Experiencing locally-crafted wine within reach of the vineyard is what StoneCropAcres is all about. In 2007, Norene Hyatt-Gervais and Marc Gervais planted grapes and envisioned a boutique winery with a small tasting room. Fast forward to today and their vision went wild in the most wonderful way.
StoneCropAcres near Morrisburg welcomes hundreds of attendees weekly for a popular concert series, hosts picture-perfect weddings, gets cooking with two wood-fired ovens and an outdoor kitchen, sells out of its flagship wine every year and still manages to hold tight to that rustic, relaxed country vibe while helping patrons connect the vines to the wine.
All this has grown from foresight and a lot of hard work – but mostly from a deep love of wine. Norene and Marc recognize that StoneCropAcres has come a long way since opening six years ago, and they still enjoy creating a happy and comfortable wine experience at their family-run vineyard and winery.
Norene said it’s wonderful to watch others experience the enchanting ambiance of the tasting room at StoneCropAcres and fall in love with wine as they have. “People are absolutely flabbergasted at the space and immediately feel welcome and relaxed,” Norene said, noting that the comfort level makes for a better tasting experience and allows visitors to really learn about their grapes and wines.
She’s right. The green spaces and iconic boulders give way to an inviting and inspiring vibe that’s hard to match. The tasting room is a refurbished tractor shed, with white tulle draping down whimsically from the ceiling and Edison lights making the space sparkle. The large open doorway at the back gives way to flower gardens and the patio, creating an eye-catching vista. “There’s just layers of loveliness that people don’t anticipate,” she said.
Marc is often the greeter at the front of the winery, and he experiences those reactions in real time. He said when guests come up the road, they see a bungalow guest house, a parking lot and an unassuming venue. But when they start walking towards the winery something magical always transpires.
“They walk up the pathway under the Norway Spruce trees and through the sliding wooden doors and they forget where they are for a moment. There is a moment of awe as they look around; a wow factor that people aren’t expecting,” he said. “It’s important to us that people have a great experience while enjoying the wine.”
Norene is a wine lover who is passionate about connecting others to process. She comes to winemaking after a career as a veterinarian, spending years tasting wine, researching cold climate grapes, taking courses and workshops, being mentored, and becoming a certified wine sommelier. She can be found almost anywhere at StoneCropAcres, but most often behind the impressive burnished wood tasting bar overlooking the vineyard.
StoneCropAcres is also dog friendly and family friendly. In fact, they take that a step further and even serve kids tasty flights of non-alcoholic bevvies like juice, sparkling waters or soda so they can feel a part of the experience, too, sitting with their families at authentic wine barrels and bistro tables, benches and Muskoka chairs.
In the glass
StoneCropAcres mindfully still serves their wine in crystal glasses – and into each glass goes a lot of love and expertise. They have five acres of cold climate vineyard in addition to the winery and tasting room. The grapes are grown and harvested by Norene and Marc, their friends and family, crushing and pressing them on site. The StoneCropAcres vines have survived winters as cold as -40C and all the pruning, trellising and harvesting is done by hand. Their wines are crafted in small, artisanal batches and aged in stainless steel tanks or French Oak barrels.
The flagship wine at StoneCropAcres is their Harmony Rosé. “It looks beautiful, it’s such a versatile wine, and it sells out every year,” she said, adding they now make it in small and large format bottles. The 2022 Harmony Rosé gets its soft colour from StoneCrop’s Marquette grapes which also lend a subtle fruitiness.
Keep an eye out for a new release coming soon from StoneCropAcres: Frontenac Noir Cabernet Sauvignon with a twist. It’s going to be called, “Party of …” with the remainder of the label left intentionally blank so patrons can personalize their own bottle. It’s an extension of the fun vibe at StoneCropAcres and sure to be a hit for gift giving, as well as enjoyment. Look to StoneCold ciders and microbrewed craft beer served on site, as well.
What would a tasting on the patio be without some palate-pleasing, wood-fired nibbles? With five different kinds of pizza like mushroom and smoked cheese, straight up pepperoni, or even caramelized onion and artichoke, in addition to nachos, cheese plates and fired garlic bread, there’s enough to savour all summer.
Harmony Concert Series
Picture 200 people outside, sipping wine and sharing bottles in this rustic venue with the vineyard as the backdrop for quality musicians performing into the evening. Talk about a legendary time. That’s what transpires several times a week at StoneCropAcres during the Harmony Concert Series. Looking ahead, artists like Crys Matthews, Eddie and the Stingrays, Lynn Miles, Ordinary Elephant, Desiree Dorion and more will be performing. Marc noted that visitors bring their own lawn chairs and some even book pre-concert dinners to enjoy before the show.
Over the past five years, StoneCropAcres and Harmony Concerts have collaborated to bring nationally renowned artists to the winery and Norene said it has added incredible depth to the cultural experience that the winery provides.
Aside from the concert series, StoneCropAcres has made a name for itself hosting celebrations for everything from weddings, to birthdays to baby showers, even crafting parties. In addition, Wednesday night trivia has proven so popular that it is booked every week and offers some stiff competition. It’s a local favourite!
Experience quality crafted wines a stone’s throw from the vineyard. Discover more at StoneCropAcres, 5242 Smiths Road, Morrisburg or explore more at www.stonecropacres.ca. Follow along for updates on Instagram @stonecropacres or on Facebook at @stonecropacres.