'Multi-generation Resilience' - Stouck Family Vineyard

If the Stouck Family Vineyard needed a theme, “multi-generational resilience” would be a strong candidate. Worked by the Stoucks for well more than a century, the land has adapted to the demands of changing times with unfailing alacrity.
In the mid-1980s, with a rising Ontario wine industry on the horizon, significant acreage converted to vinifera. The vines thrived, spawning a parade of award-winning wines.

The farm is served by classic (and lovingly maintained) machinery, the Dean of which is a 1951 Case tractor. Like a rugged old sheepdog, it tends the vineyard with no sign of fatigue, and thanks to occasional upgrades, it can probably do a few things its builders didn’t envision.

Like the tractor, the vineyard, while seasoned, keeps up with evolving demands. Dan Stouck, who took full management duties of the farm from his father Brian in 2002, has been modifying its plantings, based on 40 years’ oversight. The mix of cultivars is in flux; new varieties are being added and others are being replanted in new locations.

Note: Pictured is not the 1951 Case tractor referred to earlier.

On the move is Cabernet Sauvignon. Old rows are being pulled out, giving way to new, more disease-resistant vines that will go into the ground at the same site on the property.

On the rise is Cabernet Franc. A 1.5-acre section planted five years ago produces excellent fruit, and Dan is expanding the block to allow Malivoire the option of a future estate Cab Franc.

New varieties already in the ground include Malbec and Petit Verdot, suitable for the Stouck site by virtue of its uniquely warm microclimate. They are not planted in dedicated rows. Rather, the new vines are interspersed with Merlot, substituted where old Merlot vines have been taken out. This invites us to grow a future Stouck Farmstead Red as a genuine "field blend", an old-fashioned concept which, given the venerable farm it comes from, seems charmingly appropriate.


Finally, there’s the Viognier. The original eight rows, now 14 years old, are doing splendidly. They produce sell-out vintages year after year. The Stoucks will tell you there’s no need to tamper there.