NewsTop Stories

UPDATED: County mourns the sudden death of Lacey Estates founder Kimball Lacey

By Rick VanSickle

Prince Edward County and the entire Ontario wine industry is mourning the sudden death of Lacey Estates owner and winemaker Kimball Lacey.

Note: Information on a Go Fund Me campaign to help to the family and celebration of life details are posted at the bottom of the story.

“We are heartbroken and in shock to inform everyone that Kimball Lacey passed away suddenly last night with his family at his bedside at Belleville General Hospital,” a note on the Lacey Estates Facebook page said today.

“Details of the memorial celebration will follow in the next few days. Please raise a glass for Kimball today. We are devasted and trying to come to terms with this. Thank you to everyone who has sent well wishes and for their support.”

Lacey Estates Winery will be closed through Friday and will reopen on Saturday.

Prince Edward County wine

Kimball Lacey’s journey began at Carmela Estates in 2003 as assistant winemaker while also taking the Grape and Wine certificate program at the University of Guelph. In 2007 he joined Closson Chase where he was the associate winemaker with Deborah Paskus.

In April 2017, he left Closson Chase to concentrate on Lacey Estates. His focus was on creating hand-crafted, small batch premium wines and paving the way to a bright future for his three children, his bio on the Lacey website said.

“Kimball was an integral part of our production team from 2007 to 2017, initially serving as cellar hand and later as associate winemaker under his mentor Deborah Paskus,” Closson Chase wrote on its Facebook page today. “His dedication to his craft and entrepreneurial spirit were evident throughout his tenure with us. During his time at Closson Chase, Kimball not only excelled in winemaking but also had the joy of working alongside his daughters, Emily, (who is now working in the winery at Southbrook in Niagara), and Charlotte.”

Closson Chase said that in 2010, Lacey co-founded Lacey Estates with his partner Liz, establishing a cherished family-owned winery on Closson Road. He made the decision to leave Closson Chase several years later to devote more time and energy to the flourishing family business.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Lacey family during this difficult time. Kimball will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all whose lives he touched — as a respected colleague, caring neighbor, and dear friend.”

Keint-he Winery and Vineyards, another County winery, said: “Our thoughts are with Liz and family. Kimball was a kind and gentle man. He was passionate about the PEC wine industry and will be missed by all who knew him.”

On a personal note, I have tasted with Kimball Lacey on occasion, and we have always communicated back and forth on the Ontario wine industry. He was a gem of a man, always eager to share his wines and raise the flag for Prince Edward County wines. He always greeted you with a great big smile and was thrilled to show off his wines to anyone who walked through the doors and cared deeply for not only his own wines, but that of his neighbours and the greater Ontario wine family.

His presence in the County and the Ontario wine industry will be dearly missed. To the Lacey family, Wines in Niagara sends its most sincere condolences.

Honouring Kimball Lacey’s legacy

On June 25th, Kimball Lacey passed away suddenly at the age of 56 from heart failure, leaving his devoted wife, Liz, and their three children in shock and devastation. Kimball was the co-owner and winemaker of Lacey Estates Winery.

Kimball was a well-respected winemaker and mentor in Prince Edward County and within the greater community. He was a selfless individual; always willing to chip in and help others, like plowing neighbours’ driveways after a big storm, lending a hand at other wineries when the need arose, sharing his knowledge with others, and volunteering with the Rotary Club of Wellington. Kimball also regularly donated to the Wellington Food Bank.

Kimball’s tragic and unexpected death has devastated his family and has left them in a precarious financial situation as the winery is their only source of income. This may place the vineyard and winery’s future in jeopardy.

Funds raised by this campaign will go directly to the family for funeral costs and their day-to-day bills while they deal with the loss of their beloved husband and father.

We need to come together to help Kimball’s family. Please give generously and share this campaign with your family and friends. Go here to donate if you can.

There will also be a celebration of life on July 14 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the garden at Closson Chase Vineyards. Everyone is welcome to come.