A few days in Prince Edward County…

I’m taking a video course this summer (Make Films with Xanthe Berkeley), so in an effort to improve my skills, I put together a three-minute video. I wanted to capture a recent visit to Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (PEC) for a family getaway in moving pictures as well as stills this time.

I’m a big fan of the County as locals call it, which is really a beautiful island, and I adore islands, as many of you know. In past summers, we’ve sailed around it, using Waupoos Marina as our base.

But PEC is also an up-and-coming Ontario wine region, which is producing award-winning wines and becoming a preferred destination for wine lovers and foodies from the nearby big urban centres of Toronto and Ottawa. However, even with its success and newfound popularity, it hasn’t lost its “realness,” its friendliness or its old-fashioned charm.

You can still find boxes by the side of the road where you can leave your money for produce on the honour system.

In wineries throughout the county, you can still meet with the actual owners/winemakers who are more than pleased to pour their wine for you and share their passion for what they make and how they make it.

Prince Edward County is also home to three of the best beaches in Canada. As youngsters my sister and I spent many a happy day at Sandbanks and we decided to go back for another visit, this time with cameras. It did not disappoint.

On top of that, there’s lots of great restaurants and places for food lovers to satisfy all their desires. We were only there for a couple of days but I still couldn’t cram all the places we went to in this short little video. I may have to do another post…

A few days in wine country — Prince Edward County, Ontario from Sherry Galey on Vimeo.

Summer in the vineyard…

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There’s nothing quite like a wine and food festival as a place to savour the tastes of summer. And one held among the vines right in a vineyard on a warm summer solstice eve is sure to be an extra special treat.

So when my sister asked if I would be interested in going along with her to help shoot such an event, I jumped at the chance. She had been asked by one of her clients to photograph the annual TD Tailgate Party that wraps up the Niagara New Vintage Festival.

My sister operates a busy marketing / communications / public relations consulting business (Winestains) in the Niagara area — one of Canada’s preeminent wine regions – and many of her clients are wineries or wine events. She’s always included photography in her social media contracts, but lately, more and more new clients have been asking for her event photography services.

We had travelled to southern Ontario to celebrate my sister’s birthday and her anniversary. But pro that she is, when the request came in, she didn’t want to let her clients down, so we decided to make a day of it — combining work with our passion for photography with spending time in each other’s company.

She knows how much I love photography and last year I had taken some shots at a Chardonnay festival we attended with her that she liked and was able to use. But being promoted to number two shooter at a wine event was an exciting new experience for me — one I relished and really learned from.

It struck me afterward that event photography is a bit of a mix of street photography, lifestyle photography and still life, all of which I have tried over the years.

You have to be fast, anticipate well, and shoot quickly (and a lot) in order to catch candid moments with good compositions, as you do in street photography. But you also want to show people in their best light, as you do in lifestyle and portrait photography. No odd expressions or embarrassing moments wanted here!

And wine and food events certainly require some set ups as does still life to showcase the “heroes” and the ambiance. At the back of your mind, you must always remember what the client is looking to convey to their audience through your images (a list of subjects and moods can be helpful) and continually aim to capture that.

We came home tired but happy that night. We had such a great time photographing the happy participants as they spent the evening socializing with friends and sampling new vintages and local favourites from all the winery partners as well as the yummy food offered by local vendors.

The next night was set aside for celebrating my dear sister. And celebrate we did! That is another story.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’


Chardonnays from all over the world...

Chardonnays from all over the world…

One of the highlights of summer so far was attending the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4c) in Niagara.

Spending a weekend eating and drinking right in the vineyards of the region was the perfect way to love and appreciate summer!

This is what I FaceBooked right afterwards: “What a wonderful wine-soaked weekend in the Niagara region at the Cool Climate Chardonnay event! Can’t thank the organizers, winemakers, wineries, volunteers and all those involved enough for all their effort.
A new Chardonnay monster has been created.”

For those whose only experience of chardonnay is that cloying, overly oaky stuff, chardonnay made in cool climates is a revelation! I think I sampled chardonnays from most countries represented and my mind and palate were opened.

At the dinner for 800 under a massive tent on Saturday night we sat with the winemakers, who proudly poured their wines for us and shared fascinating details about how they were made.

Not only did I become a fan of cool climate chardonnay, but I also discovered how well oysters and champagne go together.

The celebration takes place every year. You can’t beat it as a fabulous summer experience for wine lovers.

See more pics here.

Thanks to the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration for featuring this blog post!

Photostory: A taste of Prince Edward County

–Thanks to the Ontario Culinary Tourism Daily for mentioning this article in their August 23, 2012 edition. 

As sailors, we’ve spent many a happy day sailing out of Waupoos Marina on beautiful Lake Ontario.

Waupoos, near Picton, is in Prince Edward County, which has long been known for its history, scenic shorelines, unique island character, and fresh local produce.

Today, the county is an up-and-coming Ontario wine region boasting scads of wineries and Canada’s newest viticultural designation.

The area still attracts families with its friendly rural character — where else can you buy veggies on the honour system? — and 800 kilometres of beaches, but now it’s also a premier food and wine destination.

In fact, the Globe and Mail has called it “the Gastronomic Capital of Ontario.” World class chefs and award-winning wineries as well as gorgeous views make for a sensory treat second to none.

We try to go at least once a year to check out the new wineries and sample the county’s delights. It is also a seriously photogenic region! I was charmed and delighted by so many things….

We indulged ourselves, tasting wines and spirits at Karlo Estates, 66 Gilead DIstillery,  LaceyLighthall Vineyards, Exultet, By Chadsey’s Cairns and eating at Portabella,  Milford Bistro and Blumen. We had to drop by Vicki’s Veggies as well for organic produce. There’s nothing like it!

In the past we have enjoyed the Merrill Inn, the Carriage House, Huff Estates, Long Dog, Sandbanks, Closson Chase, Rosehallrun and the County Cider Company.

Truly, it’s all good.

Karlo Estates grapes on the vine. These are a new varietal you probably haven’t seen called Frontenac Gris. Karlo uses these for their rosé. They can withstand temperatures down to -40 C.

The barn is old; the winery is new and Exultet is already winning awards in Canada!

Karlo Estates tasting room and sales are located in an old barn.

Liquid sunshine, bottled.

Heirloom tomatoes at Vicki’s Veggies.

Vicki’s heirloom tomatoes in a salad at the Milford Bistro matched with wine from Exultet.

Lavender adds to the ambience at Closson Chase.

A huge old tree stands guard By Chadsey’s Cairns.

Richard Johnston, the owner of By Chadsey’s Cairns, was there to introduce his wines and share his passion for wine-making.

My mother had a grand old time time swinging on an old-fashioned swing at 66 Gilead Distillery. She hadn’t been on one in a long time. She’s a young 84, isn’t she?