Southbrook Vineyards

About

Building the Dream...yes, it’s gorgeous, it’s glamorous, it’s green, and it’s making a statement. But what we have undertaken in the heart of Niagara wine country is so much more than building a new winery – we are building our dream. Our roots are in agriculture. From a base in Richmond Hill, we have travelled a path from cattle, to a farm market, to making VQA wines and fruit wines. Now we take another step in our evolution. We continue to invest in Ontario agriculture with two contiguous 75 acre parcels in Niagara-on-the-Lake which we are farming organically and biodynamically. With these purchases we can now make better choices for the vines, the wines and the environment. Southbrook is a new winery – with history. We have great depth in the bottle, and an experienced and creative team dedicated to taking us places we’ve only dreamed of. We really want to share all this with you. Please join us here in Niagara-on-the-Lake to experience our dream, on your journey to wine enthusiasm.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.

Features

  • Better vines, better wines, better world.

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

Scott Jones and Ann Sperling in the vineyardAn inseparable team because their goal is one and the same – to grow the best wines that express their origins with authenticity and integrity. The team is led by Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture. Ann was integral to Southbrook's transition from winemaker to winegrower, having introduced Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier to the property in Niagara-on-the-Lake that has become our new home. Her commitment to managing our vineyard organically and biodynamically is met with equal dedication by our Vineyard Manager Scott Jones, our Winemaker Brian Hamilton and our Assistant Winemaker Regan Kapach.

History

The Redelmeiers have deep farming roots in Ontario. A timeline shows the evolution of
a third-generation family farm into one of Canada’s most innovative and forward-thinking vineyards and wineries.

1941: A Gentleman Farmer

Iska & William Redelmeier in 1950s Established in the 1860s at the head of the Don River by the Patterson family, Don Head Farms is purchased by William Redelmeier (current owner Bill Redelmeier's grandfather) in 1941. At its peak, Don Head Farms maintains the largest herd of Jersey cattle in Canada on hundreds of acres of fertile land north of Toronto.

1980: A Popular Farm Market

Southbrook FarmsBill and partner/co-owner, Marilyn, evolve the family business from a roadside stand in the 1980s to a thriving farm market. Bill upholds his grandfather's credo: To celebrate the excellence of fresh, local products and value the heritage and beauty of the land. The market’s commitment to supporting Ontario producers foreshadows the locavore movement yet to come.

What’s in a Name?

As Bill gets ready to register a name for the new farm market, he looks to the land, or at least to a map. The individual parcels comprising Don Head Farms each have individual names such as South, North, East, West, Home, Mitchell and Brook. Bill goes to the registry office with several combinations prepared in case he finds the name already registered. He submits “South” and “Brook,” they are available, and Southbrook Farms is born.

1991: Birth of Southbrook Winery

The original Southbrook WineryAn appreciation of gourmet foods and wines lead the Redelmeiers to create a boutique winery and unique special event location, housed in the farm’s century-old barns. In 1991, having sourced some of the Niagara region’s finest grape varietals, Southbrook produces the first 2,000 cases of wine. They are ably assisted by the craftsmanship of Derek Barnett (later winemaker at Lailey Vineyard).

1992: Necessity is the Mother of Framboise

Canadian Framboise in London, 1997It rains nearly every weekend in the summer of 1992. Customers of the pick-your-own raspberry patch stay away in droves. Staff pick the ripe fruit during the week with the idea they will make jam. Yield exceeds three tons. Bill’s love of fortified wines sparks a different idea. He decides to make a dessert wine he names Framboise. Intense, “just-picked” fruit flavour is a hit at home and abroad. Major awards ensue.

Food and Wine Destination:

The winery grows; annual production climbs to 5,000 cases using VQA grapes from growers in the Niagara Peninsula. The combination of farm market, winery and event location becomes a big success, regularly attracting 125,000 visitors per year. Pick-your-own berries and school pumpkin tours are a specialty.

2007: Ontario vs Bordeaux Tasting

2002 Poetica Cabernet Merlot“A Niagara red few people have heard of edged out an illustrious lineup of Bordeaux, including Château Lafite Rothschild 2001 ($349) and Châteaux Margaux 2001 ($339), two trophy labels venerated the world over by people with apparently more money than time to do comparison shopping.” So writes Beppi Crosariol in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 24, 2007. The little-known red he mentions is Southbrook’s 2002 Triomphus Cabernet Merlot (later re-christened Poetica).

