Robert Bell's

Wines of Canada

Since 1992

Bruce Nicholson

Bruce Nicholson winemaker was born and raised in Ontario’s leading wine region, the Niagara Peninsula, Nicholson was intrigued by the winemaking industry from an early age. His father made wines at home. He studied Sciences at Ontario’s Ryerson University and University of Windsor Nicholson apprenticed in winemaking in Niagara before heading out to Western Canada.


In the early 80s I actually approached Karl Kaiser and offered to work for him for free just so I could learn under his leadership. Although the job never materialized, I did apprentice in Niagara just before heading to Western Canada to make wines in the Okanagan.

He began work back in 1986 for the laboratory at the Château-Gai winery in Niagara Falls. The following year, he was transferred to Casabello, Château-Gai's sister winery in Penticton. Both wineries disappeared into the merger that produced Vincor; and when Casabello closed in 1994, Nicholson moved to the Jackson-Triggs winery. The following year he came west to BC

Nicholson was selected to lead Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Winery in 1993, and has since been credited for creating its award-winning Okanagan VQA wines. He has gained considerable recognition in the international wine world. He returned to his home town of Niagara Falls as the Senior Winemaker of Inniskillin Wines.

Noted author John Schriener wrote: "he made superb wines that gained acclaim internationally and across Canada, helping to establish the Okanagan as a gem among the world’s wine regions.”

He is considered to be one of Canada's best Icewine produces of all time.

“I was inspired by Inniskillin’s co-founder, Karl Kaiser, and have tried to honour his legacy by continuing to produce world-class wines.” – Bruce Nicholson 

To marry the science and art of winemaking by working with the good acidities here in Niagara, I love having the opportunity to innovate,” says Bruce. He’s pointing to the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine, developed in collaboration with viticulturalist Gerald Klose and the grapes from the Klose Vineyard block.

At Inniskillin Bruce was known for his hard work dedication and high standarts. Nicholson quickly achieved international recognition . At Vinitaly 2009, he captured the top prize at the 17th Annual International Wine Competition: “The Premio Speciale Gran”.

Inniskillin’s Grand Prix d’Honneur award
Inniskillin’s Grand Prix d’Honneur award 

Bruce continues to win international and national awards. In 2012 and 2013 over 50% of his awards were for 
his Icewines. He proudly accepted the Top Canadian Producer Award at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, U.K. His innovativeness has added interesting wines to the Inniskillin portfolio. In 2013 he launched his Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine as well as adding to his Discovery Series — Susse Reserve Riesling, Botrytis Affected Viognier and an intriguing blend called P3 (Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir).

In 2004, he took top honours at the chi-chi Chardonnay du Monde competition in France. And in 2005, Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate was named International Winery of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, home court of all those Napa trophy-wine producers.

In 2006 he won  best-shiraz-in-the-world trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London.

Bruce Nicholson was warded the inaugural Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker of the Year Award by the Canadian Vintner’s Association. Many in the industry who worked with Bruce issued testimonials on his behalf in nominating him for the award, including Donald Ziraldo.

Nicholson was on the Technical Committee of the VQA and previously served on the committee for Sustainable Winemaking in Ontario of the Wine Council of Ontario. In the Fall of 2007, Nicholson announced an initiative to use grape pomace to generate clean, renewable electricity through a partnership with StormFisher Biogas. This by-product would previously been destined to a landfill, where the methane gas would have released into the atmosphere. The partnership demonstrates how sustainable business practices can benefit the environment and communities, while improving the bottom line

At Vinitaly 2009, he captured the top prize at the 17th Annual International Wine Competition at Vinitaly: “The Premio Speciale Gran Vinitaly 2009”
He continues to capture the world attention for his wines and Icewines.

Bruce Nicholson

When making wines Bruce believes you cater to the taste of your customer not your own.  He enjoys pouring product at wine shows and chatting with customers. His other secret: homework, literally. Trained as a chemical engineer, he regularly sneaks experimental batches from the lab to taste over dinner. "Consumers don't drink wine in tasting booths," he says.



Good Food Revolution
 Bruce Nicholson
The Globe and Mail

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