7:30 a.m., Sept. 1)
winery making a name for itself among local wine lovers
By Fred Sherwin
the past Anne, Denis, Lyse and Dominique Perrault
. File photo
the Domaine Perrault winery, making wine is very much
a family affair. From harvesting the grapes to naming
the wines and designing the labels, the entire Perrault
family is involved.
Navan winery is owned by Denis and Lyse Perrault and their
two daughters Anne and Dominique – and while older daughter
Lynn and son Pierre don’t have a stake in the winery,
they often can be found helping out especially at harvest
all started 25 years ago when Denis and Lyse visited Le
Cep d’Argent winery in the Eastern Townships as part of
a tour organized by the Eastern Ontario Soil and Crop
Improvement Association to investigate possible options
for crop diversification.
had a few vines and a little shop and I remember thinking,
‘This guy’s going to starve,’ ” recalls Denis Perrault
whose operated a dairy farm south of Navan for the past
they went back to visit Le Cep d’Argent winery 10 years
later, the owners were hardly starving. On the contrary,
they were producing 50,000 bottles of wine and more than
40,000 people had paid $10 each to take a tour of the
a couple of months the Perraults and seven other farmers
in Eastern Ontario formed the Eastern Ontario Grape Growers
Association. One of the prerequisites of membership was
planting a minimum half acre of grapes.
Perraults ended up planting 1,000 vines of winter hardy
grapes they purchased from Le Cep d’Argent on a one-acre
parcel of land.
years later they produced their first 200 bottles of wine
that Denis readily admits “wasn’t very good”. But his
friend and vintner Paul Harwood made 20 bottles of white
wine using only grapes from the St. Pepin vines.
absolutely loved it. He was so excited he would call me
up and say, ‘This wine is amazing. You could sell this
wine for $20 a bottle,’ ” says Perrault.
the next two years the family slowly increased production
and experimented with different blends. In 2004 they decided
to take the next step towards becoming a bona fide winery
and converted one of the buildings on the farm into a
wine-making facility. They also joined the Bytown Vintners
Association where Harwood introduced them to Marcel Sarrazin
who became their resident winemaker and who Denis credits
with the winery’s amazing success.
later retired in September 2008, and was replaced by Bernard
Martineau, an Ottawa-renowned oenologist with 40 years
2004, the little winery produced 5,000 bottles of wine.
A Cuvée Special red; the Marilys rosé, which
is a variation of Lyse Perrault’s given name Marie Lyse;
and the Zanibel white, which was named by combining Anne’s
given name Anne Isabel.
the fall of 2005 they added a light bodied red to the
roster which they named after Dominique’s newborn daughter
Rosalie. Earlier that same year they planted another 5,000
vines on an additional five acres of land which will allowed
them to increase their production capacity to nearly 11,000
bottles a year.
preparation for the increased production they applied
for their manufacturing and retail licenses in 2006 and
opened up a small store where people can come to sample
and purchase the wines.
store, which is actually located in the Perraults’ basement,
was modeled after similar shops on small family-owned
wineries that Lyse had seen during a trip to Provence.
quaint shop is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday,
Saturday and Sunday from June 6 to Dec. 31 and is usually
manned by resident sommelier Julie Ricard.
is a graduate of the Algonquin College sommelier course
and she is a wealth of information when trying to marry
any of Domaine Perrault's 10 different wines with various
back over the past 13 years, Denis can hardly believe
how far the little winery has come.
we started this I hardly knew a thing about wines. Now
I’m getting a little better. But to be honest we wouldn’t
have gotten to where we are without a lot of help along
the way, not only from our friends and family but from
our customers as well who’ve been spreading the word about
our wines,” says Denis.
get to Domaine Perrault take Trim Road south through the
Village of Navan. When you get to the end turn right on
Perrault Road and look for the signs. (Map).
an alternate route from Orléans, take Tenth Line
Road south to Navan Road and turn left. Turn right on
Milton Road and drive until you see a sign for Perrault
Road on your left. Turn left and you’ll see the entrance
to the winery about a half kilometre down the road.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business
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