By Rick VanSickle
Arterra Wines Canada, Inc., owner of Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin and numerous other wineries in Ontario and B.C., today said it has acquired the Angels Gate Winery and Kew Vineyards Estate Winery on the Beamsville Bench in Niagara.
These are the first two wineries purchased by the company that are located on the coveted Beamsville Bench, the westernmost part of the Niagara Peninsula wine-growing area.
“The Beamsville Bench is recognized worldwide for the quality of its wines, and I am honoured to welcome these two respected wineries in our family of Niagara wineries,” said John Boynton, president of Arterra Wines Canada. “These acquisitions reflect the company’s mission to grow amazing VQA premium offerings while leveraging Arterra’s winemaking excellence.”
Angels Gate has a total of 110 acres, with grape varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, to name a few. Five minutes down Highway 8 you’ll find Kew Vineyards Estate Winery, a hidden gem in Niagara’s wine country. With over 80 acres, the vineyard’s 1975 plantings are among the oldest in the region.
“We are excited about the future of Angels Gate and Kew now that they are part of Arterra Wines Canada,” said John Young, President of Angels Gate and Kew Vineyards. “We are confident Arterra will continue the development of both wineries as producers of premium quality wines while maintaining the values that have always been at the heart of our culture.”
A spokesperson for Arterra told Wines In Niagara that the “12 Angels Gate and Kew employees will join the Arterra family, continuing to run the business. We will work together to ensure a seamless transition over the next several months.”
Arterra said the Beamsville Bench acquisitions will draw new visitors and support to the region.
The Angels Gate Winery opened in 2002 with the goal of producing Niagara’s finest wines, according to the website. The estate property was purchased in 1995. The first grapes were planted in 1996 and were ready to be harvested in 1999. The first vintage was 2000 and yielded a very small production of only three wines. The estate now produces 35,000 cases annually. The “mission” style building was designed to commemorate the Congregation of Christian Sisters who once owned the property.
Grape varieties grown include Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Shiraz on 190 acres, 168 of which are on the Beamsville Bench. These provide approximately 95% of the total grape needs for the winery.
Kew Vineyards, the sister winery to Angels Gate, is an estate winery situated within the Beamsville Bench appellation. The gently sloping land, well drained soils and ideal growing temperatures provide a classic foundation for growing the estate’s mostly Bordeaux style wines and classic sparkling portfolio.
The winemaking team is led by veteran Aussie winemaker Philip Dowell, also the winemaker at Angels Gate, who has focused his life’s work on cool climate wines.
Arterra confirmed to Wines In Niagara that Dowell “is happily joining the Arterra family.”
“Increasingly, the Niagara Wine region speaks of allowing the vineyard to tell her story each harvest, and create wines of terroir — Niagara terroir,” according to Kew’s website. “Why? Because this philosophy leads to wonderful, world class wines that are uniquely Niagara. This has always been the philosophy at Kew since our original plantings in 1975.”
— With information provided by Arterra Canada
Kew and Angels Gate have great sparkling. I adore the vibe of Kew, the atmosphere and service. I don’t expect the vibe will remain with Arterra. I have never seen a big commercial company take over smaller locally run businesses without major change to the product and atmosphere. Hopefully that’s not the case but I suspect the charm of Kew will be lost.