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Konzelmann Estate Winery
by
K. L. Sullivan

Summary: Konzelmann Estate Winery is renowned for its location on the shores of Lake Ontario. From a view outside the winery, visitors can see vineyards reaching out to touch the lake. Konzelmann has roots tracing back to winemaking in Germany. The year 2008 marks 115 years of winemaking tradition.

Konzelmann Estate WineryKonzelmann Estate Winery traces its history back to 1893 in Germany where the family owned and operated a winery in Stuttgart-Uhlbach. Herbert Konzelmann, 4th generation, came to Canada 27 years ago, planted grapevines and began producing wine. Today Konzelmann Estate Winery produces 40,000 cases. This is a good size for the owners.

Due to the proximity of Lake Ontario, the vineyards take longer to cool off during the autumn allowing for a longer ripening time for the grapes. In the spring, it takes longer for the land to warm and thus grapevines don’t suffer from late frosts. Due to these factors, Konzelmann winery does not need wind machines in their vineyards.

Konzelmann Estate WineryKonzelmann Estate WineryWhile we were visiting, workers were finishing the large visitors center. The older, smaller areas of the original tasting rooms are being remolded while the new tasting area in the retail room is finished. The large tasting room is a work of art and science. The stained wood ceiling helps maintain humidity in the building. Giftware is intermingled with bottles of wine. A unique display has a bottle of Moose wine standing next to a sculptured moose of red metal. The sculpture definitely draws one’s attention to the wine.

The retail room is large and can accommodate many visitors. In addition to the tasting bars there is a large assortment of items to purchase including cherry vinegar and fine crystal. When construction on the facility is complete, groups can use two additional tasting rooms. On the second floor there is a large room that can be used for events. Windows overlook the vineyards and on clear days, Toronto can be seen across the lake.

We met Jansin Ozkur, Director of Marketing and talked with him about the development of the winery. We learned that in Germany, Herbert’s grandfather owned a restaurant where he served his handmade wines. Visitors to the restaurant often asked him why he didn’t make wines to sell. That was the beginning of a legacy. Today the Niagara Peninsula winery has 45 acres of vineyards on the lake and 45 acres across the road. It is the closest vineyard to Lake Ontario. Jansin explained why a red wine was called Red Moose. It is made of the Zweigelt grape. When it was called Zweigelt few people purchased the wine. When it was renamed Red Moose, the wine began to fly off the shelves.

Konzelmann Estate WineryOn the day of our visit we tasted several wines with Jansin Ozkur and Ken Hernder, the Hospitality Manager. Chardonnay 2006 offered a green apple nose and taste. The Chardonnay 2006 Barrel Aged also offered an apple nose and taste. It was very lightly oaked. The oak comes in on the aftertaste. Both of the Chardonnays are crisp. Riesling 2005 had a sugar score of zero. There was mineral and perfume on the nose and fruit on the taste. It was light and crisp with a fruit aftertaste. Riesling 2006 had a sugar score of one. It offered a floral nose, with apple, pear and peach taste. There was a long fruit aftertaste. White Moose made from Riesling with a sugar score of 2 had minerals and perfume on the nose, a soft mouth feel and a crisp finish. The Peach wine had a 3 on the sugar scale. It was produced with 100 percent peaches. It had an intense peach nose with a peach pie taste and peach on the aftertaste. By a adding some sparkling wine a wonderful, almost “peach soda” was achieved.

Shiraz had a dark red color, a berry and intense fruity taste, crisp finish and soft tannins. Red Moose Zweigelt had red fruit and chocolate on the nose. It was very smooth. Raspberries, cherries and chocolate were on the taste. The finish was crisp.

Riesling Traminer had a sugar score of 18. This is not a blend but the result of using grapes from vines that were crossed. The result was a floral nose, intense fruit taste with a sweet, crisp finish.

Konzelmann Estate WineryThe winery is easy to discover with its German architecture, stone sides and red pointed and angled rooftops. Be sure to ask about the Red and White Moose wines.

Konzelmann Estate Winery
1096 Lakeshore Road
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

GPS N 43° 24.990' W 079° 14.193'

 


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