Canada's Jackson-Triggs Vintners, which is owned by the country's wine powerhouse, Vincor International, has unveiled its new showcase winery in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula. The new facility will focus on producing wines under the Vintners Quality Alliance designation, the highest quality in the province.
Jackson-Triggs' previous Ontario winery had reached its capacity at 36,000 cases a year, and the new facility will allow it to expand annual production to 100,000 cases by 2005.
Founded in 1993, Jackson-Triggs Vintners also operates a small winery in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, Canada's other important wine-producing area. Vincor plans to construct a new facility in the Okanagan to expand production there as well; it has 1,000 acres of new vineyards in development in the region.
In the past couple years, Vincor has been aggressively expanding its wine business, with this month's purchase of The Hogue Cellars in Washington, last year's purchase of California winery R.H. Phillips and British Columbia estates Sumac Ridge and Hawthorne Mountain, and new joint-venture projects in Canada. It also owns Niagara's Inniskillin Wines.
The new Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery draws on the most advanced equipment from around the world, utilizing a gravity-flow-assisted system for gentle handling of the wines. "We spared no expense getting the best technology and winemaking processes," said Don Triggs, president and CEO of Vincor and the co-founder of Jackson-Triggs.
With the global origins of its equipment, the new facility provides a fitting workplace for its international team. In addition to Canadian co-founders Triggs and Allan Jackson, the staff includes vice president of viticulture Martin van der Merwe, from South Africa; chief winemaker Rob Scapin, from Australia; winemaker Tom Seaver, from California; and director of vineyard operations Terry McLeary, also from Australia.
Surrounding the winery is a 26-acre vineyard planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling, a fraction of the 500 total acres controlled by the winery. In addition to owning 250 acres of estate vineyards in Niagara, Jackson-Triggs buys grapes grown to its specifications, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.
The winery currently produces two lines of wines: Proprietors' Reserve and Grand Reserve. "We have plans to develop a higher tier in due course," said Triggs.
Although the Jackson-Triggs wines are currently available only in Canada, Triggs expects them to be introduced in the United States within the next two years. The Proprietors' Reserve varietals sell for CAN$10 to $15 (US$6.50-$10). The Grand Reserve Chardonnay costs CAN$17 (US$11), while the Grand Reserve reds are priced in from CAN$20 to $22 (US$13-$14). A half-bottle of ice wine fetches CAN$50 to $75 (US$32.50-$50).
Well-known for its nectarlike ice wines made from frozen grapes, the Niagara Peninsula also focuses on dry red and white table wines. Triggs is excited about the future. "The region does particularly well with Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and ice wine," he said. "These are the wines that consistently hit home runs."
Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, about an hour's drive from Toronto and 10 minutes from the U.S. border, the Jackson-Triggs is open to visitors for tours and tastings.
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
2145 Regional Road 55
Ontario, Canada L0S 1J0
Tel: (905) 468-4637
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.—6 p.m.
Check our recent ratings of Jackson-Triggs wines.
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