Estate Vineyards

The Pillitteri family estates consist of 5 vineyards, the first of which was planted in 1965 by Gary Pillitteri, owner and proprietor of the winery. Additional estate vineyards have been planted over the decades, with the most recent property planting of Amarone grape varietals in 2009. These estate vineyards are planted with many of the popular grape varietals of the region. The most common grape varietals grown in the Niagara Peninsula are Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Vintage Classification

Vintage variation is common in Niagara, and so classifying our wines by vintage is quite common. Pillitteri’s reserve series of wines are only produced in the best vintage years. Pillitteri is committed to the process of declassifying weak vintages, setting a standard for what we classify as Reserve Wines. Not every vintage has made it into the reserve category; in fact in our 20 year history, we have only deemed 6 vintage years suitable to produce reserve wines. Stellar vintage years include: 1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2010. Other vintages resulted in the reserve juice being blended back into our popular Meritage style Cabernet Merlot to enhance flavours and quality.

Twenty Three Series

 

Lucky Number
“Twenty Three” is Pillitteri’s newest product line. These wines consistently offer the quality synonymous with the Pillitteri name, coupled with an easy-drinking versatility that makes “Twenty Three” the perfect choice for any occasion! The number 23 has been significant throughout the life of Pillitteri Estates owner and proprietor Gary Pillitteri. 23, or a combination of 2’s and 3’s, continually pop up in every aspect of his life. This 23 story has become a part of Pillitteri’s identity and plays an integral part in engaging our guests while visiting the winery.

Quality. Value. Versatility.
These wines are fun, fresh and easy-drinking. Easy to pair with food, or perfect for drinking alone, the versatility of “Twenty Three” wines appeals to everyone, making them the perfect choice for any occasion. Twenty Three wines are blended wines from 100% VQA grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula. They offer an incredible value, ranging from $10 to $13

Viticulture Information

Wine Selection:
Rosso Dolce (blended), Dolce Bianco (blended), Cabernet Merlot (blended), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

Terrior:
Soil Clay Loam with silt. Overtop Queenston Red Shale.
Climate High day time temperature with Lake effect moderation.
Topography Gentle slope towards Lake Ontario, for maximum, uninterrupted sun exposure.

Viticulture:
Yield(t/acre) 4 ton/acre (10 tonne/ha)
Yield(L/acre) 3000L/acre (7400L/ha)
Trellising Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 6 - 15 years
Vine Density 1210/acre (3000/ha)
Growing Degree Days >1350

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 18-23° Brix
Fermentation Stainless steel
Oak Maturation Whites unoaked, reds oaked (7-9 months)
Ageability Drink Now

Market Collection

 

A History of Farming
Like all Pillitteri wines, the Market Collection is grown in the heart of Canada’s fruitland and the home to our family’s farm market. On December 15, 1965 Gary and Lena Pillitteri settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake to raise their family. They purchased a fruit farm on Niagara Stone Road. In 1973 they opened Gary’s Fruit Market. Soon after the first Niagara wineries opened, Gary took the initiative and began planting wine grapes, starting the first of the family’s Niagara vineyards. The grapes are still meticulously tended to by the family, producing premium local wines to drink and enjoy with your family.

Locally Grown. Food Friendly.
Our grapes are passionately tended by our family with the goal of always producing premium local wines to enjoy as part of your family’s meal. The Pillitteri’s consider the family meal the most valued part of their day. They catch up and reminisce, with a fork in one hand and a spoon in the other over a homemade meal and a glass of wine. The fork and spoon are in fact pieces from the family’s first set of cutlery, part of Lena Pillitteri’s hope chest from her mother upon her wedding to Gary. Gary had an odd affinity to this particular set insisting on just using the fork and spoon from this flatware to eat his meals.

Viticulture Information

Wine Selection:
Red (blended), White (blended), Cabernet Merlot (blended), Chardonnay, Sparkling White, Sparkling Rose

Terrior:
Soil Clay Loam with silt. Overtop Queenston Red Shale.
Climate High day time temperature with Lake effect moderation.
Topography Gentle slope towards Lake Ontario, for maximum, uninterrupted sun exposure.

Viticulture:
Yield(t/acre) 4 ton/acre (10 tonne/ha)
Yield(L/acre) 3000L/acre (7400L/ha)
Trellising Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 6 - 15 years
Vine Density 1210/acre (3000/ha)
Growing Degree Days >1350

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 18-23° Brix
Fermentation Stainless steel
Oak Maturation Whites unoaked, reds oaked (7-9 months)
Ageability Drink Now

Carretto Series

 

Estate Wine Selections
Our Estate Carretto series of wines use grapes from our home estate vineyards. Each vineyard and wine is treated individually since each has its own ‘personality’ that must be expressed. Our goal is to produce consistent, quality wine for our consumers: rich, full-bodied reds; fragrant and lively whites, all in a variety of styles to suit every palate. Popular blends include our Gewurztraminer Riesling and Cabernet Merlot.

