The Grape Doesn't Fall Far: The Mother + Daughter Duo Behind Grange Winery

Posted by Drake, May 12, 2017
Grange mom and daughter

Caroline Granger and Maggie Belcastro

The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estates Winery is known for their impeccable terroir driven wines. With over 60 acres of vineyards, on a family farm with a rich history that dates back 200 years, owners and operators Caroline Granger and Maggie Belcastro are a mother-daughter duo who work together to pass on the wisdom of wine!

How old was Maggie when you started the winery? What was it like starting and running a winery while being a mother?
C: Maggie was 12 when I began to work on the winery project and her brothers 8 and 4. I began to think about planting vineyards on our family farm in part because I had recently become a single mother and wanted to work at something that would allow me to be home for my children. I returned to the County with my children because I wanted them to have the kind of childhood I had with the freedom of growing up on a farm. Of course reality doesn’t always mirror our aspirations because the vineyards and then the winery demanded a lot of work. It was often hard to find the right balance and there were certainly times I felt overwhelmed. It's interesting to me that the very things that made the balance so difficult like growing children and growing vines were also the things that gave me the drive to carry on my deep and abiding love, both for my children and the farm.

What is your earliest memory of growing up around a vineyard?
M: I remember when we planted. I remember the first year in 2001 watering the vines one by one. The ground was so dry that it was crumbling under the weight of the water tank and we had to jump out of the way of it rolling back on several occasions. But I remember playing in the cornfield that is now the Isabella block. I remember in 2002 when we were preparing to plant that vineyard and the ground was freshly cultivated I had run out to the middle of the field and gotten stuck in the clay- I had to leave my shoe behind and it wasn’t until much later that my mom ever found it again.

Grange kids

Brothers Quinton and Brandon w/ Maggie and Caroline

When did you start working with your mom? When did you know you wanted to join the family business as a career?
M: I started helping when we starting planting. It was all hands on deck. I started working out in the vineyards before the tasting room opened and did 3 summers out there. When the tasting room opened I was 17 and I helped however I could. Giving tours, bussing etc. The next year I could serve and I worked the bar, wrote the tasting notes etc. I started being more involved in the cellar and winemaking in 2009 when I was 22 and had graduated university. But 2010 was my first full year start to finish. That’s when my mom and I took the lead in the cellar and the style of wine that we are making now began to take shape.

What were your first thoughts when Maggie wanted to join the family business?
C: Of course I was thrilled. The Grange was already generational as I had worked with my father to develop the business. There is something very natural about family working on a family farm. I think I've always felt more like a steward than anything else; there is always the longterm view in mind I did not plant the vineyards because I thought it was a way to get rich quick but rather as my lasting contribution to a farm that already had a 200 year history of productive use of its land sustaining many generations before mine.

What is the dynamic between you and Maggie as a working duo?
C: It is always a challenge and a blessing to work with someone who knows you better than anyone else does. In our love of the farm and family, our passion for authentic production of terroire driven wines are very much aligned. In other ways we diverge. Maggie is less burdened with our history of course and works quite differently than I do. This can at times cause tensions but I have learned over recent years that it is this very tension and demanding nature of our relationship that pushes us to excellence and carries us forward into the future mindful of our roots.

Grange tractor

Caroline and baby Maggie w/ Caroline's father, Robert Granger

What is your favourite part about working with your daughter?
C: Having company on the long dark nights when we watch the inversion fans run, having a partner who I can trust completely, having a friend to share the joys and sorrows to precious or cruel to expose to the world.

What is your favourite part about working with your mother?
M: She’s a tough cookie. Every day she teaches me how to be a kick-ass woman boss. There are still situations on a regular basis where I need to go running to my mommy and she’s there to show ‘em whose boss.

Outside of the wine business, what is the best advice your mom has given you?
M: Definitely “finish what you’ve started” “take responsibility for your actions” are huge ones for me.

What is your proudest moment as a daughter?
M: It’s hard to pick one moment. I’m incredibly proud of my mother and all that she has accomplished. She built this whole world that we now live in. Nothing would be here if it wasn’t for her. It’s completely changed our lives for the better. As a pioneer in the wine industry in PEC I think she also helped shape a better region where there are more opportunities for young people to stay, thrive and build a life.

What has been your proudest moment as a mother?
C: From the moment Maggie was born I have been awash with pride for my precocious daughter. I am most proud of her resilience and tenacity but I am always struck when I see my daughter stand up for her passionate beliefs with dignity and elegance. Her depth of understanding of the vineyards and the wines that we are developing from them could only come from a lifetime of growing with the vines.

Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estates Winery will be popping up at Drake Devonshire along with other local PEC wineries on MAY 21 for our annual Summer Kick-Off! Stop by for some sunshine, $5 dollar eats And sweet tunes by indie rock band, Sun K.

Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: drake devonshire  grange winery  prince edward county