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Behind the Scenes

From the outset, two visionary members of the international fine wine community have been partners with Peter and Ann in the Versado project.

Moray Tawse

In addition to founding the winery that bears his name - Tawse Family Winery in Canada’s Niagara region - Moray is also a wine aficionado. After researching the potential of winemaking in Niagara, he purchased his property in 2001 and opened his showcase winery in 2005. 

Situated on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment, Tawse Family Winery unites traditional winemaking techniques with state-of-the-art technology to create wines of exceptional elegance, depth and character.  The grapes are harvested from old-growth, low-yield vines and gently handled using natural gravity flow and geothermic energy. Rigorous organic and biodynamic methods are applied to every aspect of wine production, with Ecocert and Demeter seals on all Tawse vintages made from their biodynamic vineyards.

Tawse was named 'Canadian Winery of the Year' by Canadian Wine Access Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the first time an Ontario winery has won this distinction three years in a row, with a record setting nine gold medals. Moray’s long-driving passion and refusal to compromise has helped shape the future of winemaking in Ontario.

Along with his winery in Canada, Moray has also founded Domaine Marchand-Tawse in Burgundy. With acclaimed Canadian-born oenologist, Pascal Marchand, formerly head winemaker of renowned Burgundian domaines Comte Armand and Vougeraie, they are committed to creating wines that are the best expressions of some of Burgundy’s most celebrated terroirs. Operating out of their cuverie and cellars in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Domaine Marchand-Tawse owns vineyards from Village to Grand Cru status - including parcels of Mazis-Chambertin and Musigny.

Gerald McConnell

Gerry McConnell, a lawyer and veteran mining executive, with his late wife Dara Gordon, founded Benjamin Bridge Vineyards winery a decade ago in Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley, and it is now widely acclaimed as Canada’s finest sparkling wine producer. With a focus on classic method sparklers at a ‘Cuvée Prestige’ quality level, the first releases - after more than six years on the lees - have catapulted Nova Scotia to the forefront of sparkling wine recognition in Canada.  A climate remarkably similar to France’s very cool Champagne region is providing a stellar terroir with excellent conditions for the classic Champagne grape varieties.

Long fond of fine food and wine, it was a love for the land, and a love and passion for seeing things grow, that convinced Gerry to launch a top-end vineyard and winery. Lead consultant Peter Gamble assembled an international winemaking team that included renowned international Champagne oenologist Raphael Brisbois. Organic since the outset, Benjamin Bridge Vineyards is now broadly acknowledged as having ushered in a new era of fine winemaking in Nova Scotia. 

In addition to Benjamin Bridge’s classic method sparklings, their iconic ‘Nova 7’ - a light, gently sparkling Muscat-based wine that the Globe & Mail’s Beppi Crosariol called “an East Coast trail blazer … a category unto itself” - has by far the largest following of any Nova Scotia-grown wine ever produced.  And so Gerry’s dream, to show that there could be a viable industry in the Gaspereau Valley producing acclaimed wines, seems firmly in hand.


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