Winemaker, Vice President Vineland Estate
For over thirty years, Vineland Estates Winery has continually elevated the wine and culinary experience in Niagara. For over twenty years the man producing the world wide acclaimed wines has been Brian Schmidt.
He was born in Kelowna, British Columbia and was raised on a vineyard that had been in the family for three generations. The Schmidt family was one of the founding families of the Okanagan wine industry and this was the bedrock of Brian’s interest in winemaking. His father was a co-founder of Sumac Ridge. Brian has experimented, researched and has traveled extensively throughout Europe’s cool climate regions studying winemaking and the specific connections to the land. It is this intensive experience that has resulted in the creation of a winemaking style that has become Vineland Estates Winery’s signature.
Brian has traveled extensively throughout Europe studying winemaking and the winemaking process. In 1991, Brian traveled to Ontario to train with his brother Allan, who was the original winemaker at Vineland Estates. Brian took over this position at the winery in 1994
Brian maintains, “It is critical to understand the soil and site where your grapes are grown while developing a defined, yet flexible frame to react to the curve balls that Mother Nature likes to throw. I do have an untamed passion for growing all cool climate varieties, but I must admit that I have a particular love for Riesling and Cabernet Franc.”
Brian is not one to take all the credit for the success of Vineland wines“You do know that I have an entire team of creative and dedicated individuals behind me. The award is clearly the result of the efforts of a team of talented people at Vineland, all working towards a common goal. I was the fortunate one to be able to receive the award on their behalf.”
One notable achievement was the awarding of the 2003 VinItaly Grand Gold trophy as the highest scoring winery in a field of over three thousand wines. This was the first time this trophy had ever been awarded outside of Europe. Brian humbly accepts the many honours but is quick to get back to the important business of building Vineland Estates’ reputation for wines that delight and engage by expressing the true essence of place.
Brian enjoys the social media and is one friendly gentleman. As vice president Brian must ensure the winery is profitable and attracts customers. The only way we can differentiate ourselves from all these other great experiences ( provided by other wineries) "is by creating an emotional connection.” “we’re in the business of creating memories.”
Brian is a very caring Gentleman. He spends much of his free time helping the people of Haiti. “Haiti calls me every day,” Schmidt says. “Not a single day goes by when I’m not thinking about Haiti. I have to make sure it doesn’t consume me.”
Brian first came to Haiti in 2013 when he chaperoned his son Connor’s youth group on a nine-day volunteer stint with Haiti Mission.
As writen by Tiffiny Mayer
He knows the names of people living in Haiti — in the village of Numero Deux, more specifically. He can recall their faces and their stories with ease. He knows the challenges they face living in a relatively isolated area in Haiti’s southwest corner. And he knows what’s being done to help them, including drilling wells and building concrete homes, schools and churches that can better weather Mother Nature’s wrath.
Schmidt knows all of this because he’s lent a hand more than once to those very projects.
He plans to do it again in May when he returns to Numero Deux for his fifth time as a member of Haiti Mission, Inc.,
a Louisiana-based grassroots development organization dedicated to improving infrastructure — and ultimately lives — there.
We should also mention that Brian's bother Allen is President of Vineland.
Located on the Niagara Peninsula Vineland is one of Ontario's most picturesque wineries. Vineland Estates Winery produces 47,000 cases of wine annually, the majority of which is made from estate grown fruit. Their wines include Sparkling and Icewines.
Roman Prydatkewycz is the vineyard viticulturist at Vineland Estates. He is a pioneer in the Ontario wine industry. Born in the Ukraine, Roman's family immigrated to Brazil first, and then when he was a teenager Roman's family moved to Hamilton, Ontario. Roman and wife Sophie Prydatkewycz owned and operated their 26 acre vineyard on the Beamsville Bench, a preferred site for growing grapes nestled against the Niagara Escarpment, known as Rosomel Vineyard.
The Carriage House – a charming stone building dating back to the 1850s, is an intimate space that provides stunning views of the vineyards and surrounding forest. A lovely place to have a wedding.
The wineries restaurant provides fine cuisine. Guests dine indoors in the renovated 1845 farmhouse or outdoors under the shade sails.
Brian Schmidt – Photo by Carole Bozzato
Where to stay ~ Where to Dine ~ Weddings in the Vineyard