Classified Varietal Selections
Selected Carretto Series wines are single varietal classified. These wines express the essence of the Pillitteri’s winemaking philosophy; “To produce the finest wines possible from the highest quality Niagara Peninsula grapes.” Single varietal red wines are only produced in years which meet our strict winemaking and minimum growing degree day standards.

Viticulture Information

Estate Wine Selection:
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer Riesling, Cabernet Merlot

Classified Varietal Selections:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and one of Niagara’s signature grapes Cabernet Franc

Terrior:
Soil Clay Loam with silt. Overtop Queenston Red Shale.
Climate High day time temperature with Lake effect moderation.
Topography Gentle slope towards Lake Ontario, for maximum, uninterrupted sun exposure.

Viticulture:
Yield(t/acre) 4 ton/acre (10 tonne/ha)
Yield(L/acre) 3000L/acre (7400L/ha)
Trellising Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 6 - 15 years
Vine Density 1210/acre (3000/ha)
Classified Single Varietal Growing Degree Days >1450

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 21-23° Brix
Fermentation Stainless steel
Oak Maturation Whites unoaked, reds oaked (12 months)
Ageability 3-7+ years

Exclamation Cellar Series

 

Where Old World meets New World
In 2006, Pillitteri Estates Winery’s founders Gary and Lena Pillitteri commissioned the creation of the 23 stainless steel chairs which now hang on the walls of our barrel cellar. The chairs symbolically tell the story of the past, present and future of the Pillitteri family, and add a “new world” element our barrel cellar’s old world ambiance.

The Exclamation Cellar Series wine depicts the original architectural drawing of the ‘King’s Chair,’ the largest of the family chairs hanging in our barrel cellar. This elegant feature, a prominent element to the Pillitteri family story, hints at the quality of wine enclosed within each uniquely shaped bottle.

Reserve Classified
Exclamation wines come only from grapes grown in the best vintage years. These wines are exemplary of
the commitment that Pillitteri has made to producing world-class wine. These wines are hand-selected by our Winemaker, Aleksandar Kolundzic as his personal favourites and are treated as such by him during their production.

Viticulture Information

Varietals:
Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

Terrior:
Soil Halton Till ( sand + silt) overtop red Queenston Shale Bedrock
Climate High day time + low night temperatures with Lake effect moderation.
Topography Gentle slope towards Lake Ontario, for maximum, uninterrupted sun exposure

Viticulture:
Yield(t/acre) 3 ton/acre (7.4 tonne/ha)
Yield(L/acre) 2100L/acre (5200L/ha)
Trellising Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 25+ years
Vine Density 1210/acre (3000/ha)
Growing Degree Days >1600

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 22-24° Brix (hand harvest)
Fermentation stainless steel
Oak Maturation French and American oak (16+ months)
Ageability 10 - 20+ years

Exclamation Cellar Series : Winemaker’s Select

 

Alex’s Personal Favourites
These wines are a small batch from the Exclamation Cellar Series of wines. Our winemaker, finds his three or four personal favourite barrels from the Exclamation batch and blends them together to produce this wine. Giving these wines his personal touch adds a to their uniqueness. Slightly richer in flavour and heavier in mouthfeel when compared to the comparable Exclamation wine.

Alex takes great pride in these wines, they are “his time to shine” and craft a wine to meet his vision of what Ontario winemaking should be. We certainly are proud of the results and we hope you enjoy them.

Limited Availability
Like the rest of the Exclamation Cellar Series, the Winemakers Special Selection wines come only from grapes grown in the best vintage years and are treated with extreme care. These wines are some of the most coveted wines in Canada and limited in production.

Viticulture Information

Varietals:
Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

Terrior:
Soil Halton Till ( sand + silt) overtop red Queenston Shale Bedrock
Climate High day time + low night temperatures with Lake effect moderation.
Topography Gentle slope towards Lake Ontario, for maximum, uninterrupted sun exposure

Viticulture:
Yield(t/acre) 3 ton/acre (7.4 tonne/ha)
Yield(L/acre) 2100L/acre (5200L/ha)
Trellising Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 25+ years
Vine Density 1210/acre (3000/ha)
Growing Degree Days >1600

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 22-24° Brix (hand harvest)
Fermentation stainless steel
Oak Maturation French and American oak (16+ months)
Ageability 10 - 20+ years

Riserva Famiglia (Family Reserve)

 

Family Reserve Series
Pillitteri Estates Winery began with a sincere purpose: To create a legacy that respects the family’s Italian ancestry, and to produce superb grapes out of the earth as generations before them did. Made in the traditional appassimento style as done by his ancestors, the Family Reserve collection of wines are Gary Pillitteri’s pride and joy. Pillitteri is also proud to have the only plantings of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara in Canada which were planted in 2008.

