To say that we came from humble beginnings may seem cliché, but it really is true.
We both come from hard-working, European families. Being Italian, Pat has been a part of all the family traditions such as making homemade tomato sauce, pasta, different cheeses, proscuitto (to name a few) and of course, wine. His father is a true gardener and inventor in his own right, while his mother is an outstanding culinary artist. Heidi comes from a German/East Indian background, the family immigrated from England in 1970. Her father is a talented glassblower, while her mother runs the household.
Fast forwarding to the early 90’s, Pat held a deep-seeded desire to do something different with his life that would break him away from the 9 – 5 city job and decided to enter the dynamic agricultural world of dawn till dusk. With the uncanny ability to grow just about anything from seed, Pat’s love of plants and the outdoors was to be one of the main factors in this life changing move of ours to Prince Edward County.
Pat studied the climate, temperatures and geographical locations of British Columbia, Pelee Island and the Niagara regions. Considering the latitude and longitude of Prince Edward County, temperatures and agricultural history, he knew that this would be a viable location to grow grapes. Over many years, he was met with disagreement from family and friends regarding the viability of a vineyard and winery in Prince Edward County.
Lured by the beauty of the County, the facts collected and the belief in our abilities, we purchased our 74 acre parcel in Cape Vesey in 2001. With the desire to provide our children with a safer environment to grow up in, and the opportunity to work for ourselves, we took a leap of faith. We sold our house in Oshawa, purchased a home in Picton, quit our jobs and moved to the County in the summer of 2002.
Utilizing the skill of Pat’s father for laying out the grid of the vineyard, the vines have been hand planted by family members. We currently maintain almost 8 acres of a variety of vinifera and hybrid grapes: Geisenheim (GM322), St. Croix, Leon Millot, Marquette, Petit Pearl, Baco Noir, Frontenac Noir, Frontenac Gris, L'acadie, and Pinotage ( Ontario's first commercial planting).
Pat’s parents decided to move to Prince Edward County in 2003 to stay close to their grandchildren and to help with the planting and maintenance of the vineyard. They are an integral part of the success of the vineyard.
At any given time, you will see Mama and Papa tending the rows. We are so very grateful for their help and encouragement.
Capitally-challenged, but rich in ideas and determination, we accumulated the necessary equipment and machinery as we could afford. The vineyard is thriving, our winery and retail store are finally complete.
The journey from grape to glass begins with a vision. Our vision is to create quality, hand crafted and distinctive, affordable wines. Lay it down in the cellar for that special occasion or enjoy it now with family and friends. We hope our vineyard represents who we are: a traditional, hard-working family, taking pride in a job well done and bringing you the best.
Our mission is to offer you new experiences with these quality wines within an authentic and inviting European Italian atmosphere.
We hope you will join us in enjoying the wonderful wines of Del-Gatto Estates. We’ll look forward to seeing you.
Pat and Heidi Del-Gatto