video of his Spanish WineGrape adventure is available at the website.