The Reif family tradition of winemaking began nearly half a millennium ago in the small winemaking town of Neustadt, located in the heart of the world renowned Rhine River Valley in Germany. In 1977, this tradition transcended to a new continent, when founder Ewald Reif purchased a plot of land on the fertile banks of the Niagara River.

After carefully nurturing the land for six years, the potential of these young vineyards became evident when the doors of Reif Estate Winery officially opened in 1983.

In 1987, Klaus W. Reif took over the reins from his uncle Ewald, as the President and Winemaker after graduating from the world famous Geisenheim Institute in Germany with degrees in both Oenology and Viticulture. Having been born into a winemaking family with roots tracing back 12 generations Klaus' future as a winemaker may have been preordained. In 1990, Klaus was joined by Roberto DiDomenico, a graduate of the University of Guelph with a specialized Honours Microbiology degree. Roberto's winemaking philosophy of 'letting nature make wine' married perfectly with Klaus's belief that "...today we are growing wine in the vineyard."

These beliefs, partnered with a commitment to produce predominantly estate bottled wines from our 125 acre vineyard are the cornerstone of the quality and integrity of Reif Estate wines.

Klaus Reif's philosophy that "great wines start in the vineyard" is the cornerstone of the quality and integrity of Reif Estate wines. This belief, partnered with a commitment to produce predominantly estate bottled wines from our 125 acre vineyard, has provided our winemaker Roberto DiDomenico with the tools to produce world renowned wines.

Klaus and Roberto believe that over time a vineyard will express its 'terroir', loosely translated as 'a sense of place'. Many agree that as a vineyard matures its personality (or characteristics) of both climate and soils will be expressed in the wines over time. We believe Reif's terroir is best expressed by the wines produced in the First Growth Collection, with grapes harvested from our oldest vineyard blocks.

There is no doubt that today we are growing wine in the vineyard.

Reif Estate Winery has a long history of innovation and development in sustainable winemaking practices. We are a founding member of the Vintner's Quality Alliance and partner in the development of the Environmental Charter for the Sustainable Winemaking Committee for the Wine Council of Ontario.

In 2009 Reif received an award as a Canadian Innovative Leader from the National Research Council of Canada. We began working with the council in 1986 on projects like improved development of Icewine, low sulphite wines, optimal closure and most recently the use of recycled tobacco technology kilns for the production of appassimento style wines. Our commitment to sustainability is practiced both on the farm and in the winery and begins in the spring when soil samples are retrieved from over 125 locations on the farm.

Ron Bertrand, vineyard manager for over 30 years, knows exactly where to provide extra natural nutrients with compost comprised of the previous harvest's pruned and chipped vines, grape stems, leaves, skins and seeds. Nothing is wasted on the farm. In the cellar Roberto and Klaus believe that it is necessary to work with nature rather than against it, with minimal intervention in winemaking.

 

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