Pillitteri Estates Winery

Pillitteri Estates Winery Tour- Barrel Cellar

About

Since arriving in Niagara on the Lake, Canada in 1948, the Pillitteri family has been committed to creating a legacy for generations to follow. Now, over six decades later, Pillitteri Estates Winery proudly continues a family tradition of viticulture and winemaking excellence. With three generations actively involved with our winery’s operations, we can truly say that each bottle of wine we make is a product of our family’s passion. We are proud to be able to share the fruits of our labour with wine enthusiasts around the world, and consider each person that enjoys a glass of Pillitteri wine to be a part of our family.

Location Description

Located in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake in the heart of Ontario’s Wine Region.

Contact

Fax: (905) 468-0389

Features

  • The world’s largest estate producer of Icewine.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Winemaker

Aleksandar joined the Pillitteri team at the beginning of the 2010 harvest and brings with him over 15 years of experience and expertise in wine making. Previously, he has worked with Vincor Canada as a VQA Winemaker since June 2004 and previous to that with Hillebrand Winery as a Winemaker and Lab and Cellar Technician commencing in 1996. Aleksandar received his Bachelor of Science at the University of Zagreb, Croatia and his Honours Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at Brock University. Aleksandar’s proficiency in HACCP and his ISO program knowledge is also valuable for Pillitteri to continue with the production of secure and quality VQA wine making.

“It's about family, teamwork and ultimately making award-winning wines and Icewines that can be enjoyed by everyone. I feel proud to craft wines that are shared and appreciated throughout the world. Cheers”

Recognition:

2015 Intervin, Canada
Top 5 Wineries of the Year

2015 Citadelles du Vin, France
Special Canada Prize and Gold - 2013 Reserve Vidal Icewine

2015 Decanter, UK
Gold - 2013 Reserve Riesling Icewine

2015 Ontario Wine Awards, Canada
Red Wine of the Year and Gold - 2010 Riserva Famiglia Cabernet Franc

2014 Decanter, United Kingdom
Regional Trophy and Gold (Canada, Sweet Under £15) - 2012 Vidal Reserve Icewine

2013 Ontario Wine Awards, Canada
Red Wine of the Year and Gold - 2010 Exclamation Cabernet Franc

History

The story of Pillitteri Estates Winery begins generations ago in the heart of old world Sicily. Grape growing was the way of life for the Pillitteri family in Raccalmuto. Growing up on the family farm, Gary was soon responsible for helping his father and grandfather with the harvest and the tending of the vines.

In 1948, Gary, at the age of 12, and his father, set off to establish a new life for the family in Canada. They settled in the Niagara area and shortly thereafter were joined by the rest of the family.

In the summer of 1957, Gary was introduced to Lena Agro, a young girl whose family was from the same town in Sicily as the Pillitteri family. On June 18 of 1960, Gary and Lena were married. Their family soon flourished. They welcomed their first born, Connie, on September 23, 1961. They welcomed their second child, Lucy, on February 23, 1963 and they welcomed their third child, Charles, on August 2, 1964.

On December 15, 1965 Gary and Lena Pillitteri settled in Niagara on the Lake to raise their family. They purchased a small fruit farm on Niagara Stone Road. The land was planted to tender fruit (peaches, cherries, pears, plums, prunes, apples, and grapes) and vegetables and in 1973 they opened Gary’s Fruit Market (which actually still operates today in the east wing of the winery).

The Team

For Gary Pillitteri, the opening of Pillitteri Estates Winery in June of 1993 was the culmination of a lifetime dream. Since arriving in Canada from his native Sicily in 1948, and through many years as a grape grower in Niagara and amateur winemaker, his goal had been to open his own winery.

The turning point took place five years earlier when Gary won a gold medal for his Icewine in Niagara's amateur wine competition. He knew then that he could make his dream come true. But he had been thinking about early retirement and could only build a professional and high-quality winery with the expertise and full commitment of his family.

Pillitteri Estates Winery is truly a family enterprise: Gary's son Charles is C.E.O. President of Sales, daughter Connie is C.F.O President of Operations, daughter Lucy is C.M.O. President of Marketing, son-in-law Jamie Slingerland is Director of Viticulture and grandson Richard is the Business Development Manager.

