STONE CROP ACRES
Norene Hyatt-Gervais and Marc Gervais moved to Morrisburg in 1989 so that Norene could purchase “The Morrisburg Animal Hospital” Norene worked as a small town companion animal veterinarian for over 20 years getting to know and love her new community and raising their four children there. So how does a small town veterinarian decide to plant grapes, become a winemaker and open a winery?
Go back in time to the city of Thunder Bay, in Northwestern Ontario where Norene grew up. Her dad Paul Hyatt was such an adventurer and loved to try new things. He went with all of the local Italians to order California grapes in the fall and brought them home so that his three daughters could stomp them in their bare feet. He filled the basement for years with bubbling carboys and demijohns of rich red wine. When Norene was a pre-teen, Paul took the family to Europe for several months on a sabbatical from his teaching job. There they drove through rolling vineyards, ate grapes from the vine, picnicked in the vineyards outside of Paris and all the while Paul was transferring his passion for the world of grapes & vineyards to his youngest daughter Norene.
Go forward in time to 1989 when Marc and Norene moved to a 70 acre rural property outside of Morrisburg. Their first experiences digging holes to plant trees and gardens soon earned the property the moniker “StoneCropAcres” and it’s been called that for the last 28 years. What an awesome coincidence that stones are great for vineyards!
Norene spent years tasting wine, pouring over wine & vine books, researching cold climate grapes, taking vineyard planning & design courses and attending field workshops on pruning, trellising & vineyard management. Finally the stars aligned and a vineyard was planned...
So in 2006 the pastures at the front of the property had tile drainage installed and then in 2007/2008 Norene, Marc, friends and family planted 5 acres of cold climate grapes. For three years, Norene left the veterinary hospital where she worked, drove to Ottawa and attended evening and weekend classes to become a certified wine sommelier. The goal was to be able to analytically assess wines, know a good wine when she tasted it and be able to fulfill a goal of teaching classes some day.
Now fast forward to 2016 when the property next door to Norene and Marc’s family home became available so they purchased it from their neighbours of 28 years and began transitioning it into a winery and tasting room. Now the StoneCropAcres grapes that they loved so much would become StoneCropAcres wine that they could share with the public.
So much gratitude for the love and support from friends and family over the years to make this dream come true.
We grow 5 acres of cold climate grapes at StoneCropAcres. These varietals thrive in our climate of long cold winters and love our hot summer (especially the dry ones!) in 2007 and 2008 we planted Frontenac Noir, Frontenac Gris, Louise Swenson, Marquette, Sabrevois, Adalmiina and Muscat Osceola. in 2015 we added a beautiful red grape called Petite Pearle All of these varietals were hybridized at the University of Minnesota using research and breeding stock from a near mythical grape breeding pioneer Elmer Swenson. Our vines have survived winters as cold as -40C. We do all our pruning, trellising and harvesting by hand. Stroll through the vineyard and feel the joy in these well-loved vines.
Norene Hyatt-Gervais is the owner and winemaker at StoneCropAcres. After spending years researching and learning about the vines, vineyard design and trellissing, Norene set her sights on winemaking. Finding fantastic mentors and friends in Tom and Janet Moul of Jabulani Winery near Ottawa, Norene spent hours with them learning the craft of wine making with cold climate grapes. All of our winemaking is done on site. After harvest, the reds and whites are handled very differently. Whites are gently pressed off of the skins, fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks and then months are spent clarifying and stabilizing and aging in stainless steel. The results are clean, crisp whites that dance on your palate with bright clear flavours and aromas Our reds are crushed, fermented on skins in fermentation vat at warmer temperatures than the whites. They are then pressed off of the skins and aged in stainless steel tanks for several months after undergoing malolactic conversion. Transferred to French oak barrels, the reds are then aged until bottling and release. Each release of our first vintage has been a special celebrated event as we share our new wines with our wonderful customers.