For the two generations of Ihrigs that have laid the foundation for Hessenland Inn, and now, the 5-acre Estate Winery which surrounds the original venue and gardens, ‘schatz’ has long been the German term of endearment for the family members who lie at the heart of this labour of love. Along with deep appreciation for the area’s heritage and rich agricultural traditions, juxtaposed alongside the history of the Ihrig family and the ever-evolving story of next generations, Schatz Winery offers a distinctly Huron-inspired palate with a nod to the places and spaces from which they’ve come to those that continue to bring people together.
1984 — Hessenland Inn Opens
2014 — Plans for Vineyard Begin
2015 — First Planting
2017 — First Harvest
2018 — Inaugural Vintage Released
2019 — Schatz Winery Construction Starts
2020 — Retail & Processing Spaces Open, Early vintages released
Derek Barnett, our consulting winemaker ( left) and Frank Ihrig, co-owner, chef and cellar hand (right)
The iconic Hessenland tower features on the Schatz Winery logo. The panoramic viewing deck and winding tower staircase offer the perfect vantage point for taking in the breathtaking views of the vineyard, gardens and venue spaces below, all within a short walk to the Lake Huron shoreline.
Where once the beloved Hanoverian horses of the late Ernst Ihrig made their paddocks, now exists the hand planted 5-acre micro-vineyard that is Schatz Winery at Hessenland Inn.
Since the inaugural vine planting in 2015, Chef and Owner-Innkeeper turned viticulturist Frank, has lead a team of family, friends and community volunteers in tending to a family of grapes:
• Cabernet Franc
Cool Climate Varietals
• Frontenac Blanc
• Frontenac Gris
• La Crescent
• Petite Pearl
While inspiration for a vineyard at Hessenland bloomed many moons ago while Frank and wife, Liz, spent a semester in the south of France, the blue clay soil in St. Joseph and the unique offerings of the Lake Huron breeze have shaped the terroir for Schatz Winery. Planting hybrid vines that are resilient and healthy in this agriculturally rich farm land captures Schatz Winery’s offerings; excellent vines-turned-wines steadily thriving on a ‘quality over quantity’ mantra is the result!
Building on the aptitudes of their neighbours and learning from mentors from across Niagara, Prince Edward County and Huron Shores wine regions, the Ihrigs carried out their first harvest in October of 2017.
Since then, we have had two more wonderful harvests and now offer 5 vintages.
The inaugural ‘15-35’vintage is comprised entirely of estate grown fruit aged in French oak barrels for eleven months. The vintage namesake offers a nod to the date of Schatz Winery’s first harvest on October 5th, 2017.
For second generation owner-innkeepers Frank and Liz, this special moment in time also ushered in their 15th wedding anniversary along with echoing to this same date 35 years prior when Frank immigrated with his mother and Hessenland co-founder (with the late Ernst Ihrig), Christa, to Huron County.
This Petite Pearl wine boasts an intense dark purple colour with aromas of blueberry, elderflower, damson plum and a slight earthy note with black olive and spice notes. The palate is rich and full bodied with a long finish and red citrus note.
2019 marks the opening of our Winery Boutique
Looking ahead to 2021, the Ihrigs look forward to:
~More vintages on the way~
~Welcoming guests into our winery for tours~
~Exciting wine events~
From the Ihrig family to you and yours, Prost!
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We are conveniently located on the shores of Lake Huron between Grand Bend and Bayfield.
72981 Bluewater Highway
Zurich ON N0M 2T0