The history behind the fruit supplier to Niagara’s best vineyards

October 19, 2017 - Beppi Crosarial for the Globe and Mail

Grape grower Warren Saunders wastes no time greeting me as I pull into the steep driveway that leads up and around to the back of his farmhouse. Before I can knock, he's heard car wheels on dirt and pre-emptively emerges with a warm smile into the Niagara sunshine in rubber boots, jeans and a crisp blue beret, followed by his daughter, Ann-Marie.

I've come to inquire about the current harvest and the challenges of farming organically during the mildew-plagued summer of 2017, which saw unrelenting rains and a record-high level in nearby Lake Ontario. But I'm soon treated to time-travel in the bargain. The elder Saunders is 96, a veteran of 52 harvests, during which he's watched the local wine industry go from Baby Duck to biodynamics and crude jugs to trophy bottles.

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