Hubbs Creek is a family run vineyard in Prince Edward County, located at the northeastern part of Lake Ontario bisected by the 44-degree north parallel. The vineyard itself is situated in the township of Hillier, approximately two kilometers north of Lake Ontario. The County is one of Canada’s newest grape growing regions, famous for its lime-rich soils ideal for growing grape varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Our first block of vines were planted back in 2002. Since then, we have experienced numerous ups and downs here at the vineyard. Although we have been successful at producing high-quality grapes, our work has not been easy. Growing grapes, especially Pinot Noir, has been challenging due to the harsh winter conditions in the County. Each year we learn how to better prepare our vineyard for winter survival. We find new ways to adapt and modify our sprayers, vineyard layout, vine pruning, hilling up, and de-hilling of buried vines. By adapting our skills to the growing conditions here, we have been able to produce high-quality grapes and wine year after year!
Our vineyard is located on a 500 million-year-old geological formation known as the Lindsay formation, from the Ordovician period. The soil is stony and calcareous by nature. It varies in depths anywhere from 18 to 36 inches and lies on a fragmented limestone bedrock. The soil is known locally as Hillier clay loam. It has a high lime content that is ideal for making Burgundian-style wines. In fact, Hillier clay loam is very similar in appearance to the soils in Burgundy, France.
Just like Burgundy, Prince Edward County is considered a cool climate growing region. Our winters, however, are more severe. Precautions must be taken to ensure winter survival. The vines are often buried (hilled up) to protect them from the coldest winter days. Our growing degree days vary anywhere from 1200C to 1450C depending on location or summer conditions.
In 2002 we planted over 3000 vines of various Dijon Pinot Noir clones (115, 667, 114, and 459). The vineyard spacing for this first planting was 4 feet between the vines and 5 ½ feet between the rows. This planting is considered high density. We also planted a single row of Dolcetto in an experimental plot.
The following year we planted 2500 more Pinot Noir vines (clones 115, 667, and 777). We also planted 1200 vines of Pinot Gris (clones 457 and 53). This year we decided to use a more modern, European approach when it came to vineyard layout. The vines were spaced one meter between the vines and two meters between the rows. This spacing is still considered medium- to high-density.
In 2004 another 1200 vines of the same Pinot Gris clones were planted with the same spacing. The most recent planting in 2010 was of 1600 Chardonnay vines (clones 95 and 76) using the same modern, European spacing. We also added another row of Dolcetto that same year.
We now have a total of 5 acres under vine, which provides the majority of the fruit for our wines.