Wine View: Memories of ‘Raising Cane’ in Prince Edward County vineyard

The aerial drone shot shows the Raising Cane event in the Prince Edward County vineyard of chef Jamie Kennedy in 2017. Photo:


Spring is officially here! It has me thinking about the things that will soon be done in the vineyards around the world.

I recall the time I went to Chef Jamie Kennedyʼs farm one spring a few years ago to an event he called Raising Cane. Great play on words!

Jamie Kennedyʼs farm is in Prince Edward County. On this occasion the invitation was first come first serve. Come one, come all to help Jamie in raising the canes of the pinot noir grapes in his vineyard from their winter slumber.

In return Jamie and his crew will feed you! What? I will absolutely work for my breakfast, lunch and dinner with Jamie Kennedy feeding me; avec vino!

Quick to respond so as to not loose out on such a great opportunity I instantly hit reply. “Count me in!”

Jamieʼs vines are low to the ground so he uses the cane burying method to over winter his vines. Itʼs a cold climate wine growing technique. A green growing cane is buried within the vine row.

It was our job to unearth these sleeping canes with small hand held trowels without damaging the precious cargo and bring them back from their underground grotto. Itʼs labour intensive but so rewarding when you find the golden ticket beneath. (Any Willy Wonkaʼs fans?)

The purpose of choosing a particular style of trellising is to maximize and balance the amount of fruit development to leaves production ratio (the energy producing part of the plant – photosynthesis).

The trellising and pruning systems (which I will go into more in my next column) chosen also factor in the potential yields for that yearʼs crop, the quality of the grapes, the air circulation as well as the amount of sunlight they will receive to fully ripen.

Each variety requires differing amounts. Its other purpose is to aid in the prevention of diseases.

Styles chosen are based on an areaʼs topography, soil type, grape variety, climate, location within a region and whether mechanized or hand harvesting will be done.

You will see a different type of trellising if you are say closer to a body of water versus high up in the mountains or desert-like conditions. One size does not fit all.

Some of the more common trellis systems used around the world are Pendelbogen, Gobelet, Single Guyot, Double Guyot, Geneva Double Curtain, Pergola, Lyre, Single Cordon, Double Cordon.

In Ontario we typically see row upon row of upright vines. While they may all seem to look alike, upon closer inspection you will see that there are variations. Henry of Pelham winery in Niagara use a modified Scott Henry trellis for their Baco grapes and various 2 and 4 cane Cordon systems for other varieties such as their Chardonnay and Riesling.

There are many more but the one that fascinates me the most is the Basket training. When we are able to travel again I am heading over to Santorini in Greece to see these amazing works of art.

The vines are woven into a wreath like shape that encircles the grapes protecting them from the Meltemi (Etesian) winds, sun and the stirred up volcanic soil, and are among the oldest in the world.

Ah Mother Nature! You are truly amazing!

Here are a few suggestions for Easter brunch and dinner. Happy Easter!

Ontario – #315200 – Cuvée Catherine Carte Blanc de Blanc

France – #234575 – Terres de Saint-Louis Rosé

British Columbia – #377770 – Quailʼs Gate Chardonnay

Portugal – #452789 – Confidencial

Jacqueline Corrigan is a Certified Sommelier (graduate George Brown College Sommelier Program); a Member of the International Sommelier Guild; and a graduate WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust – Britain).

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