Jeff and Janet didn’t originally set out to be winemakers. They owned and operated Utopia U-Pick, the largest strawberry and raspberry u-pick in New Brunswick. After 10 years, the u-pick’s four-week income became too difficult to support their growing family of four. Also, like other farmers, they were frustrated by their constant battle with what Jeff calls the “Four Too’s”: too hot, too cold, too wet, and too dry.
The couple spent much of 1996-97 brainstorming ways to remain active in agriculture, which they loved. As it happens, this was when the provincial government opened the doors to farm-based/cottage wineries. The Everetts decided to use the produce from their popular berry farm to develop a winery of their own.
The plan had been to host the winery on their existing farm, but destiny intervened. An 1867 estate beside the Magnetic Hill Illusion became available in the early 2000s. To the Everetts, the combination of history, the spectacular view of Moncton, and its location next to the area’s premier tourist attraction made it an irresistible part of their plans. Their winery would highlight the story of the area’s winemaking ancestors using all local fruit, while being located on a property as old as Canada!
The only downside was...the property had been abandoned for 20 years prior to their purchase! This meant a lot of restoration work was needed before they could really settle in. The Everetts began with separating the barn from the house, and restoring it separately. Then, they lifted the house three feet to accommodate the tasting and production area in the cellar.
The winery retail opened in 2005, selling only three wines, and has been introducing new styles every year since. 2008 marked a 200% increase in sales over the previous year. The winery even received the 2008 Greater Moncton Excellence Award for Top Emerging Business and the 2008 Best of Show Wines at the NB Savour Food and Wine Show.
The restoration of the house continued room by room, maintaining the original woodwork details, and in 2010 the Everetts opened their Bed & Breakfast, now rated as the #1 stay in Moncton area. But it wasn’t just the house they worked on! Grape vines and rhubarb were planted, and a beautiful pond and landscaping were created to match their vision of being a top tourist destination.
In 2015, the New Brunswick Government started a pilot program allowing wines to be sold in 5 select local grocery stores. This opportunity played a pivotal role in the expansion and development of the winery, and is even what prompted their son Zach to join the family business. Zach along with his Austrian partner, Barbara, are filled with new ideas and are developing new wine styles, oak barrel aged reds and traditional method sparkling wines.
The Everetts are currently constructing a new state-of-the-art winery scheduled to open in 2021. This building incorporates New Brunswick heritage with modernity by using massive barn beams and even a covered bridge as part of the retail decor. This is completely funded by sales, and all thanks go to their faithful wine lovers for helping to “Raise the Barn”.
We are proud to say the Magnetic Hill Wines are selling in every Sobeys, Superstore, and Independent Grocer, select ANBLs, restaurants, and hotels across the province (over 120 locations).
The Everett family is incredibly “grapeful” for everyone’s help in making their business a success, and hope your love for their wines will grow with their winery family.