Family Reserve Classified
The ‘Riserva Famiglia’ title is only given to wines produced in the best vintage years which have passed through a rigorous tasting panel. In the winery’s 20 year history we have only deemed 6 vintages suitable to produce Family Reserve wines. The Family Reserve Series showcases the wines of a family’s labour of love.

Viticulture Information

Varietals:
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.

Appassimento Philosophy:
• Vine dried for 3-4 additional weeks past regular harvest
• Rack dried in a single layer for 30 days in an ambient environment with forced air circulation

Terrior:
Soil Halton Till ( sand + silt) overtop red Queenston Shale Bedrock
Climate High day time + low night temperatures with Lake effect moderation.
Topography Gentle slope towards Lake Ontario, for maximum, uninterrupted sun exposure.

Viticulture:
Yield(t/acre) 2.5 ton/acre (6 tonne/ha)
Yield(L/acre) 1500L/acre (3700L/ha)
Trellising Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 25+ years
Vine Density 1210/acre (3000/ha)
Growing Degree Days >1600

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 23-24° Brix (hand harvested)
Brix after drying 26-27° Brix
Fermentation Small format, stainless steel
Oak Maturation French oak (2-3 years)
Ageability 15-20+ years

Carretto Icewine Series

 

Canada’s Gift
Icewine is a sweet wine produced from grapes naturally frozen on the vine and pressed while frozen at -8oC. Ontario’s microclimate is uniquely suited to the annual production of Icewine as warm summers
allow grapes to ripen while cold harsh winters allow natural freezing on the vine. Ontario produces 80%
of the world`s Icewine and is the market lead in the category. Global exports of Canadian Icewine valued
over $15 million $CAD

Pillitteri Icewine
Icewine is a Pillitteri flagship product. Half of the wine produced at Pillitteri is Icewine. Typical aromas of Icewine include apricot, honey and citrus for whites and cherry, strawberry, and chocolate for reds. Icewine makes an excellent dessert wine and pairs with many savory foods. Pillitteri Estates Winery is the world’s largest estate Icewine producer.

Viticulture Information

Varietals:
Vidal (75% of production), Riesling (10%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Cabernet Sauvignon (5%)

Icewine Philosophy:
Grapes are left on the vine for 2-3 months past regular harvest.
Temp variation + freeze/thaw effect allows grapes to dessicate on the vine and increase complexity of flavours.

Viticulture:
Yield(L/acre) Vidal: 900L/acre (2200L/ha)
Yield(L/acre) Vinifera: 500L/acre (1200L/ha)
Trellising Vidal: 4-can Kniffen Vinifera: Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 10 - 20 years
Temperature -8°C min, typical -10°C to -12°C

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 36-38° Brix
Fermentation Stainless steel
Oak Maturation None
Ageability 10 - 20 years

Reserve Icewine Series

 

Reserve Icewine
Pillitteri Reserve Icewines are rare and exceptional wines from Canada. Reserve Icewines are available
in 13 varieties, more than any other winery in the world, including some exclusively available at Pillitteri. Reserve Icewines undergoes maturation in oak barrels. Like table wines, Icewine matures and gains complexity and aromas from oak. All Pillitteri reserve classified Icewine is placed in custom designed bottles embossed with 24kt. gold.

Reserve Icewine Classification
For an Icewine to reach reserve classification it must meet a minimum of 38 degrees Brix at harvest. In addition, reserve Icewine meets strict winegrowing and winemaking standards: residual sugar, acidity and
alcohol must be balanced in perfect harmony.

Viticulture Information

Varietals:
Popular varietals: Vidal, Riesling, Canernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
Other Rare Varietals: Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Sangiovese, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc

Reserve Icewine Philosophy:
Grapes are left on the vine for 2-3 months past regular harvest.
Temp variation + freeze/thaw effect allows grapes to dessicate on the vine and increase complexity of flavours.

Viticulture:
Yield(L/acre) Vinifera: 500L/acre (1200L/ha)
Trellising Vidal: 4-can Kniffen Vinifera: Pendelbogan
Age of Vines 10 - 20 years
Temperature -8°C min, typical -10°C to -12°C

Winemaking:
Brix at harvest 38-42° Brix
Fermentation Stainless steel
Oak Maturation 6 - 12 months
Ageability 20 + years

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Icewine

We are proud to produce one of nature’s most exquisite gifts — Icewine. Learn more about this Canadian specialty here!

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Pillitteri takes pride in what we produce, as has been proven repeatedly in our 700+ wine awards.