Vineyards wouldn’t be much without the land, and as many winemakers can tell you, the land wouldn’t be much without water. We grow our grapes adjacent to the Niagara River on a premium parcel of land in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our property’s 25 acres stretch East-West in a narrow strip from the Niagara Parkway to Concession 1.
We knew from the first walk through the vineyard that its terroir was special. Though subtle, the topsoil variations impart unique thumbprints on the grapes. The soil closest to the Niagara River is a pliable, silty loam. Further West the soil becomes a denser, clay loam. That density increases in small patches of tougher clay before closing out the vineyard with fertile sandy loam. Typically, tougher soil helps to control vine vigour, especially in wet years.
To our knowledge, the farm was first planted in 1910 as a fruit farm and market. In fact, the back portion of our farm once maintained a railway-station and fruit-canning factory. In 1975, Sam and Lina Pillitteri bought the farm and maintained the storefront as Riverview Booth.
The history of fruit farming would serve the vineyard-to-be quite well as it became Riverview Farms in the 1980s. The first vinifera to break ground were Gewurztraminer in 1992, with additional plantings of Vidal Blanc in 1993 and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1998.