Ice wine, produced in every Canadian winegrowing region, has been internationally renowned for its consistent quality since the early 1990s. Table and sparkling wines, however, are somewhat undiscovered. Importing wines from five VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) Ontario wineries, Esber Beverage Company, a Canton-based wine and beer distributor, brings the discovery to Ohio. Laboratory testing, vineyard verification (100 percent Ontario grapes) and independent expert tasting guarantee that these wineries adhere to specific winemaking standards.
Location, Location, Location
The Niagara region shares the same latitude as northern Italy, France and yes … Ohio. This growing region provides variations in daily temperatures throughout the season to produce wines with balanced acidity, moderate alcohol and varietal expression. Over time, glacial events created deposits of sand, gravel and clay over limestone bedrock. This “stacking” creates the ideal environment for grapevine roots – efficient water drainage, minerals and nutrients. “The vineyards have the technology built in,” says Daniel Speck, Senior Vice President of Sales at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.
Meet the Wineries
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery
Founded by the Speck family in 1988, Henry of Pelham marks its 30th anniversary this year. Brother Paul Speck runs the business end, Daniel handles sales and Matt is in charge of vineyard management. All work together to craft their diverse portfolio of still and sparkling wine.
13th Street Winery
Celebrating 20 years of winemaking, current owners John and June Mann and Doug and Karen Whitty have created a bucolic setting complete with an art collection in the vineyard and tasting room. If you love sparkling wine, the Premier Cuvee stands toe-to-toe with Champagne.
Spectacular views await at this 120-acre site situated high atop the Niagara region. Because every year is different, Megalomaniac strives to express “a sense of place”. Vineyard management and winemaking are uniquely approached each year, specific to what the growing season delivers.
Lakeview Wine Co.
Considered “the house of brands,” Lakeview Wine Co.’s new retail and tasting center opened in May 2017. Grapes are sourced from over 25 winegrowing families throughout the Niagara Peninsula. Fun fact: Lakeview has partnered with Dan Aykroyd to produce four wines.
Ziraldo Estate Winery
A true ambassador for Ontario wines, Donald Ziraldo exemplifies the spirit of camaraderie and achievement. In 1975, Mr. Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser (then owners of Inniskillin Wines) applied for, and received, the first winery license granted in 50 years. Today Mr. Ziraldo and wife, Victoria, grow and produce award-winning ice wine – also known as “liquid gold.”