We purchased our 10 acre property in 1981, while Stephen and I were working in Vancouver. We would come to the island to visit relatives frequently and decided the Comox Valley was a fine place to raise a family.
Stephen constructed our house from logs harvested off our property and we lived without electricity for the first four years. Over the years we accommodated many types of animals, and for a time we had a small market garden that was certified organic!
By 2006 after our two children had grown and the need for our own livestock had passed, we felt our land should still be used. With our love of wine, and the fact that Stephen's a natural horticulturist, we chose to plant grape vines. After a great deal of research we decided on two grape varietals best suited for our cooler coastal climate at this parallel.
Four acres of Marechal Foch vines where first planted starting in late 2006 and nurtured over several years. We sold the these grapes to a local winery that made an award winning port with them.
Recently, we tried our hand at wine making and with positive feedback from various sources, we took the plunge and built a small winery. With several courses completed at U.C. Davis and a support group of fellow vintners on Vancouver Island, we have started to produce small batch vintages. Our story is a reflection of our beliefs and our philosophy with respect to grape and wine production.
'To capture the sun, soil and soul of the Comox Valley and put it in a bottle for all to enjoy'
Our Mission Statement
'To produce small batch handcrafted wines from the Comox Valley'
'To produce wine grapes in the most sustainable way'
This means choosing varieties which thrive in our unique environment without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Each region of the world has varietals unique to their geographic and climate condition. Our chosen varietals will ripen without the aid of plastic tenting in the most challenging years. Our varietals are also resistant to botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew, common fungal problems specific to coastal climates. Some will tell you that botrytis cinerea AKA "the noble rot" is an attribute to wine making production. This is true if your goal is to make sweet dessert type wines. Our goal is to produce quality coastal red and coastal white wines.
To protect wine grapes from disease, our grapes are grafted on roots which are bred to be resistant to phylloxera. This is a small yellow aphid like insect that devastated the grapes of France in the 1860's and remains an international problem. Another part of disease control is keeping a clean vineyard. The aisles are mowed, cuttings removed. We choose to mechanically weed control using a "weed badger" between the vines.
Harvest time is the best time of year at Stones Throw, our family all help pick over several days. It's a great time to reconnect, with conversations being shouted over the vines from row to row. The grandchildren clock at least 10 kms a day running up and down the aisles. With the youngest ones on quality control, frequently checking the sweetness. On the Saturday of picking week we usually finish the day with a big lasagna supper and of course wine!