The grapes are harvested primarily from the family's vineyards of just over 100 acres, planted with vitis vinifera and French Hybrid grape varieties. Every member of the Pillitteri family has worked on the farm and at the winery. Today the 5th generation family members, Gary and Lena’s grandchildren work the retail store and assist with regular vineyard maintenance during the summers while they are not in school.

Practices & Techniques

Alex has instituted an austere and meticulous policy for monitoring and classifying wine produced at Pillitteri. In combination with his talents to sample and blend wine, Alex and his team utilized a set of strict criteria to classify wines to designations. Alex and his team adhere to these criteria based on three key influencers of wine quality. The key criteria consists of; the growth of the grape in the vineyard, the pressing and fermentation of the wine in the press house and the ageing and blending of the wine in the cellar.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Niagara Peninsula is Ontario’s largest wine producing region.

The Niagara Peninsula spans approximately 13,600 acres (5440 hectares) nestled in the centre of the world’s wine belt between 41° and 44° North, and has ideal conditions for cool climate wine making.

Primary grape varietals: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Vidal

Terroir:

With a similar latitude to Burgundy, France, Ontario’s warm summer days and cool nights, coupled with the unique sandy, rocky soil, are perfect conditions for growing grapes.

The Climate:

The climate in the Niagara region is considered quite moderate in comparison to the rest of Canada and is classified as continental-maritime. Moderating effects are from the proximity to Lake Ontario, which never freezes in the winter. The lake effect warms the surrounding area, raising winter temperatures and extending the growing season.

The Topography:

The topography for most of Niagara-on-the-Lake is classified as lakeshore plains with long, gentle slopes and open areas for generous sunlight exposure. To the south of the region lies the Niagara Escarpment and to the north, Lake Ontario. This area experiences high average temperatures in the summer months, and warmer spring and fall days due to warm breezes off the lake.

The Soil:

The soil in Niagara-on-the-Lake consists mostly of a clay loam mixture overtop Red Shale and Limestone
Bedrock. There are variances in the moisture holding abilities of the soil due to the silt content. Generally, the soil drains well as the land slopes gently towards the lake.

Awards

Pillitteri Estates Winery has won over 800 wine awards from both local and international competitions. Many of our most prestigious awards are on display in our gallery at the entrance to the winery. In addition to wine awards the winery has received high praise from wine writers the world over. We are extremely proud of all the recognition we receive as it is a testament to our winemaking philosophy and our vision for the continued growth of the Ontario wine industry.

In addition to wine awards we have received industry and government recognition which we are equally proud of.

2015 Intervin, Canada
Top 5 Wineries of the Year

2015 Citadelles du Vin, France
Special Canada Prize and Gold - 2013 Reserve Vidal Icewine

2015 Decanter, UK
Gold - 2013 Reserve Riesling Icewine

2015 Ontario Wine Awards, Canada
Red Wine of the Year and Gold - 2010 Riserva Famiglia Cabernet Franc

2014 Decanter, United Kingdom
Regional Trophy and Gold (Canada, Sweet Under £15) - 2012 Vidal Reserve Icewine

2013 Ontario Wine Awards, Canada
Red Wine of the Year and Gold - 2010 Exclamation Cabernet Franc

2015 China Wine and Spirits Awards
Icewine of the Year and Double Gold - 2013 Glacial Queen Vidal Icewine

2015 Japan Wine Challenge
Best Dessert Wine and Best Canadian Wine Trophies - 2013 Vita Vidal Icewine

2015 Citadelles du Vin, France
Gold - 2012 Exclamation Cellar Series Reserve Cabernet Franc

2015 Korea Wine Challenge
Best Sweet Wine Trophy - 2012 Reserve Riesling Icewine

2014 Korea Wine Challenge
Best Sweet Wine Trophy - 2011 Reserve Vidal Icewine

2014 Citadelles du Vin, France
Gold - Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine

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Hours

Mon - Sun: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Address

1696 Niagara Stone Road
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Canada

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