On June 11-12, Riesling lovers get a rare chance to join winemakers, grape growers, wine experts and media when the 2013 Riesling Experience conference is hosted by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI).
The event is an unabashed celebration of Riesling’s style, structure and purity.
“Riesling is what we do best in Niagara,” said conference chair Angelo Pavan, vice-president and winemaker at Cave Spring Cellars. “It’s by far the most pure and versatile variety that gives us this great panorama, from great table wines to luscious dessert wines.”
The event includes discussions with top experts, followed by a journey through some of Niagara’s oldest Riesling vineyards on the second day.
Day 1 features compelling speakers Nikolaus Weis, owner of the world-renowned St. Urbans-Hof Family Estate Winery in Germany; Terry Acree, sensory researcher at Cornell University in the United States; and Kathy Cannon, director of wines and vintages at the LCBO.
“Participants can hear world-class speakers on the whole gamut of the Riesling experience,” said Pavan. “They will also taste wines from one of the greatest Riesling producers in the world St. Urbans-Hof, and most of the Riesling producers here in Niagara.”
Weis says he plans to lead a discussion on the ageability of Riesling, including the sensory changes Riesling goes through as it ages.
“Canadian wine regions offer the right cool climate conditions for a special grape variety like Riesling,” said Weis. “Riesling was one of the first vinifera vines planted in Canada. It is fascinating to follow the development of different Riesling styles produced by Canadian wineries now for almost 40 years.”
Day 2 will see participants head into the vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake to visit some of Niagara’s pioneer growers, hear first-hand accounts about growing Riesling grapes and taste the results that come from each vineyard.
Registration is open to the public, and Niagara vintner Craig McDonald says it is a chance to be seized.
“For Riesling fans or just the plain adventurous who might enjoy tramping around the beautiful vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake, this year’s Riesling Experience is one not to miss,” said McDonald, senior winemaker at Trius Winery at Hillebrand. “We’ll also enjoy a diverse sampling of some of the finest Ontario Rieslings over an incredible lunch at Trius Winery at Hillebrand.”
The conference will showcase Ontario Rieslings paired with food, including an optional vineyard dinner at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. Lunch on the second day will take place at Trius Winery at Hillebrand, and a conference-closing event will be held at Inniskillin Wines, with participants able to enjoy casual food, local wine and craft beer from Niagara brewers.