top of page
  • Norfolk Farms

Inasphere wine, patio with a roomy view combine for unique Norfolk experience

The unique view from the Inasphere Winery patio is inspiring another generation.

The perfect spot to enjoy a taste of Inasphere 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, here shown off by Kathie Gilchrist, is the winery’s elevated patio which boasts a panoramic view of Lake Erie’s northern shore.

Before the winery’s inception, customers at the Bosgoed family farm’s roadside produce stand would sneak an elevated peek at the fields below, backdropped by Long Point marshland and the Inner Bay itself, in conjunction with picking up their favourite fresh vegetables.


“They’d drive all the way up there just to turn around,” said Shantel Bosgoed.

The perspective was formalized with COVID-19’s onset as the perfect location to create adequate required spacing between winery visitors not available in the on-farm store.


“It was one of the best decisions we’ve made,” says Bosgoed of an immediately-popular vino-enhanced vista. Its panoramic beauty is unquestioned regardless the eye of the beholder, although those most familiar with it, may have a slightly different view.


Inasphere Winery features a truly unique view along with a diversity of crops.

“We see the beauty down there, but we also see the work,” she laughed. “But we know how lucky we are, for sure.”


Co-owner Ryan Bosgoed’s grandfather’s Dutch expertise with dyke construction resulted in some of the most fertile farmland in Norfolk County at their 1454 Front Street, St. Williams location. From initial crops including strawberries, Ryan’s parents continued to diversify, adding cabbages, field tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. As the third generation operating the family farm, Ryan and Shantel continue to grow that range, the latter three mainly for their own and other farmgate stores.



Left Image: Maddy Descheemaeker (left) and Regan Mestdagh share a smile along with onion-planting duties. Middle Image: Ryan Bosgoed’s suggestion of diversifying through grape production led to the creation of Inasphere Winery, located at 1454 Front Street, St. Williams.


But in order to remain sustainable through a fourth generation, they faced a growing realization they would have to add something, ideally without a required commitment to the capital costs additional acreage entailed. One Saturday evening at the supper table Ryan brought up the idea of grapes, to which his dad John responded, ‘Sure, why not?’


They planted a half-acre test plot in 2005 featuring a number of varieties and Ryan headed off to Niagara College to study wine and viticulture. He added practical experience during a stint with Jackson Triggs before heading home to assume responsibilities as head winemaker at Inasphere.


In a word, cold can be considered the biggest single challenge for Norfolk winemakers, in terms of a shorter growing season, the potential for early or late frost, and also winter damage to vines, most often in January and February. The fact Inasphere’s estate grapes are grown in what amounts to a valley, adjacent to Lake Erie provides a degree of buffering from some of Mother Nature’s vagaries.


“It definitely gives us the best chance,” said Shantel. “The fertility of our soil and the climate is also what makes the flavours unique.”

Their initial test plot was replaced with Riesling and Pinot Noir grapes in 2008, the latter named ‘the heartbreak grape’ for its inherently challenging nature.

“But when you get a good crop, it makes it that much more satisfying,” said Shantel.


An effort years in the making came to fruition in 2014 with their first commercial wine production, and two years later, larger quantities of one white and one red wine, both of which sold out by Christmas of that year.

“That was a pleasant surprise,” Shantel admitted.


Their line has evolved to feature a range of whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Off-Dry Riesling and Grey Area, a white pinot noir) reds (CabFranc, CabSauv), sparkling options (CabFranc) and a consumer-demand-driven Sangria proving so popular on the patio, a bottled option will be soon available. “People are excited about it.”


Purchases of wine and other related items can be made online through the Inasphere website (inaspherewines.ca), onsite in the winery store or enjoyed on the patio.


The LCBO may be a consideration ‘down the road’ says Shantel, enjoying the intimacy and personal connection of the current options for the immediate future.


Inasphere Winery’s own evolution has been shared by a growing range of Norfolk wineries and craft breweries and ciders, a development Shantel definitely views as complementary rather than competitive through creation of enough critical mass to encourage visitors to a ‘region.’ “We complement each other more than anything.”


Each seems to find its unique niche, some specializing in weddings, others concerts, dog-friendly destinations or Inasphere’s own combination of rural and coastal view-enhanced flavour.


“I’m so glad rustic is OK, or this would be even more challenging,” Shantel laughed of a natural backdrop enhanced with live entertainment Sundays, accompanied by food trucks for most of those dates, options the Bosgoeds are able to appreciate, if only from a distance.


“We actually have never sat on this patio and had dinner together,” she admitted, citing a single occasion she’s enjoyed a quick break with family members. “It doesn’t happen very often. “Some day.”


COVID-19 certainly presented its share of difficulties, ongoing through increased costs for supplies, but did encourage creation of the patio as well as the opportunity to catch up on inventory.

“We’re hopefully ready for a big year this year.”


Amidst the challenges, there is also great satisfaction in the realization of a plan, positive comments on both Inasphere’s location and products. Her husband is modest by nature says Shantel, but occasionally patrons will approach Ryan as he’s passing through the yard to tell him ‘how amazing’ the wine is.

“It’s really nice to see him hear that.”


The Bosgoeds like to include a little rural education along with their vino and vegetables, thrilled when customers ‘get it.’

“They understand at least to a degree the amount of work that goes into it, that makes it worthwhile.”


The couple is also extremely appreciative and thankful for those who support ‘local’, not just their farm and winery, but the concept in general.


“It’s so important and means the world to us, lets us know we’re heading in the right direction.”


Well beyond the ‘feel good’ aspect, following a dream, taking a risk in conjunction with and beyond the existing vegetable operation has proven to be a crucial component in their goal of a fourth-generation Bosgoed family farming operation involving their two sons.


“The winery has given us a light, hope we can keep moving forward here.” 

93 views0 comments

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page