Ever since Inniskillinís Vidal Icewine Niagara 1989 won the Grand prix díHonneur at the 1991 Vinexpo in France the world thinks of us as the makers of very best icewines possible. An item that every wine connoisseur and once a week wine drinks must have in their cellar. However Europe, Canadians and most of the world now knows Canada produces world class wines from a variety of grapes white, red, and Sparkling.
Ontario is now producing over 800,000 litres a year. The name Ontario is know through out the wine world especial the Niagara Peninsula ( as is British Colombia's Okanagan). Yes compared to many other regions of the world Canada wine industry is extreme young. According to the 2015 Wine Tourism in Canada Report, annual direct revenue from Canadian wine tourism was $476 million for the year.
When Canadian have visitors from around the global they are now proud to introduce them to the wines of Canada. Focusing on Ontario here are some of the wineries one may turn to to impressive those visitors
Inniskillin located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Inniskillin, which is noted for its icewine production, has played an important pioneering role in the modern Canadian wine industry. Was it chance or destiny that brought Donald Ziraldo and Karl J Kaiser together in 1971 which resulted in the founding of
Inniskillin. Mr Kaiser made the wines and Mr Ziraldo promoted them across Canada and into Europe. Donald Ziraldo planted Inniskillin’s first vinifera vineyard of Riesling, Chardonnay and Gamay which was first harvested in 1977.
In 1984 Inniskillin winemaker, Karl Kaiser harvested the first Icewine from Vidal grapes frozen naturally on the vine at the winery site (Brae Burn Vineyard).Inniskillin Icewine went on to become “ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT WINES”. In 2003 Inniskillin is recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as the New World Winery of the Year. You do not win this award based on Icewine alone.
Today their wines can be found around the world. DRINKS INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE (Sept.2011 issue) listed INNISKILLIN among the World’s 50 Most Admired Wine Brands (#48) and among the Top Ten in North America Wines.
Tawse is a family-owned organic and biodynamic winery is situated on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment, voted Canada’s Winery of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. Founder Moray Tawse purchased 6 acres on the Cherry Avenue property in 2001. In 2005, he opened his state-of-the-art winery. The inspiration for his first Niagara property came from his love of Burgundian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The winery now ships to international destinations like USA, France, England and Japan.
The Stratus Vineyard is a mature
fifty-three acre estate moderated by the effects of two bodies of water:
the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Perhaps best known as the home of the magnificent wine maker know as J-L, J-L Groux. Known as one of Niagara’s winemaking pioneers, J-L brought his vision of creating premium New World wines through the Old World art of assemblage to Stratus.
Stratus is also recognized as the first LEED-certified winery in the world. Among their numerous awards are two Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines
Stratus’ stately presence leaves you breathless. Intimidating and enticing in the same fleeting moment, Stratus draws you in like a magnet, as you simultaneously wonder if you’re dressed well-enough. Niagara-philes dutifully respond to its call; fashionably celebrating Stratus’ union of modern design and sustainable building and farming practices.- Niagara Local
In 2009, Stratus engaged renowned winemaker and viticultural consultant Paul Hobbs to bring additional international perspective to its operations
The Andrew Peller Ltd* winery Thirty Bench is located in the tiny appellation called the Beamsville Bench. This narrow strip of land near Lake Ontario is Niagara’s smallest appellation, with some of the oldest vineyards in the region. Founded in 1994 and purchased by Andrew Peller in 2005. The winery is well know for it's Rieslings. There were named Canada's best small winery in 2015. Their 2014 Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyard won a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines 2016. Read More.
* Andrew Peller Ltd.:The company started in Port Moody just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. A Canadian success story. It all began in 1927 when Andrew Peller arrived in Canada from Hungary. He became a successful business man establishing Andrés Wines Ltd in 1961.
In 1964, winery operations were established in Calgary, Alberta and in Truro, Nova Scotia. In 1970 Andrés entered the Ontario market with the purchase of Beau Chatel Wines in Winona. In 1974 Andrés moved into Quebec with the founding of Les Vins Andrés in St. Hyacinthe. In 1975 Andrés purchased the Valley Rouge Winery located in Morris, Manitoba.
The Manitoba location closed in 1992 and in 1994 Andrés acquired Hillebrand Estates Winery, Canada's largest producer of VQA and premium wines, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Read More
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
As I scroll through Twitter and Facebook the name that seems to come up the most is Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. A family owned biodynamic and organic winery located on St. Davids Bench in Niagara-on-the-lake. Ravine opened in 2008. Also known as the Upper Lowrey Farm, the family has milled, farmed and canned fruit at Ravine for 5 generations. The farm is known to be one of the first commercial grape vineyards in the area with 500 vines planted in 1869.
Ravine Vineyard is owned by Norma Jane (Lowrey) Harber and Blair Harber. The property has been a source of great pride for the Lowrey family since 1867, when Norma Jane’s great-grandfather, David Jackson Lowrey, purchased the upper farm and moved his family to St. Davids.
A Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wine for their Chardonnay 2013. Read More
Norman Hardie Winery located in Hillier Prince Edward County may be the only one from this region shipping across the pond the the United Kingdom. The winery is owned by Norman Hardie and The Lennox King Family. Norman honed his wine skills around
the globe working as a Sommelier. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Outstanding reviews have come from international wine critics, such as Stephen Tanzer (International Wine Cellar) and Jancis Robinson (Decanter). Critics from Ontario, including Tony Aspler, John Szabo and David Lawrason have been quick to hand out praise for each vintage of Norman Hardie Wines
Tim Atkins wrote Norm Hardie is Canada’s best Chardonnay producer for me, which is not to damn him with faint praise in the slightest. This gunflinty, oyster shell-scented white, with its undertones of oak and minerals lingers on the palate. 94 points
Chateau des Charmes wines can be found in the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan and Hawaii. Wine master Paul-Michel Bosc a French grape grower came to Canada and started his family
vineyard in 1978. The winery has 270 acres under cultivation in Niagara-on-the-Lake, claiming to be the
first in Canada to plant a vineyard exclusively to vifis vinifera.
Paul Bosc Sr., was honoured with the Grape Growers of Ontario “Award of Merit” for 2017.
The award was presented on behalf of his peers in recognition of the innovative contributions he has made to the grape and wine industry.
Creekside Estate began in 1998 as the vision of owners Peter Jensen and Laura McCain-Jensen. They saw a winery wholly devoted to producing premium
VQA wines exclusively from the Niagara Peninsula. They began with 15 acres near Lake Ontario close to the
town of Jordan. Home to one of Canada’s Largest underground barrel cellars, which can hold up to 600 wine barrels.
For over 15 years, winemaker Rob Power has crafted decidedly bold wines, signature wines being Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. 2012 Creekside Estate Broken Press Syrah Reserve received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines.
Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery opened late summer of 2009 by renowned winemaker Ann-Staff. The Jordon 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 winery is currently producing around 10,000 cases with plans to double that in three years
Sue-Ann was the first female and the youngest ever to be awarded the 2002 Winemaker of the Year.
Her wines are available in China and South Korea and soon in the EU and UK
Vineland Estate one of Canada's best known wineries. 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. Open all year, Vineland Estates Winery is not only the home of fine wine and cuisine, but an unmatched touring facility and wine country destination. Although one Ontario's larger wineries it is family affair, with brothers Allan and Brian Schmidt working alongside each other since 1991.
Their wines include Sparkling and Icewines.
Cave Spring Cellars celebrates twenty-five years of winemaking excellence. Cave Spring has established itself as one of Canada’s most acclaimed wineries. The distinct soil and climate of our vineyards on the Beamsville Bench have and will always play a critical role in the ongoing journey of crafting elegant and distinctive cool-climate wines.
In recognition of its efforts in environmentally friendly winemaking, Cave Spring Cellars has been named Ontario’s first certified sustainable winery by Sustainable Winemaking Ontario (SWO)
Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines 2012 Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Lesser Know Stars
Burnt Ship Bay Estate Winery Ltd. is a family-owned business founded by Luciano Puglisi and Marcel Morgenstern in 2013. The winery focuses on producing wines made from estate grown grapes in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. The winery drew its name from a little bay in the Upper Niagara River where in 1759, during the Seven Years’ War, it became the final resting place for some treasure-laden French ships.
It is the buzz around the wines that makes this winery a star. The Intervin Wine Awards they won Best Value for their Chardonnay 2013. They won Gold at Intervin and All Canadian for their Pinot Grigio. They are the official supplier for the Hockey Hall of Fame
Exultet Estate located in the most southern portion of Prince Edward County, a centuries’ old farm, formerly including a dairy operation, cheese factory, and apple orchard, has been resurrected to a new life, enriched with flowering grapevines and aging wines. Vineyards first planted in 2004 are nurtured on limestone rich soils in view of Lake Ontario. A hands-on, family operated business, making around 1000 cases of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Vidal Icewine, in total a year. The owners, Gerry and Lia, were exceptionally confident, passionate and proud of their wines.
2013 Exultet Estates Chardonnay “The Blessed” received the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines.
PondView Estate Winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The Puglisi Family were producers of wine in Italy before
Giuseppe Puglisi emigrated to Canada in 1965, he brought with him his passion for grape-growing and wine-making.
His son, Luciano (Lou), who has been passed the torch and now carries on the family tradition with the beautiful PondView Estate Winery.
Luciano and Adriana Puglisi are owners their son is the winemaker.
Luciano (Lou), was crowned 2008 Grape King, a Ministry of Agriculture award for the finest vineyard operator in Ontario. Their Icewine was voted Best Sweet Wine in North America by Decanter Asia. Read More
Karlo Estate winery located in Wellington was opened in 2005 by the late Richard Karlo and Sherry Karlo. The 93 acre property extends from Danforth Road in the North to the Wellington on the Lake Golf Course on the south. The property starts at Chase Road on the west, running east past Hubbs Creek ending at the old Stevenson family homestead. We are about 1 ½ km north of Lake Ontario.
Karlo Estate wines can be found in Japan, Denmark and England Their capacity is 4000 cases.
The truth is there are many fine wineries in Ontario and British Columbia that are extending their reach across th pond and not just for icewine. Just to mention a few more Ontario wineries Pelee Island Winery, Pillitteri
Estate Winery , Flat Rock Cellars , Hidden Bench
Vineyards and Thomas Bachelder
Reif Estate sells to to Japan, China, Germany and the USA.
Did we miss someone please feel free to let us know!
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