Over 174 wineries from around the globe have come to Niagara to celebrate the coolest grape on earth…
Each year, the i4C selects up to 30 International wineries and 30 Ontario wineries to profile to ensure that visitors can explore the best Chardonnays throughout the weekend at a series of showcase events.
13th Street Winery is committed to the creation of excellent wines which are an authentic expression of our local terroir and serve as the foundation for the exceptional wine country experience we offer. Set amongst 25 acres of estate vineyards, 13th Street Winery is located halfway between Jordan and St. Catharines, on Fourth Avenue, just minutes off the QEW. Founded in 1998, we produce a range of critically acclaimed wines with a particular focus on old vines Gamay Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and traditional method sparkling wines. The historic farmhouse in which the winery is located has been renovated to include a contemporary tasting bar and retail wine boutique, a unique art gallery/private meeting room plus a wonderful wrap around veranda from which visitors can enjoy the outdoor sculptures and beautiful gardens with a glass of 13th Street wine. Tastings are available during regular business hours in the wine boutique and seasonal patio fare is offered during the summer months. Also onsite is a local favourite - 13th Street Bakery which features fresh baked goods and an assortment of jams, jellies and preserves all made with Niagara produce plus a large selection of artisanal Ontario cheeses, gourmet food items and unique gifts
Before arriving at 13th Street, Jean Pierre was winemaker at Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery in Beamsville for 9 years and previously in his home country of France, worked at the notable Chablis house, Domaine Laroche, where he oversaw production for a period of 10 years. Jean Pierre's winemaking philosophy is quite simple: he believes that great wines come from the best grapes grown in the best vineyards and winemaking techniques are only utilized to capture the very essence of the grapes provenance and character. Simply assuming that estate fruit will be the best year after year may be shortsighted, so Jean Pierre is more than willing to go in search of the very best fruit grown in Niagara each and every vintage to complement that which we grow ourselves in our 40 acres of vineyards. An accomplished producer of world class Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Gamay, Syrah and traditional method sparkling, Jean Pierre is proving that no matter the variety, if the quality of the fruit is exceptional at harvest, the resulting wines will be equally exceptional. As a result, Jean Pierre plays a key role in overseeing the choices and techniques employed in our 40 acres of estate vineyards and those utilized by the many excellent growers with which he works in the Niagara region.
Situated at 43 degrees north, our vineyards are at the northern extreme of viable viticulture so are inherently “cool.” Add to this our winemaker’s core philosophy of maximizing the impression of this terroir through minimal intervention in the winery, our Chardonnays are distinctly “cool” both in style and origin! And of course JP’s “cool” chapeau!
Hockley Valley may not seem like an obvious location to establish a winery, and that’s what makes it an ideal spot for Mario Adamo. visionary, risk-taker and pioneer. True to his vision, Adamo Estate Winery has already produced wine for 2 successful seasons. March 2015 saw the ¬first onsite bottling of the 2014 vintages. In the spring of 2015, the team were equally thrilled and proud to be crushing the Chardonnay on the very fields Mario had planted by hand. These days Mario can afford the time to build and nurture the winery.A family aaffair, his son John Paul and daughter Julie will work alongside him to take it to the next level. Though Adamo Estate Winery was a dream born out of Mario’s historical
fondness, an innate curiosity and a desire to succeed, his vision is innovative and focused on family tradition, something the Adamo family has already proven to be a successful formula.
Meet Shauna White
Ever wondered who oversees the day-to-day at the vineyard? Introducing… Shauna White, our Vineyard and Winery Manager. Shauna grew up in Kelowna, BC, spending her days in her family’s vineyard (her aunt is renowned organic winemaker Anne Sperling) so you might say she’s got wine in her blood! Upon deciding to follow her passion, Shauna began the formal part of her education at Niagara College, becoming a certified Wine and Viticulture Technician. While spending her practicum at Domaine Laroche in Chablis, France, she fell in love with Chardonnay – and with travelling! Shauna continued to broaden her horizons by spending time at Ponzi Wines in Oregon, at Hunter Valley in Australia, at Le Clos Jordanne in Niagara and at Road 13 in BC, and she settled at Adamo Estate Winery in 2013. Shauna puts her passion and experience to great use with us, working with the Adamo family to grow and harvest fruit from our region, and to make wines that have heart and history.
Adamo Estate Winery is a very cool place!
We are located in the Headwaters Hills in Mono, Ontario. Our latitude/longitude is 44°03′00″N80°04′28″W and our altitude 435 metres. Our vineyard is planted on beautiful rolling hills along the Northern part of the Niagara Escarpment. We are located 60 Kms north-west of Lake Ontario and less than 1 km south from Hockley Valley Resort Ski hill. Lake Ontario does not directly affect our micro climate which allows us to have greater temperature variables in winter and summer and a consistent breeze in our vineyard. We bury our vines for the winter, like Prince Edward County, to prevent winter damage or death to our young vines. Chardonnay is definitely a focus for us. Since our first Chardonnay vines were planted in 2010 and was a success, we have expended our Chardonnay clone and rootstock selection and we have expanded our vineyard; now totalling 5 acres of Chardonnay on our Estate. We at Adamo Estate Winery believe that great vineyard sites and great growers are the key to having a sense of place and terroir in great wines. We are working with 2 exceptional vineyards in Niagara. The Willms Vineyard in Niagara-on-the Lake boasts older vines planted in stony, sandy, soil with deep roots. The wines showcase true Niagara-on-the Lake characters from the weight and elegance of the winem, to the fruit driven aromas and support of oak flavours. In comparison, the Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard is located on the Vineland bench with mature vines and clay and mineral soils of the Niagara
Over 25 years ago, Spain’s oldest winemaking family ventured to a new world: a sea-facing hillside in the Napa Valley, with rocky soils and a favorable coastal climate. Our Estate Vineyard is set in the steep foothills that straddle the Carneros and Mt. Veeder AVAs. With 150 acres and over 50 blocks farmed uniquely, our philosophy is to work harmoniously and sustainably with nature to achieve the fruit-driven, balanced flavors in our wines.
Artesa Winery principal is Clay Daum, a veteran of the international wine industry. Clay has worked with Codorníu Raventós, the parent company of Artesa, for over 25 years. The Codorníu Raventós winemaking dynasty dates back to 1551, and in 1991, the family company established its Napa Valley winery and estate vineyards. Clay spent 14 years working at the corporate headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, and has also worked for the Group in New York City and more recently in Baltimore, Maryland and Charlottesville, Virginia. Clay has held leadership positions in the areas of marketing, sales, operations, strategy, policy and institutional relations. He has focused on the advancement of Artesa and worked to develop standing and business for the other company wineries throughout Spain and in Argentina. Clay has a bachelor of science in Engineering and an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, and is certified by the Canadian Securities Institute. He is a member of the Group’s executive leadership team for North America and he works to elevate the Group’s brands through passion, inspiration and teamwork.
“Having been born in a cool climate – that being Canada – why wouldn’t I enjoy cool climate Chardonnay?”
Artesa's estate vineyard is located in the steep hills of Napa Carneros within sight of the San Pablo Bay. We enjoy the benefits of this maritime exposure, with the benefit of our elevation and slope protecting us from significant frost risk. We believe this area is among the top sites for growing Chardonnay in the world. This site is ideal for growing Chardonnay that ripens slowly, developing concentrated citrus and stone fruit flavors with distinctive minerality and balancing acidity.
Our Estate is home to Chardonnay vines that are 25 years old, from ten unique clones. This allows us to blend Estate wines of great complexity. Our winemaker Ana Diogo-Draper is focused on preserving the freshness and flavors that make this site special. Early harvests, cool fermentations, and judicious use of oak results in wines with fresh aromatics and a lively, fruit-driven profile as well as a lush, round texture.
In Niagara, Bachelder has found a neat little barrel cellar tucked away in the vines on the Beamsville Bench, but the grapes have been sorted and processed at Southbrook Vineyards from Day One. BACHELDER has secured some excellent sites on the bench that stretch through Beamsville (organic), to Vineland on the way to the St. David’s Bench.
The Niagara wine is sourced primarily from the organically-grown (but not certified) Saunders Vineyard (Beamsville Bench) and the Wismer vineyards on the Twenty mile bench. Lowrey Vineyard is on the St. David’s Bench and is the original vineyard of ‘Alliance,’ the international partnership that at once preceded and inspired ‘Le Clos Jordanne.
Burgundy is Thomas' spiritual home - the sacred ground where the Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes first evolved, then happily grew and acclimatized. It is the place Thomas and Mary learned to love and make wine. We work, where possible, with organic vignerons to ensure that the local ‘sense of place’ is best expressed. The BACHELDER vineyards stretch from Nuits-Saint Georges in the north, through Beaune, heading south to Puligny-Montrachet. Bachelder has rented modern, well-equipped cellars just outside of Beaune …In Burgundy, Bachelder is considered a ‘Micro-Négoce.’
Bachelder Oregon is made at rented cellars at the Carlton Winemakers Studio in, well, Carlton, Oregon, and at 12th and Maple in Dundee. Working with fruit from both the Sandstone and Volcanic (Basaltic) strata that predominate in Oregon, BACHELDER is able to capture the fruit and coax perfume and elegance out of the famously-concentrated Oregon Pinot Noir, and find the stunning savoury minerality of Oregon Chardonnay in all of its lacey purity. Bachelder project has been lucky to source mostly organic fruit from great sources like Lemelson (Yamhill-Carlton AVA) and Johan Vineyards, as well as Seven Springs and Jesse James Vineyard (Eola Hills AVA). Other great vineyards include Durant n Dundee.
With their two young daughters in tow, Thomas and his wife Mary Delaney have unwittingly become wine gypsies, following their passion to produce terroir-revealing wines from these two most noble Burgundian grapes. Québécois by birth, Thomas’ family hails from the dairy farming belt east of Montréal (l’Éstrie), where the Bachelder family owned two farms for as long as anyone can remember. Just three years after his marriage, he went off with his young bride to study in Beaune, Bourgogne, to become a vigneron. Domaine de la Créa (Beaune); Domaine Marius Delarche (Pernand/Aloxe); Ponzi Vineyards (Oregon); Château Génot-Boulanger (Meursault) all formed him. Subsequent start-ups in Oregon at Lemelson Vineyards and in Niagara at both the Burgundy/Niagara joint-venture Le Clos Jordanne and, later at Domaine Queylus all enabled him to discover and honour precious new world terroirs, just as vital, just as fragile and just as important.
BACHELDER is a small winery with cellars located in three of the world’s classic cool-climate Chardonnay regions: Burgundy; Oregon and Niagara. We strive to make pure, mineral wines from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, elegantly-respectful of their individual terroirs. We have been making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for others since the mid-90's, working for multiple domaine wineries in all three regions, and now, with the BACHELDER '3 Terroirs' Project, we are honouring the regions we have come to know and love, by making our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir under our own name in all three wine regions
An ambitious and visionary project, in 1999, the McConnell Gordon family purchased land in the Gaspereau Valley of Nova Scotia with the bold vision to create a world-class winery that would reflect an unconditional commitment to producing spectacular wines. At that time, the Nova Scotia wine industry had only a few wineries with widely varied wine portfolios, so outside expertise was sought to assess the potential for terroir-driven wines in Nova Scotia. After extensive research over a four-year period into the potential to produce sparkling wine, an international winemaking team embarked on a long and rewarding journey to produce sparkling wine using the classic Champagne varieties, aged in the prestige cuvée tradition. Today, in little more than a decade, Benjamin Bridge has distinguished itself by its dedication to time proven techniques, expert guidance, and most importantly its acclaimed, distinctive wines. Recently, top American wine writer, Alder Yarrow, wrote: "The Benjamin Bridge project is among North America's most ambitious and serious winery ventures I've had the pleasure of encountering in years. Established in the far reaches of Nova Scotia, these folks are making serious wines in the most marginal of conditions, with a dedication that is astounding." Its innovative sparkling wines are helping to raise the profile of Nova Scotia terroir and its winemaking in Canada and internationally.
In 2008, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers joined the Benjamin Bridge winemaking team in time to release his first Canadian wine, Nova 7 by Benjamin Bridge. Since then he has crafted all of the winery’s classic method sparkling wines and its still wines, in consultation with Peter Gamble and Raphaël Brisbois. Originally from Québec, Jean-Benoit began his winemaking apprenticeship at VOE (Vinedos Organicos Emiliana), a biodynamic vineyard/winery in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, which was created by one of Chile’s largest producers, Vina Santa Emilina, to produce exceptional wines. Having mostly worked in California, he made wine at Casa Barranca (2004-2008), the first certified organic winery in Santa Barbara County. In California, his winemaking efforts garnered praises and standout reviews from Robert Parker and Steven Tanzer (90+).
Benjamin Bridge is nestled on the steep southern slope of the beautiful upper Gaspereau Valley of Nova Scotia, which spans approximately 12-kilometres within the expansive Annapolis Valley, eastern Canada’s most famous fruit-growing region. The Gaspereau River runs from east to west through the Valley and spills into the Minas Basin, a vast expanse of seawater at the head of the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy tides average a vertical shift of 14 metres twice a day and the sheer energy of these tides ushers in cool breezes and moisture to the vineyards in the summer months while creating a never frozen body of water that provides moderation and humidity in the winter months. Together, these tidal shifts protect and support the growth of the sensitive classic vinifera grape varieties, like Chardonnay. Add to this the broad-reaching influence of the Atlantic Ocean’s warm Gulf Stream and it becomes evident how Nova Scotia achieves, like some of the greatest wine regions in the world, a truly exemplary maritime climate for growers of fine wine. Like Champagne, the Gaspereau Valley has a relatively northerly position, located at 45°N latitude and 64°W longitude, and its extraordinarily cool growing season permits the classic Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to ripen to phenolic maturity, while maintaining the low natural sugar levels and inherent high acidities that are critical to the style and structure of the very finest Champagnes. Contributing further to Benjamin Bridge’s sparkling quest are two factors that make particularly important contributions to its wines. The first is an elongated growing season that allows grapes to hang until as late as mid-November, and still arrive at classic sparkling maturity levels. With gentle ripening over a greatly extended period, the grapes develop (and never burn off) the brisk acidities and delicate aromatics that have defined Benjamin Bridge’s style. The second is the extraordinarily low cropping levels of the estate - a costly advantage in terms of the expense of making the Benjamin Bridge wines - yet universally acknowledged as a key determinant of a wine’s overall quality – increasing a wine’s flavours, texture and length. The Benjamin Bridge vineyard harvests an average of less than one tonne of grapes per acre whereas it is not uncommon for even famous Champagne producers to harvest nearly six tonnes per acre.
