The history of Cattail Creek Estate Winery goes back to 1956 when Opa Epp had finally saved up enough money working odd jobs to purchase a farm in Niagara on the Lake. A true farmer at heart, he saw the potential for grape vines in the Niagara Region and planted his small, ten acre farm with grapes. Every day he worked his farm selling the grapes to the local grocery store. Gradually, he started planting more wine grapes and sold them to the local winery. His daughter, Renate, loved playing in the vineyards and quickly fell in love with farming. So it was just natural that after she married Ken Dyck they purchased their first farm in 1971. Planted entirely with peaches, they quickly replaced the trees with grape vines following Opa’s footsteps and selling the grapes to the small local wine industry starting to emerge in the Niagara Region at that time. In 1976, they became one of the first farmers to plant Riesling grape vines. While many nay-sayers believed that Riesling vines would not be able to survive the harsh Canadian climate, they proved them wrong and today Cattail Creek Estate Winery has some of the oldest Riesling vines in Ontario. Over the years, they have seen many wonderful changes to the Niagara wine industry as vineyards transitioned from Native North American grape varieties through to French Hybrids to what we have today, an industry focused on producing top-quality wines using classic European grape varieties. They were a part of the industry when VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) was created – a benchmark that promoted using entirely Ontario-grown grapes to produce internationally award winning wines. Throughout the years of hard work, dedication and passion they grew the family vineyards to 100 acres, always focusing on wine grapes to create what we have today – a vineyard respected for producing top-quality wine grapes.
In 2006, the family dream became a reality with the creation of Cattail Creek Estate Winery. At Cattail Creek, we produce small-batch, artisinal wines that reflect the unique terroir, or growing environment, of our vineyards. By only using grapes that we grow ourselves, we are able to produce wines that reflect the uniqueness of our vineyards as well as the distinctive characteristics of each vintage. We are committed to making the best wine that we can from each vintage so our wine offerings vary every year with wines only being made in vintages where the quality of the grapes have earned their own bottling. And our commitment to quality has been recognized. Cattail Creek Estate Winery was the first winery to be awarded a Gold Award for our first vintage of wines when our Barrel Fermented Vidal Icewine 2006 was awarded Best Limited Edition Sweet Wine at Cuveé 2008. Each bottle of wine made at Cattail Creek is filled with family passion, three generations of history and artisinal uniqueness.
We hope that you enjoy drinking our wines as much as we enjoy growing and making them.
We look to our roots for our inspiration. Our vineyards are all located within the unique Four Mile Creek sub appellation of Niagara on the Lake and we strive to produce quality grapes that exhibit the characteristics of this beautiful area. Each vineyard creates distinct flavours in the grapes due to its particular soil, climate and topography. Through experience and experimentation, we have identified the best locations for each grape variety and continually adjust our growing methods to suit each variety, location and vintage. The result €“ a complexity of flavours that only our vineyards can contribute to each wine we make.
This is the original vineyard purchased in 1956 by Renate’s father, also known to his grandchildren as Opa. This is the smallest vineyard owned by the Dyck Family. Located on Niagara Stone Road just on the outskirts of Virgil it is a wonderful vineyard for our aromatic white grape varieties. Because of this, the vineyard is planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay Musqué.
Cattail Creek Vineyard
This vineyard was purchased by Ken and Renate Dyck in 1971 and is now the home of Cattail Creek Estate Winery. Named after the creek that runs through the vineyard this is also home to the original Riesling plantings in 1976 which have become some of the oldest Riesling vines in Ontario. This vineyard is planted with Riesling (Clones 21, 239 and 49) and Gamay Noir.
