The St. Laurent River and its banks are anchored in the heart of the family Thomas. Walks, outdoor meals and gatherings at the river inspired the name of the estate in tribute to these unique moments.
Paul Thomas and Lorraine Pelletier, both doctors, have acquired a land of 60 hectares in early 80s in Varennes, adjoining the St.-Laurence River, on the south shore of Montréal. That field was used for growing wheat, soybeans and corn. In the early 2000s, Ms. Pelletier was looking for a project related to agriculture. Passionate about wine and after visiting several vineyards, the idea of growing vines were launched.
The Domaine du Fleuve winery started as a mother, father and son (Louis Thomas) project in 2007. The estate began with the plantation of hybrid vines. Few years later,
after good agronomic results it was decided to plant viniferas. It is now their son, Louis Thomas, who cultivates the 4 hectares of vines: “We grow around ten grape varieties, from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc to Riesling, on clay soils. We are proud to discover, year after year, a little more of the character of these grape varieties.”
Rigour, Passion, Devotion. This is what Louis Thomas is doing to ensure the vineyard produces wines of exceptional quality. He is the winemaker since the very first year. First introduced to winemaking methods through education programs in Quebec, he has developed wines made at the domain, with the help of the oenologist Richard Bastien (Oenoquebec). Driven by curiosity, Louis Thomas is always seeking to push the limits further every day.
He sometimes says he’s manic, but that’s because he doesn’t leave any detail behind!
“Cool Climate Chardonnay is exceptional and vibrant! They have a lot of character and that’s what I like!”
Located on the south shore of Montréal Island, the vineyard was developed right next to the St. Laurent River. This proximity with the water source and the Montréal agglomeration brings a rather tempered climate to the domain lands. The soil is composed of a first layer of silty clay (4–6 feet) and there are friable rocks under. As for now, the winery uses Chardonnay grapes to produce a still and a sparkling wine. As the Chardonnay seems very well adapted to our terroir, it will be a significant part of the future plantations.
Foxtrot Vineyards is a boutique winery focused on crafting terroir-driven Pinot Noir and premium Chardonnay. Foxtrot has built a reputation as the premier producer of age-worthy Pinot Noir in the Okanagan Valley, BC by highlighting grapes grown from 24-year-old own-rooted vines in its estate vineyard — demonstrating what the Naramata Bench sub-region can achieve when a pure and subtle hand is applied.
Andrea Barker, our Winemaker, joined the Foxtrot team in spring 2019. After graduating in 2011 from the University of Maryland, where she majored in soil science, Andrea gained broad experience as a vineyard and cellar assistant at wineries around the globe, including not only British Columbia, but also South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, as well as California, where she was assistant winemaker for a notable producer of pinot noir and chardonnay in the Santa Rita Hills.
After the 2016 harvest, she returned to academia, obtaining a master’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Brock University in Ontario in 2019. Reflecting on the breadth of her experiences in the wine world, Andrea has commented that, “making wine in many different regions has given me a deeper appreciation for the potential we have at Foxtrot to produce pinot noirs and chardonnays that combine terroir character with exceptional finesse. My aim is to make wines that fully express this region’s unique attributes.”
“I love the versatility of cool climate Chardonnay, its ability to express terroir and the complexity of style simultaneously.”
Our Chardonnay program highlights the unique range of viticultural conditions across the Okanagan Valley, utilizing fruit from vineyards in both the north and south of the valley we are able to highlight the best of each terroir in our blends.
Our style is one of elegance and complexity, mineral driven, capturing the balance afforded by the extended daylight hours and strong diurnal temperatures unique to our northern climate.
Broken Stone Winery is a small family-owned winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario. The winery is 115 m above sea level at 44.0011° N. An island at the east end of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County’s unique geography, creates a microclimate that is ideally suited to growing world class chardonnay and pinot noir.
The soil of our vineyard is ancient glacial till called Hillier Clay Loam. The name Broken Stone refers to the limestone fragments that are strewn throughout our vineyards. Our hot summer days and cool nights, combined with the limestone soils allow us to grow elegant, mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Although our latitude is further south than Burgundy, our winters are more severe, and in the Fall we tie our vines down to a low wire and bury the entire vineyard underground – ensuring the survival of the cold-sensitive vines for the next vintage. Because of this difficulty and expense, our region attracts only the most passionate and stalwart winegrowers dedicated to the perfection of the grape and the wine.
