Thursday, 16 April 2015

Twillingate Part 2: Wine, Music, and Whine

2013_NL_F16_0309Auk Island Winery, named after the Great Auk, makes "wines" from local Newfoundland berries. I had never heard of them until I saw their name in local tourist material while in Twillingate for the Fish, Fun, and Folk festival.

Homemade berry wine is quite common in Newfoundland, and I had tasted many berry wines while growing up. The berries used in those wines were either blueberry or bakeapple. In contrast, Auk Island Winery makes about 30 different types of wine using a variety of berries, so I was quite curious as to the taste of these professionally made berry wines (although technically their products are not wines, as they are distilled and not fermented).

The Auk Island Winery is located right in Twillingate, which makes it very convenient to visit. The whole facility is located in an old schoolhouse, which is quite small, so the tour is quite short. Which of course means more time at the end to taste samples.

The friendly staff have all the different types of wine lined up on the counter for you, and all you have to do is point at the one you want to try and they will pour it up.


There were wines made from all sorts of berries; some of which with the addition of traditional Newfoundland rum (Screech). I tried almost all of the available samples, but have to confess I prefer the homemade variety from my youth.


From wines, it was on to a traditional Newfoundland "time". A couple of musicians were scheduled to play at the local Masonic Lodge. On the way down to the site, I noticed that the Lodge had a very unusual (for Newfoundland) dome-type roof on the tower. Being in Newfoundland, the roof was suitably "baptized" with seagull poop.


Inside the Lodge, the event staff had set up a makeshift stage in one corner, using tarpaulins to block out the window. Both chairs and tables were put out for the audience, and the fact that tables were part of this arrangement should have been my first clue that the focus of the evening was not just on the music.


The second clue should have been that a bar was open, and folks were filling up while waiting for the musicians to take the stage.


The third clue should have been that the musicians were late. A full hour behind schedule before they finally took to the stage.


So yes, the focus turned out not to be on the music, but on the social aspect of the evening.



I guess that is not too surprising: it is nice to unwind at the end of the day and catch up with your neighbours. But if the focus of the Fish, Folk, and Fun festival is on bringing in tourists to Twillingate, then the people of Twillingate should do their socializing elsewhere and let the audience focus on the music - and the music should start on time, not one hour late.

Here is a list of links to all of the posts in my Twillingate 2013 series
Twillingate Part 1: Getting There
Twillingate Part 2: Wine, Music, and Whine
Twillingate Part 3: An Iceberg and a Lighthouse
Twillingate Part 4: Down to the Sea in Boats

Here is a list of links to all of the blog posts from my 2013 tour around Newfoundland:
Trout River and Gros Morne National Park
Cuckolds Cove to Carbonear
Signal Hill
Boat Tour!
Bird Watching!
Whale Watching!
Fogo Part 1: Getting There
Fogo Part 2: Walking Around
Fogo Part 3: The Fishery
Fogo Part 4: The Fogo Island Inn

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