Pinot Gris – Our County Romance Continues

How cool is it to plant a new vineyard in a previously untouched site? On May 31, 2016 we did just that. 8392 Pinot Gris vines were placed into the ground in the new Ridge Vineyard. We get up close with winemaker Keith Tyers to get the details.

Why Pinot Gris?

It’s a beautiful, versatile varietal; food friendly and aromatic, with good weight and fatness to it. I’ve grown Pinot Gris successfully in other areas of the County and I liked the way the grape performed. I know the land at Closson Chase and I’m confident it will produce a great Pinot Gris.

What did you plant?

We selected a native French varietal, Root Stock 3309 for its proven performance in our climate and suitability for high-density plantings. An equal percentage of Clone 52 and 53 is planted in the field.

A native grape shoot (a scion) was grafted onto the French rootstock in Niagara. The callus that formed between the two was covered in grafting wax to provide added mechanical strength and protection from disease and drying out. The plants spent 1 year in a Niagara nursery before being set out in our fields.

Where is the new vineyard? Size?

The Ridge Vineyard is located on Closson Road south of Chase Road. 5 acres of plantable land was available to us. The vineyard is close to the processing area and easily accessible.

Pinot Gris planting Keith Tyers inspects new vineyard Newly planted Pinot Gris grape vine Newly planted Ridge Vineyard

 

What style wine will you be making?

Our plan is to do a cool ferment. I want to capture the opulence of the grape and maintain a balance; keep the fruit flavors and the aromatics. With a late hang there may be potential for a desert wine. Alsace is an inspiration to me as some of the soil structure is similar and I like the style wine they produce.

Who did the planting?

The planting was done by James Wiens Co. using a GPS enabled precision farming technique. We went this route because of time, efficiency and accuracy. From start to finish it took 9 hours to get the grapes into the ground. In 2004 we hand planted 5000 vines and it took 6 people 5 days.

1 year old dormant Pinot Gris vines Vines ready to plant Vines being loaded

 

When will the first vintage be available?

The target date for the first vintage is 2019.

Anything else to add?

For me wine is part of the table. It is an accompaniment to a meal. By producing a Pinot Gris we are extending our tableau. We now have something for every course.