Reif Estate Winery
As one of the pioneering wineries in Niagara, Reif has a long history of both grape growing and wine making – but the family goes back even further in its original country of Germany.
Reif was established as a winery in 1982 … Original vineyard owner, Ewald Reif, had been growing “premium vinifera grapes” for just 5 years before he “joined forces with his nephew Klaus W. Reif – a recent graduate of the Geisenheim Institute for winemaking (in Germany).” Klaus was the 13th generation of winemakers in his family – and it only made sense that he would go into the family business – that it was in Canada was probably the only shock.
When the Reif’s opened the winery, wineries were just a mere cottage industry in Niagara, “with only a handful of wineries producing wine from premium grape varietals”. Today, “our industry has blossomed with over 150 wineries in the province” says Andrea Kaiser, Director of Marketing … She is quoting the number from the ‘official winery map’. In actual fact, that number is in excess of 300, if you take into account fruit wineries and those not officially recognized in the Wine Country Ontario map.
Reif Estate is comprised of 125 acres, with some vines dating back to 1981 – and while Klaus has continued to make the wine since the very beginning, his right-hand man for over 25 years has been Roberto DiDomenico – making them, quite possibly, the longest running wine making duo in the province. That relationship has made them simpatico in their likes for what their vines can do – as they both take great pride in one of the more difficult grapes to grow in Niagara: Cabernet Sauvignon. As for those old vines previously mentioned, they go into a very special bottling – created only during really special vintages – known as their First Growth Collection, which are labeled with a very sophisticated and elegant black label.
While the look back is nice, the look ahead is what Reif is most excited about; and while Co-Vid has brought difficult times to the wine industry, they are feeling very optimistic about the future: “Growing online sales channels and enjoying the support of consumers seeking local wines and [looking forward] to seeing visitations resuming to normal by the end of 2021.” Our collective fingers are crossed for that.
The best sellers according to the winery …
Reif can be found at:
15608 Niagara Parkway
And on various social media channels…
Facebook – Reif Estate Winery
Instagram – @reifestatewinery
Twitter – @Reifwinery
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).
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