From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.
This week’s Ontario winery:
REIF ESTATE WINERY
Founded in 1982 (vineyard established in 1977)
Owner: Klaus W. Reif
Winemaker: Roberto DiDomenico
How big is the winery?
How many varieties of wine do you produce?
What are your three most popular wines?
Riesling, Cabernet Merlot and Vidal icewine.
Tell us about the winery’s background.
One of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s founding-family wineries, Reif opened in 1982, after founder Ewald Reif planted its vineyards in 1977; the property was later acquired by nephew Klaus W. Reif. Today, the 125-acre site produces a complete range of wines, including a Vidal icewine that’s a perennial medal winner.
Does the winery offer tours?
Tours are offered daily year-round. From April to October the winery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with tours at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., plus additional tours on weekends. November through March the winery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with tours offered on weekends at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Winery tours are $5 per person. No reservation is required.
What other amenities are on site?
The winery boasts one of the most sophisticated, educational tasting-room experiences in Niagara, complete with themed flights, blind tastings, food pairings and a new sensory wine garden. The neighbouring Victorian mansion is a splendid setting for weddings and other catered functions.
Tell us something people typically don’t know or understand about wine production.
Sometimes people forget that wine is a natural product from the farm, which means that all vintages are slightly different; it’s always exciting to find out what each vintage has to offer!
What is one piece of advice you’d offer someone wishing to have a better experience with wine?
They should find a wine they like! Wine can be such an intimidating product and at the end of the day, the best wine is simply the wine you like best.