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Ravine Vineyard
Kathy Sullivan

Ravine VineyardSummary: Ravine Vineyard in St. Davids, Ontario is a destination site for the many people who enjoy wine, vineyards, food and history. The tasting room is located in a home built in the 1800s.

Ravine Vineyard in St. Davids, Ontario, is a winery with vineyards where biodynamic principles are followed using teas suggested as part of the process. Gardens are organic.

Ravine VineyardTasting Room

Visitors to the Ravine Vineyard will enjoy the long driveway with vineyards on each side. A large two story white house with blue trim sits at the back of the driveway. A circular garden with lavender is in front. The tasting room is located on the first floor of this historic house.

In 2004 Blair and Norma Jane Lowrey Harber purchased the property from family and continued to farm the vineyards. Norma Jane remembered the old house in St. Davids that had been called the Woodruff House. The house had been built in 1802 and was burned in the War of 1812. The house was rebuilt in 1827. The unusual history of the house takes place in the 1900s when it was sold and taken apart, carefully transported to another town. The new owner intended to rebuild the house. Despite his intentions the crates of the house pieces were sold again. Eventually Norma Jane discovered the house was still in boxes and purchased it bringing the house back to St. Davids at Ravine Vineyard. Today the house stands proudly welcoming visitors as the Winery Hospitality Centre.


History at Ravine Vineyard

The history of the property that the Ravine winery and vineyards is located on has been in the Lowrey family since 1867. In 1869 grapes were planted. The next generation continued with grapes and also grew other fruits including peaches, pears, cherries and apples. Norma Jane’s father was the next in line to manage the farm. It was Norma Jane’s father who took out the fruit orchards and planted more acreage to vineyards. During their long history at one point they made sacramental wine for the church.

Ravine VineyardRavine Vineyards

Vineyards are focused on using biodynamic processes. Grape varieties in the 18. 8 acres of vineyards include: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling. The first harvest was 2006. Anyone interested in terroir will want to take note of the land. It was discovered that the soil is unique in this area of Niagara. Originally the Niagara River flowed under much of this farm. Thousands of years later when the glacier retreated, the large gap was filled with silt.

Ravine VineyardRavine Deli & Bakery

The Packing Shed is connected to the tasting room and is operated as the Ravine Deli & Bakery. The atmosphere and the wood counter in this room make one think of an old time market. Look for a selection of gourmet foods. A special feature is the display of several wood cutting boards and cheese boards. A deli counter offers charcuterie and a wide selection of cheeses. If you have time to stop for lunch, checkout the Ravine Vineyard Restaurant only a few feet from the winery tasting room, deli and vineyards.

Winery Tours

Ravine offers visitors the opportunity to choose between four different tours. These include:
• Artisanal Wine and Cheese Experience
• Ravine Vineyard Burning of St. Davids Tour
• Ravine Vineyard Reserve Wine Tasting and
• Ravine Vineyard Historic Estate Tour

Ravine VineyardRavine Wines

In the tasting room tastings are served in Riedel stemless glassware. Chardonnay 2010, produced from grapes near the winery, was a light yellow. The aroma was of apple, pear and caramel. The taste was smooth with pear and caramel nuances. The finish was crisp. Riesling 2011 was a light yellow with an aroma of flower blossoms. The taste was of yellow stone fruit and the fruity finish was crisp.

Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010 was a dark ruby with an aroma of pepper and dark fruits. The taste also offered notes of dark fruits. The finish had tannins with fruit yielding to spice. Michael Stadtlander Reserve Red was a dark opaque ruby color. The wine was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Dark fruit was on the aroma. The taste was of blackberries and black raspberries. The fruity wine finished with tannins. Reserve Merlot 2008 was a dark red color with an aroma of red fruit. This was a full-bodied red. The finish had tannins with some heat.

The Future

Currently the property has two buildings and they are working on building a third. Eventually they will have five buildings, one of which will be a high-end restaurant.

When visiting Ontario, enjoy visiting Ravine Vineyard where you can enjoy sampling wines, discovering a part of Canadian history and viewing vineyards.

Ravine Vineyard
1366 York Road 

St. Davids, Ontario
Canada, L0S 1P0

GPS: N43º 09.624’ W79º 06.217'

Article written in September 2012.

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