The picturesque Gaspereau Valley is an ideal site for Benjamin Bridge to produce vibrant classic sparklings that celebrate the lushness of Chardonnay.
Owned by the Berger-Rive family for 4 generations of winegrowers, the Manoir de Mercey is a wine estate located at Cheilly-lès-Maranges, the southernmost village of the Côte de Beaune, within the hamlet of Mercey as its name says. The property, dated from the early 19th century, has a superb vaulted cellar where the wines are aged in barrels. The manor-house is edged by the “Clos des Dames” vineyard on one side, by its orchard with many different varieties of fruit trees on another side and finally by its peaceful park, facing the historic buildings, with two-hundred-year-old trees. A little further from the estate, lie the slopes of famous vineyards, majestic cliffs, trout rivers, grazing land, and picturesque villages: the best that Burgundy can offer.
Xavier Berger, joined in 2015 by his son Paul, grows 22 Ha (54 acres) of vines exclusively owned by the family and spread on the Côte Chalonnaise (with the appellations Rully and Mercurey) and the Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Together, they do everything possible, with their team, to ensure that each of the Domaine’s bottles expresses the quality of its terroir while following the style signed by the duo father & son.
The owner and winemaker, Paul BERGER is born on the French national day 1988, a patriotic sign that fit perfectly this unconditional France's lover. From that day, his love, his passion and his dedication for the crafts of growing vines and making wines, for the Manoir de Mercey where he almost always lived and for the family history, never stop growing.
From the age of four to the age of thirteen, he made his own wine every year. It started with a few dozens of no-sulphited rosé wines the first years, that unfortunately do not taste so good any more these days! And the last production was actually two test microvinifactions required by his father on two different selections of Pinot Noir. Two feuillettes were produced, so about 300 bottles, still no-sulphited and gratefully some are still tasting pretty well!
After these first experimentations, followed general engineering studies in Paris, that brought him also in London and Stockholm for few months each. That could have seduced him to build a brilliant career of engineer but the appeal of the wine world was too strong. Then he spent four years working for the Gérard Bertrand wines in the South of France, where he has been lucky enough to travel the world and forge strong skills on marketing and sales.
In 2015, he came back on the family estate to start his life time adventure. Working hand in hand with his father, Xavier, on all aspects of the activities: from the vineyard to the consumer passing by the cellar, the administration, the marketing strategy, the sales, etc. It is a great honor and a pleasure for him to endorse a little more day after day the role of the family's material and immaterial patrimony keeper.
“What I love the most in the Cool Climate Chardonnays is the deepness and the subtlety of their aromatic palettes. We could even say that cool climate is to chardonnay what color is to photography! “ Paul BERGER
Burgundy is quite well known for being a cool climate wine producing region. Its geographical position is fundamental to the identity of its wines. The region is at the confluence of three major influences: southerly, oceanic and continental. These unique conditions have, over time, dictated the choice of varietal: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir almost exclusively. The climate of the Bourgogne winegrowing region is mainly temperate, and has a positive influence on vine growing:
- Morning sunshine, helped by the aspect of the vines, which in winter helps limit the risk of frost damage, and in summer helps ripen the grapes (the vines receive around 1,300 hours of sunshine between April and September).
- Ideal precipitation for encouraging vine growth, with an average of 700mm annually, mainly during the months of May and June.
- Summer temperatures around 20°C (68°F) in July and August (average from 1981/2010). Even if it can get hot during the daytime, the night is always cool which is key to conserve a good acidity level.
-Most of the years, we benefit from a lovely indian summer to get the perfect ripeness and to harvest in good conditions.
All these climate characteristics make the grapes ripe slowly but surely, ensuring a crucial balance between sugar concentration, aromatic components and acidity. In that sense the choice of the harvest date is so important. The wines are still low on alcohol percentage: usually around 12,5 – 13% at our winery, with a great acidity level that ensure freshness and plays also the role of skeleton to give the wine an ageing potential. And then between the alcohol and the acidity, there is still some space for the aromatic components to express themselves.
Our two chardonnay vineyards have the same exposition (south-east), an hundred meter difference in elevation but the main difference is on the soil composition. Both are argilo-calcareous but the Clos des Dames has a much higher proportion of clay which bring more roundness, buttery and creamy aromas. And because the vineyard of Rully has a better balance between clay and limestone, next to the roundness brought by the clay we found a deeper complexity thanks to the limestones that give tension, minerality, floral aromas, etc.
We like to say that most of the job is done before the grapes get to the winery. So when it comes to the cellar it pretty simple. We conduct our fermentations slowly in oak barrels at low temperature (19-22°C / 66-72°F) during around 20 days. Then it is time for the malolactic fermentation to get its job done. And finally the wines are aged on fine lees in the same oak barrels with regular stirring decided on tasting. Most of our barrels are French oak but for several years now, we like to use also a small proportion of American oak for the aromatic hints which combined well with our wines.
Borthwick family history goes a long way back into 19th century. Sir Thomas Borthwick, the first Baronet of Whitburg, pioneered Thomas Borthwick & Sons Ltd.
The company provided quality meats and premium wines, was well famed in London since the beginning for 20th century. It was one of first British companies exports frozen meats all over the globe.
P.J. Borthwick, one of the grandsons of Sir Thomas Borthwick moved to New Zealand, and started Te Whanga Station back in 1936. There he and the family went on to make the legend continues.
Following in the footsteps of great-great grandfather Thomas, Paddy was looking for diversification to farming, and saw the Wairarapa having an ideal climate for growing super premium wine grapes.
So in 1985 Paddy left Te Whanga in the capable hands of his family, and trained at the world renowned Roseworthy College in Australia as a viticulturist and wine maker, embarking on a career spanning five countries and three continents before settling back into the Wairarapa.
In 1996, Paddy and his father Robin began planning the 27-hectare Borthwick Vineyard and Winery.
The founder, owner, winemaker and marketer. After 35 vintages, Paddy makes wine instinctively, and has the confidence to take risks where others hedge their bets.
Wine is said to paint a picture on the palate of the place where it was born. As Cave Spring Cellars celebrates thirty years of winemaking excellence, it is with a sense of deep appreciation for the place our wines are born. 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. Great winemaking finds its origins through a marriage of vision, passion and patience. More than three decades ago, the Pennachetti family helped to pioneer the cultivation of noble European grape varietals on the Niagara Peninsula with the planting of their first Riesling and Chardonnay vines at Cave Spring Vineyard. In the years since, Cave Spring Cellars has established itself as one of Canada’s most acclaimed wineries, earning a reputation for crafting elegant and distinctive cool-climate wines in the heart of Ontario’s wine country.
For more than two decades Angelo Pavan has guided winemaking at Cave Spring Cellars, crafting wines of authentic character and sophistication from the fruit of Ontario’s Beamsville Bench. A passionate and gifted winemaker, with an encyclopedic understanding of Niagara Peninsula viticulture, Angelo has helped pioneer winemaking from noble European grape varietals in Ontario. Born into a traditional Italian family in St. Catharines, Ontario, Angelo grew up with a European appreciation for the intimate relationship between wine and food. In the early 1980s, while teaching and pursuing his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Guelph, this appreciation evolved into something more. “I took a wine tasting course,” says Angelo. “It was like taking an art history course. It opened up a whole new aesthetic dimension. I started buying wine books, studying winemaking, and exploring the science of viticulture. In my evenings at home I would have my wife blind taste me on wines so that I could refine my senses. One night she pointed out that there were more wine books on my desk than philosophy books. That’s when I knew that I was meant to be a winemaker.”
For more than 25 years, the combination of precise work in the vineyards and a measured touch in the cellars have made the Chardonnays from Cave Spring Vineyard standard-bearers for a style that emphasizes finesse, agebility and, perhaps above all, the steadfast belief in making Chardonnay that is true to its cool-climate origins. Today, among its more than 66 hectares of vineyards the winery farms 12 hectares of Chardonnay that are the source of 100% of the winery's production of this noble grape.
In 1973 Chamisal became the first winery to plant vines in Edna Valley, a gamble that paved the way for one of the most revered wine regions of California. Our Central Coast vineyard is named for the native, white-flowered Chamise plant that thrives on the property. Now planted to five grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah and Pinot Gris, this exceptional estate vineyard is the centerpiece, source and inspiration of Chamisal’s bold and distinctive wines.
Located half-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Edna Valley is recognized as one of the premier Central Coast grape growing regions, renowned in particular for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Rhone grape varieties. With San Luis Obispo and the Pacific Ocean a mere few miles away, the coastal fog and breezes create one of California’s longest growing seasons, extending the time grapes hang on the vine as they develop flavor and character. This climate results in wines with intensity, concentration and fresh, balancing acidity.
At Chamisal our winemaking philosophy encompasses an approach that is all about bringing out the natural characteristics of our estate-grown fruit in the wines. All vineyard work is done by hand. During harvest, we take as many as four passes through each block to ensure the grapes are picked at ideal ripeness. We ferment and age each lot separately, tailoring our winemaking to highlight the characteristics unique to each particular vineyard block. Our style is about allowing each varietal to shine, expressing our Edna Valley vineyard's naturally bold and complex flavors.
Though a winemaker’s domain is sometimes limited to the cellar, Winemaker Fintan “Fin” du Fresne is committed to spending an equal if not greater amount of time in the vineyards of Chamisal. “Our vineyards define the wines we make,” says the New Zealand native, who earned a degree in geology before going on to earn his post-graduate degree in Viticulture and Enology at Lincoln University in Canterbury.
Fin spent the first two years of his career as a viticulturist at Martinborough Vineyards, one of New Zealand’s most respected Pinot Noir producers. A harvest job at Calera Wine Company in California introduced him to the Central Coast, and his work with legendary Pinot Noir producer Josh Jensen further shaped his love for Burgundian varietals. In 2003, Fin was named assistant winemaker at Adelaida Cellars in Paso Robles, and over the next three years, he worked harvests and consulted for wineries in both California and New Zealand. Fin was named winemaker for Chamisal in 2006.
Even though we are located on the Central Coast of California, the most in-depth study of the climate of American west coast wine growing regions found the Edna Valley to be the coolest AVA in California (G. Jones et al, AJEV 61:3, 2010). The most inland part of the AVA is ten miles from the Pacific Ocean and Chamisal Vineyards is five miles from the ocean. This massive body of cold water very much drives the climate of what you would think would be a warm region, giving us a very long, cool growing season.
Our winemaking comes from the school of “limited” intervention. We favor native yeast and malolactic fermentation and we steer clear of acid and water additions. Our goal is to perfect the grape growing so the winemaking is simple. Our wines are fruit-driven and rich; that’s what our terroir does.
Seven generations of the Bosc family have been born into our way of life. You might say it’s in our blood. In fact, they even live on the farm. Château des Charmes was founded in 1978 by Paul Bosc, a fifth generation French winegrower. Paul and his young family arrived in Niagara with the idea that growing our own grapes was the best way to make fine wine. More than ever, we believe in this Estate Winery model and we make our wine only from grapes we’ve grown ourselves. When Paul arrived in Niagara he just knew this place was special. The glacial soils, warm days and cool nights and the lush countryside reminded him of Burgundy where he studied oenology and viticulture at the University of Burgundy at Dijon. Today the Bosc family farms four vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, located in two distinct sub-appellations – St. David’s Bench and Four Mile Creek. The Boscs believe they are custodians of the land. From the beginning they have been committed to using sustainable practices and are charter members of Sustainable Winemaking Ontario. Paul, Amélie and their team are meticulous. They use modern science and a lot of TLC to coax the best out of every vine.
Amélie holds an MSc. in Biotechnology from Institut Sup’Biotech de Paris with a focus on wine research, specifically grapevine and yeast genomics. As well she is a graduate of the University of Montpellier, France with a MSc. in Viticulture & Oenology; the prestigious ‘Diplome National d’Oenologue’. Amélie’s experience includes cool climate winemaking in Alsace, France. In 2011 she was introduced to the Canadian wine industry while working on research at the University of British Columbia’s Wine Research Centre and quickly fell in love with our country. With a passion for making wine in the new world, Amélie began working with Canadian wine industry pioneer Paul Bosc at Château des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Paul quickly recognized her talent and saw a little of himself in her constant quest to learn and find new and more effective ways to make great wine. Paul was convinced that Amélie could take over the winemaking reins at Château des Charmes and officially named her Winemaker and Director of Oenology. With this strong vote of confidence and Paul’s continuing mentorship.
Niagara is the largest and most diverse grape growing area in Canada. It’s shaped like a pizza slice; at its narrowest in the west and widest in the east. The northern edge is the shore line of Lake Ontario. To the south is the Niagara Escarpment and to the east is the Niagara River. Together these significant features define the region and help to shape the local climate. The Niagara Escarpment is approximately 1 million years old. It is such a unique ecosystem that in 1990 UNESCO designated it a World Biosphere Reserve. And in the past 200,000 years several ice ages have left their mark on our region. As the giant ice sheets covered the land and retreated, over and over again, the soil underneath became more and more complex and diverse. Soil maps of the area are anything but straight forward. But that’s part of what makes Niagara so interesting for growing fine wine grapes. Add to that the climate. Sitting near 43° latitude Niagara is considered a cool climate viticultural area; like the classic regions of Champagne and Burgundy in France. This means we get winter but we also get beautiful, hot summers with plenty of sunshine. Then, around harvest time, the temperature difference between the day and night is wide enough to allow the grapes to “rest” at night. This is why our wines have beautiful structure, finesse and tremendous aging potential. Château des Charmes has Chardonnay planted on each of their four vineyard sites in two distinct sub-appellations and make six different styles of Chardonnays; ranging from Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine, to unoaked Musqué (clone 809) to two classic barrel-fermented & barrel aged single vineyard Chardonnays. Chardonnay is an excellent varietal to showcase the range of flavour profiles Niagara’s diverse terroirs can produce.
