One of the most respected and admired women in the wine industry is Sue Ann Staff. Miss Staff 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.
The winery opened late summer of 2009
.The location was chosen for her over 200 years ago when Robert Staff moved
here from Lincolnshire England in the late 1700’s. The Staff family
has farmed this land for over 200 years while growing grapes for over 100 years. In
fact, the original vineyard planted on the property is still in production
The vineyard is on the Mile Bench
30 acres planted
with more to come in the future. Producing Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet franc, Baco Noir, Viognier and Vidal. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay Noir.
Sue-Ann who comes from a 5 generations of grape grower turned winemaker. After completing high school, she enrolled at the University of Guelph, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. During her studies at Guelph, Sue-Ann became the first Canadian elected President of the Association of Collegiate Branches for the American Society for Horticultural Science involving all university horticulture clubs in North America. Her
formal winemaking training is from the University of Adelaide, South Australia
wineries in Australia.
After getting her graduate degree from Adelaide in 1996, she was hired as a trainee winemaker with Simon Gilbert Wine Services in the Upper Hunter Valley in Australia. Since then, she’s visited and worked in France, Germany, Andorra and South Africa before returning to Niagara.
After making wine for 10 years for the Pillitteri
family and 2 years for the original management of 20 Bees (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Sue
~ Ann decided to start a winery here on the family estate. Every
generation of our family has wanted a winery - I have been the stubborn one
to do it!
Her nick name within the wine industry is “Ice Queen” –
for all the award winning Icewines
I am privileged to have grown up learning to love the land, the joy of the harvest and the pleasure of wine from grandparents and parents
She was acclaimed as “2002 Winemaker of the Year” by the Ontario Wine Awards and one of the top four “Women in Wine” in the world by the International Wine and Spirits Awards of London, England … twice!
Famous for her Icewines, you’ll also find award-winning Pinot Gris, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Baco Noir and Sparklings. "In order for Niagara (wineries) to succeed, we have to be focused on quality.”
There is a home joyful feeling when visiting the winery. The actual kitchen is the tasting room. The winery produces Fancy Farm Girl Wines. The wines are meant to be affordable, approachable and fun as well as made from 100% Niagara fruit, most of which is grown on the Staff family’s 200-year-old farm, where they have been growing grapes for more than a century.
Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Inc was awarded “2014 Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year” Emerging Business and the 2015 Shannon Passero “Women In Business” award. The wine shop’s walls are adorned with several dozen awards from regional and international competitions continuing her tradition of fine winemaking in the Niagara Peninsula.