Winery and Beef farm Bresee thrives in Sutton Junction
Stacey and Parker, the "worm boy" at their boutique
By Manfried H. Starhemberg
Five year old Parker Bresee greeted me with a cheerful "We are going fishing and I just dug up worms. Want to see them?" What a nice opening to my visit to the winery and beef farm of a delightful young couple, Richard Bresee, wife Stacey Richardson and the great kids Vanessa, Mackenzie, Parker and Gavin.
The "Domaine Bresee" is located on the top of Draper hill, just on the fringe of Sutton Junction and the family has been at it for more than ten years. Now the winery encompasses approximately 15,500 vines and the adjoining farm has grazing for more than 100 cattle. The grapes are St.Croix, imported hardy plants from Minnesota and the cattle are all Charolais.
"We had one hundred but just sold 50 head last week" explaines Stacey. The cattle are all organic, hormone and antibiotic free and the meat sold by the Bresee family complies with the highest available government ratings. "We cannot even slaughter locally because the abattoir has to comply to standards not available in the immediate region. All our processing is done at St. Alphonse, and we bring the stock there in our own trailer". Even there the love for her enterprise shone through: "We just bring two at a time because we do not wish to get them nervous".
The meat, available in all commercial cuts, as well as the superb sausages I have often eaten, are flash frozen and packed on the spot to assure the utmost cleanliness and freshness. "We will also cut to acustomer's personal preference and specification. Whatever they want they can get as long as we have enough lead time to process a specific special order."
Being a family vineyard, the family motif shows in the names of the wines: The lovely rose is named "Nessa" after daughter Vanessa, Cuvee Mackenzie-Parker is a red wine aged in oak barrels named after the two boys and Stacey says: "Gavin (3yrs) soon we will be bottling a late harvest dessert wine called Gavin."
The equipent at the winery is exquisite and ranges from the most beautifully crafted stainless steel vats to lovingly built oak barrels for the specialty wines, which need careful and long ageing. Everything is done on the premises, the pressing, fermentation cycles, ageing and clarification, bottling, corking and labelling. The labels are elegant and understated and customers may taste a sample in the boutique. Domaine Bresee also gives vineyard tours, has a fine chalet for rent, a well stocked fish pond (a special attraction seems to be the "feeding of the fish"). Richard and Stacey even invite people to come and picnic on their property which alone sets the farm apart from many other wineries that are part of the "Wine Route" in the townships.
Now to the good part: I purchased a couple of bottles of Bressoc 2006 and while I am composing this, I am enjoying a glass of this richly colored red, the fruit of all the years that go into maturing grapes, have a first harvest and then make it into wine. This one has a rich nose, it smells fresh and fruity and even after having been decanted one hour ago at room temperature, is vibrant with a slight touch of blackberry flavor. For comparison's sake, I also decanted a bottle of French "Roc Franche Valle'e" of comparable vintage and composition, but found the French wine to have too much tannin and an indistinguished aftertaste while the Bressoc left a clean palate (and the desire to have a second glass).
I have yet to sample the white or the rose but from my first experience as a writer, whose relatives have owned vineyards in the Wachau region of Austria since the 15th century, my family's cellar masters would be very satisfied to consistently produce a wine as good as the bottle I just sampled!