Named after an optical illusion, this
New Brunswick winery certainly pulls
many to the region
Jeff and Janet Everett didn’t origi-nally
intend to own a winery. For
many years, the couple were farm-ers
and proprietors of a u-pick straw-berry
and raspberry farm just outside of
However, after a decade or so, they
realized they were tired of dealing with
the region’s capricious weather and the
struggles of a four-week-a-year business.
The province’s government had
recently started to allow cottage wineries,
and the couple decided to rethink their
business plan, turning their fruit into wine.
They began experimenting at home, mak-ing
30-litre batches of wines.
Then, when the homestead next to
their berry farm came up for sale, it was a
sign they were on the right path.
At the time, the house – which dates
back to 1867 – had been abandoned for
20-some years and was set to be demol-ished.
The late owner had been a collector,
filling the house with decades of detritus
and stacks of old newspapers. “When they
walked in, the first thing my parents saw
was a newspaper article of my mother as
a child, when she had been named Young
4-H Farmer of the Year,” said Zach Everett,
Jeff and Janet’s son, and now Magnetic
Hill Winery’s winemaker and co-owner. “It
still gives me goosebumps, the one-in-a-million
chance that story about her would
be on the top of all those papers.”
Taking it as a sign they were meant to
be there, the Everetts bought the house and
surrounding land, renovating and return-ing
the Confederation-era building back to
its former glory. In 2005, they opened their
doors as Magnetic Hill Winery.
Offering just three wines at the time,
Magnetic Hill was one of the region’s first
wineries and quickly became a popular
tourist attraction for locals and visitors
from around the world.
These days, Magnetic Hill wines can
be found for sale at more than 120 loca-tions
across New Brunswick, including
most major grocery stores, restaurants and
wine shops. “And in the next 18 months or
so, we’ll have some national and interna-tional
distribution,” Zach said. “But just
like every wine region in Canada, we have
to conquer our local market before we can
Regardless, the winery’s growth has
been impressive so far. “We’ve gone from
making 500 cases of wine a year to more
than 10,000 cases now,” Zach said.
Currently, all of the best-selling wines
are made from fruit other than grapes:
cranberry, strawberry, blueberry and rhu-barb.
“They’re not sweet dessert wines
though. They’re off-dry with a nice acidity
and beautiful fruit,” Zach said. “The cran-berry
wine with roast turkey – I’d chal-lenge
every winemaker in Canada to come
up with a better pairing for turkey.”
By Shelley Boettcher
10 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca