Flat Rock Cellars
We are here at Flat Rock Cellars for two reasons. First, we’re here to make great wine. Second, we’re here to offer you a truly personal wine experience. Everything we do comes from these two basic principles. We start in the vineyard with low yields, progressive viticulture practices and hand picking and sorting the grapes. We continue inside the winery with a sexy gravity-flow design and the latest in wine-making equipment from around the world. But that’s just the tip of it. You see, it’s no fun for us if you aren’t enjoying yourself. So you’ll find an infectious sense of fun and lack of pretension at Flat Rock. We love what we do and we want to share that sense of wonder about the mysteries of the vine. From the tasting bar to our wine education programs – it’s all about getting you involved. Founded in 1999 on a spectacular piece of the Niagara Escarpment known as the Jordan Bench – Flat Rock Cellars is perched on a gently rolling slope studded with vines. The winery building is a quirky, glass-encased, hexagonal masterpiece that‘s distinctive and fun. From here you can enjoy our crowning glory, the breathtaking views of the Peninsula and across Lake Ontario to Toronto. Look closely at our logo and you’ll see the image of a woman holding a basket of grapes. To us, she is the embodiment of winemaking. Our predominant colour is red not only because it is the colour of wine, but also of passion; and we are nothing if not passionate about winemaking! The rocks that are the geological foundation of the winery and are found throughout the property are the roots of our Flat Rock Cellars name.
Located in Jordan Bench, Ontario.
- Flat Rock Cellars mantra: make great wine, make great experiences.
- Meeting / Conference Facilities:
- Wedding Facilities:
- Picnic Facilities:
- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
- Art or Architecture:
- Organic / Biodynamic:
- Wine Club:
- Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:
It was a glass of Canadian Pinot Noir in 2002 that sparked Jay’s passion for wine. Growing up in Quebec, wine was always a part of family meals so it was natural to leave city life behind in 2003 and head to Niagara for an authentic wine education.
As a ‘second career’ student in the Niagara College Viticulture & Winemaking program, Jay knew that you get out what you put in. So, endless hours of reading, learning, tasting and talking with wine professionals in Niagara helped him pick up jobs in the cellars and vineyards of some of the most respected producers in the region. And always with a taste for freshness, vibrancy and purity of our cool-climate varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sparkling.
Through a chance meeting with Ed in August 2012, Jay quickly realized that Flat Rock Cellars was the place to be and was happy to join the team for Harvest 2012, taking the Winemaking reins (Jay prefers the term ‘Wine & Vine Caregiver’) at Flat Rock Cellars.
Careful if you get involved in a discussion with Jay about terroir, English football and the potential our vineyard provides to craft world-class wines, as Jay is sure to talk your ear off. But more likely you'll share a glass of something special and solve some of the world's problems at the same time.
Flat Rock Cellars is solely owned and operated by its founder - Ed Madronich. Born and raised in the area, the winery is the fulfillment of a dream shared by his father and son. In 1954, his father applied for a winery license, but was denied. More recently his son, also Ed Madronich, established his career in the wine business and shared the passion for wine. Combined, father and son have worked together to create Flat Rock Cellars.
Ed Jr.Ed Madronich – President
Ed credits a summer in France and exposure to a few choice bottles of wine for his passion. Since that first foray into the vines, he knew that he wanted to make great wines. Running Inniskillin for several years helped him to define his approach to wine: one that both reflects and challenges conventional wisdom.
His easy hospitality and devilish sense of humor is juxtaposed with a more serious sensibility when making wine. Ed believes that the Twenty Valley has the potential to produce some of the best wines in the world. He also is firm in his conviction that Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling are the ideal grapes for Flat Rock’s vineyards. Using estate grown grapes and the most advanced wine making techniques, Ed and his team work tirelessly to produce wines that reflect the soils and climate from which they originate.
His passion is infectious, and his determination to share the mysteries of the vine is a bonus for the rest of us. The big question is will his passion rub off on the future wine lovers he goes home to, Madeleine and Samson? How could it not!
JenniferJennifer Hart – Wine Fanatic (aka Sales & Marketing Manager)
Jennifer always wanted to Rock! That is why she worked in the music industry for so many years and why it seemed natural to make the transition to Flat Rock Cellars. Jennifer has long been a wine enthusiast with a soft spot for Ontario wine and through her studies and regular visits fell in love with the Niagara Escarpment. So much so that she bought a property in Vineland with the mind to make the dream move. Finally after a few years of dabbling on the periphery of the Ontario Wine Biz for she left the bright lights of Toronto behind and joined the FRC team. (Maybe not so far behind since we do have an incredible view of Toronto -and its bright lights - from across the lake!)
Jennifer brings her zest for learning, her love of wine and extensive marketing and sales experience to her new role as sales and marketing manager. Among her many responsibilities here at Flat Rock is to oversee the Club on the Rock. Jen works hard to make our valued wine-club members feel like they are a piece of the Rock. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can even find that she has emerged from her office and is (wine) geeking-out over a new piece of equipment or some happening in the vineyard. If you encounter her, she will surely smile warmly and welcome you to the Rock!
Tracey - 2Tracey de Loryn - The Wrangler (aka Logistics Coordinator)
A business graduate from Saint Francis Xavier University and a native of the East Coast, Tracey boarded a plane and headed to Tokyo, Japan upon graduation. It was her new home for the next four years and it was here that she met her Australian husband, Levi. The duo moved to Adelaide, Australia while Levi completed his Master's in Oenology and it didn't take long for Tracey to convert to a stage three wine geek.
After spending over two years in Australia, the couple ventured to Marlborough, New Zealand where Tracey finally experienced her first "hands on" harvest in the cellar of Wither Hills. And here...it didn't take long for her to realize that while she did love wine, the "hands on" labour of love was not kind of love she was looking for. A changed role at Wither Hills allowed her to get back to what she's best at: helping customers in her friendly fashion, keeping the team organized and tasting, not making, the wine.
After living internationally for over seven years, Tracey and her husband decided the wine region of Niagara was a good place to call home. Tracey joined our team in the fall of 2010 and now heads the logistical side of Flat Rock Cellars.
DeannaDeanna Wolske - Lead Roadie (aka Retail Supervisor + Event Coordinator)
A native of the Niagara Region, Deanna's bright smile greets you at our Cellar Door. Discovering her passion for wine while working as a tour guide in Niagara-on-the-Lake; she has the gift of gab and is happy to share some of Flat Rock's secrets over a glass of Riesling, Chard or Pinot.
With extensive Sales and Retail experience (stemming from co-owning Butterflies Boutique in Fonthill for 12-years with her mom), she can help you pick out the perfect gift or match wine for your special event.
Deanna loves the outdoors and looks for any excuse to get out in the vineyard; so be sure to ask her for a tour upon your arrival. Scaling mountains has become a favourite pastime of Deanna's in years of late; be sure to ask her about her trek up BC's Castle Mountain. In the words of the great Diana Ross, there "ain't no mountain high enough" to keep Deanna from giving you a great experience.
Practices & Techniques
Here’s what happens: The handpicked grapes come into the winery in small 20-kilogram baskets. The grapes are then hand sorted and placed on a conveyor belt that deposits them into the de-stemmer crusher. From there, the grapes fall directly into state-of-the-art 4.5 tonne temperature controlled stainless steel fermenters.
The juice and skins are hand-plunged every six hours to extract maximum colour and tannin without over-extracting bitter character. Post fermentation, the wine is run directly to the lower level barrel cellar where is aged in 100% French oak barrels and awaits malolactic fermentation in the spring. After all the babying our wines receive, by the time it’s bottled, you can count on a great bottle of wine!
Our success comes from the land – the soil, our location in Niagara and our unique climate. Preserving this inherited eco-system is a responsibility that Flat Rock Cellars doesn’t take lightly. To ensure a sustainable environment we have incorporated many environmentally responsible technologies:
Geo-thermal systems for all heating and cooling within the winery
Environmentally sensitive waste management systems
The use of ozone technology to clean barrels and tanks resulting in the use of no chemicals and only water run off.
Low impact viticulture strategies to manage our vineyards
Gravity flow to reduce the energy required to transport wine through the winemaking process.
Landscaping that complements and reflects our natural surroundings and also helps us to manage the vineyards.
Underground barrel cellar offering natural temperature and humidity control.
Plenty of natural lighting to reduce energy costs.
These efforts help Flat Rock Cellars to protect the delicate eco-systems contained within our property and the surrounding community.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
Flat Rock Cellars’ vineyards are comprised of 80 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, with a small patch of Gewurztraminer for good measure. We chose these varieties as an integral part of our overall winemaking strategy, because they are best suited to cooler climate of the Niagara Peninsula and more specifically the Twenty Mile Bench.
One of the fundamental principles in quality winemaking is the ability to control and ensure low yields in the vineyard. At Flat Rock Cellars all of our grapes are cropped at extremely low levels to ensure fruit quality and intensity of varietal character; our winemaker and vineyard manager direct every step of the process. In full production we can expect that Flat Rock will produce a maximum of 15,000 cases – which was reached in 2008.