Dark Horse Estate Winery Inc. could not have been conceived of or built in any place but Huron County. John Rasenberg combined his passion for farming, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and the dark, rich, loamy soil of his beloved Huron County to build an agri-tourism destination winery that would engage and delight visitors from around the world.
We learned early on that big things can come from small beginnings with hard work and determination. Starting from the ground up, John Rasenberg and his wife Sue Ann built a very successful business that came to employ over 320 people. In 1978 they built a successful electrical company, J.M.R. Electric, just a stone’s throw East of Dark Horse Estate Winery Inc. in the town of Exeter. Throughout their success, their dedication to the community never waned. Typical of the dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs, they were always looking for the next big idea. After three decades of success, and construction projects across Canada, they considered a few new projects, but in the end Dark Horse Estate Winery Inc. won the race.
It was Sue Ann’s passion for wine and John’s love of Huron County and farming that propelled the birth of Dark Horse Estate Winery. The name Dark Horse itself actually transpired from a social gathering with wine in hand. We chose the name for a few reasons, one for our love and passion of horses, and the other because we are the Dark Horse, we are the unexpected. With the next generation of the Rasenberg family emerging into the entrepreneurial sector, we hope to carry on the same hard work and determination that our parents (John and Sue Ann) instilled on us and to be the entrepreneurs our community can be proud of.
John and Sue Ann, with their daughter Ashley and son-in-law Craig, established the 85-acre winery and vineyard in 2014, just minutes from the shores of Lake Huron and next door to the iconic Huron Country Playhouse. The centrepiece of the estate is a 31, 000 sq. ft. manor house, which includes a full-service banquet facility, ballroom, state-of-the-art production facility, barrel cellar, tasting room, elite VIP Lounge, and patios overlooking the vineyards. It is this passion for the business and the promise of perfection that can only come from an owner/operator, and it will ensure we succeed across the board! You can bet on us.
Surrounded by the beauty of Huron County and incredible one-of-a-kind architecture, our winery gives people a chance to leave the everyday with all its stresses and commitments behind. Instead, they experience something new. Something inviting. Something extraordinary.