‘Graze the Bench’ is a passport event taking place one early June weekend and this year it will do so for the 6th, straight year. Unlike other passport festivities, ‘Graze the Bench’ is unique in the sense that 8 neighboring wineries go out of their way and setup their wineries to create a laid back setting, filled with mellow live music, where patrons can peacefully enjoy their wines paired with freshly prepared food. Ticket grants an entry to the VIP area at each winery, a crystal Zweisel glass, and drink and food tickets – one each. For $7, additional food and wine can be purchased for further enjoyment. The 7 wineries again partaking (alphabetically) in the event are Angel’s Gate Winery, Fielding Estates Winery, Hidden Bench Winery, Organized Crime Winery, Peninsula Ridge Winery, Rosewood Estate Winery, Thirty Bench Winemakers; and this year, Mike Weir Winery finally opened its doors to visitors and joined the excitement for the first time.
Organized Crime Winery – what’s in the name? Right away, one may automatically think of ‘mafia’ or ‘black market’, while more in-depth thinking may allude to a ‘stab’ at the LCBO monopoly. Nonetheless, whatever one thinks, the name draws attention and curiosity.
The origin of the name, in fact, is a combination between history and art. As it goes: In the 1900’s, in a nearby town named Jordan Station, there were two Mennonite congregations of which one brought a pipe organ into their church and played it during mass. The members of the other congregation thought that music in the church is unholy, so one night they broke into the church, took the pipe organ and dumped it onto an embankment of the nearby Four-Mile Creek; thus committing a crime of stealing an organ = Organized Crime. (Story was provided to the winery by Jordan Historical Museum)