Avondale Sky Winery is owned and operated by Stewart Creaser and Lorraine Vassalo. After having spent many years in stressful careers, we thought it would be a fabulous idea to own a beautiful little vineyard and spend our days relaxing while working in the fields. And we did for a while.
But our goal was to grow the best grapes we could in Nova Scotia and once our grapevines began to respond to the additional care they were shown, we raised the bar. It’s often repeated that great wine is made in the vineyard. Our quality was quickly improving and we had a professional winemaker, Ben Swetnam, on staff. It was time for the next step.
There was a beautiful barn on the dikes of the St. Croix River about ten kilometers away but it had fallen into disrepair and was no longer used. We had an opportunity to purchase it. When it was being reassembled on our property, we began to get offers to purchase other barns and churches. We were successful in declining all offers until we saw the former St. Matthew’s Church in Walton. It was a most beautiful structure with a serene yet magnificent interior built in the style of carpenter gothic. All it needed was to be moved and given lots of love. Love was easy. Moving it, not so much.
However, we eventually got it home. In keeping with our personal values, we restored the church and used as many re-purposed materials as we could. The tasting table was hand crafted from salvaged wood from another old barn. The countertop for the tasting bar and cash counter is made from 125 year old hemlock which had a previous life as warehouse flooring. The exterior decking is approximately 150 years old and had been used until July 2011 as floor joists in a barn.
In essence, as we began our new careers and lives at the winery, so did the many pieces of it.
But there was a piece missing. Our wines are incredibly food-friendly and the property is so beautiful, we decided to make it easy for those who wished to linger. Our kitchen and outdoor dining deck was built in 2015. Fabulous, local, seasonally inspired dishes paired with the beautiful vineyard, all under the Avondale sky, truly ensured that here, the elements perfectly aligned.