It’s not too often you get to meet the people who grow grapes in a region of France that local lore states was the site of the first vineyards planted in Beaujolais by the Romans.
Fred and Helen Lockwood don’t come from a long line of grape growers. Fred grew up on a farm in Ontario and spent a lot of time in Qualicum Beach where his grandparents lived.
Fred said when they decided to retire and buy a vineyard in the Beaujolais wine region of France they hit the jackpot.
“Our property turned out to have very good grapes. We didn’t know that when we bought it. We are lucky,” he admitted.
Their grapes produce their acclaimed Gamay Régnié which they were sampling at the Rotary Wine Festival on April 21 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. Fred said due to his connections to B.C. his wine is sold here and this is the first time they have been free to come to the festival. Fred’s family has a home in Qualicum Beach and his brother still lives here.
Fred said he grew up in a farm in Ontario but back in those days they didn’t grow grapes. Despite that he said he has learned how to grow grapes. The wine consistently receives high ratings.
“I knew I could grow things because I grew up on a farm and we have had a lot of help. Our sons help … it’s a family business.”
Their single vinyard has eight hectares of beautiful grapes grown in a region known for some of the best wine estates in France. The couple were sampling their 2010 Gamay Régnié made with 100 per cent Gamay grapes from La Maison des Bulliats in Régnié Cru region which is situated between Brouilly and Morgon.
The vintage is available at the Qualicum Beach government liquor store.