What’s in a Name?

Spare Key Winery’s welcome to guests starts with its inviting label
The vineyard at Spare Key Winery. Photos courtesy of Spare Key Winery

A winery’s name is, among other things, its introduction. Spare Key Winery in Charlevoix introduces itself as a place to feel at home.

In 2010, after years of wine-tasting trips, spouses Jean and Mike McCarthy and Jean’s brother and his wife, Joel and Melissa Robinson, set their hearts on one day opening their own winery. They started growing grapes in 2011, and in 2017, they finally realized their dream with the launch of Spare Key Winery. They have been making 100% estate-grown wines ever since.

The four co-owners decided on their winery’s name while planting grapes in 2013. As Jean McCarthy explains via email, Spare Key Winery honors a history of visiting family members “who would arrive unannounced and eventually were provided a spare key confirming they were welcome any time.” Spare Key Winery aims to create this same welcoming feeling for its tasting room visitors.

While other ideas for the winery’s name arose, such as attempted mixings of the co-owners’ names and allusions to the local area, Spare Key Winery outshined the others. As McCarthy recalls, “Spare Key Winery won out because of the family connection and the feeling of being welcome when you’re provided with a spare key.”

In addition to evoking an at-home feeling, McCarthy hopes that Spare Key Winery’s name helps its visitors “to unlock experiences and good times shared with each other.”

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