One of Canada's top winemaker makers is the charming and elegant Sue-Ann Staff. Not only is she an amazing winemake she is a outstanding business person.
Winemaking has been a life-long ambition of Sue-Ann's having stemmed from a family background in viticulture spanning five generations in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula and encompassing two "Grape King" titles.The Staff family background in viticulture spanning five generations in the Niagara Region encompassing two Grape King titles (1967 - grandfather Lavelle Staff; 1996 - father Howard Staff), a strong influence in the field of viticulture was present. Hence, at the age of 16, Sue-Ann became interested in oenology, the study of wine.
After her formal education in winemaking from the renowned University of Adelaide, South Australia, and several vintages abroad, Sue-Ann has become one of Canada's top winemakers, winning over 450 national and international wine awards.
She was acclaimed as "2002 Winemaker of the Year" by the Ontario Wine Society. Sue-Ann was the first female, and youngest ever, to receive such distinction. She is a two-time recipient of the International Wine and Spirits Award in London, England for one of the top four "Women in Wine" in the world.
In 12 short years of winemaking, 450 awards have been won at national and international wine competitions, more than most winemakers receive throughout a lifetime career.
The global wine community has been part of Miss Staff’s vision seeking international experience and training, she has visited and worked in France, Germany, Andorra, Australia and South Africa. She represented Canada through the Canadian Trade Organization in Taipei, Taiwan training the Taiwanese press with regards to fraudulent Icewine.
Sue-Ann Staff recieved the 2018 Tony Aspler Award for her decades of important work in the grape and wine Industry.
Sue-Ann has captured the interest of the media. Significant articles include:
• “It’s A Living” CBC Television February 2000
• “Cool Career” Flare Magazine December 1999
• “People and Passion” Canadian Living Magazine June 1999.
You also may have seen her on the cover of Canadian Fruitgrower (February 1994), Wine Regions of Ontario (Summer Edition 2004) or Niagara Life Magazine (January 2007).
Among her many achievemnets during her Honors Horticulture and Biotechnology studies at the University of Guelph OAC ’94 (B.Sc.(Agr.)), she became the first Canadian to achieve the “Top Undergraduate Research Paper” awarded by the American Society for Horticultural Science for a paper titled “FRUIT ZONE LEAF REMOVAL INFLUENCES VEGETATIVE, YIELD, DISEASE, FRUIT COMPOSITION AND WINE SENSORY ATTRIBUTES OF VITIS VINIFERA L. “OPTIMA” AND “CABERNET FRANC”” published by the Canadian Journal of Plant Science (Jan. 1997).
In addition, she became the first Canadian elected President of the Association of Collegiate Branches for the American Society for Horticultural Science involving all university horticulture clubs across North America.
Currently Sue-Ann is Proprietor/Winemaker of Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery based on her family’s two-hundred-year-old estate in Jordan, Ontario producing high quality VQA wines from grapes grown on the Niagara Escarpment property. Sue-Ann opened her own winery on her family’s 200 year old estate in Jordan in September 2009. Additionally, she is employed as Consulting Winemaster to John Howard’s “Megalomaniac” winery located in Vineland, ON and liaison to its sister property Chateau la Confession in St.Emilion Bordeaux. She also teaches two courses at Niagara College to the Post Graduate Wine Business Managem
Sue-Ann’s interests do not only extend to winemaking as she has started several wineries, been involved with their design, concepts and markets but also finds time for flying, figure skating, community events, golf and family. Sue-Ann is available for public speaking with appropriate advance notice and enjoys great food, lovely friends and outstanding wine – the best parts of life.
“Wine, food, friends and family. These are the pillars of a wonderful life." – Sue-Ann Staff