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The Family Behind The Wine


This venture is a family team effort, founded by Gord and Hannah Mitchell as a vineyard in 1991 and later as a Winery with their grown children in 2007. Each family member has played an important role in making Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery a destination winery focused on producing premium 100% Ontario quality wines.

Stephen Mitchell
Marlaina Auger
Tanya Mitchell
Jake Mitchell
Gordon Mitchell
Hannah Mitchell

Stephen Mitchell
President/Director Sales & Marketing and Property-Equipment Maintenance

A lot of people dream about owning a winery; the food, the socializing, the surroundings...and yes it's just like that. What's amazing about this dream is that there's a lot of work that lies behind the romance. Over the past 16 years, the amount of energy spent by my parents in building this dream has been incredible. Watching the effort turn into the dream has been a motivator for me to move back and help in the family business. For the past six years I've lived in Toronto. When I last left Windsor I was sure I wouldn't be returning. I left a lot of great friends and opportunity in Toronto, but the ability to work toward something that is cemented as a part of my future is too great an opportunity to pass up.

Moving forward will prove full of interesting challenges. Growing the business from our first 1,200 cases to something that consumers recognize on a shelf will be no small endeavor. I'm happy to see the community and its businesses rallying around the local wineries to promote and build this new region.

To close I'd like to thank you for your interest in Sprucewood Shores and hope you enjoy your visit to the North Shores of Lake Erie.

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Marlaina Auger
Secretary

My parents dream to start a winery was one that fascinated us all. Many years before starting the winery, we all took part in wine tasting around the family dinner table. That love of life and wine and the pairing it with different foods and enjoying with friends and family has been something that has infused us all.

While attending university at the University of Waterloo for Chemical Engineering, I met my husband, where fate would have it that we'd settle in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. An amazing place to live, where the market is ever expanding, I'm sure there will be a way to incorporate what we are doing in the Windsor area with what we have here. While not able to be at the winery on a day to day basis, I still make time to contribute to the family business with financial and inventory planning, and events coordination.

The recent success of our FIRST vintage is one that has motivated us all even further. With all the support of the local people around the winery, we see new and old faces every day that remind us what an exciting business we're in. Living life passionately has kept us busy while also giving us something to be very proud of.

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Tanya Mitchell
Vice President/Winemaker/CFO and Event Coordinator

Tanya Mitchell has worked full time for the company since its inception as a Winery in 2004, shortly after attaining a degree in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University. Before her 14 years as Winemaker at Sprucewood Shores, Tanya garnered experience in Niagara at Henry of Pelham Winery, in Lake Erie North Shore at D’Angelo Winery, and in the Bendigo Region of Australia at Langanook Wines and Sutton Grange Winery.

Starting out as the youngest winemaker in the industry in 2004 was a challenge, yet it also provided her with years of irreplaceable experience, evident in her quality crafted wines. Now, 14 years later, Tanya’s winemaking philosophy has developed in to one that is strongly influenced by her technical and experience based background and an understanding that wine is an artistic expression. Her focus is on delivering a balance of minerality, acidity, fruit, and finesse in her wines.

"Creating wines from our vineyards 21 year old vines is a true blessing as the vines are at their peak in production, are naturally cropping lower, and are producing higher quality. The wines I create are distinctive and are true expressions of our terroir, producing both minerality and fruit forward balanced styles."

Please feel free to email Tanya if you have any comments or questions.

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Jake Mitchell
CTO/Director of Multimedia and Retail

Jake Mitchell began unoficially working for the winery back in 2005 creating the first round of label designs for the 2004 vintage wines while attending the Multimedia Design course at Durham College. The timing of all things was fortuitous as the winemaking had officially begun the year before, and the winery was slated to have a soft-opening in November of 2006; the year of his graduation from the program. He had begun construction of the website in his last year at Durham College and was officially put on payroll in October of 2007 - acting as the IT/Web/Print department.

Since then he has maintained those roles and also delved into the retail side of the business.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions in regards to the website, don't hesitate to send him an email!

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Gordon Mitchell
Co-Founder

January 29, 1945 - November 6, 2011

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery would not be here if it were not for the vision and hard work that Gord Mitchell put in this Winery. Gord played an integral part in every aspect of the Winery's creation. Starting with the planning, planting and maintaining of 35 acres of vineyards, Gord set his sights for something bigger. After designing, contracting, and building the property's buildings and landscaping himself, he had the chance to work alongside his children and employees in creating a fulfilling product and experience for every customer. Gord was one of those guys that anyone could talk to, and he welcomed every one in the door with a big smile and a long story. Here are a few words from the Winery's great visionary:

"I was born on a dairy and cash-crop farm in Woodslee, ON (Essex County). The farm - a Queen Victoria Land Grant, had been in the family since 1853 when a German immigrant John Michel (my great-grandfather) cleared and planted the land. My father Charles purchased additional farms and contracted others until the operation grew to over 850 acres.

In the early years on the farm, a number of local neighbours had small vineyards of Labrusca, and Table Grape vines. I became fascinated with these vineyards and how the farmers made their wines. I have never lost those images formed as a child.

I continued to farm until graduation from U of Windsor, with a B.A. in Mathematics, at which time I became employed by Chrysler Corporation. Hannah and I purchased our own 52 acres in October of 1975 and in between careers and raising a family in Cambridge and later Pickering, we managed to maintain and eventually convert the farm to a vineyard. Living out of the hometown area as we did, we could not have done it without the help of dedicated employees...my brother Art Mitchell, his boys and Abe Krahn and his family.

After a successful 33-year career at Chrysler spanning Manufacturing Engineering, Personnel and later Production and Plant Management, I retired to design and build the winery. Since 2003 I've worked to bring that dream to life. Designing, managing contractors, and using my own hands to build this venture was no small feat. It's so far been a labour of love."

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Hannah Mitchell
Co-Founder

February 9, 1950 - December 22, 2012

With every dreamer there is a go-getter, and this team would not have been complete had Hannah not been there to see the vision through. Hannah raised the 4 children and took care of the financials for Sprucewood Shores Winery, all while still juggling her software business - Systematics. She helped Gord with the planning and preparation of the buildings, from the designs of the building to most significantly the landscape of the surrounding property. Her background in finance and computer software design gave the Winery a leg up on business planning and execution. She was the main inspiration behind the development of our very successful weddings at Sprucewood Shores.

"I've been a plant lover and gardener since the childhood days on my maternal Grandfather's olive and grape farm in Tourza North Lebanon. His name was Joseph Mikhail; my maiden name is Raheb. Both families are now well entrenched in the Windsor and Leamington areas.

With this background, it was a cinch I'd be supportive of my husbands dreams to build a vineyard and winery. Although never easy, chasing our dreams has been full of excitement to say the least.

Since graduating from the U of Windsor (Honours Math and Computer Science), I have worked in the Computer Industry while managing a household of four children of which we are extremely proud. They are all involved in the business in different capacities. The last 10 years prior to building the winery, were spent running my own IT business in the Toronto area. This experience prepared me to deal with the computer, financial and accounting side of the winery business. My responsibility is to control the cash side of the equation, and in this capacity I needed to develop or integrate the software and databases required for the point of sale, inventory, contact management and accounting work.

This has not been easy since in the middle of the construction (September 2004) I developed leukemia. The fight for survival over the first 3.5 years had been grueling but I am well on my way to a full recovery!"

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