However, she dreamed of starting her own winery and in 2001,
launched Sandbanks with seven acres of prime vineyard land in
the heart of Prince Edward County, Ont., two hours northeast of
Toronto, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The winery gets its
name from the white sand beaches found in nearby Sandbanks
Prince Edward County wasn’t known as a wine region then,
but Langlois could see the potential. Right from the start she
invested in the best that she could afford: stainless steel fermenta-tion
tanks for the white wines and new American oak barrels for
the reserve reds.
Vineyard plantings included Baco Noir, Cabernet Franc,
Riesling, Pinot Noir, Vidal, Geisenheim and Marechal Foch. What
the winery doesn’t grow, the team buys from vineyards in Niagara
and Lake Erie North Shore.
“The vision was to produce quality, award-winning wines at
an approachable price, that pair perfectly with delicious food, that
are meant to be shared in harmony with family, friends and that
For the first couple of years, all the wine was made in the
basement of her house, including her first harvest, 150 cases of
It didn’t take long before Sandbanks grew a global reputation
for that Baco Noir, a richly hued medium-bodied red loaded with
cherry and smoky flavours. A French-American hybrid grape, Baco
Noir was discovered in the late 1800s and has gained a following in
Ontario, and south of the border in New York, and Michigan, where
it thrives in cooler climates.
“We cannot talk about Sandbanks without talking about Baco
Noir. We have put Baco back on the map. It has been our flagship
wine and it is one of our bestselling brands,” Langlois said.
“Before I started Sandbanks, I did thousands of consumer tast-ings
and people would always say, ‘I wish Ontario made a big, ripe,
juicy red wine.’ That was my goal, to make one, and I think we’ve
Indeed, consumers loved it from Day 1. Langlois’s original
plan had been to sell only to restaurants and bars. However, by
2004, she needed to deal with the increasing number of people who
were showing up at her door wondering how they could buy her
wines to enjoy at home. “I’d be standing there with a baby on my
hip and the house was a mess, with toys all over the floor,” Langlois
said. “But I’d say, ‘Yes, come in.’”
With the help of friends and family she carved out a little
wine shop in the basement of the family home, and for a time that
worked. “The neighbours would come help me pour,” she said, and
many local teens landed their first work experience helping out
around the property.
The winery gets its name
from the white sand
beaches found in nearby
Sandbanks Provincial Park.
W I N E RY P R O F I L E
6 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca