Explore our Beautiful Grounds and Sculptures
Part of the vision for 13th Street Winery is to provide our guests with a unique experience that stimulates all the senses, not just taste. With this in mind we designed the grounds surrounding the winery to feature a permanent exhibit of spectacular sculptures. We currently have ten outdoor sculptures on display and we invite our guests to take a moment, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand, to explore our art collection featuring the works of Karoly Veress, Floyd Elzinga, Dan Solomon, and Ilan Averbuch.
Ask for a copy of our Sculpture Tour card when you are here and discover the art situated on our grounds.
Endless March by Ilan Averbuch
This magnificent sculpture is the newest addition to our collection. In August 2015, we successfully completed the restoration of Ilan Averbuch’s “The Endless March” sculpture. Previously installed in 1991, “The Endless March” was part of Brock University’s Lutz Teutloff collection; however, due to severe wood rot, the sculpture was eventually moved into storage. Ten odd years later, 13th Street Winery president Doug Whitty reached out to Brock staff and Averbuch in the hopes of reinstalling the sculpture for public viewing. With the university and artist’s approval, Doug reached out to friend and carpenter Maurice Theissen, who later assembled his team of Abu Kamara and brother, Robert Theissen to assist him in the restoration process. Staying true to the original design, the adapted Averbuch piece is constructed from 6×12 Douglas fir and pinned with 3/4″ diameter wooden pins.
Martha’s Vineyard by Dan Solomon
In 2013, Toronto artist Daniel Solomon completed a sculpture specifically designed for 13th Street Winery. The piece is designed to function as a beacon, visible from the street, to mark the entrance to the 13th Street Winery near St. Catharines, Ontario.
Solomon designed “Martha’s Vineyard” to be dynamic in space and to be experienced as a fully three-dimensional sculpture, which reveals very different perspectives as the viewer moves around the piece. The important role that color plays in “Martha’s Vineyard” derives from Daniel Solomon’s paintings. The intense color was used to create a bold and exciting presence in the landscape that surrounds the winery. The geometric shapes and bright colors in the sculpture contrast with the natural textures and forms in which the sculpture is situated.
Even though this sculpture is made of steel and is firmly rooted in the ground, Solomon wanted the elements of the sculpture to feel almost weightless and to float in the air above the viewer. Images in his paintings frequently have this floating quality. Much of the action of the sculpture happens above the heads of the audience. The stones that form the base of the sculpture act as a visual weight that adds stability to the sculpture as the top flies free.
This sculpture is named in honor of Daniel’s wife, Martha Ladly. The name also recognizes the location of the sculpture in the Niagara grape-growing region. Of course, the name also has a slightly humorous connection to the famous island off of Cape Cod.
The Sculpture of Karoly Veress
13th Street Winery’s permanent art collection includes six outdoor sculptures by Karoly Veress. There are also a number of Karoly’s smaller sculptures on display inside the winery boutique.
Karoly Veress was born in 1935 in Transylvania. His experiences during WW2 greatly shaped his psyche and inspired him to write poetry and literature. During the 1950s and the Hungarian revolution, while he was studying literature at the University of Budapest, he escaped to Holland. Karoly married his wife Margot Dooijes in 1966 and at that time, was inspired to create sculptures. His works became quite well known in Europe in the 1970s and some were purchased by the Dutch and German governments and Her Majesty the Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
During the 1980s he and Margot moved to the Niagara region and to reside in Fonthill, however, Karoly returns to Hungary often. To learn more about Karoly Veress and his art please visit his website at: www.karolyveresssculptor.com.
Chortitza Oak (or Crimean Oak)
Located on the grounds of 13th Street Winery’s Fourth Avenue location is a magnificent Chortikza Oak tree, also known as a Crimean Oak. It is a scion of the famous Chortitza Oak, which is found near the village of Zaporozhe in the Crimean Peninsula. The original tree is approximately 800 years old and is of massive stature. It is 36 m (115 ft) high, it has a crown diameter of 43 m (137 ft) and it was said to have shaded 2 acres of land when it was in full leaf. This 13th Street Winery descendent has a growth habit, which is very similar to its parent in the Ukraine.
For many centuries, the Chortitza Oak played an important role in Ukrainian history, culture, and tradition. Epic accounts of bloody military campaigns, as well as classic Slavic poetry were composed by those who rested among its branches. It is said that newlyweds would walk together around the tree three times in the hope of securing good fortune and marital bliss. This oak represented strength and perseverance to the Ukrainian people.
The Chortitza Oak is also an important symbol to the Mennonite people who escaped religious persecution in Germany and settled in the Crimean Peninsula under the protection of Katherine the Great, Empress of Russia in the late 1700s. To the Mennonites, this tree represented Divine providence and the hope for a better life in peace. Under the Russian Czars, the area around Chortitza was a stronghold of the Cossacks and the Mennonite colony prospered, as it farmed the fertile land and enjoyed the moderate climate of the area.
