North Shore Royalty

November 22, 2016 - Jim Meyers for Fruit and Vegetable Magazine

This year marks just the second time in 61 years a Grape King has come from a vineyard outside of the Niagara area. Jamie Quai is very much a hands-on guy and the blue-purple stains around the cuticles of his fingernails can attest to that. Just the day before being installed as Ontario’s 61st Grape King, he’d been cleaning up after pressing Concord grapes at the family winery where he is co-proprietor, vigneron (French for grape grower) and winemaker. And while he was scrubbed up and wearing his new Grape King blazer for the event, it’s almost impossible to remove the telltale stain of the grape variety that’s better known as a juice grape than for making wine. That was at the end of September. In midmonth, he had been named Grape King at a luncheon in St. Catharines, Ont. to launch the Niagara Wine Festival. A second crowning ceremony was held at his 22-acre vineyard, Quai du Vin Estate Winery (roughly translated as “dock” or “port” of wine) near the north shore of Lake Erie, some 30 kilometres south of London Ont. 

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