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Avondale Sky Winery giving back, donates portion of wine sales to wharf retrofit

A crowd was gathered when the historic St. Matthew’s Anglican church building was floated across the Minas Basin from Walton to Newport Landing in 2011 by Avondale Sky Winery. The building, which has been repurposed as retail and restaurant space is 180 years old this year.
A crowd was gathered when the historic St. Matthew’s Anglican church building was floated across the Minas Basin from Walton to Newport Landing in 2011 by Avondale Sky Winery. The building, which has been repurposed as retail and restaurant space is 180 years old this year.

AVONDALE - There will be toasts to Avondale Sky Winery’s St. Matthew’s Anglican church building this fall, as the vineyard celebrates the 180th birthday of the historic structure that now serves as retail space and a restaurant.

The church building was floated across the Minas Basin from Walton to Newport Landing in 2011, making a final journey to its new home on the Avondale Cross Road, where it has become part of the vineyards’ branding.

“We are very excited to be celebrating the 180th birthday of our church,” said Leann Grosvold, hospitality manager at Avondale Sky.

During the relocation project “we were able to keep a lot of original features” including all the original stained-glass windows. The triple pane window on the front of the building has become part of the company’s logo.

During the coming months Avondale Sky Winery will be hosting numerous special events at the vineyard to celebrate the occasion, including a pop-up oyster and wine bar on Aug. 26 and 27, Cocktail Week Sept. 2 to 8 and various special features at their d’Vine Morsels restaurant in the next couple of months.

The biggest celebration will be the fifth annual garlic festival slated for Sept 16.

The historic St. Matthew’s Anglican church building has been repurposed as retail and restaurant space by Avondale Sky Winery.

“This is a really fun event,” said Grosvold. “It’s a celebration of all things garlic” with growers, artisans, vendors, farmers and chefs from across the Maritimes taking part.”

Last year’s festival attracted close to 3,000 people.

“We are looking forward to continuing this event, which is certainly part of the celebration,” she said.

Avondale Sky Winery, which was started in 2008 by Stewart Creaser and his wife Lorraine Vassalo, are also celebrating the release of its 2012 Pinot noir this summer.

“We are very excited about that,” said Grosvold.

One other event that has given the vineyard owners cause for applause this year is the completion of the Newport Landing project, which has given new life to the historic Avondale Wharf as a pedestrian boardwalk and viewing platform.

As a way of giving back to the community, Creaser volunteered his time to be the voice and serve on the Newport Landing project committee over the past several years. The vineyard also donated a portion of proceeds from one of their wines to the cause.

“The landing has a special meaning to a lot of people in the community, but for us in particular, it has special meaning because the old church from Walton was landed there. If the wharf hadn’t been there, that wouldn’t have been possible,” said Creaser.

One other connection to the historic wharf and the vineyard noted Creaser is that the last time the community refurbished wharf in 1991 some of wood used in last rebuild was taken from the wooded acreage on the vineyard property.

The interior of the historic St. Matthew’s Anglican church building, which has been repurposed as retail and restaurant space by Avondale Sky Winery.

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