Made on Pelee: The History of Grape Farming and Wineries on Pelee Island

Creator(s): Pelee Island Heritage Centre

This virtual exhibit chronicles the history of grape farming and wineries on Pelee Island from the mid-1800s to the present day. With the successful migration of the Catawaba grapes from the Southern United States to the Lake Erie Islands, Pelee Island was poised to become a wine making settlement. The unique climate, soil conditions, cheaper real estate and haven for Civil War ex-patriots made Pelee Island ripe for settlement. With the planting of grapes at Vin Villa in 1886, it would become the first estate winery, and would lead viticulture and wine making into becoming the major agricultural element that brought about the birth of a Community.

Despite the hardships and challenges of Island life, the pioneering families endured and overcame isolation, lack of communication to the mainland, transportation issues and crop failures. The exhibit also details the cultural practices of grape growing to the successful industry that it became. It also chronicles the pioneering life and the legacy that it left behind and the spirit that has come to typify community life of the Island.

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