We are Tim and Micheline Kuepfer, the proprietors of Broken Stone Winery. We founded our vineyards and winery on pure grit and determination to craft world class wines.
Raised in a small farming community, Tim pursued a business degree from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario and spent two decades in Toronto selling financial software and databases. During those years, Micheline and Tim raised a family and worked corporate careers while dreaming about living on a vineyard in the country.
But it could be said that Tim worked city jobs for twenty years waiting for the chance to live his true life amidst the vines at his small farm in Prince Edward County. To Tim’s chagrin, his wife Micheline often says, “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can never take the country out of the boy.”
Tim’s viticultural training began in 2009 when he and Micheline purchased 34 acres in Prince Edward County with one acre of just-planted Pinot Noir vines. Tim learned viticulture by getting his hands dirty in that little vineyard, doing every task himself for the first years. The local crop extension and other grape growers were his mentors. He planted another acre of Pinot Noir and three acres of Chardonnay were planted in 2010. He learned the science of winemaking by completing the UC Davis Certificate in Winemaking and learned the craft from new friends in the Prince Edward County Winegrower’s Association. But his main source of expertise was gained by just going out and making wine. Broken Stone Winery has grown from that first acre in 2009 to growing 21 acres of cool climate grapes today, with Tim managing every detail of grape growing and winemaking and Micheline providing insights into marketing and creating great products.
“When the grapes shine like gold in the morning sun and taste like honey, we know it’s time for harvest. So do the birds.”
“The vineyard is the foundation of our winery. It’s where the important work is done. If we’ve done a world class job in the vineyard during the growing season, the fruit is sound and it’s almost like the wine makes itself. “ Tim Kuepfer
Broken Stone Winery Chardonnay Vineyard
115 m above sea level
Slightly North sloping.
Soil type Hillier Clay loam
Soil depth 6 inches to 5 feet, averaging 2 feet
Clone 76 on 3309
By Chadsey’s Cairns – King Eddie Vineyard and Applehouse Vineyard
90 m above sea level
Soil type Brighton Gravelly Sand, Hillier Clay Loam
Soil depth 10 feet +
Unknown clones on S04
Time Honoured Methods
Our County Grown Chardonnay is harvested 100% from grapes grown in Prince Edward County at two distinct sites.
We harvest Chardonnay from our own 3-acre vineyard and from another 2 acres that we lease at By Chadsey’s Cairns. Both sites offer different microclimates. Broken Stone Winery’s vineyard is moderately vigorous and was planted on shallow rock and clay in 2010. At Broken Stone the summers are hot and droughty. In contrast, By Chadsey’s Cairns vineyards were planted twenty years ago on a vigorous rootstock in deep sandy soils. It is only 500 meters from Lake Ontario, so the summer temperatures are moderated by cool breezes and the occasional shower off the lake.
We use the vertical shoot positioning system with 9 x 4 foot spacing and tie up 4 canes per plant. This may seem like a lot of buds in the trellis, but the extra shoots provide a sink for vigour, and several are buds lost or damaged when we bury the vines under soil in the winter. A key component of our nutrition and spray program is a compost tea, which has repellent effects on leaf hoppers and fungal disease as well as providing nourishment. Before Veraison, we strip the leaf zone to expose the Chardonnay grapes to the sun and wind, preventing disease and enhancing ripeness. The leaf-pulling is done manually both by humans and by our small flock of hungry Babydoll sheep. The fruit turns golden and the brix approaches 21.5 around October 1. We carefully hand harvest into 15 kg lugs, crush, press, and ferment the wine. Part of our ferment is in 1–3-year-old oak barrels and a portion is in stainless steel. After 8 months ageing, we blend a portion of the steel fermented wine with the wood fermented wine to produce our premium County Grown Chardonnay. The remainder goes into our popular unoaked Chardonnay Sans Chêne.
We believe great wine is made in the vineyard, so we spare no effort in caring for our vines.
