Established GTA winery putting down roots near Port Perry, Ont.

After two decades of producing wine in Stouffville, Applewood Farm and Winery is putting down roots in Scugog.

But getting everything ready during a pandemic is not easy and the transition hasn’t been a smooth one.

Matt Passafiume is steps away from having his winery north of Port Perry operational.

It’s a venture he and his wife decided to take late last year.

“It all has to be done yesterday: seeds have to be in the ground, plants have to be in the ground, crops have to be picked and it’s all so time sensitive and of course Mother Nature isn’t always cooperative in the weather she throws you,” said Passafiume, co-owner and winemaker.

Passafiume has been making and selling fruit wines for 20 years.

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Applewood Farm Winery was established in Stouffville.

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Moving the operation to Scugog was a challenge in itself but uprooting during the COVID-19 pandemic has added even more twists and turns.

“Slowing down with the town, slowing down with surveys, slowing down with lumber; we’d go to the hardware store and get three pieces at a time then the next week five pieces at a time,” said Stephanie Passafiume, Applewood Farm Winery North of Port co-owner.

After arriving in April, it’s been all hands on deck, including for the four children.

“We started planting like as soon as we got the house, and we planted a lot of stuff,” said daughter Ella Passafiume.

“They’re a very integral part of the business. Having the six of us you can call on and say we really got to crunch and get together in the next day here and let’s just get this done,” said Matt Passafiume.

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There’s over 15 acres dedicated to soft fruit production.

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Passafiume is waiting on the municipality to pass a zoning by-law to allow sales and operation, which is expected early next year.

“We’ve started to get a lot of interest in cideries and wineries, just because it’s a great on-farm diversified use that goes with the growing of crops, and we have a significant amount of agricultural lands within the Township of Scugog,” said Robin Prentice, Scugog Planning Manager.

Until he gets approval by the municipality, Passafiume will still make wine in Stouffville that customers can pick up at the new Durham location or have delivered.

Click to play video 'Black-owned wine and spirit makers in Canada'

Black-owned wine and spirit makers in Canada

Black-owned wine and spirit makers in Canada

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