Reif Estate Winery
Klaus Reif's philosophy that "great wines start in the vineyard" is the cornerstone of the quality and integrity of Reif Estate wines. This belief, partnered with a commitment to produce predominantly estate bottled wines from our 125 acre vineyard, has provided our winemaker Roberto DiDomenico with the tools to produce world renowned wines.
Located in the heart of Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada.
- Producing predominantly estate bottled wines.
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From an early age, Roberto was no stranger to the world of winemaking, as his father had been producing wine for decades. As a small boy, Roberto was always found at his father's side, as winemaker's assistant. Learning everything about home winemaking from his father, he found both success and enjoyment as he excelled as an amateur winemaker.
In 1985, Roberto began his post secondary education at the University of Guelph, where he was accepted into a specialized Honors Microbiology program, focused on fermentation technology. As a student, Roberto accepted an internship position at Reif Estate Winery as a research assistant. During his time at the winery he participated in many research projects that would continue through to his final year of university. After graduating in 1989, he was offered a position as the newest winemaker at Reif Estate Winery.
As a professional winemaker, Roberto decided to visit the wine regions of Italy and France where he established his philosophy of "being true to the grape varietal with minimal intervention, letting the wine make itself". Here, he would find his true passion for reds, later expressed through his 1995 Meritage aptly named Tesoro, translated as 'my treasure'. This wine received both national and international acclaim, leading to a long-term plan to build a tradition of awards of excellence for the red wines at Reif Estate. In 2001, the "First Growth Collection" was first released. The collection debuted with 3 red wines; a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot and a Pinot Noir. These wines were revered by critics and recognized with multiple awards, as they were intended.
After carefully nurturing the land for six years, the potential of these young vineyards became evident when the doors of Reif Estate Winery officially opened in 1983.
In 1987, Klaus W. Reif took over the reins from his uncle Ewald, as the President and Winemaker after graduating from the world famous Geisenheim Institute in Germany with degrees in both Oenology and Viticulture. Having been born into a winemaking family with roots tracing back 12 generations Klaus' future as a winemaker may have been preordained. In 1990, Klaus was joined by Roberto DiDomenico, a graduate of the University of Guelph with a specialized Honours Microbiology degree. Roberto's winemaking philosophy of 'letting nature make wine' married perfectly with Klaus's belief that "...today we are growing wine in the vineyard."
These beliefs, partnered with a commitment to produce predominantly estate bottled wines from our 125 acre vineyard are the cornerstone of the quality and integrity of Reif Estate wines.
President and Oenologist
Born into a winemaking family of twelve generations, Klaus W. Reif may have had his future preordained. Tucked amidst the vineyards in Neustadt, Germany, stands Klaus' family home, where his childhood was spent learning the trade of winemaking. In 1978, Klaus traveled to Canada to visit his Uncle Ewald Reif. Ewald had arrived in Niagara the year prior and joined other pioneers in the Canadian wine industry by planting a vinifera vineyard
Founder of Reif Estate Winery
The Reif tradition of winemaking can be traced back to 1636 in Germany's Rheinphalz region. In the late 1960's, this tradition transcended to a new continent as Ewald Reif traveled to Canada to survey the land in the emerging viticultural area of Niagara. On his first visit to Niagara, Ewald fell in love with the area. On this same visit he met John Boese, the owner of Boese cannery. At the time, Ewald found that Mr. Boese was interested in selling his fruit orchards located in a prime area along the Niagara River.
Practices & Techniques
In 2009 Reif received an award as a Canadian Innovative Leader from the National Research Council of Canada. We began working with the council in 1986 on projects like improved development of Icewine, low sulphite wines, optimal closure and most recently the use of recycled tobacco technology kilns for the production of appassimento style wines. Our commitment to sustainability is practiced both on the farm and in the winery and begins in the spring when soil samples are retrieved from over 125 locations on the farm.
Ron Bertrand, vineyard manager for over 30 years, knows exactly where to provide extra natural nutrients with compost comprised of the previous harvest's pruned and chipped vines, grape stems, leaves, skins and seeds. Nothing is wasted on the farm. In the cellar Roberto and Klaus believe that it is necessary to work with nature rather than against it, with minimal intervention in winemaking.