Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence


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2011 Minister's Award Winner

Burning Kiln Winery Inc. - St. Williams (Norfolk County)

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Photo of Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Dave Pond, Frank DeLeeBeeck, Michael McArthur, Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario

Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Dave Pond, Frank DeLeeBeeck, Michael McArthur, Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario

What happens when a former tobacco grower with 40 years experience, a steel company owner, a dentist, an accountant, an entrepreneur and two lawyers get together? They pool their expertise and form Burning Kiln Winery, which produces internationally acclaimed Ontario wines. They planted high quality French vinefera varietals on 23 acres of land that previously grew tobacco. But what do you do with displaced tobacco kilns? If you are Burning Kiln Winery, you convert them into high-tech, award-winning wine-making machines.

At Burning Kiln Winery, grapes are hand-picked into pallets and stacked in the kilns; the air flowing through the kilns allows for even drying and reduces spoilage. This ancient Italian process of drying grapes before fermentation is called "appasimento." It intensifies the wine's flavour profile and increases the sugar content. The result is a great-tasting Ontario wine that shows innovation is thriving in Norfolk County.