If you haven't been to Niagara wine country or in the past five years now is the time. There are more wineries than ever, quality has consistently improved and with Brock's CCOVI and Niagara College's Viticulture and Technology program now in their fifteenth year and eleventh year respectively, the pool of highly-educated local talent has never been stronger. With that in mind we brought a small group of some of the younger members of Niagara's wine industry around a table for a candid conversation.
We talked about what got them interested in making wine, some of the important lessons they've learned, some of the challenges Niagara wine faces and where they see the industry going in the next few years. This is the first of a series of podcasts we're planning for 30 Days of Local Wine this year. After all, the best ways to find out about the current state of local wines and where they might be going is to have a conversation with the passionate people behind them.
Below is a brief bio of the participants. Feel free to continue the conversation with them and us on Twitter using the #30DaysONwine hash tag.
Good Earth Vineyard and Winery
Andréa is a born and bread native of Niagara with grape growing in her blood—her family's farm has been growing grapes in the region for many years. The graduate of Niagara College's Winery and Viticulture Technology program has harvest experience in Niagara, Argentina and California. Andréa's knowledge and passion for wine, craft beer and good food is only exceed by her quick wit.
Ravine Vineyards Estate Winery
Shauna grew-up in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley and always felt at home amongst the vines on her grandparents' vineyard now turned winery Sperling Vineyards. White came to Ontario to pursue that passion and attend Niagara College's Winery and Viticulture Technology program. After graduating she gained harvest experience in Niagara, Australia, Chablis, New Zealand and Oregon. White is the associate winemaker who alongside consulting winemaker Peter Gamble, crafts the wines at the celebrated Ravine Vineyards.
Peller Estates Winery
If there's one word to sum-up Lawrence Buhler it's humble. After graduating from Brock University's CCOVI program in 2002 Buhler joined Peller Estates as assistant winemaker in 2003. He quickly worked his way to the head winemaking position two years later. The award-winning winemaker firmly believes good wine is made in the vineyard and is passionate about Niagara's ability to grow world class wine.
Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery
You'll mostly likely find Will Roman tending to the vines at his family's estate winery where he'll happily explain to anyone who inquires exactly what he's doing to get the best grapes from the vines. The recent Niagara College Winery and Viticulture Technology program graduate has harvest experience in Niagara and BC's Okanagan Valley. As a third generation beekeeper Roman is equally passionate about the mead and honey Rosewood also produces.
Written by Mike Di Caro
Michael Di Caro covers all things vinous at Spotlight. His lover affair with Ontario wine began over a decade ago and he’s been in front of tasting bars trying to sweet talk staff into pouring a taste of a library wine or the latest unreleased bottle ever since. Since good wine can’t be made without great grapes, you can also catch him amongst the vines trying to persuade the winemaker into revealing his/her next big thing for you on Spotlight. His epicurean tendencies don’t just stop in the glass either. During the rest of his free time you can find him searching for the perfect bowl of Dan Dan noodles, exploring the city’s best tasting menus or baking cookies and mucking about in the kitchen.