The event was an Ontario versus Bordeaux contest, judged by 12 respected wine writers. The wine has since sold out, with only a few library bottles being shared from time to time at Poetica tastings.

Southbrook Vineyards at Niagara: The Dream Realized

Southbrook Vineyards Grand OpeningSouthbrook has always sourced grapes from Niagara-on-the-Lake, so Bill is excited about operating his own vineyard there. Brought on as a winemaking consultant in 2005, Ann Sperling introduces Bill and Marilyn to an excellent opportunity. A 74-acre parcel in the warm Four Mile Creek sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake is on the market, complete with 36 acres of ideally planted, well-selected varieties and top-notch clones. The couple realizes its potential, and decides on the new location to build the winery of their dreams. They convince Ann Sperling to sign on as full-time Director of Winemaking and Viticulture.

Expansion of the vineyard is planned and planting starts. The design of a winery with associated facilities
and a hospitality building are entrusted to Jack Diamond of Diamond and Schmitt Architects of Toronto.
The Redelmeiers commence creation of a fully biodynamic, organic and environmentally responsible winemaking operation.

Ann is ready to make wine in Niagara-on-the-Lake by 2006 and the architects’ attentions turn to the construction of the hospitality pavilion. The wine shop move is undertaken in the fall of 2007, while the family’s Richmond Hill presence lives on in the form of the Pumpkin Patch and Country Store until it was decided to close it in early 2013. An adjoining 75-acre parcel is purchased to provide an area for pasture and for future vineyard expansion. The new enterprise is re-named Southbrook Vineyards to reflect the Redelmeier’s new role as vineyard stewards. The opening celebration of the Hospitality Pavilion takes place on the Summer Solstice of 2008.

The Team

Marilyn & Bill Redelmeier - Owners

Marilyn & Bill RedelmeierThey have been dubbed "the biodynamic duo" with good reason. Marilyn and Bill have committed themselves to jointly guiding Southbrook on its new path, emphasizing environmental leadership and quality customer experience. Their strengths are complementary. Marilyn brings focus to financial planning and reporting, day-to-day management and employee motivation. Bill is our industry liaison, new product developer and Chief Storyteller. Both share a deep pride in what Southbrook is and where it has come from, and they are both dedicated to what Southbrook can become.

Ann Sperling, Brian Hamilton, Regan Kapach and Scott Jones - Our Wine Lovers

Wine LoversThey aren't sales clerks, they aren't even associates, they are Wine Lovers. They love wine and they love sharing their enthusiasm, their knowledge and above all, they love sharing stories — ours and yours. Our Wine Lovers come to us with a wide variety of life experiences and we feel that this brings a richness to your experience in our Tasting Room. Our Wine Lovers are integral to the Southbrook philosophy and we value their skills, sensibilities and dedication.

If you have any ideas to help us further the quality of your experience of Southbrook, we are always glad to hear from you.

Practices & Techniques

Working with our different clones and varieties, we combine traditional and new methods of growing and tending. Our winery and equipment are purpose-designed for the types of winemaking we do.

Selecting and sorting grapes continues through the growing, harvesting and winemaking phases. This ensures that only uniform, and uniformly ripe, fruit goes into each fermentation vat. To establish a consistency of ripeness, shoot thinning, cluster thinning and green harvesting are done in the field. Grape clusters are vibrated over a sorting table to loosen stems and immature berries, then we hand-inspect and selectively grade fruit.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Within three years from the start of the project in 2005, Southbrook achieved both organic and biodynamic certification for its vineyard and winery — the first winery in Canada to earn this distinction. The year was 2008. Since then, an additional 75 acres have received organic certification. This land is used primarily for pasture and for growing hay for our sheep.

