[Watershed Presents]

A Fine Balance

Author and photographer Ulrike Bender takes a close look at the joys and challenges of winemaking in Prince Edward County, and the results are beautiful.

Ulrike Bender’s mix of words and images, Balancing Act: Growing Grapes and Making Wine in Prince Edward County, is much more than a treatise on the art and science of winemaking in a northern climate – it is a love song wrapped up in a gorgeous coffee table book.

With over 100 dazzling colour photos, the 96-page volume chronicles the day-to-day lives of several PEC wineries through the four seasons, from spring pruning to fall bottling, and the much-needed rest that wintertime brings.

It’s fascinating just to flip through the stories and photos, but Bender also includes two handy appendices – a sort of PEC wine industry by the numbers – with statistics about acres under vine, varieties, and wineries. It’s both a perfect souvenir of a visit to PEC and an easy reference guide for those wanting to know more about this burgeoning and flourishing wine region.

Bender says, “It started as a personal project, but it soon morphed into the idea for a book aimed at PEC locals, to educate them about an important industry in their midst, and for visitors who never get a chance to go behind the scenes.”

Balancing Act introduces readers to the faces and stories behind the vines and wines through conversations with several PEC winemakers, growers, and winery owners – pioneers, all!

Bender’s project is an altruistic one, too, with proceeds from book sales going primarily to the Prince Edward Learning Centre, a Picton-based organization that runs a literacy program, courses for youth and adults looking to further their education, training or self-reliance, and an affordable, year-round food market.

Balancing Act, Ulrike Bender, Log House Books, 2021

Story by:
Signe Langford

Photography by:
Ulrike Bender

[Summer 2022 departments]