Colaneri Estate Winery.
One of Ontario’s next wave of wineries, they came on the scene in 2010; but the family’s history in the wine world goes back a little further than that. Their vineyard has actually been in the family since 1980, when it was purchased by family members Joseph and Maria and their two sons Mike and Nick … They grew grapes for about 9 years then pulled out the vines and allowed the land to lay fallow for the next 15 years. By approximately 2004 the decision to plant the vineyard became not only a dream, but a reality. The winery building itself was started in 2008 and was completed by 2010, and then opened its doors to the public.
The property is 40 acres in size with 25 of those acres under vine and is home to an even number of red and white varieties (5 each): Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for the reds; Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Vidal and Riesling for their whites.
Most wineries that open their doors today specialize in certain varieties – most popular are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – but Colaneri is different: “The winery specializes in a style more than a particular varietal. Bold, full-bodied whites and reds that are achieved through the Appassimento-style. In order to do this, all our grapes are hand-harvested into crates, in one layer, and dehydrated in a drying facility before processing them. This concentration is what results in the fuller flavor and intense body in our whites and reds.” Says Chris Colaneri, describing what sets the winery apart from others. “We make a lot of our wines in [this] style and the result are wines that are completely unique from each other”.
In truth, there are only a handful of wineries in Niagara (and Ontario) where wine style is their defining characteristic and not the grape variety. Although, you could argue that every winery / winemaker has his own style, this is a debate for another time; here we are talking about stylized wines instead of pure “terroir-driven” wines.
Chris waxes poetic when talking about the bright future ahead for both the winery and the Ontario industry as a whole. “We hope to continue making full-bodied wines that our ancestors and the region can be proud of, while also trying to further build the industry as a whole. We also hope to provide more entertaining and enjoyable experiences for all our guests to enjoy. The reputation of the industry [and region] is certainly trending up, as visitors are seeking better and better wines with each passing year. The view of Ontario wines has shifted dramatically and, coupled with great experiences, growth is the only thing we should see here.”
For such a “young winery” (now in their 12th year) it’s funny to talk about (or even ask about) the changes they have seen within the industry over such a short time, but Chris can point to a few things he has noticed over just this little-over-a-decade in the business. “We have certainly seen an increase in visitors to the region, as well as a substantial desire for producers to produce better and more complex wines. You can certainly see more pride for the wines that are made here and not only from wineries, but from visitors as well.”
One of the most important things any new winery needs to have is respect for what has come before them, as well as what lays ahead. Colaneri definitely has that. “As we are a smaller winery, we are especially thankful for the small producers that take pride in the wines they create to benefit the reputation of the industry. They all bring something unique and special to the industry that we can all build off of.”
In typical winery fashion Chris and his family cannot pick a favorite wine of their own – or one they like to drink – but they do know the characteristics they are looking for: “a wine that is balanced and full flavored … The benefit [of that approach to drinking wine] is we don’t have to choose just one.” The good part about Colaneri is they produce wines they like; in the style they like – let your palate be your guide when tasting wines at Colaneri.
Most popular wines according to the winery…
Corposo (all-purpose red blend)
Cavallione (Pinot Grigio)
Coraggioso Amaroso (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Culinary can be physically found at:
348 Concession 6 Road
And on social media channels:
Facebook – Colaneri Estate Winery
Instagram – @colaneriestatewinery
Twitter – @ColaneriWinery
Michael Pinkus is a multi-award-winning journalist as well as national and international wine judge. He is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in numerous publication both in Canada and internationally. He is also the sole writer for his eponymous website MichaelPinkusWineReview.com (formerly OntarioWineReview.com), and past-President of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada (2010-2015).
You can also follow him two ways on Facebook: (Michael Pinkus