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Colaneri Estate Winery
Kathy Sullivan

Colaneri Estate WinerySummary: While Colaneri Estate Winery is visibly a large winery, it is in fact a family owned and family run Italian-style winery. The focus is on an intense interest in remaining family oriented and producing quality Ontario wines.

We discovered the long driveway leading between prolific vineyards to the picturesque Italian-style Colaneri Estate Winery. We were entranced by the focal point, the Italian village winery style. Nearing the winery we saw a tall bell tower with a bell installed. The winery, tasting room and event center are new and while completion is not quite complete as of our September 2012 visit, there is plenty for visitors to enjoy.

Colaneri Estate WineryColaneri Estate WineryVineyards

Our delightful tour began with Christopher Colaneri, an enthusiastic member of the Colaneri family. Christopher explained how his grandparents and parents purchased the property 35 years ago when the land was covered with labrusca vines. At the time, the grapes were sold to Welch’s and others. In the mid 1980s, the market for labrusca grapes moved to the Lake Erie region of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Canadian government stepped in and offered to help vineyard owners who pulled out the labrusca vines. The Colaneri family pulled most of the labrusca vines out and the property was left for about 15 years without any vineyards.

In 2004, the Colaneri family members replanted the vineyards with vinifera varieties. They planted five red varieties and five white varieties on 25 acres. Varieties included Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Vidal, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Current production is 11,000 to 12,000 cases. The winery sources some grapes from the local area. The winery uses Italian grape drying processes including appassimento, ripasso and recioto to produce their quality wines.

Colaneri Estate WineryWinery

The winery building was started in 2008 and opened September 1, 2010. The style of the winery is reminiscent of an old Italian village in the shape of a C. The C is for Colaneri and meant to embrace the views. In actuality, visitors tend to also feel embraced as they walk towards the winery.

The current tasting room area overlooks the tank room. Stainless steel tanks, some in two rows, stand next to the curved wall of the winery facility. Beyond the tank room, a barrel aging room has three rows of oak barrels stacked two barrels high. Up on the tasting room level, dark wood adds a contrasting warmth to the cement and stainless steel below. Two tasting counters are used for visitors.

Colaneri Estate WineryWhite Wines

Pinot Grigio 2010 was a yellow color. The wine was made with 20 percent dried fruit appassimento style. The aroma offered citrus notes particularly grapefruit. The taste was creamy. The wine finish was crisp and citrusy. A long aftertaste included hints of yellow stone fruit. The label for this wine featured Christopher’s aunt. Chardonnay 2009 was yellow with an aroma of apple and oak nuances. The wine mouthfeel was creamy and the taste offered notes of apple and caramel. Riesling 2009 was a pale yellow. The wine offered notes of minerality. This light bodied wine was smooth, crisp and refreshing. Mistera 2010 was a Gewürztraminer wine produced with 30 percent of the grapes being dried. The wine was aromatic and the taste was crisp with lots of fruit and spice. Suggested pairings included roasted squash ravioli and cheesecake. The label recognizes Christopher’s mother who enjoys writing and creates the winery’s wine bottle labels.

Colaneri Estate WineryRed Wines

Insieme 2010 was made in an appassimento style but really an amorone style, as all the grapes were dried. This was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petite Verdot. The color was a dark ruby. The aroma offered lots of dark fruits while the taste had layers of fruit and licorice .The finish had tannins and dark fruit notes. Suggested pairings included red meats and chocolate dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon was made in the appassimento style; however, 100 percent of the grapes were dried. The wine, with14.8 percent alcohol, had notes of dried black fruit and plum. The finish offered bold tannins and was fruity. Unita 2009 was 100 percent Cabernet Franc. Fifty percent of the grapes were dried. The wine was very fruity and had bold tannins on the finish.

Dessert Wines

Pinot Grigio was produced with grapes that had dried for six weeks. This dessert wine was a golden color and had a floral and dried apricot aroma. Honeysuckle notes were on the taste. The finish was sweet but not overly sweet. It can be paired with foods such as mushroom risotto. Amorosso was very fruity and earthy with bold tannins. Food pairings included spicy salsiccia, red wine sauces and parmigiano reggiano.

Colaneri Estate WineryRegardless of the size of the building, this is a family winery. The family is passionate about winemaking, love of family and tradition. The staff is treated as family and visitors will be greeted like one of the family.

While traveling in Niagara, try to visit Colaneri Estate Winery.

Colaneri Estate Winery
Concession Road 6 

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario,
Canada, L0S 1J0

GPS: N43º 09.784’ W79º 08.209’

Article written in September 2012.






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