It was in 1976, the first of the old Concord grapes were pulled out,
the soil was prepped and 2.5 acres of imported Riesling and Chardonnay vines were hand planted.
At 4 years old, my job was to hold the new young vine steady in the freshly dug hole my dad had just shoveled moments before. While my mom would carefully cover the vine with dirt. Each hole was hand dug and covered in a 4 ft by 9 ft pattern.
After helping plant a number of vines, I had enough. My 4 year old self decided I would make a run for it, when my mom turned around to grab another shovel full of dirt. I saw my chance and I ran for it.
Thats my earliest memory of what was to become my life long experince of grape growing in Jordan Ontario.
Ivan was 9 years old when he and his two older siblings were running guns for the partisans fighting the Nazi's in occuped Slovenia. If it weren't the end of the war, they were sure to have been caught and executed. It was the intesity of this life, that moved Ivan to find a careear as an officer in the Army, but at age 25, he had enough. Yearning to settle down, Ivan immigrated to Canada, eventually laying roots in Jordan Ontario.
It was here, he found the perfect vineyard that reminded him of the farming life he missed back home.
Ivan spent the next 20 years, replanting the Jordan vineyard to the European Vinifera varieties, the same ones he helped tend to as a child in his father's hillside vineyards so many years ago, a half a world away.
Only a hand full of growers were planting vitis vinifera vines in Ontairo in the 1970's. My father knew, the climate here in Niagara was similar to that of the old country and they will be able to thrive and produce great wines.
The first wine made from our farm was this 1980 Gamey Nouveau from vines first planted in 1975. The wine was made from only three Niagara growers; John Neufeld, Joeseph Triolo and Ivan Dim. Gamey Beaujolais was well suited to Niagara's cool climate, and was vinified by winemaker Herman Gras in the "Nouveau" style of wine that is traditionally released as an early celebration of the annual vintage and was originally consumed by grape growers and winemakers themselves as they celebrated a good harvest.