What dictates the style of a wine, the winemaker, or the terroir?
The Great Chardo Swap, spearheaded by Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) Principal Scientist Belinda Kemp, sought to answer that very question.
The concept? Six winemakers from east of the Welland Canal made wine from Chardonnay grapes grown on the west side of the canal, and six winemakers from the west side made wine from grapes grown on the east. Beyond using the same juice, closures and bottles, winemakers had free rein to craft their wines however they desired.
Thanks to a partnership with WineAlign, wine lovers can explore these exclusive bottles for themselves, all while supporting students studying grape and wine science at Brock University. Wines will be sold by the case (12 bottles) for $299 plus shipping, with $150 from each case sale donated to the Karl J. Kaiser Memorial Fund to establish scholarships for students studying Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) at Brock University, with a charitable receipt of $150 provided to each customer. The Kaiser Family is grateful for everyone’s contributions and efforts on this project to support the fund that was created in memory of iconic Canadian pioneering winemaker Karl Kaiser.
WineAlign’s Michael Godel tasted through the wines last July, “The results from The Great Chardo Swap are astonishing and compose a picture of nature versus nurture. The question is, which matters more? For neophyte Bench winemakers trying to figure out fruit from Niagara-on-the-Lake it is important to remember lions of the industry like Karl Kaiser and Donald Ziraldo, but also the fact that Montague is a really good vineyard. For makers on the Niagara flats it’s an opportunity to push making Bench chardonnay into a new milieu, to turn it into something it’s never been known to do before. The only way to know is to decide for yourself. Purchase and taste through one of these cases – You just might find your own answer.”
Wines are available for purchase in 12 bottle case formats:
- Mixed case from all 12 wineries from 2017
- Mixed case from all 12 wineries from 2018
- Random mixed case of Chardonnays from various wineries from 2017 or 2018
These wines were produced in limited quantities, so place your order as soon as possible to ensure you have the opportunity to taste these unique expressions of Niagara Chardonnay for yourself!
The Great Chardo Swap winemakers include:
East-side winemaking team
- Fabian Reis, Ferox by Fabian Reis
- J.L. Groux, Stratus Vineyards
- Ann Sperling, Southbrook Vineyards
- Amélie Boury, Château des Charmes
- Nicholas Gizuk, Inniskillin Wines
- Craig McDonald, Trius Winery
West-side winemaking team
- Casey Kulczyk, Westcott Vineyards
- Emma Garner, Thirty Bench Wine Makers
- Angelo Pavan/Gabriel Demarco, Cave Spring Vineyard
- Lawrence Buhler, Henry of Pelham Family Estate
- Shiraz Mottiar, Malivoire Wine Company
- Thomas Bachelder, Bachelder