In 1683, the first eye-witness description of Niagara Falls was written by Father Louis Hennepin, a Recollect priest from the Spanish Netherlands. Following the capture of his hometown by the army of Louis XIV of France, Hennepin (an explorer by nature), was sent by his new provincial superior on an expedition to explore New France- namely Quebec City and the area surrounding the Great Lakes.
In Present Day, “Father Hennepin” has become infamous as a French Missionary who discovered Niagara Falls. Streets, parks and memorials bear his name- and the New York Power Authority even commissioned American artist Thomas Hart Benton to paint a seven foot mural in the Niagara Power Project during its original opening.
Historians however, note that Hennepin’s reports were exaggerated and he sometimes gave himself undeserved credit- many believe he may have been as interested in attaining fame, wealth and distinction as he was in his evangelistic commission. Today we look at the account of his adventure with a grain of salt.
But while other explorers may be believed to have witnessed the great natural wonder first, it is unanimously credited that Hennepin’s pen was what brought the great wonder that is Niagara Falls to the notice of Europeans back home:
“…four leagues from Lake Frontenac there is an incredible Cataract of water-fall which has no equal…
Tis true, Italy and Suedeland [Sweden] boast of some such Things; but we may well say they are but sorry Patterns, when compar’d to this of which we now speak.”
This week, Long Cliff releases the first of many to come in a new line of unique wines. This new line bears the name and image of Father Hennepin, with the first of the series being 100% Niagara Grapes.
Unlike the “Long Cliff Vineyard & Winery, Inc.” line of wines made primarily from vinifera grapes grown on our own estate, Hennepin Niagara wines are made from grapes grown in vineyards across the Niagara region. With each of these different vineyard sources, we obtain a unique distinction of terroir – the set of special characteristics that come from the soil of an area, and bring out different flavors and aromas in final wine production.
Like all great stories of adventure, mystery shrouds truth in Hennepin’s accounts, and his discovery of Niagara Falls becomes the ultimate “big fish” story- while other explorers may have come before him, and certainly there were centuries worth of expeditions that followed, Hennepin is the name we remember.
Hennepin is the Gold Standard.
We invite you to join us for it’s official release, this weekend, as part of our first annual Old Fashioned Corn Roast celebration.
$25 in advance – $30 at the door – $15 drivers