Three years after opening Shale Ridge Estate Winery & Cidery, the local business is now able to celebrate its official grand opening with a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony.
An open house will be held on April 21 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Alicia and Garren Harman, both third-generation farmers, opened the Thedford business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business development representative Lakmini Ebbinghaus said there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at around 3 p.m. with politicians and invited guests. All are welcome to the open house where samples and appetizers will be available.
"It feels pretty exciting because it's something that has been delayed for so long," Ebbinghaus said. "We opened during COVID, and as a result, everything has been very, very low-key. Even when we moved from our temporary location to our permanent building over a year and a half ago, we never had the opportunity to really celebrate all that we've been doing in the last three years."
Ebbinghaus said opening a business during the pandemic posed every imaginable challenge and was truly a leap of faith, but it paid off.
"We're seeing guests travelling extensive distances. People who had originally just connected with us on Instagram and had us deliver to them in the province are suddenly being able to come and see us for the first time," she said. "We also see that from our reservation system, the demand for people coming in for reservations is extraordinary! We've got people trying to make reservations in September, right now."
Ebbinghaus said Shale Ridge is a fully "farm to glass" business, meaning everything used in the beverages is either sourced from the owners' family farms or from local producers.
"The other thing that's really important that we like to stress is everything we make is gluten-free and lactose-free," she said. "And we don't add sugar to our products, what that means is, by the LCBO and by the QA (Quality Assurance), we are classified as low-sugar in the beverages we make."
Shale Ridge was named Cidery of the Year in 2021 by the Ottawa Cider Crate. Most recently, it was recognized by OpenTable in various categories such as best ambiance in southern Ontario and most scenic view.
Shale Ridge Estate Winery & Cidery is located on Widder Road in Thedford.