Awards

2014

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Gold - 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver - 2009 Whimsy! Married Young
Silver - 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Franc
Silver - Framboise
Bronze - 2013 Connect Red

Ottawa Wine Challenge
Best in Show - 2010 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold - 2010 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2012 Connect Red
2013

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Gold - 2011 Whimsy! Sirugue Chardonnay
Gold - 2010 Whimsy! '201' Cabernet Franc
Gold - 2010 Poetica Red
Silver - 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rose
Bronze - 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2012 Connect Red
Bronze - 2009 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2009 Whimsy! 'Renewed Vows' Cabernet Franc

InterVin International Wine Awards
Silver - 2010 Poetica Red
Silver - 2010 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Honours - 2011 Whimsy! Damy Chardonnay
Honours - 2011 Whimsy! Winemakers' White
Honours - 2009 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon
Honours - 2010 Whimsy! '101' Cabernet Franc
Honours - Framboise
Honours - Whimsy! The Anniversary
Honours - 2011 Connect Red

Lieutenant Governor's Award
Excellence in Ontario Wines 2013
2010 Whimsy! '201' Cabernet Franc

Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards - 2012
Environmental Enterprise Award
2012

InterVin International Wine Awards - 2012 Winery of the Year!
Gold - Framboise - Highest score in the entire competition!
Gold - 2010 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon 'Lot A'
Gold - 2010 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon 'Lot I'
Gold - 2009 Whimsy! 'Renewed Vows' Cabernet Franc
Silver - 2010 Whimsy! '101' Cabernet Franc
Silver - 2009 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2008 Whimsy! Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2010 Poetica Chardonnay
Bronze - 2010 Poetica Red
Bronze - 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! 'Uncloaked' Merlot
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! 'Tall, Dark & Spicy' Syrah
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! Chardonnay 'Lot 20'

The Royal Winter Fair
Gold - 2010 Poetica Chardonnay (Oaked Chardonnay Over $20 Category)
Gold - 2010 Whimsy! 'Lot I' Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Sauvignon Over $20 Category)
Gold - 2010 Whimsy! 'Lot A' Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Sauvignon Over $20 Category)
Silver - 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé (Rosé Category)
Silver - 2010 Poetica Red (Red Blends Category)
Silver - 2010 Whimsy! 'Tall, Dark & Spicy' Syrah (Syrah/Shiraz Category)
Silver - 2010 Whimsy! '201' Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Franc Category)
Silver - 2010 Vidal Icewine (Icewine Category)
Silver - 2009 Whimsy! 'Renewed Vows' Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Franc Category)
Silver - 2008 Whimsy! Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Franc Category)
Silver - 2007 Cabernet Merlot Shiraz (Red Blends Category)
Silver - Framboise (Other Wines Category)
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! Chardonnay Lot 20 (Oaked Chardonnay Over $20 Category)
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! 'Uncloaked' Merlot (Merlot Over $20 Category)

Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards
Listed as one of the "25 Best Wineries in Canada"
Gold - 2010 Poetica Red
Bronze - 2009 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2009 Whimsy! 'Renewed Vows' Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2010 Poetica Chardonnay
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! '201' Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! Chardonnay
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! 'Lot A' Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2010 Whimsy! 'Tall, Dark & Spicy' Syrah
Bronze - 2011 Connect White
Bronze - 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé
Bronze - Framboise

Ontario Wine Awards
Bronze - 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé
Bronze - 2009 Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon

Organic Council of Ontario
Innovation Award
2011



Lieutenant Governor's Awards
Excellence in Ontario Wines
2009 Triomphe Chardonnay

Royal Winter Fair
Best in Show — Cassis
Gold — Cassis
Bronze (Red Blends) — 2009 Connect Red
Bronze (Other Red Varietal $20+) — 2008 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze (Red Blends $20+) — 2008 Whimsy! Winemakers' Red
InterVin International Wine Awards
Gold — 2008 Connect Red
Gold — Framboise
Silver — 2010 Connect White
Bronze — 2008 Whimsy! Winemakers' Red
Canadian Wine Awards
Silver — 2008 Whimsy! Cabernet Franc
Silver — Cassis
Bronze — 2007 Triomphe Cabernet Merlot
Bronze — 2008 Triomphe Cabernet Franc
Bronze — 2008 Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze — 2009 Poetica Chardonnay
Bronze — 2009 Triomphe Syrah
Bronze — 2009 Vidal Icewine
Bronze — 2010 Connect Rose
Bronze — 2010 Connect White
Bronze — Framboise
Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit
Bronze — 2005 Vidal Icewine
2010

Sustainable Architecture & Building Magazine
SAB Canadian Green Building Award

Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, 2010 Regional Honours
Regional Citation Award

Ontario Association of Architects
Design Excellence Award

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Hours

Mon - Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Address

581 Niagara Stone Road, RR #4
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Canada

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