Quebec may not be the first place that comes to mind for growing vines and for making cool climate for Chardonnay. Coteau Rougemont, however, is a winery producing quality wines in the heart of the Monteregian Region on the south shore of Montreal. The adventure began in 2006 when local business man, Claude Robert, purchased an orchard from the Oblate Fathers who had managed the Orchard since 1930’s. With the help of his family he began planting the vineyard in 2007. Today the estate is made of up to 27 hectares of vineyard and 50 hectares of Orchards (apples, pears and raspberries). While hybrid grapes make up the bulk of production (Vidal, Saint Pepin, Marquette, Frontenac, etc.) we also produce Chardonnay and Pinot Gris with plantings of Pinot Noir coming in to production in 2017.
PATRICK FOURNIER, WINEMAKER
Patrick Fournier is a Grimsby born self-taught winemaker, who did his winemaking ‘’classes’’ in Provence with natural wine producer ‘’La Badiane’’ and with Chateau Bas as well as in the Luberon. He came back to Canada and has been making wine and cider in Rougemont with Coteau Rougemont for the past 7 years.
Our Chardonnay is planted on a moraine facing south of east planting on two sides by forest, and orchard on a third. The soil is made up of pebbles with metamorphic schist bedrock and is overlaid with peridotite sand.
Climate: The vineyard is situated at 45° 25’ North with a continental climate without moderating influences of a large body of water. The degree days in the last few years hover around 1400, but with a relatively short growing season. The mountain, the orientation and the slope of the vineyard, combined with the warm pebble soils, protect the vines from spring frosts and optimize ripening in the fall.
Wine making: Harvest 2nd October 2015. The grapes were pressed whole cluster, followed by cool settling before being racked off into barrels for fermentation. The approach overall is one of minimal intervention, in order to put forward the terroir. The barrels are 20% new French oak. Lees stirring continued into the winter until early February. The barrels were assembled in early October 2016 to make way for the new vintage.
A second block of Chardonnay will be coming into production in 2017 on gravely soils some 800 meters to the West and slopping gently to the South West. We look forward to seeing the personality of this new wine.
Rob Power, Executive Winemaker
Rob cut his wine teeth early on by working for 10 years as a sommelier in Toronto’s white table cloth restaurants. Following the urge to get his hands dirty and his teeth stained, Rob migrated with his wife to Niagara in order to pursue a formal education in winemaking. He graduated in the first class out of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute and immediately joined Creekside as assistant winemaker, becoming head winemaker shortly thereafter. Voted Winemaker of the Year in 2008, Rob continues to lead our skilled winemaking team in the creation of wines that are distinctive, adventurous, and just plain tasty. Rob’s picture would never appear beside corporate winemaker “in the dictionary – when not playing in vineyard dirt he can be found at the winery, wearing holey jeans and quoting Monty Python lines.
Why he loves cool chardonnay?
Cool climate Chardonnay collects all the things I love about white wine into one glass. Rich texture, subtle fruit, precise delicate structure, and maybe some mysterious minerality too.
Our Queenston Road vineyard on the St. David’s bench is one of the warmer sites in Niagara, so we keep a close eye on acidity approaching harvest. But the soil there, mostly a medium-heavy clay loam, seems to help hold Chardonnay back a bit in terms of vine vigour and speed of ripening, allowing us to pick fruit with good flavour development and balance.
Marie-Noëlle & Laurent Ternynck are crafting impressive wines at their small estate in Chablis. They have been making wines under the Domaine de Mauperthuis label for more than 20 years on the outskirts of Chablis. The family recently purchased vineyards and a winery in Chablis to compliment their holdings in the surrounding areas. Laurent & Marie-Noëlle are equally adept at producing whites AND reds - a rare feat at the northern limits of Burgundy. They are doing things right at their estate: smaller yields, native yeast fermentation, gentle handling of the grapes & juice, and judicious use of sulfites. The Ternyncks are coaxing the minerality, salinity, and focus we have all come to expect from northern Burgundy.
Marie-Noëlle Ternynck is the owner of the Domaine de Mauperthuis with her husband Laurent. Her love for Chardonnay and Burgundy has no limits ; she especially likes the characteristic minerality and the salinity of her Chablis that are especially due to the cool climate, the soil, the varietal and the careful winemaking.
"Making wines with a sense of place, freshness and vibrancy are definitely the reasons why I love Cool Climate Chardonnay !"
Chablis is a crystal clear expresion of terroir. Its region has a unique soil and subsoil : alternating layers of limestone, and clayey marl that contains fossils of small oysters called Exogyra virgula. It was formed during the Kimmeridgian period (around 150 million years ago), when Chablis was under a warm, shallow sea. It has a semi-continental climate without a maritime influence : the peak summer growing season can be hot; and wintertime can be long, cold and harsh, with frosty conditions lasting to early May. A single varietal, Chardonnay finds a unique yet fragile equilibrium at maturity, without over-ripening. Chablis thus offers an exceptional expression of the varietal, with wines that are elegant, mineral, and appreciated for their purity of taste. In comparison with the white wines from the rest of Burgundy, Chablis wine has typically much less influence of oak. The careful winemaking style of the Domaine de Mauperthuis helps to preserve and enhance the terroir : restrained character at the nose, juiciness and freshness at the palate shows all the characteristics of a cool climate Chardonnay from a great Terroir.
Domaine Laroche epitomises Chablis. All the wines carry the Chablis hallmark of crystalline purity and steely minerality. Chablis is a fragmented region, yet Domaine Laroche owns 90 hectares of vines, including 21 hectares of Premiers Crus and six hectares of Grands Crus. The domaine has been built over the past 160 years, but there is also a strong sense for innovation in the winery and the vineyard. As you need great grapes to make great wines, viticulture approach is meticulous and includes organic treatments, soil ploughing and careful vineyard management. A range of tanks, barrels, demi-muids and foudres for both fermentation and ageing allows a large number of combinations and make each wine unique. The use of fine lees during ageing is crucial to help wines to develop and offer its best. Ageing takes place in the famous cellars of l’Obédiencerie that is considered as the birth place of winemaking in the region. In 2014, Domaine Laroche was awarded the Best French Wine Producer at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
Chablis is located in northern France in a cool continental climate region, Burgundy. Winter can be harsh. Summer is often warm but short. The blessing of the place is probably that a dry, sunny period appears in September, when grapes ripen. Cool climate is a question of terroir in Chablis. Chablis is born cool. The climate definitely influences the style of the wines: steely, pure, crisp and remarkably mineral.
Queylus is a recently-established domaine-style winery dedicated to a select number of varietals adapted perfectly to Niagara’s soils and microclimate. Domaine Queylus is the fruit of long years of hard work and planning, and was dreamt into existence by a group of friends passionate about wine, the land and terroir. Queylus crafts small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from organically-run estate vineyards in Beamsville and the Jordan Bench. The wines, made by Thomas Bachelder since 2010, display finesse, structure, depth, elegance and minerality.
Since the inaugural vintage in 2010, Thomas Bachelder has been the winemaker for Domaine Queylus. With vineyards in Beamsville and Jordan, Thomas strives to make focussed, world-class, terroir-driven wines from these beautiful organically-farmed vineyards. Graduating from school in Beaune, Burgundy, Thomas has since made a name for himself as a producer of world class, terroir-based, organic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Burgundy, Oregon and Niagara. Thomas loves making Chardonnay in, cool climates and is a believer in the limestone terroir of Ontario wines and promotes them nationally and internationally.
The parcels of land selected for our Chardonnay plantings are our closest vines to Lake Ontario … with a terroir unlike the Bench, the sandier soil texture and temperate ‘Lake effect’ of the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation imbues the resulting wines with a honeyed character, elegance and subtlety. The gentle warmth Lake Ontario in autumn allows us to ‘hang’ the fruit a little longer to achieve complexity and ripeness without risking higher alcohol levels. Both our Chardonnays are single-vineyard wines, with the southern block (Clones 95 and 76) bringing a certain nobility, texture and citrus fruit flavour to the ‘Chardonnay Réserve,’ while the northern block (clones 124 and 548) gives the ‘Chardonnay Tradition’ a straightforward, textured fruitiness and backbone of acidity which highlights the minerality of this site. As our vines continue to come into equilibrium, we aim to craft barrel-fermented, Burgundian-style Chardonnays with understatement, subtlety and great texture, Chardonnays that showcase the potential of the relatively-unknown Niagara Lincoln Lakeshore terroir.
It was in 1904 that Mr. Carlos Domingo Traversa arrived at Uruguay with his parents from Veneto region in Italy. As son of italian immigrants, Mr. Traversa and his wife María Josefa Salort, bought 5 hectares of land at the outskirts of Montevideo city.
In 1956, Mr. Carlos Domingo Traversa founded Traversa Winery with his sons: Dante, Luis y Armando.
Today only Mr. Armando Traversa is alive from that generation of the family, and he is still working at the winery with his daughters and nephews.
A 100% family own company: Carlos, Estela, Javier, Fernando, Gabriel, Fiorella and Gicela are the third generation of Traversa family running the company.
It is the legacy of kindness and hope, as in our case join us with vineyards and wine.
GRUPO TRAVERSA S.A. owns more than 300 hectares of vineyards, located in Montevideo and Canelones provinces (Wine regions of Uruguay). Traversa family also acquires grape from small grape growers, mostly famillies, since 20 years ago.
Our Chardonnays vines are located in Montevideo and Canelones provinces near Rio de la Plata (estuary) with great influence of South Atlantic ocean (only 30 miles from the coastline). Besides this, our vines are planted at sea level (70 meters of altitude maximum). Due to Uruguay´s climate, we are a country of Chardonnay rather than Sauvignon Blanc or another whites grape.
Hahn is a family owned California winery, Sustainably Certified (SIP), specializing in premium wines from Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, California. Hahn Founder, Nicky Hahn, grew up speaking German. In his native language, ‘Hahn’ means rooster, which is why a depiction of this bird has always graced the label of Hahn wines. From the beginning, Nicky strove to produce exceptional varietal wines from Monterey County where Hahn’s vineyards and winery are located.
Evelyn Pool, Vice President of International Sales for Hahn Family Wines, has been in the wine business for almost forty years, fourteen of them with Hahn. Her background includes wholesale and winery sales, marketing and sales management. Evelyn owned a sales and marketing company for many years named Crush Wine Marketing, which successfully represented over fifteen California wineries. It was in this time that she became involved with Hahn Estate, and Hahn hired her to create the prestigious, single vineyard Pinot Noir brand called Lucienne from the estate vineyards. Evelyn is now involved in the international trade and sales of Hahn Family Wines, where she travels to over 30 countries representing the winery. She is also involved in starting a small wine brand called Tall Cotton. Evelyn’s interest in cool climate varietals relates directly to Monterey County, one of the coolest growing regions in California, and the time she lived in the area. She found that cool climates allowed the right varietals, in particular Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, to produce grapes that led to wines that are layered and nuanced, with great structure that allowed the wines to evolve and age gracefully.
Hahn Family Wines is located in Monterey County, and our vineyards are primarily in the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the coolest growing regions in California. Hahn Estate owns over 1100 acres of vineyards total, and of those, 120 acres are planted to Chardonnay in Santa Lucia Highlands. We have approximately 12 clones planted. We feel that we have extraordinary circumstances to grow outstanding Chardonnay. Our two primary influences are WIND and SOIL.
WIND: In Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Salinas Valley feed directly into Monterey Bay. This bay is one of the deepest bodies of water in the world, with a trench that is deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon, but underwater. That means that the water stays cold and therefore the air above it stays cold. In the heat of the growing season, as the area furthest down valley (towards Paso Robles) heats up, the natural influence is for the cool air to flow to the hot areas. This creates something of a wind tunnel through our vineyards, cooling the grapes in the heat of the day. The wind also tends to dry out the grapes, meaning smaller berries and more intense flavors. As a result of the wind, our diurnal swing is only about 20 degrees Fahrenheit on any given day in the growing season.
SOIL: Our soil is called Chualar Loam. The primary metamorphic rocks of the Santa Lucia Highlands are Gneiss (pronounced ‘nice’ and much like granite) and Schist (which is primarily mica). Over time, erosion from water and glaciers dropped down the mountains becoming alluvial fans, almost like massive mud slides. Combined with further weathering, this broke down the rocks into the soils that help make up the SLH. At one time, a river engulfed the entire Salinas Valley, eroding away the sides of these massive alluvial fans. This created the ‘Bench’ that the vineyards sit on. This gives us a well-drained soil as well as a mineral flavor component to our Chardonnay.
Regarding our winemaking style, we try to let Mother Nature show her best. The Chardonnay is aged in French oak (new barrels-roughly 33% and neutral-67%) for nine months, and the barrels are hand stirred every two weeks to add complexity to the wine.
Henry of Pelham is an estate winery owned and operated by the Speck brothers, Paul, Matthew, and Daniel. A small vineyard and winery founded with their parents in 1988, the brothers and their winery has been both a quality and brand leading house for more than 25 years. Their focus is on premium wines grown within the Niagara Peninsula, and specifically those wines from the sunny, often south facing, slopes of the Short Hills Bench where over time they have assembled 300 acres of their ancestors’ original land.
The Speck brothers, Paul, Matthew and Daniel, are fifth generation decedents of Henry (Smith) of Pelham, owner and operator of the one-time toll road, inn, and tavern on Pelham Rd. in St. Catharines, ON. In the early 1980s the family bought back parcels of land that had originally been settled by their 18th century ancestors, then established modern vineyards and a winery on the site.
“I love Chardonnay because there is no ‘absolute Chardonnay’. Some grape varieties hit their one-trick-pony peak and are then simply a delicious glass of wine, but Chardonnay is endlessly different, endlessly giving, never done”. – Daniel Speck
Marine Influence: 7km south of Lake Ontario
15 Hectares planted in Chardonnay
The Short Hills Bench is the most easterly sub-appellation located within the Niagara Escarpment. Sheltered from the prevailing southwesterly winds, a high amount of unobstructed sunlight warms the region in early spring and maintains warm daytime temperatures throughout the growing season. Breezes from Lake Ontario allows for a small moderating influence. Temperatures are typically very warm during the day and cool at night. The Short Hills Bench also has a unique and complex topography, including bench land and hills creating a unique characteristic to the region. Typicity in the wines can be summarized as stone-fruit flavours, freshness and concentration, with a delicate use of oak and malo-lactic fermentation.