Our winemaking delivers bright, pristine, mineral-driven Chardonnay with just a nod to oak and malolactic fermentation.
Following in his grandfather’s footsteps as a sixth-generation winemaker, Fabian Reis established the Ferox brand to produce wines that are distinct and elegant, combining knowledge, innovation and tradition. With superior quality that begins in our sustainable vineyards and follows through to the bottle, we began in 2015 with the production of 3 barrels of our Merlot-Cabernet. As we push the boundaries of innovation, a commitment to producing clean and complex wine endures.
In 2018 the Reis family purchased Rancourt Winery in Niagara on the Lake. An established vineyard with some of Niagara’s oldest vines, Ferox took a giant leap forward as 2019 marked the first year in which all our wines were estate grown and produced; an integral piece of the Ferox philosophy. We believe excellent wines begin in the vineyard, which led to another key milestone in 2021, where we were certified sustainable in both vineyard management and wine production.
The future holds great excitement for the team at Ferox, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ferox will continue on its mission to produce wines of the highest quality, establishing a name for itself, and for the Niagara wine region with international renown.
Fabian Reis was born into a traditional vintner family in Stuttgart, Germany. He is the sixth-generation winemaker and his family winemaking background dates back to 1893. He moved to Niagara on the Lake, Canada in 1995. He returned to Germany for over 5 years to study his winemaking roots from 2006-2011 and attended one of Germany’s prestigious winemaking schools, working alongside wineries that are ranked Europe’s best.
Since returning to Niagara, Fabian decided to take a chance and leave the shadows of his long-established winemaking customs and set forth to produce his own style of wines alongside sommelier wife Stephanie. These premium wines will fiercely push the wine industry boundaries to the next level with wine quality and vineyard practices.
The vineyards of Ferox Estate Winery are located for the most part in the Niagara Lakeshore Appellation, with an altitude around 80 meters and a latitude of 43.2 N. The environmental feature that most characterizes our “cool” microclimate is certainly the proximity to a large body of water; Lake Ontario.
The cool breezes and the morning fog contribute to lower the temperatures in the hot summer days, and release the heat accumulated during the warm summer in the much cooler fall days. This effect modulates the ripening process over the growing season, granting protection from drastic changes in temperature, and spring frost, slowing down ripening and retaining acidity. These levels of natural acidity, contribute to the complexity, and longevity of the wines.
The sandy soils of the property create the perfect conditions for the growth of low cropped and naturally highly concentrated grapes of extremely high quality. This, combined with meticulous farming and precise harvest dates results in wines that are elegant and sophisticated, with citrus, lemon and green apple characteristics.
At Ferox, Chardonnays are made in several different styles. Our Chardonnay is either picked by hand or by machine after several passes of bunch thinning, to ensure that only healthy clusters are harvested. In the cellar, Chardonnay is gently pressed and immediately the juice is separated according to quality and phenolic composition. After a slow cold settling, the must is racked, inoculated with selected yeasts and fermented at cool temperatures to maintain freshness and fruitiness. The wines are then aged in vessels of different material, the aging process may include a period spent in French oak barrels. Typically, because of the high total acidity resulting from our early picking dates, all of the Chardonnays at Ferox go through malolactic conversion.
This process, together with extended lees contact and battonage, softens the wines, adds complexity and enriches the texture.
Low-intervention wines since 2008. We focus on cool climate varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. At the 44th parallel, Redtail Vineyards is a quintessential Cool Climate winery. While in the past we have sourced grapes from both the County and Niagara, our newly planted 25 acres of grapes will become our main source of grapes in the near future.
Kevin Panagapka moved from his hometown in Guelph, to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2002 to attend the Winery and Viticulture program at Niagara College. For the past 19 years, Kevin has worked at a variety of wineries in Niagara, as well as working a vintage in New Zealand. In 2007, Kevin and his wife Jodie started 2027 Cellars, producing single vineyard, terroir driven wines from various sites in the Niagara Peninsula. Around that time, Kevin also started his consulting business, consulting for various wineries in the Niagara region.
In 2022, Kevin joined the Redtail Vineyards team, as head winemaker. He is excited to work alongside their viticultural team to produce some world class wines from Prince Edward County.