Rickety Bridge Vineyard
Rickety Bridge Vineyard is named after the incredibly precarious looking bridge that every one must cross in order to enter the vineyard. Visitors and vineyard employees alike look doubtingly at the bridge and decide they would rather risk being terrorized by the large farm dog across the road than attempt to navigate the bridge – even though that bridge holds all of our heaviest farm equipment! This is our prized vineyard for growing cold sensitive grape varieties due to its proximity to both the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. These bodies of water moderate the temperatures on this vineyard allowing for an even ripening and preventing cold damage during the winter and frost damage in the spring. This vineyard also has the loamiest soils of all of our vineyards allowing for good water drainage. This vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Burning Barn Vineyard
This was the last vineyard purchased by the Dyck Family. At the time it was purchased there was an old house and barn on the property. Shortly after its residents moved out, the local arsonist decided it was time to take care of the eye sore and lit the barn on fire. Being no more than kindling to start with it burned to the ground as the family watched one night. Just a few weeks later, the arsonist returned and did the same to the house. Hence the appropriate name of Burning Barn Vineyard. This vineyard is located immediately adjacent to the Cattail Creek Vineyard and is the furthest from Lake Ontario. Because of this, the vineyard sees incredible amounts of heat during the summer but also the coldest temperatures in winter. Therefore our cold hardiest vines are planted on this vineyard, along with our icewine grapes Baco Noir, Vidal, Marchel Foch, Riesling (Clone 21) and Cabernet Franc.
Our long history of farming has taught us that it is vital for us to protect the earth that sustains us. If the delicate balance of the environment is abused, our ability to grow quality wine grapes is jeopardized but if we work with the environment we will be blessed with quality grapes required to produce excellent wines.
We are continually experimenting with growing techniques that will reduce our dependency on chemicals. By properly managing our leaf canopy and balancing fruit production we are able to maximize the effect of the wind and the sun to naturally fight diseases that may be developing within our vineyards. Through use of proper soil management we are able to disrupt the home and life-cycle of many undesirable pests thereby reducing the negative effects on the quality of our grapes. And by keeping our vines healthy they naturally become more resistant to pests and diseases.
In addition, we regularly monitor the disease and pest cycles in our vineyards throughout the growing season. By doing this, we are able to perfectly time any applications to the exact time when they are the most effective. We use as many alternative applications as possible respecting our need to have beneficial organisms living within our vineyard to help us control undesirable pests. And through the use of pheromone traps we are able to naturally disrupt the mating patterns of many devastating vineyard pests that negatively affect grape quality without becoming dependent on chemicals.
This same focus on sustainability and respect also applies to Cattail Creek Estate Winery. Every decision made at the winery is done with consideration to our environmental impact. When purchasing any equipment for the winery, its effect on the environment is analyzed with choices directed towards reduced water and electricity usage. Whenever possible we use pressure and heat to clean thereby reducing water usage. We also recirculate water as much as possible during the cleaning process. And by implementing strict wine-making policies towards reducing water usage, reducing electricity usage and recycling whenever possible Cattail Creek continually works towards minimizing our impact on the environment.
Protecting the Natural Habitat of Cattail Creek
Backing onto Cattail Creek also means that we have an additional responsibility to protect the natural fish habitat that runs through our vineyards. Cattail Creek Estate Winery is committed to have zero-impact on this sensitive waterway and we achieve this by collecting all the rainwater that falls onto Cattail Creek Estate Winery and collecting it into underground holding tanks. This water is then used to wash floors, flush toilets and as firefighting water. We also maintain buffer zones along the banks of this creek to reduce erosion and promote a natural habitat. We are very fortunate to see ducks swimming in the creek, birds nesting in the buffer zones and muskrats scurrying along. It is a wonderful home for wildlife and we are so fortunate to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature so close to us.
Cattail Creek Estate Winery is the cumulation of three generations of grape growing in Niagara on the Lake. Born from a passion for growing quality grapes and making great wines, Cattail Creek focuses on producing hand crafted wines.
Simply making great wine
A little sun, a little yoga, a bite to eat and a glass of wine. What could be better. Nature's Bliss Yoga is offering a Saturday Afternoon Yoga and Picnic Special. We...