Dunhams Run Estate Winery, 35 Gorhams Bluff Rd, Kingston, NB E5N 1A8
When the first thing you see is oak barrels and rows of leafy grapevines, chances are your first impressions are good. Dunhams Run is described in the New Brunswick winery route brochure as a winery and meadery. I hadn’t heard of mead since I read Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge but I was willing to give it a try.
Gently pushing open the door, I enter the wine bar. Two ladies are perched upon stools at the window holding wine glasses. A young lady behind the counter says, “Hello,” and I walk up to her and hand her my card. “Hello, I am Kelly, a travel blogger. This is such a pretty place.” She says her name is Bailey.
“Hi Bailey, This is the first New Brunswick winery I have been to. How long has it been open?”
“I am not sure, I think it opened about ten years ago.” She looks to be in her late teens. “I see your product board, what do you recommend?” “You can do individual tastings, our Savrevois is very popular, or you can do seven samples for $10.”
“Oh well that sounds like the thing to do.” The ladies behind me offer, ” We are doing the seven samples as well.” Bailey reaches up and removes a small wine glass from the overhead rack and pours about an ounce, maybe less, of white wine into the glass.
I swirl it around in the glass, then give it a sniff like all wine tasters do. Then I turn to the ladies, lifting my sample to the sky, then back at Bailey, saying, “Cheers!” like a mead drinker would do, and take my first sip. I am no wine expert so all I can say is it has a fruity favour and I like it. I make short work of the first sample.
My glass is barely down on the counter and Bailey is unscrewing the top off another bottle. “Do you mind if we use the same glass?” she asks. “Not at all, saves water when washing dishes.”
She gives me another ounce. “This one is called The Long Reach.”
I give it a taste. “Oh I really like this one.” I only just learned, from a painting of the same name that I saw on display at the John Fisher museum in Kingston, New-Brunswick, that this side of the Kennebecasis River, is called the Long Reach.
“It is our best seller,” Bailey smiles.
The ladies bring their glasses up to the bar and Bailey pours their final round.
“Are you a student Bailey?” She tells me she just finished high school, she lives near by and walks to work. She loves it and is saving to taking a sommelier course in Nova Scotia next semester.
“My sister was a product specialist for Nova Scotia Liquor Commission in her town, she just retired,” I tell her.
“Oh you are from Nova Scotia. I really like it there.”
The ladies are finishing their drinks and ask Bailey if she could take some photos of them. She comes out from behind the bar and takes their phone, aligning a shot in the screen and the flash lights the space. The far wall makes a great backdrop with its bottle-filled crates and a large painting. I get her to take one of me also. “I am not very good with cameras,” she says, and I show her where to push the button then step back and pose.
“Can you take some of us outside?” the ladies ask Bailey. She replies, “Sure.” “I am coming out too.” I loop my camera around my head and grab my glass and we trundle though the door out to the patio. ” I saw on the poster you have live bands?” “Yes we had several concerts this summer, they are finished now.”
“Are we allowed to go in the vines?” I ask. “Yes, you just can’t go up near the owners’ home.” she points towards it. “That is understandable,” I nod. I walk along the row of vines. When the photo session is over the ladies depart with a “Thank you!” and Bailey and I head back inside for rounds three and four and five….
We chat about travel, places I have been and she hopes to see, her family my family. Just like any good bartender she keeps a steady conversation going.
“Bailey, back in June I went for road trip up to Grand-Falls-New-Brunswick, Near Waterville, I visited Moonshine Creek distillery and did a tour of their facilities. The owner said he did a collaboration with this winery, that is why I chose to come here.”
“Oh yes, they did a product together.” She wasn’t sure when the product would be available but she shows the Moonshine Creek product display, “Oh I bough a bottle of the double–double, a coffee-infused moonshine. It is tasty.”
” Do you want to go on a tour of our place?” I don’t hesitate. “Sure, please, that would be great.”
“I just got to check no one is coming.” She opens the outside door and scans for customers. Assured she can go for a few minutes she leads me to the back area. We go into a large room. “This is where we take special guests.” The room has a rectangular table and more wine stored on racks. I can visualize investors or distributors gathered here sipping wine during a product launch.
“This is the vats and fermenting room.” She leads me forward to the next space. “I can’t leave this room open, it is very cold, but I can give you a quick look.” She rolls up a large garage door. A pillow of cold air hits us. I snap a quick photo and she closes it again.
Back to the bar area I have two glasses of water, then I am on to my last two samples. “This the Lily in the Pink.” I swish it about my mouth and swallow it. My final tasting is the Savrevois. “Oh that is nice,” I say, remembering she said it was very popular. “It has a tart finish.” I blink away the sour.
All finished my samples, I search for something to purchase. “This is my favourite,” she says. She pours me a bonus sample of the Dunhams Run blueberry cider.
First sip I am sold. “Oh that is good. that is the winner for me.” She smiles nodding her head, “Yes, it is what I buy to take home.” She gets me a can. “Thank you Bailey, I had a wonderful afternoon.” While she rings up my bill, she says, “We have a grape harvesting event, volunteers come and help with the harvest. There is a lunch provided, if you leave your email address we’ll let you know about it.”
“I picked grapes in Niagara, Ontario a few times, I loved it. My email is on my card.”
With our afternoon complete I feel I have gained a friend. “Good luck in your courses and hopefully I will see you at the harvest.” “Yes,” she says, lifting her hand in a wave goodbye as I head out the door.
An afternoon well spent. If you want to know more about their products and happenings at the estate, here is their link. Dunhamsrun.ca
Happy travels from Maritimemac
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