Ch-ch-changes! A bit of news today in terms of name changes, winery sales and acquisitions in the Canadian wine industry this week.
Niagara’s PondView announced that is has decided to rebrand as Bella Terra Vineyards, while B.C. winery Stoneboat Vineyards was acquired by Verhoeff Family and mega Canadian wine company Arterra said it has acquired St. Catharines company VinFirst Inc., a leading Canadian canning and Tetra packaging company.
Here’s what we know …
PondView changes name to Bella Terra
PondView Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake is announced Wednesday that it has officially changed its name to Bella Terra Vineyards.
This change was inspired by the ongoing expansion of the winery’s flagship Bella Terra wines. Owner and grape grower Luciano (Lou) Puglisi, who grew up on the same farm on which the winery stands today, calls the recent name change “a literal back-to-my-roots moment” because grape growing is a deeply rooted tradition in the Puglisi family.
The Bella Terra Vineyards’ story combines a family tradition of grape farming that now spans three generations from Italy to Canada. It celebrates over 45 years of grape growing in Niagara with a passion for producing world class wines in the unique terroir of the Four Mile Creek sub appellation in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.
In the 1970s, while on a trip to see Niagara Falls, recent Sicilian immigrants Giuseppe and Concetta Puglisi discovered the beautiful farmlands of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Reminded of their farming community back home, they decided to acquire a piece of this “beautiful land” (“Bella Terra” in Italian) to build a new home and continue a family tradition of growing grapes and tender fruits. Lou Puglisi, one of three siblings, grew up working alongside his parents and later focused on expanding the family grape growing operation.
After being crowned “Grape King” in 2008 as an acknowledgement of his excellence in grape growing, Puglisi took the step to open a small winery. PondView Estate Winery opened its doors in June 2010 and the name Bella Terra appeared on the first vintage of Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Fred DiProfio, winemaker at Bella Terra Vineyards, has been working with Lou Puglisi since the winery first opened to create wines that best express the complexity and high quality of grapes that the Bella Terra Vineyards provide each vintage. DiProfio believes that “the journey of our wines truly starts with the soils and the climate that make up our terroir. Working with Lou on the process from the vines to the wine in the bottle and then seeing people enjoy the fruits of our labour is very rewarding.”
The design of the Bella Terra label celebrates the connection of Luciano (Lou) Puglisi’s family roots in Sicily with the connection between earth and sun that are the foundation of excellent grape farming. The design is a simplified and modernized version of a Sicilian clay tile with the sun at its very centre. These colourful tiles have been popular in Sicily for centuries and can be found on many stairs and buildings around the island.
Puglisi is excited to share the Bella Terra story in a new way, saying “it is important to me to let our guests know that our wines start right here in our own vineyards in one of the most exciting and still developing growing regions in the world.” The recent name change is also linked to a new wine experience, which visitors can enjoy during the summer and fall.”
Oliver’s Stoneboat Vineyards
acquired by Verhoeff Family
The Verhoeff Group of Companies announced Wednesday the purchase of Stoneboat Vineyards located on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver, B.C. The business continues to be family-owned, changing hands from Julie and Lanny Martiniuk to the Verhoeff family.
Led by husband-wife duo Kyla Richey and Rudy Verhoeff, the new owners keep the Stoneboat Vineyards’ name and are eager to build upon the legacy of the Martiniuks, while winery employees stay on with new ownership, including winemaker William (Bill) Adams, and general manager Levi Gogolinski. Industry veteran Pascal Madevon joins the team as consulting winemaker to work with Bill in the cellar.
“Our family is thrilled to make its entrance into the B.C. wine industry by taking over from the Martiniuks, a family that has established their name as a top-quality grape grower and producer on the Black Sage Bench,” said Rudy Verhoeff, owner of Stoneboat Vineyards. “Our intention is to continue their outstanding work and expand the brand’s presence in the Okanagan and beyond.”
The Verhoeff family, based in Fort Langley in the Fraser Valley, has experience with businesses in the event and hospitality sectors including Red Door Events and Trading Post Brewing, and soon in the District Wine Village with Trading Post and a new winery Valley Commons.
The team will apply its experience in food service, events, and hospitality to the B.C. wine industry. Kyla and Rudy complete years of traveling to compete on Team Canada’s women and men’s volleyball teams respectively and are welcoming the change to one of Canada’s biggest-growing industries.
“We are so excited to enter the wine business at such an exciting time of growth and change,” says Kyla Richey. “All of our neighbours have been so welcoming, and we can’t wait to receive visitors from outside the valley soon.”
Arterra Wines Canada
grows its footprint in Niagara
Arterra Wines Canada, Inc. (AWC) announced this they have acquired VinFirst Inc., located in St. Catharines.
VinFirst is a leading Canadian canning and Tetra packaging company, specializing in the beverage alcohol industry with a passion for seeing wines, ciders and cocktails embraced in these exciting new formats.
“We’re proud to join the team at Arterra because of both their deep-rooted history in the Canadian wine industry, but with similar values, they are committed to carrying on our vision of innovating packaging solutions to meet consumer needs,” said Kevin Ruddle, vice president, operations, Vin First, Inc.
The addition of VinFirst into the Arterra family of companies, allows them to continue to diversify packaging of brands, like Bodacious, BASK, Naked Grape, Growers Cider, Good Fortune and In Good Order, in cans and Tetra convenient and portable format.
“By purchasing VinFirst, we are continuing to grow our capabilities in cans and Tetra packaging to innovate and meet our consumers’ needs,” said Jay Wright, president, Arterra Wines Canada, Inc. “As a leading Canadian company, it’s important for us to continue to invest in the local community and to support the growth of the Ontario wine industry.”
Note: All information for this post was provided to Wines In Niagara.