Founded in 2003, Hidden Bench is an artisanal, estate winery situated in the heart of the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation of Niagara. This boutique winery whose mantra is “Sustainability, Terroir, Technology and Passion” has established a reputation for excellence both domestically and internationally due to the consistent benchmark quality of its wines. Reputed for its forward thinking use of environmentally sustainable practices as well as the superb quality of its wines, Hidden Bench farms its low yield vineyards (<2 tonnes /acre 35hL/hectare) using organic practices, employs geothermal technology to control cellar and wine process temperatures and was the first Ontario winery to generate its own electricity through 105 solar panels.“Grown , produced and bottled by Hidden Bench “ proudly appears on every bottle of Hidden Bench wine , as it’s one of only a handful of Ontario wineries that continues to make wine exclusively with organically certified fruit that has been grown on its estate vineyards. The raison d’être of Hidden Bench is the ancient limestone rich glacial moraine soils of the Beamsville Bench which permit the Hidden Bench team to craft complex, benchmark Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling with passionately focused attention to detail from the vineyard to the bottle. The unique climatic conditions and limestone/clay/ silt soils of the Beamsville Bench continually inspire the Hidden Bench winemaking team to use traditional, gentle and minimal intervention winemaking techniques to produce both estate blends and single vineyard wines which are truly reflective of their unique terroir.
The mitigating factors which contribute to the success of Hidden Bench Chardonnay program are the following:
We use 100% estate grown, organically certified fruit from our three vineyards. Locust Lane, Felseck and Rosomel.
All of the fruit is hand-picked, sorted and whole bunch pressed to yield the most pure juice. We use non-interventionist winemaking methods including barrel fermentation with indigenous yeasts and naturally occurring malolactic fermentation which adds to the richness and complexity of the wines. Winemaker Marlize Beyers comments…“I love Cool Climate Chardonnay. The wines reflect the finer nuances of terroir and the result is delicate, yet powerful wines with great aging potential”
Marlize joined the Hidden Bench team in the spring of 2010 bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience about making premium wine in Niagara, and internationally. In addition, Marlize’s intimate knowledge of working with estate grown, Bench fruit has been acquired over the last ten vintages working in Niagara. A graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, Viticulture and Oenology program, Marlize is well qualified and passionate about carrying on Hidden Bench's reputation for making benchmark, terroir driven wines from its three estate and organically certified vineyards. Marlize's belief that winemaking is a craft, supported by a healthy dose of science meshes very well with Hidden Bench's quality-focused attention to detail from vineyard to bottle and non-interventionist winemaking style.
Marlize is a strong advocate for the quality of the Beamsville Bench’s terroir and year after year, her wines reflect their true authenticity of the unique HB Terroir. When Marlize is not busy in the vineyard or the cellar, she can be found travelling or working in her garden with her husband Meiring and their young children David and Kate or on a running trail staying fit.
Inniskillin is perfect for pairing. As Canada’s Original Estate Winery, we are a respected winery pioneer committed to producing premium wines from premium grapes grown in Canada for over 35 years. With Wineries in both Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Inniskillin offers a full collection of world renowned, award winning VQA table wines and iconic Icewines made by progressive, artisanal winemakers
Bruce Nicholson joined Inniskillin Wines, Niagara-on-the-Lake as Winemaker on January 1, 2007, after an outstanding career in the British Columbia where he was Senior Winemaker for Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate. Born and raised in Ontario’s leading wine region, the Niagara Peninsula, Nicholson was intrigued by the winemaking industry from an early age. After studying Sciences at Ontario’s Ryerson University and University of Windsor, Nicholson apprenticed in winemaking in Niagara before heading to Western Canada. Ironically, he had approached Inniskillin co-founder Karl Kaiser to inquire about a job in the Niagara wine industry, but as fate would have it, the job did not materialize. Despite that, Nicholson ultimately came full circle and he now leads Inniskillin’s winemaking team.
I love how Chardonnay shines with rich, defined structures from the good natural acidities in our Niagara cool climate.
When you pick up a bottle of Jackson-Triggs, you can be sure you made the right choice. Jackson-Triggs is a name you know. It’s a name your friends know. It’s a name that stands for our commitment to crafting the perfect wine for any occasion, and our attention to detail shows. We are Canada’s most awarded winery and have been named “Best Canadian Winery” an unprecedented number of times in international and domestic competitions. You can feel proud when serving Jackson-Triggs wines in knowing that, no matter the varietal, vintage, or region, you’ll be pouring a premium wine that pairs perfectly with every moment, large or small.
Marco brings enviable knowledge and skills to his work at Jackson-Triggs having worked on numerous vintages over the past 10 years. He’s worked in Italy, Germany and Argentina, gaining valuable experience in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. "Wine is alive, and expresses its unique vigour from the vine right through to our palate," he says, "and I enjoy infusing each grape with part of my own personality. “Marco grew up in Northeastern Italy in one of the world's most established wine regions. After specializing in agriculture in high school he worked at local wineries starting as a cellar hand and progressing to cellar management and assistant winemaker. Following that he earned a joint Masters Degree in Grape Growing and Winemaking from the University of Udine in Italy and the University of Applied Science in Wiesbaden-Geisenheim, Germany. Working in Germany's Rheingau wine region was a life changing experience for Marco and it was here that he gained hands-on experience in cool climate viticulture. Keen to learn more about new world winemaking and the unique terroir of the Niagara Peninsula, Marco accepted an internship at the Inniskillin Niagara Estate Winery and was rewarded the position of assistant winemaker at Vincor International in Niagara Falls. In September 2005 he became a winemaker at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery where he works closely with Amy Bond, Jackson-Triggs’ Assistant Winemaker and Keith Bown, VP of Winemaking, Vincor Canada to bring Jackson-Triggs recognized style to each wine that he makes.
Terroir, but mainly the cool temperatures at night during the ripening season of Chardonnay, this helps to promote the Cool Climate characteristic flavours and acidity in the fruit.
Many wines have a story to tell. But very few tell one as incredible as the story of Jean Leon. Jean Leon was a dreamer, visionary, passionate, charismatic and nonconformist. An extraordinary individual. He had a rare instinct for staying ahead of his time. He had the romantic gifts of a visionary, reinforced by a dynamic and tireless personality in the face of enormous challenges and obstacles. The childhood of Ceferino Carrión - his given name - was plagued by misfortune. Nonetheless, at the age of 19, without a nickel to his name and a suitcase full of dreams, he embarked on a long adventure. He tried to cross the ocean as a stowaway up to 7 times. He finally made it on the eighth try and reached New York City. Jean Leon began to make his way in Hollywood during the late 1940s, working as a waiter at Villa Capri, a restaurant owned by Frank Sinatra. This job gave him access to the film world and the chance to befriend the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. His first important project grew out of his friendship with James Dean. Together the realized a shared dream: to open the most luxurious restaurant in Hollywood, which they called “La Scala”, located in the very heart of Beverly Hills, opened on April 1, 1956. The restaurant epitomized the 1950s and 1960s like no other place on earth. And his clientele included the era’s most influential names in Hollywood, the music industry, politics and high society: people like Marilyn Monroe, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Marlon Brando or Robert Wagner. Jean Leon began traveling the world in search of an area with specific characteristics that would allow him to produce a signature wine with a unique personality and identity. Jean Leon set out to make his namesake wine, one that would meet the high expectations of his select clientele. He found what he was looking for in Catalonia (Spain), in the very heart of the Penedès. In 1962, Jean Leon purchased 150 hectares of the very best land in the region. A year later, in 1963, he founded the winery.
Born in 1974, Miguel is the son of Miguel Agustín Torres and Waltraud Maczassek. His two sisters and himself have learned about wine and vineyards from their father while their mother, a painter, has passed on her creativity. Miguel studied Business and Management at the ESADE Business School - considered one of the best universities in Spain. He also studied oenology at the Rovira i Virgili University, in Tarragona. He specialised in International Marketing and also studied at the Kennan Flager Business School in North Carolina, USA. After that, he worked at DANONE. in the Marketing Department, and then moved into a field closer to wine although quite different: the perfume business. He worked for almost 3 years as Brand Manager for Carolina Herrera New York perfumes. In April 2001, he was appointed General Manager at the Jean Leon winery (part of the Torres Group since 1995). In 2004, he accepted the position of Marketing Director of Miguel Torres S.A., responsible for product development, communication and new products launchings. These recent projects have contributed to the growth of the Company in organic matter and environmental concerns, values of the winery since its inception. At the end of 2009 Miguel Torres Maczassek was appointed Executive President of Miguel Torres Chile. He then gained experience in crisis management during the 2010 earthquake, certified all vineyards as organic viticulture, obtained the IMO-Fair for Life/Fair Trade certification for the Santa Digna Range and successfully launched Santa Digna Estelado. Miguel Torres Maczassek is currently General Manager of the Torres Group. Miguel also speaks fluent Catalan, Spanish, English and French. In 2002, Miguel married Sarah Andrews and they have 3 children: Carolina, Andrea and Miguel.
Jean Leon is located in the DO Penedès, one of the most important appellations of origin in Spain and the most important in the DO Catalunya. Jean Leon makes Single Vineyard Wines.
• Area:150 ha (70 ha available for cultivation, 63 currently in use)
• Elevation: 280-310 m above sea level
• Geographic area: Central Penedès
• Orientation: Southwest
• Climate: Mediterranean (2550 hours of sun)
• Rainfall: 500 mm per year (wettest month: April)
• Temperatures: average of 15oC (min. 2-3oC in January, max. 28oC in August).
The Penedès enjoys a wide variety of micro-climates, marked by the different altitudes and the proximity of the sea. The climate is typically Mediterranean, mild and warm. The Penedès Marítim (Baix Penedès and Garraf counties) is milder due to the proximity of the sea. The Penedès Superior (Alt Penedès, Alt Camp, Anoia and Baix Llobregat counties) has higher rainfall and larger contrasts between maximum and minimum temperatures. The Penedès Central (made up mostly of the Alt Penedès county) is a mixture of the two microclimates.
Planting and pruning techniques
Several human factors and techniques affect the wine. The planting density, between others, comes to 3800 vines/ha. We only use the grapes after the fifth year of production. Before that, the vine is too young and the acidity of the grapes too high.
Orientation with regard to sun exposure is important, because it affects the shading of the plant, which could lead to grapes ripening at different intervals. Our vineyards are located on a hillside facing south, which means that all of the vines receive sunlight throughout the whole day. Vine training also has an important influence on the end quality of the grape and the wine. In dry countries like Spain, vines were traditionally planted following the Gobelet system (free-standing vines without wires or stake support.) Weuse Guyot pruning system for our Chardonnay (90% of our parcels).
“VINYA GIGI”-Chardonnay vineyard named after Jean Leon's daughter.
• Variety: Chardonnay
• Vineyard of origin: Vinya Gigi (5 ha)
• Production: 20,000–27,000 bottles
• Vine training: Guyot
• Planting year: 1967
• Elevation: 270–300 m
• Slope: 5–10%
• Microclimate: sunny area, partially sheltered from the wind
• Geomorphology: terraced slopes
• Soil: Dark yellowish brown soils which are moderately deep, stony and calcareous.
THE DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR WINES
Granted by the Government of Catalonia, the Single Vineyard Wine certification acknowledges the unique character of single vineyard wines, the result of combining a specific variety, a certain type of soil and a microclimate that favors the wine’s full expression.
Changing times call for new approaches, which is why we have used organic farming methods at the vineyards since 2008. Starting with the 2012 vintage, our wines will be labeled as certified organic.
We are the pioneers in planting noble varieties in Spain: Our Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapevines are the oldest in Spain (around 40 years old.)
JoieFarm is a small, farm winery located on the beautiful Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley in south central British Columbia, Canada. Joie (zh-wah) – means “joy” in French and it expresses the pleasure that wine and food bring to life. Internationally renowned for aromatic white wines, mouth-watering rosé and award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, our winemaking philosophy is to make the best naturally balanced wines possible, defined by their freshness and intensity of fruit. JoieFarm is an active participant in an emerging food and wine culture on the West Coast of Canada. It is our goal to promote and further define the harmony between food and wine in the Okanagan, as well as making sure the wines of the Okanagan Valley help bring to maturity Canadian cuisine, each defining the other, as they evolve. We wish to actively promote the potential of aromatic white wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as being the signature of our cool-climate winemaking region.
Heidi is the Owner and Executive Winemaker at JoieFarm. She is a professionally trained chef and sommelier, winemaker and published author. After graduating with a B.A.in Philosophy and Western Literature from the University of Western Ontario, she embarked on a culinary career attending the esteemed Stratford Chef's School. Her restaurant career was spent at some of Canada's best restaurants including Montreal's Tôqué and Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2000, Heidi moved out of the kitchen and trained with the Canadian Sommelier Guild in Vancouver. She then worked in Vancouver's wine trade with a small, niche European wine importer for four years, until co-founding JoieFarm with Michael Dinn in 2003. She took JoieFarm from a small on-farm cooking school and guesthouse to an award-winning 18,000 case winery. Heidi's winemaking skills have been self-taught and guided by the sage advice of many winemaking friends and colleagues from around the world. She has spent countless hours researching, reading, travelling and, most importantly, wine drinking. Heidi manages the winery, deals with licensee sales, as well as farming, coordinating vineyard leases contracts and making wine.
I truly believe in the potential of Burgundian varietals grown in the Okanagan valley. I feel that at the 50th parallel, on this marginal edge of degree-day ripening, is where Chardonnay magic happens.
It is my opinion that the true potential of Okanagan Chardonnay is shown in the intense core of ripe fruit that comes with the big diurnal swings that happen in September and October. The warm days and cool nights increase the ripe fruit intensity while maintaining the bright acidity in the Chardonnay. I feel that, in particular, the Chardonnay from this Skaha Bluff vineyard site, especially the section that I reserve for our En Famille Chardonnay, maintains its electric acidity for a long time, while the fruit just continues to ripen. I am most influenced by the wines of the Mâconnais - a riper, warmer style of chardonnay that is most applicable to the warmer longer growing season of the Central Okanagan Valley (more than Chablis, as we will never replicate the mineral element from that particular calcareous soil). I feel that it is this long harvest ripening season that makes Chardonnay grown in a cool climate, lake moderated desert that is the central Okanagan, magic. We are truly blessed with the golden fleece of international winemaking - most winemakers around the world would kill for this kind of natural advantage of a long 60 day + harvest period of hang-time.
