It's a mild and sunny but windy afternoon at Georgian Hills Vineyard and the smell of campfire and home-cooked food greets you before you even reach The Crush Pad. There's laughter, there's music, there's great food and there's an ever-growing selection of local craft beer, wine and cider. After a busy summer of festivals and events, the agri-culinary industry is taking a well-deserved break to enjoy the fruits of the harvest at Georgian Hills Vineyard.
This is the second year for Vendange - which is literally a celebration of the harvest en francais. It's an apt name for this relatively new event. As the agri-culinary industry continues to grow in BruceGreySimcoe, those who work their tails off during the busy festival and event season, come together on this day in October to relax, raise a glass and share stories and successes from their busy season.
Tents are set up side by side, Sidelaunch Brewing next to Creemore Springs, Collingwood Brewery just across from the new kid in town The Roost at Red Wing winery. Chef Jeremy Korsten and his team from Oliver and Bonacini are cooking over an open fire, constantly replenishing the gourmet samplers that are free for the taking. People are chatting, drinking, laughing and loving life. It's what this industry is all about.
It might seem counter-intuitive that these 'competitors' are spending their free time together, but it's one of the things that makes agri-culinary so unique in this area. These folks have worked the same events all summer, with barely a spare moment to chat, enjoy a drink and compare notes. From collaborative brews at local breweries to joint culinary events like the Thornbury Community Longtable Dinner and local efforts like the Apple Pie Trail and Saints and Sinners, those working in the industry collaborate freely and often.
And here at RTO7, we're lucky enough to share the stories of this industry all year round. Here's a look at what went down at this year's Vendange.