235313, Grey County Rd 13, Flesherton, ON N0C 1E0
If you love food and wine and are looking to delve in further, making your own wine is a great way to explore your tastes and find out more about the field of wine and the perfect place to do this is right in our backyard! Dane Nielsen is the owner of the Grist Mill Winery, recently moved to Eugenia and he invites you to come and make wine with him in the new location. Dane loves food and wine just like you: “my belly keeps growing in kind of a test to that!” he tells me with a laugh. Dane says he grew up enjoying dinner with wine as his father is a big food and wine guy. “I really enjoy enjoying a meal to have a meal. You don’t eat food just for the sake of fuel, it’s to sit down, relax and cook food that you actually care about and drink wine with the food”. With a mindset like that, I’m sure anyone looking to make wine will get along very well with Dane!
The Grist Mill Winery goes hand in hand with lots of local history. The Grist Mill has been in the area since 1996 and was located in Kimberley in the actual historic Grist Mill building for over 20 years. In that time it changed hands from a couple of different owners. Terry Smith is one of the more well-known owners and also being Dane’s predecessor, owned the Grist Mill for 13 years. Dane also has strong ties to the area and the Grist Mill. He grew up in Dundalk and after attending Trent and McMaster University, Dane attended Mohawk College for Small Business Entrepreneurship. “I always knew I wanted to own my own business, didn’t really know what business that was going to be when I was a teenager.” Moving back to the area, he came into the wine field through his father-in-law. “My father-in-law had been making wine at the Grist Mill Winery since 1997. In 2003 my wife and I literally got kicked out of his cellar and told if we want to drink we had to go make our own” Dane tells me. After that, he and his wife started making wine at the Grist Mill, in 2008 Dane started working at the winery and in 2013 he bought it. He has now been the owner of the Grist Mill for 4 years and just this year in the summer of 2017 he moved the business from Kimberley to Eugenia. Dane explains to me that the move now provides more space and allows ‘the building to fit the store rather than the store fit the building’ as well as providing more convenience and accessibility for both him and his customers.
The Grist Mill Winery is a ferment on premise facility which means that rather than visiting and buying or tasting wine, you go and Dane will make wine for you ensuring to fit your tastes. Then, after 6-8 weeks, you get to come back and enjoy the experience of bottling it. “Kind of the thing we offer is the best wine possible, not necessarily the cheapest. I’d rather make wine that you actually like, cause then you’re more likely going to come back and visit us again. You make better friends with better wine” Dane explains. However, that is not to say that making wine with Dane is expensive. Making wine can also be nice on your wallet if you are a regular wine drinker. The Grist Mill Winery is best known for its Amarone wine Dane tells me. If you were to go the LCBO and buy a bottle of Amarone this can cost $40+ per bottle. Contrastingly, Dane can make it for you for $229 for a batch. That is a significant savings. Yet another great reason to visit the Grist Mill!
The best way to describe the Grist Mill Winery, according to Dane, is that they cater to your tastes, and they make wine for you. They do customizations of wine and they typically ask you what types of wine you usually purchase from the LCBO to try and make wine that best suits you. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee which definitely sets them apart from others in the field. Dane tells me that he would rather his customers tell him they don’t like the wine so that he can fix it and replace it to make sure you are completely happy with the product. Moreover, Grist Mill is supplied by Wine Expert which is the largest manufacturer of kits in the industry. They are located out of Vancouver and own companies such as Jackson Triggs and Peller Estates in the Niagara Region. “They pride themselves on making the best wine as possible as well,” Dane tells me.
Dane says that his favourite part of being located in Eugenia and Grey Highlands, in general, is being a part of the community that he grew up in. He is very passionate about Grey Highlands and our small community. Not only does he own the Grist Mill Winery but he is also the Vice President of the Grey Highlands Chamber of Commerce, he is President of Kids N Us Daycare Organization as well as Vice Chair of the Tourism Advisory for Grey Highlands. He also tells me that lots of his future plans have to do with making sure Grey Highlands is a place with lots of opportunities and a place people want to come to. Moreover, he adds that he loves being a part of a small community because he gets to know his customer base even more. “I love our customer base, we’re the type of business where you’re not here for 5 minutes to pick out a pair of jeans or some chips or something; you’re here for 15-20 minutes with me, I get to know you rather well’ . . . ‘You get to see the same people consistently come back again and again and share their life them kind of a little bit”.
So if you are looking for a new way to explore the world of food and wine, visit the Grist Mill Winery now in Eugenia beside Top O’ the Rock. You are sure to have a great time with Dane, I promise!
To find out more check out their website www.gristmillwinery.com