With my ability to control my entire fruit supply and run a large viticulture team at harvest, I have the privilege to make multiple picks on the same site to taking advantage of this long growing and ripening period. For all the Chardonnay I make (bubble, un-oaked, and barrel fermented) - I will often make an initial pick for acidity, a pick for flavour and then ripe phenolics. This control is my approach to “natural” winemaking - being able to balance these wines before they are vinified, in the vineyard, itself. I love to play with the tension between a core of ripe fruit, a lifted briny lees umami character, juicy mouth-watering acidity and the savoury counterpoint of the toasty Burgundian cooperage of Billion and Damy. To me, this tension, makes my Chardonnay a strong match for the table. Components of lemon oil, nut skin and smoky bacon fat lend my Reserve Chardonnay both the richness and freshness to pair with any number of classic Burgundian preparations, say Poulet de Bresse, and Westcoast dishes like Miso rubbed sablefish, alike. I am often asked what my favourite wine to make is, and there you have it – I make Chardonnay for me.
Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards is located in the heart of the Nova Scotia’s most privileged wine growing sub-region; on the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Grand Pre in the Annapolis Valley. The terroir of this microclimate is especially unique; it enjoys the highest heat units and longest frost free growing season in the province and is comprised of the rare
Wolfville Series soils, a glacial till mix that makes up only 3% of Nova Scotia’s soils. Here Lightfoot & Wolfville currently nurture over 35 acres of vines. With close proximity to the Minas Basin, cool breezes and excellent temperature moderation help create wines with great distinction. All fruit is harvested by hand and gently guided to craft artisanal wines that speak of their origin. The Lightfoot family are eighth generation farmers who began transitioning this ancient Acadian land towards organic and biodynamic viticulture eight years ago. Passionate “winegrowers”, they believe great wines are grown in the vineyard.
Josh Horton - Head winemaker – Josh, a native Nova Scotian, grew up mere steps from Lightfoot & Wolfville’s Oak Island Vineyard in Avonport. Agriculture is in his blood and has shaped his life tremendously. Several summers spent in the family garden and on his Grandfather’s farm gave him the foundations for an early career in horticulture and later
viticulture. After seven years in the landscaping industry, he helped the Lightfoots plant their first vineyard in 2008. Shortly thereafter, with a burgeoning passion for a career in grapes and wine, Josh completed the Winery & Viticulture Technician program at Niagara College. Upon returning to Nova Scotia, he spent several vintages at Benjamin Bridge Vineyards’ winery, fulfilling the role of Assistant Winemaker from 2012 to 2013. Commencing at Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards full time in 2014, Josh is now the Head Winemaker and Vineyard Manager. A true farmer and meticulous viticulturist, this dual-role is perfect for Josh as he believes great fruit is necessary to create fine wine.
The Chardonnay program at Lightfoot & Wolfville is entirely rooted in a well evolved recognition of the Annapolis Valley’s tremendous potential for the production of classic, cool climate wines. The region’s first generation accolades have been garnered by the creation of very fine methode traditionelle sparkling wines and, particularly in the cooler vintages, they
possess a finesse, and a brilliance and clarity of flavour, that can only be achieved in very cool climate regions. At Lightfoot & Wolfville we’re continuing that tradition with the production of a line of classic method sparklings that includes a 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs. But additionally, on two specific vineyards that capture the warming influences that moderate the hilly slopes on the edge of the Minas Basin, we’re passionate about making great Chardonnay (and Pinot Noir) inspired by the Burgundian paradigm. With heat units that can edge up to the historic range of Chablis and the Cote D’or, we’ve developed viticultural practices -- biodynamic and certified organic - - that optimize the flavour development in our finest, very low-cropped blocks of Chardonnay. Excellent exposure, particularly fine soil drainage and incessant saltwater breezes combine with natural airflow to create conditions that are remarkably conducive to the growing of vibrant, distinctive and full-flavoured Chardonnay grapes. With guidance from international winemaking consultant Peter Gamble, our winemaking team then employs a traditional Burgundian winemaking regimen. Hand-harvested grapes of balanced ripeness are whole-cluster pressed and proceed to indigenous barrel fermentations in fine French oak, with primaries often extending through the winter and malolactic fermentations that can continue through the next harvest. Every effort is taken to ensure that the resulting wines show the traits of their particular terroir; just as over-ripening is
shunned, so too is over-handling and over-oaking. Time in the cellar, resting on fine lees, is fundamental to attaining depth and finesse, but only a small percentage of our barrel stock is new wood.
The Maison du Vigneron is a prized haven of traditional skills and unbeatable winemaking knowledge, laying out a full selection of wines and crémants from the Jura region. White wines and red wines, vin jaune and vin de paille, Crémants du Jura and Macvin liqueurs, all lie maturing under our watchful gaze within barrels in our wine storerooms.
The Maison du Vigneron is the 1st producer of the Jurassian winegrowing region, passionately raising the entire region’s great reputation. With its impressive prevalence throughout all the Jurassian appellations, the Maison du Vigneron constantly strives to establish great renown for the Jurassian vines and their wonderful variety. The wines still owe their great reputation to the renowned quality of the region’s soil, as well as its conservation of cultural practices and traditional winemaking methods.
The Maison du Vigneron prides itself on striking the perfect balance between a winemaker with great traditional know-how and a modern organisation that adroitly navigates today’s market-place.
In order to satisfy our own high standards of quality, we work in accordance with a quality standards charter that was drawn-up in collaboration with member winemakers who today control a total winegrowing area of 220 hectares.
Climate: warm, relatively dry summers and cold winters.
The variation between valley and hillside locations is quite pronounced here as a result of the increased altitude. While the eastern, more mountainous areas of Jura reach heights above 4500ft (1370m), the main wine-growing belt is restricted to the slightly lower-lying land in the west, averaging 1000ft (305m). The majority of Jura's vines are planted on south-facing slopes, to make the most of the sun's rays in this cool climate.
Since planting its first vineyard in 1996, Malivoire has pioneered an innovative, eco-centric approach to wine growing.
Intent study of the soil and climate of the Niagara Peninsula’s. Beamsville Bench inspired the planting of carefully selected cool-climate grape varieties. Optimizing the topography of the Bench, Malivoire became the first in Niagara to guide wine from grape to bottle with gravity. Gentle, minimal handling is a signature concept in Malivoire’s quest for elegance and complexity in its wines. The hillside winery, situated in the middle of a sustainably farmed vineyard, adds natural drama. Elegant and authentic cool-climate Chardonnay has been a focus for Malivoire since its inception. The single vineyard Moira Chardonnay has been regularly cited as one of Canada’s top wines with a proven ability to age. Malivoire’s Mottiar vineyard Chardonnay has drawn similar accolades and offers a distinct terroir counterpoint to the Moira vineyard. Malivoire’s current annual production is 25,000 cases.
Ontario-born Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar has been an influential presence at Malivoire since its earliest days. An original graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Shiraz joined our staff in the summer of 2000.
Within two years, after taking time out for a harvest sabbatical in Australia, Shiraz was promoted Assistant Winemaker. In 2005, he took full hold of the reins as Winemaker. Today, after more than a decade at the controls, Shiraz is the veteran pilot of Malivoire’s vineyard and vinification practices.
Martin Malivoire was a believer in the cool climate style of wine from the beginnings of his winery in 1996. Informed by thorough study of the Niagara Peninsula’s Beamsville Bench, Martin identified and planted chardonnay and other cool-climate varieties that demonstrated the highest suitability to his vineyards’ soils and microclimates. The winery was built to enable gravity flow as a production tool. This reflected Martin’s conviction that gentle, minimal handling in the cellar engenders wines that speak most vividly of their origins. In his mind, and the mind of our Winemaker, the traits of cool climate chardonnays are vibrant fruitiness, clarity and minerality, with stylistic elegance, complexity and balance.
Charlie F. Wagner and Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, along with their son, Chuck, established Caymus Vineyards in 1972. Chuck saw great potential for producing quality wines outside of the Napa Valley as well, and by 1988, Chuck began planting land in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County. Mer Soleil Chardonnay became the product of this quality chosen site, and has been run by Chuck’s eldest son, Charlie F. Wagner II, since 2001.
As a teenager, Charlie began making wine alongside his father. In 2006, he started a second Chardonnay label, Silver, which strayed away from the traditional barrel fermented Chardonnay. Silver is Charlie’s unoaked Chardonnay, fermented in cement and stainless steel tanks.
Peter Lindenlaub has been in the beverage alcohol business since the 1991 and resides in British Columbia. He has been working with the Wagners since 2010.
“Cool climate Chardonnays offer the opportunity for winemakers to showcase their distinct wine growing regions in a bottle. Consumers can understand what is being offered by sampling these wines and talking with the suppliers and winemakers. Each cool climate chardonnay region offers distinctly different winemaking styles, viticulture and gives a glimpse into that unique part of the world and its culture.”
Mer Soleil is named after its two prominent natural growing conditions of the Santa Lucia Highlands, sea (mer) and sun (soleil). This coastal appellation of Monterey County gives way to high quality Chardonnay as mornings and evenings pull in fog from the nearby Monterey bay, while the afternoons provide bright, warm sunlight.
Mer Soleil vineyards sit slightly South of what we believe is the “line of demarcation,” beyond which is too cool and moist to grow Chardonnay. Afternoon wind is intense enough to protect the grapes from staying too fog-moist. In these conditions, our grapes mature slowly and evenly. The unique combination of the sea and sun provide cool and dry growing conditions, developing the rich, complex flavors the Wagners are seeking.
The roots of the Torres family in the Penedès can be traced back to the 17th century. Documents show that even in those days the ancestors of the Torres family were vintners and sold their wines on a small scale. The family tradition has been scrupulously respected down through the centuries and the company has been passed down from father to son. Today the fourth generation of the family - President Miguel A. Torres and Vice-Presidents Juan M. Torres and Marimar Torres - are overseeing the steady transition to the fifth generation, represented by Arnau Torres - Rosselló, Mireia Torres – Maczassek, Cristina Torres and Miguel Torres - Maczassek, who most recently has taken up the role of General Manager of the company. Right from the beginning, exports have been one of the main pillars of the company, and Torres wines can nowadays be found in more than 150 countries around the world. The other constant throughout the history of Torres has been the creation and maintenance of the image of the company as quality wine-makers, for which Torres is now famed all over the world. This family tradition, upheld over generations, along with the work of a team of 1300 people around the world, has brought Bodegas Torres numerous Awards and recognitions. According to the magazine Drinks International, Torres is the most admired European wine brand among industry professionals, a position it has held for six years, in addition to topping the worldwide ranking in 2014 and 2015.
Born in 1974, Miguel is the son of Miguel Agustín Torres and Waltraud Maczassek. His two sisters and himself have learned about wine and vineyards from their father while their mother, a painter, has passed on her creativity. Miguel studied Business and Management at the ESADE Business School - considered one of the best universities in Spain. He also studied oenology at the Rovira i Virgili University, in Tarragona. He specialized in International Marketing and also studied at the Kennan Flager Business School in North Carolina, USA. After that, he worked at DANONE. in the Marketing Department, and then moved into a field closer to wine although quite different: the perfume business. He worked for almost 3 years as Brand Manager for Carolina Herrera New York perfumes. In April 2001, he was appointed General Manager at the Jean Leon winery (part of the Torres Group since 1995). In 2004, he accepted the position of Marketing Director of Miguel Torres S.A., responsible for product development, communication and new products launchings. These recent projects have contributed to the growth of the Company in organic matter and environmental concerns, values of the winery since its inception. At the end of 2009 Miguel Torres Maczassek was appointed Executive President of Miguel Torres Chile. He then gained experience in crisis management during the 2010 earthquake, certified all vineyards as organic viticulture, obtained the IMO-Fair for Life/Fair Trade certification for the Santa Digna Range and successfully launched Santa Digna Estelado. Miguel Torres Maczassek is currently General Manager of the Torres Group. Miguel also speaks fluent Catalan, Spanish, English and French. In 2002, Miguel married Sarah Andrews and they have 3 children: Carolina, Andrea and Miguel.
The Milmanda estate, among the most prized of the Torres family’s properties, comprises 75 hectares in the small Conca de Barberà appellation of origin. Located in southern Catalonia, at an altitude between 445 and 470 meters, the region is nourished by the Francolí and Anguera rivers. The landscape is shaped by mountains, which temper the influence of the Mediterranean Sea. The region’s natural conditions and long winemaking tradition make it an ideal place to grow grapes.
In this setting, the Milmanda vineyards, with 37.5 hectares of Chardonnay growing in deep clay soils rich in active limestone, offer precisely the right conditions for the production of high-quality white wines. The grapes from 15 of these hectares go on to become the vineyards’ namesake white, Milmanda, whereas the rest of the harvest goes toward making the estate’s new wine, Sons de Prades. Already the name (“the Sounds of Prades”) evokes magical echoes of this sacred and legendary land.
In the southern climate of the Milmanda vineyard Chardonnay grows under extreme conditions. Strong shifts in temperature benefit the development of aromas, which are precisely what distinguish the wines’ character. The vine training system (cordon de Royat), which protects the clusters from excessive sun exposure, and an exacting approach to viticulture, which strictly limits yields to 4000 kg/ha, undoubtedly do their part in obtaining the levels of sugar concentration and richness that distinguish the world’s nest Chardonnays. Selected harvests, meticulous winemaking and brief barrel aging complete the production process of this seductively aromatic wine that unfolds across the palate in the generous and sensual style that characterizes the whites from this exceptional vineyard.
Niagara College Teaching Winery is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, part of the Niagara Peninsula wine region, which spans a 30 mile plain on the N43° latitude where the growing season sunshine is comparable to the Languedoc-Rousillon in France, south of both Burgundy and Bordeaux, or Tuscany, Italy. Nestled along Ontario's Niagara escarpment, a United Nations world biosphere preserve, the Niagara Peninsula appellation, St. David's Bench sub-appellation, provides the perfect 'terroir '; a combination of soil, climate and topography, affecting the flavour and characteristics of the award winning VQA wines produced by our renowned winemaker Gavin Robertson, while teaching his craft to aspiring students.
Raised in the Ottawa Valley, Gavin Robertson studied the Humanities at the University of King’s College in Halifax before moving to Europe where he encountered wine – both the drink and the culture - in the shops and cafes, and picked grapes in Spain as a way to fund his travels. On his return to Canada he sought to turn wine into a career, enrolling in the diploma program at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. Having worked in a variety of vineyards and wineries in Ontario, Tasmania, and Central Otago, New Zealand, he is currently employed as Winemaker and as a Part-Time Instructor at the Niagara College Teaching Winery.
