13th Street Winery
St. Catharine’s, Ontario
Vaughan - December 27th, 2022 - What better way to reminisce on the year than to highlight Ontario’s #1 Winery at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada! I visited the winery in early January 2022, and promised myself that I would return for another visit soon because I absolutely loved the experience. Add it to the goal list for 2023!
As you enter the grounds of 13th Street Winery from Fourth Street, you become enveloped by the large, gorgeously curated landscape. At the time of my visit, the ground was white and the vines were bare, but the atmosphere created by the stunning art pieces made up for this. The sculptures and artwork are all a part of the 13th Street Gallery. And to think, all this before you even get to the wine!
After exploring the exterior, you can enter the beautiful, modern building where you are welcomed by the Gift Shop, offering their jams and jellies made from Niagara produce, culinary items, giftware, and artisanal cheeses. The shop is also home to the 13th Street Bakery where they service their famous butter tarts and fresh baked goods. Rumor has it that they also has an outdoor Bistro open seasonally for lunch!
After my friends and I explored the shop, we moved to the contemporary tasting bar to enjoy a guided tasting of their wines. 13th Street Winery creates exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara, specializing in hand-crafted sparkling wines, Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. The tasting was perfectly curated and led by one of their knowledgeable staff members, who taught us that it wasn’t quite the right temperature outdoors for varietals higher in sugar. Therefore, we tasted some delicious and bold wines - two of which I took home with me!
13th Street Winery, founded in 1998, and will celebrated over twenty-five years of winemaking in Niagara in 2023! Originally started by four amateur winemaker friends, the winery was purchased in 2008 by the current owners: John & June Mann and Doug & Karen Whitty. Both families have deep roots in the Niagara community. 13th Street Winery evolved from a desire to create exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara, while also providing a place for guests to congregate and escape; to relax and discover; and to experience and learn.
The Whitty family has been farming fruit in Niagara for well over 100 years. Each new generation employs a sustainable and minimal interventionist approach to viticulture, respecting the life of the land and ensuring it stays healthy and happy for future generations to come. Each of their vineyards are trained using vertical shoot positioning and yields are kept low to ensure the vines’ energy is directed to the ideal number of bunches. They handpick and field sort their grapes to maintain much better control of the quality. They employ shaker and sorting tables to further ensure the soundness of the fruit used for wine production. In select vintages, they even purchase limited quantities of grapes from other respected Niagara growers who maintain the same high standards and show the same respect for their vineyards.
And how can I go on without mentioning the winemaker. Jean Pierre Colas is one of the most talented French trained winemakers in the business. His winemaking philosophy is quite simple. To read more about it, visit their website!
Needless to say, a visit to 13th Street Winery is a no-brainer.