Twelve Important “New” Canadian Wineries 2023

Nationally acclaimed wine critic, writer and Co-founder of Wine Align, David Lawrason has penned an article in the November edition of Canadian Wine Insider called” Twelve Important “New” Canadian Wineries 2023.

He notes 7 from British Columbia, 1 from Quebec and 4 from Ontario.  From Ontario, 3 are in the Niagara Region including Dobbin, King+Vic, and Kirby Estate.  We are honoured to be included in this group of exciting new wineries and invite you to read more below and at this link

Twelve Important “New” Canadian Wineries 2023

By David Lawrason

It’s difficult to define “new” when it comes to wineries. When were they conceived? When were they licenced, when were they planted, or what was the first vintage? When did tasting rooms open? When did the new owners take over? So, for this exercise, I take a more personal view — and pick wineries that were new to me in 2023.

I became aware of many at the 2023 National Wine Awards of Canada in June, where I took photos of every label I hadn’t seen before. There were 27, from four provinces, signifying terrific new energy and optimism for Canadian wine. But I also became aware of others later who did not enter the NWACs, in subsequent visits in Ontario, Quebec and B.C.

I am highlighting those that are important for their quality aspiration and their expression of their sense of place, which together promote a higher goal of defining and promoting Canadian wine. I have visited all of these below this year. There may be others equally worthy that I have not yet visited but hope to do so. The field has become so big that one cannot visit all, and new wineries need to reach out. I am listening.

Kirby Estate, Niagara Lakeshore, Ont.

Scott and Maria Kirby purchased an intriguing vineyard in the Niagara Lakeshore sub-appellation in 2017. A classic Niagara-on-the-Lake homestead centres the 10-acre site, with a fruit processing barn/shed now morphing into a winemaking/storage facility. The gemstone is a block of 25-year-old merlot vines, a variety that hates Niagara winters but has persevered here thanks to 2-kilometre proximity to the moderating influence of Lake Ontario. The Kirby’s reached out for consulting assistance, with Peter Gamble and Ann Sperling recognizing the site potential and guiding them forward. They also grow chardonnay and pinot blanc (for still and sparkling), but a flat, lower frost-prone chardonnay block was wiped out in winter 2022 and has been replanted. The sloped edge includes new petit verdot vines this year — such is the faith in this site’s potential to ripen Bordeaux reds. The Kirbys are feeling their way as a commercial operation, and only open by appointment, but I very much like what I tasted among their merlots, and feel it is very important that these vines and wines be preserved as a testament to what Niagara can achieve.