“Cool Climate Chardonnay is a wine style - or rather, an amazingly diverse affiliation of wine styles - that I never get bored of tasting and discovering, both in Ontario and abroad. Every new vintage brings with it an opportunity to refine and redefine my approaches to handling the grape in the vineyard and winery, in the pursuit of a wine that truly represents the growing season and vineyard site and that will also age gracefully.” – Gavin Robertson
The Chardonnay grown in the Donald Ziraldo Vineyard at Niagara College is located at the base of the Niagara Escarpment on a 2-3% slope facing North. This slope combined with the “Lake Effect’ and break in the Escarpment at Taylor Road ensure near constant air movement in the vineyard in the warmer summer months which keeps temperatures moderate and helps clear out humidity. The vineyard is situated in the St. David’s Bench sub-appellation at a latitude of 43°N. The Chardonnay block is quite mature, planted in 1996, and the fruit offers complex flavours in virtually every vintage. The block tends to hold its acids, even in warmer vintages at higher sugar levels, which provides the structural backbone for the cool climate wines we’re trying to make. Sparkling, oaked and unoaked styles of Chardonnay are made at the College, with different parcels within the block allocated to each style. In the cellar, the priority is to let the vineyard and vintage drive the winemaking, and to retain freshness and fruit quality from crush pad to bottle.
Set amongst the vines, Norman Hardie Vineyard is situated in idyllic Prince Edward County, Ontario. Winemaker and owner Norman Hardie first opened his doors to the public in 2005 and his wines can now be found across Ontario, in many Canadian Provinces and in numerous international markets.
The wines are all made in small batches, as naturally as possible; it is Norman’s philosophy that great wine starts in the vineyard and with this in mind the wines are traditionally crafted to express the unique terroir. Natural yeasts build layers of complexity, lees contact develops the wine’s structure and malolactic fermentation in late spring rounds out the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Norman Hardie’s wines tell a story of place developed from his passion and expertise.
Beginning with the initial vintage in 2004, Norman Hardies’s wines receive stellar accolades from wine critics and journalists: Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator chose the 2008 County Chardonnay as one of his wines of the year. Outstanding reviews have come from international wine critics, such as Stephen Tanzer and Jancis Robinson. Writers from Ontario, including Tony Aspler, John Szabo and David Lawrason have been quick to hand out praise for each vintage that Norman Hardie produces.
Norman Hardie is one of a select few winemakers in the world who has mastered the art of tasting, growing and making wine in both Hemispheres and six wine regions around the world. In his early twenties he received his sommelier certification from the esteemed wine program at the University of Dijon in Burgundy and put his skills to work as a sommelier for Four Seasons Hotels for six years. His insatiable thirst to master the art of winemaking led him on a six year journey apprenticing for the very best producers/winemakers of cool climate varieties in Burgundy, South Africa, Oregon, New Zealand and California. Years of viticultural research into both Prince Edward County and Niagara Peninsula, studying climate, soils and grapevines led to the decision to locate the new winery in the cool climate of the County. The mineral based Hillier Clay Loam, a mix of clay and limestone derived from the under-laying fractured bedrock, combined with the moderating lake effect, situates Prince Edward County as the most promising wine region of Canada capable of producing top-quality cool climate wines. “The beauty of cool climate allows us the possibility to grow grapes with vibrant natural acidity while still achieving phenolic and flavour ripeness; the challenge is always trying find balance in the vineyard, however when this is achieved, the potential to make remarkable chardonnay is there. We are fortunate enough to have beautiful limestone clay soils which allows us to make mineral driven, stony chardonnays with a firm backbone of acidity.”
Cool Climate Chardonnay reigns supreme in Prince Edward County where a microclimate characterized by the moderating effect of Lake Ontario and prevailing southwest breezes allows me to grow chardonnay with vibrant natural acidity while still achieving outstanding phenolic ripeness. Chardonnay grown from the limestone soils and cool climate of Southern Ontario continue to be one of the hallmarks of my production. Each vintage uniquely displays dazzling minerality, refreshing acidity and vivid citrus flavours. The distinctive profile of my chardonnay is derived from the special bedrock of calcareous and dolomitic limestone that were deposited in Southern Ontario during the last ice age; these exceptional soils coupled with the moderating effect of Lake Ontario enable us to produce high quality fruit, reminiscent of the great Chardonnay regions of Burgundy. My grapes are grown with minimal inputs: I pride myself on the rich ecological life present in my vineyards and tend to the soils and the plants with great respect for the larger ecosystem. My aim is to only help each vine produce the highest quality fruit and allow the unique terroirs of my vineyards shine through in each cluster of grapes. My philosophy in the cellar follows much the same sentiments as in the vineyard: the grapes are minimally processed so that the flavour characteristics and structure developed in the vineyard are captured in every bottle. The Chardonnays go through a wild yeast fermentation, starting in stainless steel tanks and finishing in 500L French oak barrels. Post fermentation, the wine ages for an additional 10 months in barrel on original lees. We judiciously use only the highest quality French barrels from burgundy in order to not overwhelm the wine with oak flavours, but only enhance the natural characteristics which come from the soils. The wine is bottled unfiltered with only one minimal sulfur dosage right before bottling. My Chardonnays are vibrant and mineral driven with aromas of fresh lemon and brioche on the nose. Rich textural quality on the mid palate followed by a lean and sinuous long finish. As far away from the over-oaked and low acid new world chardonnays as you will get.
Pearl Morissette produces some of Canada’s most unique wines through methods so conventional they have become unconventional. Through a process of exploration and experimentation, we produce limited quantities of quality wine that reveal the beauty of our Niagara wine region. At Pearl Morissette there is no dogma or premeditated outcome. We take a pragmatic approach in seeking what nature has intended. Like any craft, a great discipline is knowing when to do nothing at all. With this in mind, we remain very hands-off with low levels of intervention. Our job is to guide the wine as opposed to fixing the wine. Our grapes are carefully hand-picked solely on the basis of skin maturity. This approach enables each grape to impart its unique character in every glass.
François Morissette doesn’t make wine for Ontario. He makes wine for the world, especially for those who appreciate his approach of minimal-intervention, purity, and low sulphur. He is classically trained, having worked on the Grand Cru terroirs of Frédéric Mugnier of Chambolle Musigny, Christian Gouges of Domaine Henri Gouges, and Jean-Marc of Domaine Roulot. Further oenological training was also undertaken at L’Université de Dijon. Francois attempts to uncover the inherent nature of each and every vintage
Our Vineyards and Winery are located on the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario close to Lake Ontario and thus are affected by the well-known benefits and influences of this Cool Climate region. We grow Chardonnay at both our own vineyards, one located on 19th st, along the Twenty Mile Bench Appellation. This sloping, north facing vineyard is just over 20 years old. Our other vineyard is located near Jordan Station, where our winery is also located in the Creekshores appellation, just below the escarpment. The subsequent effect between the escarpment and the Lake Ontario, allows us to grow in this region and helps moderate guard against some of the winter damage typical for Ontario. An interesting and fairly unique aspect of our vineyards and to this region, is our High Density plantings. Some of the benefits of this include; the ability to maintain low fruit yield for quality, and at the same time control vigour through competition for nutrient and water, amongst other things. The midday summer sun can be extreme in Niagara, as well as the pressure associated with our high humidity. The high density allows us to use the canopy from neighboring rows. This provides enough shade to protect the Cool Climate aromatics and flavours we prefer, whilst still opening the canopy in and around the fruit zone which allows for good air flow around the fruit, thus reducing disease pressures. Our fruit generally has a longer “hang time” than most in the region, the higher density allowing it to ripen at a slower pace, whilst still maintaining a fantastic balance of acidity and alcohol. Our fruit is picked purely on “skin ripeness”, rather than traditional analysis of Brix, Ta and pH. This means constant tasting and scouting leading up to harvest, as our picking window can appear very quickly, and disappear just as fast….
Savour life at Peller Estates where winemaker Katie Dickieson and winery chef and TV personality Jason Parsons work together to create Canada’s most creative wine and food experiences. Sample an extraordinary range of wines from the delightful Sparkling Rosé to the powerhouse Signature Series or enjoy innovative wine-tasting experiences including the 10Below Peller Icewine Lounge.
Peller Estates is based on three generations of commitment to excellence in both cool climate grape growing and winemaking. Winemaker Katie Dickieson has been leading our team since 2012, but her career with our winery began during her first vintage in 2006. Between that first vintage and her return to Peller Estates, Katie spent time honing her winemaking skills in several cool climate regions including British Columbia, New Zealand and France before settling back in Niagara. Katie is focused on vineyard-driven wines and loves the challenge and opportunity each new vintage offers. When it comes to Niagara Chardonnay, she believes, “our cool climate coupled with a growing season so influenced by lake effect produces Chardonnay with exceptional focus, balanced acidity and ageability.”
Peller Estates is literally on the edge of cool climate for viticulture! With the winter temperatures our region reaches, we are only able to grow grapes in Niagara due in part to the Niagara Escarpment and effects of Lake Ontario. The micro-climate in our Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards are blessed with the moderating effect of Lake Ontario which provides warming in winter and cooling in summer. Lake breezes in the summer do not allow heat to accumulate in the vineyards, which slows and evens berry development over the growing season, preserving acidity and aromatics. Our average GGD would illustrate our region as being cool climate and our relatively short growing season and proximity to cold landmass bring on an earlier fall and winter than in warmer regions. Our winemaking style incorporates a judicious use of oak to respect our fresh fruit aromatics and a measured approach to malolactic fermentation and lees management. We aim to produce cool wines with balance and ageability!
Our Chardonnay Vineyards:
Our Signature Series Chardonnay vineyard bears 25 year old vines grown less than 1km from Lake Ontario (Niagara Lakeshore). The lighter, sandy soils help control vine vigor and produce fruit of exceptional quality. Further into Niagara-on-the-Lake, our Chardonnay blocks in the sun-soaked Four Mile Creek sub-appellation have an early bud break, maximizing our growing season and offering fruit of great maturity, fruit intensity and richness.
The Maison Pierre Sparr Successeurs estate was created by one of the oldest and most prestigious wine-producing families in Alsace, established since 1680 in Sigolsheim. This wine estate always had a distinct sense of qualitative winemaking, ranking among the pioneers of estate bottled wines in Alsace. In order to have free hands for further technical and logistics developments, the winery moved to Beblenheim (5 km from Sigolsheim) in July 2015. The Maison Pierre Sparr Successeurs estate is located in Alsace between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River (northeast of France), which enjoys an exceptional wine-growing micro-climate receiving less than 20 inches of rainfall per year and boasts an extraordinary complexity of soil types. The winery grows 150 hectares of vines with each of the major varieties (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Muscat) plus Pinot Auxerrois. The company allows a vat storage capacity of 70 000 hl, 3 million bottles under aging process are ready to ship, and has a bottling line in sterile room as well as a laboratory for constant quality controls.
Bernard Sparr, North American Brand ambassador has 28 years of solid experience in the wine industry. He grew up in the Sparr’s family cellars. At the young age of 11, he started to taste wines on a regular basis with his father René. After studying International Laws, Sales, as well as Marketing & Management in Paris, he went in 1988 to Dijon to graduate with a Winemaking degree. His first job was in NY at Morrell’s & Co. wine store. Then, he joined the family company as a Sales and Marketing director in order to grow sales in North America, Asia and Northern Europe. In 2009 when the company was sold, he moved to Canada and started D’Vine Estates: a brokerage Co, representing a handful top of notch estates & chateaux owners, from Premium to icon wines!
Why I love cool climate chardonnay: “The terrific cool microclimate in central Alsace enable the Chardonnay grapes to ripen up with optimal potential and most important, with an outstanding acidity level, in order to lift the whole frame of this magnificent Cremant Brut Chardonnay!”
Four years ago, the Maison Pierre Sparr Successeurs has taken over some parcels : “Le Clos Sainte-Odile”. These parcels are located near the old town of Obernai on magnificent terraces set up early 20th century. The beginning of the harvest for each AOC is set by decree, generally one hundred days after the median date of flowering, at the time when the grapes display the best sugar-to-acid ratio. The ground with shalky dominance offers complex still and sparkling wines.
The vineyard driving with limitation of the yields is made in the respect of the vines. The grapes harvests are made by hand to protect all the typicality of its fabulous soil. In the cellar, the work is based on the respect of the aromas by protecting juices from oxidation. Cremant of the Clos Sainte-Odile comes from a plot of land of 2 hectares, all in one piece, located on the top of the Clos in a chalky area. Gapes are ripening until they reach 12° or even 12,5° as in 2011 for example. After a classic cremant pressing (15 kg to obtain 1 liter) juices are cleared and vinification will take place in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks. Then fermentation takes place followed by racking and light sulphiting. Lees are reinstalled to practice a breeding on these lees during a few months until January or February to get a bodied and dry wine. Foam grip during the second fermentation takes place mid-march. Bottles rest on the lees and in bottles between 15 and 18 months at least. For these different reasons, Cremant Clos Chardonnay doesn’t need any additional sugar dosage: it is a WILD BRUT.
Although we’re sure every farm family feels the same about their 5 generations old farm and organic winery, we believe ours is truly unique! Perhaps it’s because of our approach to family. Our goal was to create a sustainable way to maintain our 100+ year old farm and continue to foster the legacy of our family upon it. To do this we had to create interest, follow our dreams and find ways to continue to fall in love with the land and each other. Ravine is a paradise within a fabric of tastes, experiences, scenes and sounds across 34 acres of beautiful rolling vineyard. We are among the few wineries in Niagara with a self-standing restaurant that bakes our own bread, raises our own pigs, and grows our own certified organic vegetables. We are blessed with a renowned wine and culinary team that chooses an ever-changing menu. With a variety of ingredients picked right from our very own on-site garden, Executive Chef Ross Midgley not only creates a seasonal menu but also preserves as much as possible so that ‘go local’ is not just a seasonal term. Our meals are paired with the guidance and discriminating palate of our Winemaker, Martin Werner. Using biodynamics and sustainability as a philosophy to farming, the enhanced quality and flavours in both our small batch premium wines and fresh food products is something we are proud of and very eager to share!
