NEIL and GWEN LAMONT, owners of Coffin Ridge Vineyard and Winery, began their grape growing journey in 1999. The vineyard was the brainchild of Neil who, upon settling with Gwen in the Owen Sound area to begin his surgical practice, realized as he traveled the road between Owen Sound and Balaclava, that there were an abundance of wild grapes growing around the area. Neil’s curiosity had provoked him enough that he had soon planted two hundred plants around the side and back of their house. Gwen didn’t pay much attention to the new hobby, thinking that the plants would perhaps not survive the harsh winters in Grey County, or at the most they would survive and Neil would learn to make wine, as a hobby. Neil was very excited the next spring when he discovered that many varieties had not only survived but thrived. The Baco Noir was one of the hardiest, along with Foch and Prairie Star. When the first five acres were planted using the Tom Sawyer method Gwen suddenly realized this was serious business. Friends and family came in droves to help plant and tend the vineyard. Gwen remained skeptical until she tasted the first glass of wine made from their grapes. Gwen eventually retired from private practice and spent several years, along with Mark Berner of Berner Construction, designing and overseeing the building of the winery.
The vineyards are carefully tended using sustainable viticultural methods with no insecticide use and careful attention to soil management. With the help of our consultant, Dr. Kevin Kerr of Kerr Crop Management, Coffin Ridge is growing healthy and thriving grapes which have translated into award winning wines. We believe that good wine has a way of enhancing the celebratory nature of food and relationships. Neil and Gwen have done an extraordinary amount of research into cold climate grapes and have carefully chosen varieties that thrive in Grey County’s clay soil and frigid climate. Just as carefully, they have chosen a team of people to help them produce the finest quality artisanal wine.