From Grapes to the Winery. Mountain Road Wine Company started with the establishment of its first vineyards in 1983 by owner and winemaker Steve Kocsis on a farm originally purchased by his parents Andy and Klara in 1958. Thirteen and a half acres of Chardonnay, Gamay Noir and Vidal vines were planted on the sloping terrain of the Beamsville Bench. As the vines matured to express the unique soil and aspect of the vineyard, the grapes became more and more sought after by various local wineries.
In 2000 Steve produced his first commercial wine, a 1999 Vidal Icewine. It won a Gold medal and was judged to be the Best Sweet White Wine at the Cellars of the World International Competition in Ottawa. His 2002 Chardonnay was chosen as the Best Canadian White Wine at the All-Canadian Wine Championships in 2006 and his 2002 Cabernet Blend was chosen as the official wine of the Ontario Legislature.
Annual production is limited to about 2,000 cases to maintain hands-on quality control at every step from growing the grapes to making the wine. They make wine from half the grapes they grow and sell the balance to other Ontario wineries. Their wines are mostly VQA but always 100% Ontario grown. They also grow grapes for the juice and fresh market, as well as pears for processing and table consumption.
“The root of our passion for wine and grapes is in the land and we are determined, with the loyal support of our customers, to preserve the land for production of food and wine for future generations.
Vegan information: In response to vegan interests, Steve outlines some of the wine making procedures at Mountain Road Wine Company.
We do not use any fining products in our wine except bentonite (a type of refined clay) which we use for protein stabilization in our white wines. This prevents a protein haze or cloudiness in the wines at room temperature. We also cold stabilize by refrigeration which settles out tartrate crystals, also referred to as wine diamonds, which some people mistakenly think are glass shards in chilled whites. Our red wines do not need protein stabilization as the natural tannins from the grapes and oak barrels resolve any protein issues.
Egg products, milk products and fish derived gelatins are typically used to fine tannins out of wines to bring them to market more quickly. We prefer to handle the grapes gently, hand picking in the vineyard, gently desteming and pressing the grapes to avoid unnecessary tannin extraction from chaffing and crushing stems and seeds. We also age our barrel fermented whites (Chardonnays) for over two years and our barrel aged reds for up to three years to integrate and mellow the tannins. This eliminates the necessity to use fining agents as the wines clarify by natural settling, through oak micro-oxygenation and time-induced polymerization.
As an example we have just bottled our 2003 Cabernets, scheduled for first release in November of this year 2008. We will also be releasing our 2005 Barrel Fermented Chardonnays this November as well. This sort of timeline is hard on cash-flow but is sound traditional winemaking.
Our aromatic whites that see no oak (Unoaked Chardonnay, Riesling, Vidal, some Icewines) get into bottle and are released sooner, but even those get time to settle in tanks and mature in bottles before they are released.
Our wines contain grapes grown on our own vineyards and only see cultured yeasts, some sulphur dioxide (SO2), plant derived enzymes, and in certain years a bit of cane, beet or corn sugar to bring up the potential alcohol.
Ecological Significance As a three generation family enterprise, long term sustainability of the land has always been paramount. Mountain Road Wine Company is always ready to adapt to new technologies and practices while being mindful of traditional land stewardship. They utilize farming practices that prevent erosion on the 6% sloped terrain of the vineyard and they have made engineered grassed waterways. There is minimal herbicide usage and insecticides are rarely used, in order to encourage the balance of beneficial insects and birds. The vineyards are netted to prevent bird damage to ripening crops and birds are not hunted or hurt.
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