Born and raised in Niagara-on-the-lake, Marty Werner is not only a native to the Niagara Region but also to nurturing vineyards and creating small-batch wines. Marty grew up on his family’s 60-acre farm on Lakeshore Road working the vineyard each summer, as such he already has a life-time of experience with grapes. His respect for terroir comes from these long, hot summers. He believes that respecting our terroir means enhancing the soil characteristics, the environment and highlighting the history of the St. David’s Bench. Martin has over 10 years of experience crafting premium wines in Ontario, New Zealand and California. Since joining Ravine Vineyard in 2010, he has embraced an innovative approach to organic and biodynamic farming. He shares a deep conviction that grapes must be expressive of their origins and a desire to showcase small-batch wines from the St. David’s Bench sub appellation. In 2014, Maclean’s Magazine named Martin one of the “Winemaker’s to Watch” based on his exceptional winemaking style and his strong passion to create high-end biodynamic and organic wines with a sense of place.
Located in the Appellation of Niagara-on-the-lake, the St. David’s Bench is very unique, as it is 20 per cent warmer than any other location in the Niagara Region. The vineyard shares this fortuitous distinguishing feature with its neighbors, but if you go a little deeper, that is where the common physical attributes end. Ravine’s soil is lighter, with a consistent airflow and water drainage through the vineyard because we are at the highest elevation of the St. David’s Bench. We experience the earliest bud break and a longer growing season. Our 150-year-old family farm sits atop the ancestral channel
of the Niagara River as it once raged 22,800 years ago. Our hillside soils have eroded over the last 5,500 years on these small but relatively steep slopes. Now, the soil continues to be thin, sparse and very mineral-conducive to the growth of some very low cropping, Niagara-style Chardonnay. Sitting on the highest peak of our Sub-Appellation not only creates a steady airflow, but it generates outstanding high-pressure systems during the growing season for our fruit. This aids in maintaining moderate temperatures well into September and these conditions make an interesting microclimate for our organic cool climate Chardonnay fruit! Winemaker Martin Werner loves making cool climate chardonnay at Ravine because it highlights our unique terroir and sense of place.
In his quest to explore terroir, Moray Tawse leaves no stone unturned. First came his namesake winery in Vineland, ON. Then it was Marchand-Tawse and Domaine Tawse in Burgundy. And now, his latest project, Redstone Winery, in Beamsville, ON. Moray purchased the Lincoln Lakeshore property, formerly Thomas and Vaughan Estate Winery, in 2009, citing that it was an opportunity to explore a different terroir that he simply couldn’t pass up. Inspired by the red dust which covered everything, including his boots, the first time he strolled the vineyard, he named the new winery Redstone, for its intensely red clay soil and large stones. The 38-acre estate vineyard, farmed organically and biodynamically, is perfect for maturing late-ripening varietals including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is also Pinot Gris on the property. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay from recently acquired Limestone vineyard will round out the estate portfolio. After working 8 vintages as part of the award-winning winemaking team at Tawse, Rene Van Ede has assumed the primary winemaking duties at Redstone, with guidance from acclaimed winemaker Paul Pender, acting in a consulting role. While the winemaking follows the tradition of excellence established at Tawse, the terroir shines through the Redstone estate wines which are bold and full of character.
Despite growing up in the backyard of the famed Hunter Valley wine region, it is while working in the United Kingdom’s hospitality industry that winemaker Rene Van Ede became captivated by the world of wine and its diversity. After choosing to make winemaking his profession, he returned to his native Australia to secure his Bachelor of Wine Science from the renowned Charles Sturt University. After a few vintages in the Hunter Valley, Rene landed in Canada for a northern hemisphere vintage at Tawse in 2006. He was back permanently in 2007 and after working 8 vintages as part of the Tawse award-winning winemaking team under the expert guidance of Paul Pender, he is excited to take on the primary winemaking responsibilities at Redstone. While Rene is a believer that winemaking is as much an art as it is a science, he also believes that wine should taste of its origin and varietal. Rene also takes a “bon vivant” approach to his profession:
“Sometimes we need to be reminded that the purpose of wine is to be enjoyed”, he laughs. This joie de vivre and his new world sensibility are certainly at home at Redstone where he gets to create wines that are bold and full of character, including his beloved Syrah, that the team affectionately nicknamed “Rene’s baby”.
We firmly believe that great wine starts in the vineyard. Healthy vines yield quality fruit which in turn gives us a great starting point to make premium wines that are a true expression of our terroir. Fostering the health of our vines and the soil they grow on requires a labour-intensive and hands-on approach. We tuck and thin the shoots by hand to increase sun exposure and air flow. We keep the yields low by cluster thinning to ensure that all the energy of the vine is focused in fewer grape clusters which then become more concentrated in flavour. We hand-pick our grapes to select the very best fruit. We also proudly practice organic and biodynamic farming. Organic farming feeds the vines and controls diseases without the use of synthetic insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers. Biodynamics can be defined as working with the energies that create and maintain life. In the vineyard, this means treating the soil as a living organism and working to bring the grapevine and the soil in balance. Biodynamic farming uses the earth’s natural cycles and natural preparations to increase microbial life and nutrients in the soil and to produce balance between the soil and the vines. We strive to create a diversified balanced ecosystem that generates health and fertility from the vineyard itself. Healthy vines mean less need for outside substances to control diseases and promote growth. By being present in the vineyard, we are able to anticipate and prevent issues. We also get help from our friends from the animal realm. Our chicken feed on bugs, our sheep eat the lower vine leaves to expose the grapes to the ripening sun and using horses instead of tractors whenever we can, helps avoid soil compaction. We believe that a biodynamic wine produced from quality fruit sourced from a healthy vineyard contributes to both the health of the land and the pleasure and well-being of the individual enjoying a glass.
Robert Oatley Vineyards is the reincarnation of the Oatley family winemaking dynasty. The late Bob Oatley’s son Sandy heads up the family business founded upon a four decade passion for grape growing, wine making and marketing – the combination of which has seen the Oatley family rise to the top of the Australian winemaking scene.
Over forty years of nurturing grapevines and making wine has taught the Oatley family many lessons. Site selection is paramount, that ‘sense of place’, as where you choose to grow your grapes is vital to both style and quality. The Oatley approach is to overlay this philosophy with an outstanding team of grape growers and wine makers, using the best possible equipment, to allow them every chance of producing a winner.
The task is clear: to craft wines that have varietal clarity, focus and which reflect their provenance – in a very modern fashion. Wines of character and integrity. Director of Winemaking, acclaimed vigneron Larry Cherubino, achieves this via a myriad of vineyards across the length and breadth of Australia’s wine regions.
Vineyards are tended as organically as possible and wines are made with minimal intervention, reflecting a dedication to sustainable grape growing and wine production practices.
Based in Sydney and with more than 25 years’ experience in the wine sector, Aaron is the Business Development Director for Robert Oatley Vineyards with responsibilities across Asia, North America and Australia.
A wine graduate of Roseworthy Agricultural College, Brasher has a comprehensive understanding of wine production, retail, marketing and sales and has worked for some of Australia’s most well-known and regarded wine brands including Penfolds and Petaluma.
His career has included stints as a tasting judge on the Australian Wine Export panel and judge in a number of Australian wine shows.
He’s a graduate and panel judge of the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and was a participant in the 2002 Len Evans Tutorial Scholarship, designed to further develop the industry’s most gifted wine palates.
In 2006 influential UK wine writer Matthew Jukes named him as one of the top 50 Young Leaders of the Australian Wine Industry and in 2010, he took part in the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Future Leaders program.
Brasher is an accredited Wine and Spirit Education Trust educator at the Advanced level and is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In addition Aaron is also a founding partner of Mad Dog Wines from the Barossa Valley.
Scribe is on Arrowhead Mountain, the southern ridge of the Mayacamas Valcanic Mountain range. Valcanic, loam soils.
Every day during growing season marine fog rolls through Petaluma gap, gets stopped by Arrowhead Mountain, and rests over the Scribe vineyard; creating an extreme cooling effect every evening and morning...bringing the daily temp down to 55F. Cool marine influence and volcanic soils produce powerful, mineral driven wines.
The winery–founded in 2007 on a property that pioneered pre-prohibition Sonoma Valley winemaking–is managed by fourth-generation California farmers and brothers, Andrew and Adam Mariani.
Andrew and Adam Mariani believe that the best wines are a result of a healthy relationship between man and nature, and that a vineyard managed in harmony with the greater ecosystem results in more site-specific wines that represent a sense of time and place. When vinified with non-interventionist methods, the result is a distinct wine that faithfully reflects what the vineyard naturally expresses.
In the early 1990s, deep in the Waihopai Valley of Marlborough, NZ, the Johnson family had the audacity to establish 320 acres of estate vineyards on land considered too hard, too dry and too infertile for wine. It was a venture that started with a passion for the land. This pioneering spirit established a successful winery and brand, now exporting eight varietals to 35 countries, from a crush capacity of 3000 tonnes. Today, Spy Valley’s commitment remains to the land and to the people who tend it ¬ we are simply farmers at heart, nurturing soil and vine to cultivate the complexities in our wine. And we’re mindful that it’s our focus on sustainability which will ensure our guardianship of this land for generations to come. We’re considered a little clandestine around here, deep in our bewitching valley. Perhaps it comes with being named for our proximity to the spy base down the road, but we like a bit of mystery. Perhaps it’s because we are always searching for the best of the best to produce exceptional and inspiring wine. Perhaps it’s because managing eight varieties of grapes takes a great deal of knowing the land, the environment and climate. Whatever it is, we love what we do and the land we are from. We are on a mission to share our awesome wines and the many secrets that go into making them with the world.
Agent Rawling has been Spy Valley Wine’s Chief Roving Spy since joining in 2010. Starting off in London, then Melbourne, then Auckland, and finally the last move to Spy HQ in Marlborough in October 2015. A native Kiwi, after graduating from University, not knowing a Sauvignon Blanc from a Pinot Noir but being very social by nature, he was recruited by Villa Maria as a regional sales rep, finding his happy place travelling around talking to people, learning and selling. After a few years, Peter left the industry and moved to Japan to take up a professional rugby playing contract. After paying off his student loan, doing plenty of snowboarding and learning Japanese, he moved to London England and back into the industry, where he spent several years developing his career in sales and marketing.
"I dig wines that smack my senses. With their crisp, bright flavours and refreshing acidity, cool climate Chardonnays do just that"
Perfectly positioned at 41.3 degrees S, a latitudinal mid-point within the world’s wine belt, Marlborough lies on a comparable latitude to many of the world¹s longest established wine regions. But its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, prevailing winds and isolation from continental hot air masses, creates a temperate maritime climate with much cooler summers and milder winters than those experienced in its northern hemisphere latitudinal equivalents. Although blessed with one of the sunniest and driest climates in New Zealand, Marlborough’s heat is tempered throughout the summer months by easterly sea breezes that cool the vineyards throughout the day. The lengthy mild and dry autumn season that follows provides ideal conditions for the long slow ripening of grapes prior to vintage. This cool viticultural climate ¬ characteristic of the upper Loire Valley, northern Burgundy and Champagne ¬ promotes flavour purity with stronger and more vibrant fruit flavours. In Marlborough the effect is magnified by the region¹s significant diurnal temperature range ¬ commonly at 10 degrees C/50 degrees F temperature variation between the cool nights and sunny days of autumn. Such extreme variation slows the development of sugars, preserves the natural acidity in the grapes and gives rise to the extraordinarily intense varietal characters and succulent ripe fruit flavours for which Marlborough wines are renowned.
The Stratus winery, like our signature assemblage wines, is a composition – a whole greater than the sum of its parts. On their own, the individual elements are distinctly unique – a diversely planted vineyard with unusually rich soil; a sustainable facility that unites tradition and science to serve the winemaker's art; and a retail gallery with adjoining tasting rooms that are both chic and welcoming. Working together, they create wines and experiences that are truly memorable.
Since joining Stratus in 2010, Dean’s oenology diploma and drive to understand all things ‘wine’ have allowed him to span roles at Stratus including retail sales, lab technician and winemaking supervisor. In 2015, Dean’s passion for the farm reached fruition as he evolved into Stratus’ Vineyard Manager. In this role, Dean has continued to further Stratus’ precision viticulture and sustainable practice. This summer, Dean will actually live within several blocks of the Stratus vineyard in effort to better understand the nature and nuance within. Ask him about his experience at this year’s I4C!
Dean was born and raised in Niagara and was first exposed to wine through his father’s 40-year career at Vincor / Constellation.
We have 1 block of Chardonnay that is nearing 25 years and shared between two clones - #96 and #548. While we employ classic Burgundian approaches to winegrowing and vinification for our Chardonnay, we seek to express Niagara authenticity.
We hand-pick at yields averaging 2 to 2.5 tonnes per acre in late September or early October and whole cluster press into barrel where the juice undergoes ‘natural’ fermentation based on indigenous yeasts. From here, we age in a combination of new, second-fill and neutral barrels and ultimately create an assemblage of these small lots to release as Stratus Chardonnay.
Tawse is a family-owned estate winery situated on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment. At Tawse we unite traditional winemaking techniques with state-of-the-art technology to create wines of exceptional elegance, depth and character. Our fruit is harvested from old-growth, low-yield vines and gently handled using natural gravity flow and geothermic energy. We apply rigorous organic and biodynamic methods to every aspect of our wine production and Ecocert and Demeter seals now appear on all Tawse vintages made from our biodynamic vineyards.
Winemaker, Paul Pender, joined the Tawse team in 2005 and took on the role as head winemaker in 2006. Paul is a firm believer in 'terroir' and that great wine making starts in the vineyard. Paul has seen Tawse through the process of Ecocert Organic and Demeter biodynamic certification, and in 2011 was named Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards
Our winemaker Paul Pender is a firm believer in terroir and works with a number of Niagara Chardonnay vineyards to showcase their unique flavour profiles. The soils vary widely, from the high limestone content of the Quarry Road Vineyard, to the clay and loam combination of the Robyn's Block Vineyard. Each block is picked by hand at its ideal ripeness, then hand sorted and whole cluster pressed with a pneumatic press. All of the Chardonnays are fermented with indigenous yeast in a judicious blend of new and old 228L and 500L French oak barrels and aged for 12 months on their lees. Once the oak maturation is complete, the wine rests in stainless steel tanks for about 6 months prior to bottling to allow wood integration and bright acid preservation.
Canada’s Best Small Winery of the Year 2015! Nestled in the Beamsville Bench appellation of Niagara, we believe less is more with our approach to “small lot” winemaking. The estate’s award-winning Rieslings and rare Small Lot Reds are coveted by collectors and wine lovers. Emma Garner (2015 Winemaker of the Year) invites you to taste our limited estate wines in a personalized seated tasting and discover the character of our vineyards with a winery tour.