Unfortunately, the Chortitza area soon experienced great upheaval, conflict and terrible tragedy during the Bolshevik Revolution and WW1 followed by state sponsored famine, economic depression, and WW2. During this difficult time, many Ukrainian and Mennonite families immigrated to Canada and were drawn to the Niagara Peninsula, where they shared their strong faith, cultural traditions, industrious work ethic, and a desire for peace.
The Chortitza Oak at 13th Street Winery was a gift to us from Mr. John Froese, our Mennonite neighbour and friend. It is our hope that this special tree will continue to testify to the strength and resiliency of mankind, God’s sustaining presence, the wonders of nature, and our common desire for peace.
The stones, which were utilized to build the stonewalls and the amphitheater found on the winery grounds, came from the foundation of a one of the earliest barns built in Niagara. The Grobb family built the barn around 1800 on a farm on Maple Grove Road between Vineland and Beamsville. Quite possibly, it was built even earlier as the house was built in 1800, as identified by a notation on its foundation, and in those days they often built the barn before the house. The Grobbs were Pennsylvanian Dutch Mennonites who left the U.S. for a new life in Upper Canada following the Revolutionary War. The barn was an impressive, three story structure made with massive wooden beams. It was very skillfully and thoughtfully built. The foundation was about three feet wide. The part wall, which is near the red shed, is a reproduction of how the whole foundation under the support beams looked.
The stones are fieldstones from the local area. They are comprised primarily of sedimentary rock but there are igneous rocks such as granite as well. They would have been collected when the fields were originally cleared from the forest and brought to the site by stone boat and oxen or horse.
When 13th Street winery owner, Doug Whitty first went to claim the rock foundation at its original site he wondered why the house was not square to the road, until someone pointed out that the house would have been built before there were roads! There was a small concave room made with brick, which was located underneath the earthen ramp leading into the second story. It is rumoured to have held ammunition for the local militia during the War of 1812.
The barn eventually became unstable and had to be demolished in 2008 for liability reasons. Howard Staff, a personal friend of Doug Whitty, was responsible for the demolition. He loaded and trucked the rocks to 13th Street Winery, where the rocks were sorted and placed into their current location (the wall and amphitheater by Doug’s nephews Matthew and Joel Whitty (with help from their dad/Doug’s brother David). This was their first experience at masonry and a learning experience for everyone involved. With some guidance from a “how to” masonry book, and lots of hard work and sweat they tackled this big, heavy task. The amphitheater was constructed using mortar. The rest of the walls were done dry fit. The wall, which goes from the shed around the corner by the red barns, is a reproduction of the kind of field stonewalls which were used in Ontario to define field boundaries and assist with animal husbandry. These low stone walls/fences were also a good place to place the rocks in order to minimize the amount of carrying you had to do!
Located just outside the Gallery Room’s west window is the herb garden; also known as “Potager Garden,” French for a “kitchen garden”. These gardens are often found just outside homes in France and provide fresh vegetables and herbs for the table. They are usually planted for visual beauty as well as practical use.
Such a garden is an ideal component of 13th Street’s landscape design, as it further emphasizes the belief that our wines are a natural complement to food and is in keeping with the philosophy of being “a full expression of the land”.
During the summer months, many of the guest chefs cooking at the winery will venture out to the gardens to collect fresh herbs to garnish their creations.
Carolinian Forest Walk
In addition to the winery buildings, greenhouses, and vineyards, 13th Street Winery’s grounds also include a section of the wooded Fifteen Mile Creek valley. This natural habitat is home to a diverse array of plants and animals including raccoons, deer, wild turkey, opossums, coyotes, owls, and numerous other birds and animals. There are so many native bird varieties that local birding clubs have held their “birding breakfasts” on the property. Also found in this area are native Carolinian tree species such as redbuds and tulip trees, which are only found in Niagara where the climate is much more moderate than the rest of Ontario. In addition to the forested area, there is a shallow pond with turtles, frogs, and aquatic plants.
Forty years ago, these same shady hillsides were bare of trees as a result of overgrazing by cattle. Long time winery neighbours, Jake and Marge Litke planted over 40,000 trees by hand in the valley over many years. Their diligence and hard work has resulted in the beautiful forested area, which we enjoy today.
13th Street Winery plans to honour the Litke’s commitment by continuing this ethic of stewardship and has plans to eventually share this wonderful resource with others through the creation of interpretive walking/nature/fitness trails and through hosting various special events. Part of the overall vision is to become a community resource in support of the new St. Catharine’s General Hospital and Walker Family Cancer Treatment Centre, which is currently being constructed just east of the winery on Fourth Avenue.
The full-length windows in the winery’s the Gallery Room offer guests a spectacular view of the gardens and wooded area. Visitors are also invited to stroll through the grounds surrounding the winery and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of this natural wonderland.