The Thirties and Forties
1936 Chevrolet Master ½ ton truck with a Hercules-Campbell body
As prohibition came to an end Canadians returned to what they new best hard spirits. T J Brights a company founded in 1874 had bought out the licenses of fourteen other wineries. They were determined to improve the quality of Canada's wines. They hired Adhemar de Chaunac from france to be their winemaker. He was not happy with the quality of the grapes in the vineyard. In 1938 he imported winter hardy French hybrides. World War II delayed the arrive of his hybrides untill 1945
This was a period of trail and error for the few Canadian winemakers who tested the various grapes to find the best for the Canadian Vineyards and climate. A man by the name of Harry Hatch tore out 600 Acres of Concord and Niagara Grapes between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment replacing them with them with the new varsities. This included Seibel 9549 ( renamed de Chaunac in 1972).
Seibel 9549 became the leading commercial grape in Ontario in the 19760's and 70's.
Brights was not the only winery making a strong effort to improve Canada's wines.Parkdale Wine Company was founded by Allen S. Axler, Manuel J. Roth and Charles A Siegel. They moulded Parkdale out of several smaller companies in 1935. The winery itself was built in 1950 with a capacity of 1.25 million imperial gallons and was located on an 8-acre site along the Quen E in Etobicoke. In January, 1965, the control of the firm was purchased by John Labatt Ltd. Parkdale had seven retail outlets and sourced their grapes from Niagara.
Parksdale Winery in Toronto brought in Vines from Hungry in 1947. The vines included Gamay Beaujolais and Johannisburg Riesling. Parksdale had little success with these vines. It was Donald Ziraldo of Inniskillin fame who prorated these vines in 1971. The Fred Marsch Wine company started the development of Sparkling wine(1) in Canada.
Back in Ontario Jordan winery founded in 1920 in the small village of Jordan Ontario. Jordan survived prohibition and grew to be a very respected name in Canada. In 1973 Jordan bought out Growers Winery in Victoria and renamed the national company Jordan & Ste-Michelle.and introduced the name St-Michelle Cellars.The winery had a succession of owners and was finally purchased by Brights in 1986. There was also Cartier wines founded in 1889. Cartier battle through World War One and Prohibition.1993 Cartier and Inniskillin merge with T.G. Bright to form Vincor
Another name of note was Canadian Wineries formed in 1926 by the merger of several small wineries It was later known as Chateau-Gai from 1936-1964 . When Labatt's brewery plunged into the wine business in 1964 they took over Chateau-Gai and the BC winery Casabello.
2089 Pandosy Street, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y, Canada
R.C. Wilson built this house in 1945 for Carlo B. and Angelina (Gina) O. Ghezzi. Both have importance for their association with Kelowna's wine industry, then in its infancy. Gina Ghezzi was the sister of pioneer vintner Pasquale Capozzi's wife, Maria. Carlo was winemaker at Calona Wines (owned in part by the Capozzi family) since at least 1936, and later became production manager at the winery, a position he held until his death in 1963. Gina stayed in the house for some years after Carlo's death. She became a self-taught artist in oils, and died in 1989.
Winemakers continued to experiment while wineries were sold or merged Canadian consumers still felt that the Old world wines were better. It was not until the seventies that wines like Baby Duck and Schloss Laderheim' made their mark. In the 70's and 80's Canadian wines began to emerge to truly challenge the old world.
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©2018 Robert A Bell