During her studies in the Oenology and Viticulture program at Brock University, Emma Garner travelled to Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and British Columbia. Emma worked at Trius Winery, until 2005 when she began working for Thirty Bench Wine Makers, eventually becoming Thirty Bench winemaker in 2010. She believes in allowing the vineyard to express itself by making wine with minimal intervention. Emma received well-deserved recognition for her talents in 2015 as she was personally awarded Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards and Thirty Bench won Small Winery of the Year at the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada.
At Thirty Bench Wine Makers we consider ourselves cool climate for a multitude of reasons! Perched perfectly on the Beamsville Bench, our property is the ideal distance from Lake Ontario. The slope of the land enables our vineyard to have excellent air and water drainage. The micro climate of our Beamsville Bench vineyard is fortunate enough to benefit from the moderating effect of Lake Ontario which provides cooler nights (and subsequent acid retention) as well as increased temperatures during the winter. As a result of this lake effect, our season extends later into the fall. The longer growing season coupled with western sun exposure results in fruit bursting with flavour and character. In order to allow the vineyard to express itself in the wine, we are not heavy handed when it comes to oak usage in our winemaking. The absence of malolactic fermentation and a measured amount of lees stirring also helps to keep our wines fresh and focussed.
Our Chardonnay Blocks:
Within in our vineyard we have two relatively small blocks of Chardonnay. By having two different clones (95/96), different harvest dates and different fermentation batches, we are able to make wines of exceptional complexity and quality.
Trius Winery captures the essence of Niagara Wine Country with an extensive collection of terroir-driven wines made by Craig McDonald. Trius Winery Restaurant was Niagara-on-the-Lake’s first winery restaurant and Chef Frank Dodd prides himself on sourcing local ingredients. Enjoy a range of wines and food including the “Black Glass Dinner” tour and dining experience.
Craig has nearly two decades of winemaking experience, having made wines in Oregon, Australia, New Zealand and Niagara. His international exposure has afforded him the opportunity to experience 31 vintages, 19 of them in Niagara.
Before joining Trius Winery, Craig was Winemaker at Creekside Estate Winery where he was awarded Ontario Winemaker of the Year in 2008 and was instrumental in the creation of Mike Weir Wines, Canada’s first celebrity wine brand. Previously, Craig made wine with Villa Maria in New Zealand, Penfolds in the Barossa Valley, De Bortoli in the Yarra Valley, as well as at Sokol Blosser Wines in Oregon. Now leading the winemaking team for Trius Winery as well as overseeing national winemaking for Andrew Peller Limited, the largest Canadian-owned wine company, Craig is instrumental in crafting the award-winning wines consumers have come to love, including the iconic Trius Red and the ultra-premium Showcase wines.
Pouring at this year’s event is, Winemaker, Jordan Kalinowski. After graduating with a BSc, followed by Oenology and Viticulture at CCOVI from Brock University, Jordan decided on a winemaking career - a journey that has taken him from Niagara, to Kelowna & Okanagan, to Australia & New Zealand, and back home to Niagara again. Now part of the Trius winemaking team, Jordan’s passion for the winemaking process shines through, from regularly monitoring and tasting the fruit off the vines, to blending and delivering the Trius quality that consumers have come to love.
At Trius we work with some of the oldest Chardonnay vineyards and most experienced growers on the Peninsula.
With over 350 acres under contract and covering most of the VQA sub-appellations, our Winemaking and Vineyard teams work closely with key growers to nurture high potential sites and foster long term relationships. Together we have established individual viticultural programs which balance the uniqueness of site and the nuances of vintage variation but always with the highest level of Chardonnay varietal expression top of mind. The Niagara Peninsula is innately cool and with our extreme sites offering even greater challenges we have an opportunity for extended Fall ripening for maximum flavour development and full expression of site and season. Sites such at the Oliveira Vineyard embrace these elements as of one of the coolest sites on the Peninsula and one which consistently resonates with our team year after year. This Lincoln Lakeshore vineyard is nestled close to Lake Ontario and benefits directly from distinct moderating influences which provide both Spring frost protection and enhance late season ripening. Coupled with the impeccable viticultural attention the Oliveira family bring, we seek to amplify this unique ‘single vineyard’ site by utilizing native yeast and restraining the urge to guide and influence at the winery.
Vasse Felix was established in 1967 and is Margaret River’s founding wine Estate.
Margaret River is a wine paradise that experiences the unique combination of a Mediterranean climate, maritime influence and ancient gravel-loam soils making it ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Vasse Felix produced Margaret River’s first Cabernet Sauvignon at the Estate in 1972 and the wines maintain a reputation as regional and national benchmarks.
Founder Dr. Tom Cullity searched the region relentlessly for his first vineyard site, before selecting 8 acres in Wilyabrup, which today remains at the heart of the Vasse Felix Estate. Vineyard expansions have been made with equal consideration and an unwavering commitment to Cullity’s simple founding aim; “to make the best possible wine.”
The fruit is harvested, fermented and matured in small parcels, where every decision is made to reflect the vintage and the journey of the individual barrique. Grading is a continuous activity from the vineyard, through maturation, until the final composition of each wine is determined, working from the Icon wines through to the Premier and Filius tiers.
Everyone is welcome to visit the Vasse Felix Estate, which is regarded as one of Australia’s draw-card winery destination experiences and includes a restaurant, cellar door and art gallery.
"The beauty of cool climate Chardonnay lies in its finesse, complexity, structure and transparency. Fine, elegant cool climate fruit allows the wine to better express unique environmental nuances from the vineyard site as well as complexities from its handling. The acid structure provides a backbone for tightness and longevity of the wine."
As a teenager, Virginia saw the happiness wine brought to her parents and their friends after a hard day’s work in their small vineyard. It was here she decided winemaking was going to be her career.
Since October 2006, Virginia has been the Chief Winemaker behind some of Australia’s most critically acclaimed wines at Margaret River’s premier wine Estate, Vasse Felix.
“It is a privilege to be custodian of the historic Vasse Felix vines. Our focus is on Margaret River’s best performing varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I truly believe the Margaret River region could be one of the greatest in the world. We’re only at the beginning of realising the full potential. I wouldn’t want to be making wine anywhere else.”
Virginia is one of Australia’s most awarded female winemakers, having been named ‘Gourmet Traveller WINE Australian Winemaker of the Year’ in 2012 and ‘Winemaker of the Year’ by The West Australian Good Wine Guide 2013. In 2014 Virginia was nominated as ‘Winemaker of the Year’ in Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Wine Star Awards, one of just five winemakers nominated, internationally.
Virginia has completed over 25 Margaret River vintages and worked internationally in Albania, Northern Italy, Sicily, Abruzzo and New Zealand. She studied her Bachelor in Oenology at Roseworthy College.
Margaret River’s combination of a Mediterranean climate, maritime influence and ancient, gravel-loam soils provide an ideal environment for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
While not ‘cool climate’ by traditional definition, Margaret River’s cape location, surrounded by the Indian and Southern Oceans, provides a unique maritime influence to its long and steady growing seasons to produce balanced fruit with the unusual combination of elegance, yet fruit power.
Specifically, the maritime influence delivers sea breezes that cool the ripening fruit during Margaret River’s long dry summers, enabling the fruit to achieve ideal physiological balance; elegant flavours, but with fruit power, crisp natural acidity and a moderate alcohol level.
The Vasse Felix Estate includes three vineyards located throughout the Margaret River wine region. These vineyards are situated in different ‘sub-regions’ of Margaret River. The ‘sub-regions’ are defined through their unique topography, micro-climate and natural irrigation systems. Grape variety has been matched to the vineyards, and rows and blocks have been planted to correspond with the soil profile and aspect.
Vasse Felix makes three Chardonnays. All three wines are made following the same ‘hands-off’ philosophy. Site influences contribute the distinguishing differences to each wine.
The fruit is harvested in the early hours of the morning to retain its fresh natural acidity and then chilled and gently whole-bunch pressed. It is then transferred to French oak barriques as unclarified juice for fermentation with only the natural yeasts from the vineyard. Each parcel is left on lees in barrel for nine months of maturation with battonage. Malolactic fermentation is not encouraged. Post maturation, each barrel is graded to make three wines:
Icon: Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay
The most striking parcels of Chardonnay from the vintage, recognised for its innovative winemaking and distinguishing ‘Heytesbury’ character.
Premier: Vasse Felix Chardonnay
The defining Chardonnay of Vasse Felix. Made from a selection of parcels from Vasse Felix’s Premier Vineyards (located in Wilyabrup and Karridale), in a modern Margaret River style with elegance and power, but restraint.
Filius: Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay
‘Son of’ the Vasse Felix Chardonnay, it has a generous, yet refined fruit profile, from parcels grown in each of the Vasse Felix Vineyards.
Since 1998, we have been creating ground-breaking wines. True to our philosophy of going “a step beyond”, we create modern, avant-garde, high-quality wines and we take care of the environment at each and every stage of our production process.
Gonzalo Vial, is a self-made man whose success story began with a family chicken farm located in rural Rancagua at the year 1955. Inspired by his own passion for grapevines and his father’s love for the land and agriculture, Don Gonzalo brought a splendid dream to life; a dream that would transform the lives of so many others.
We work with a sustainable management plan in our vineyards so as to mitigate erosion, favouring organic products to control pests and diseases. We use controlled watering systems to save water.
100% ESTATE VINEYARDS
We own our own vineyards in Chile's principal main wine producing areas: Coastal Maipo, Casablanca, Colchagua, Leyda and Huasco.
Winemaker. Member of Chilean Winemakers Association since 2009.
Sales Director USA-CANADA.
In his early career, he harvested grapes in France, Spain, California, Argentina and Chile, which helped reinforce his ideas regarding the importance of the culture of wine and its identity, expressing its Cool Climate origin denomination.
Now he has the role in leading the subsidiary import company in US and managing its Canadian partners from a base in Atlanta, USA.
TARA CHARDONNAY – NICOLASA VINEYARD, ATACAMA VALLEY
13 hectares of vines located in the Atacama Desert, are drip-irrigated with water from the mountain reservoirs . Production averages 5,000 kg/Ha. The vines are trained along a VSP system.
Elevation: 80 to 100 metres above sea level.
Climate: Desert climate. Cool temperature, dry throughout the year. Very foggy during the mornings, with camancha (humid dense fog) and very sunny and windy during afternoons. Cloudy in winter and summer. The thermal range is low, with just 5°C to 6°C between the warmest and coolest months. This is influenced by the vineyard's proximity to the coast. In winter, the average minimum temperature is 12°C and the maximum is 16°C. In summer, the temperatures range between 10°C and 27°C.
Soils: Calcareous, chalky and saline soils form terraces of the Huasco River. There are different terraces of alluvial origin. The first has stony soils. The middle terrace has soils of marine origin with different levels of clay mixed with gravel. The upper area of the vineyard has soils of alluvial origin. The textures range from loam to loamy clay.
Planting density: 2,500 to 3.000 plants per hectare.
Rainfall: It generally does not rain. Some years there can be a total of between 15 and 40 mm
Location: This vineyard has a significant maritime influence because of its proximity to the coast and because it is on the southern banks of the River Huasco. Part of its geomorphology is influenced by the Huasco River, which passes through the northernmost edge of the property.
GREY CHARDONNAY – TAPIHUE VINEYARD, CASABLANCA VALLEY
The property, located in Casablanca, one of Chile’s premium valleys for cool climate varieties, just at 25 kms from the Pacific Ocean. The vines are drip-irrigated with water from wells which are 40 to 70 meters deep. At full production, yields of some 8 tons per hectare are to be expected. The vines are trained along a VSP system, , 5.000 plts/ha.
Elevation: 280 to 390 meters above sea level
Climate: Strong coastal influence, mainly in the afternoons with winter temperatures averaging a minimum of 2°C and a maximum of 15°C and summer temperatures ranging from a minimum of 11°C to a maximum of 25° C on average.
Soil: The soils are red clay on the top and then a granitic decomposed type of soil, rich in quartz and iron. The pH is slightly acidic, between 6 and 7 - Organic material content is 1.5% – 2.5%
Planting Density: 2,667 to 4,167 plants per hectare.
Rainfall: 360 mm per year. The rain falls mainly between May and September
Location: Casablanca Valley, 80 km west of Santiago and 25 km from the Pacific Ocean, which provides the area with a maritime influence.
Westcott Vineyards and Winery is a small, artisanal winery focused on hand-crafted chardonnay and pinot noir wines. It all starts in the vineyard where the wine grows. In early spring our crew prune the vines under the direction of our viticulturist Alain Sutra. We aim to achieve optimal vine balance by carefully gauging each vine's maturity, vigor and health and pruning accordingly. Throughout the growing season we follow "sustainable" vineyard practices. We use only natural fertilizers and make many small decisions to obtain optimal balance in our vines and soil. We believe that lower yields in the vineyard produce a better quality wine. In our vineyards, our pruning approach and the use of natural practices results in yields of 1.5 tonnes per acre. The vine canopy is thinned throughout the summer so that the clusters of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can benefit to the maximum of all the natural contributions of clay loam soil, limestone, sunshine and bountiful rainfall that Niagara has to offer. In the fall when the grapes have reached their natural level of maturity, they are hand-picked and then sorted again so that only fully mature fruit enters the winery. At the winery, our winemaker Arthur Harder takes over. The grapes are hand sorted to ensure only the finest fruit is processed. We believe in minimal manipulation in the winemaking process. We produce low volume hand crafted authentic Niagara wine where "terroir", growing conditions and typically produce subtle variations from year to year. Each year we strive to make better wine not more wine. As a team we are convinced that we can make VQA wines that sit among the best in the world.
It’s all about passion. Carolyn Hurst and Grant Westcott fell in love with each other first and with Niagara chardonnay and wine region subsequently. After exciting careers in the world of IT and banking they were looking for a life style change. A lifelong passion for wine and country living led them to the Niagara Escarpment and the joys of viticulture in a cool climate.
Great wine, quality wine, is really a story of passionate people. Why? It’s simple. Great wine is crazy hard work. And growing Chardonnay in the Cool Climate Vinemount Ridge appellation is harder than most. It requires year round dedication to tending grapes and vines. Every vine and every bunch of grapes is checked, pruned, thinned, managed and every rough weather day teared and sweated. This is what quality in wine means to us, while passionate is really another word for nutty. We’re passionate about making extraordinary wine. Thankfully, we're not alone.