Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
– January 2012 –
Cruise up the vine lined slopes above Jordan village, as I did last summer, and you’ll find Staff Avenue and Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery. My curiosity was piqued – what was the story behind Sue-Ann Staff’s newly opened winery, housed on her family’s historic farm? The dramatic white barn and family home come into view, a large cold-weather bell crafted in mid-1800s England gracing the entrance, ready to ring you onto the property. Exit the car and you will be greeted by a friendly, well-mannered Bernese Mountain dog named BRIX, who will lead you to the side entrance of the house. There you head into the relaxed, welcoming tasting bar that Sue-Ann and her family have set up in their farmhouse kitchen. Sue-Ann offers a warm welcome, sharing her passion for the wine, the vineyards and her family’s history.
Sue-Ann’s family emigrated from England in the late 1700s, her ancestor Robert Staff acquiring the current property over 2 centuries ago. The first vineyard was planted in 1898 by her great-grandfather comprising of 3.3 acres of Concord grapes located at the corner of Staff Avenue and 17th Street. This vineyard may be the oldest productive one in Niagara and continues to be retained by the family as a living legacy. You may in fact taste these grapes in Welch’s grape juice, as the fruit is shipped annually to the company’s processing plant in Pennsylvania. Through the generations, the Staff farming and agricultural operations have evolved. Historically, it was the largest private fruit-growing operation in Canada, with over 800 acres of grapes. And at one time, 5% of the estate was reserved for research by Jordan Wines.
The prospect of a family-owned winery was often discussed at family gatherings, yet the idea became fruition one day while Sue-Ann was thinning crop with her father. ‘What are you doing?” her father asked. “I’m thinking,” replied Sue-Ann, “…I’m thinking there’s no reason I couldn’t start my own winery.” Soon after, in 2009, Sue-Ann Staff Winery opened. Sue-Ann describes the excitement as well as the terror of releasing wines under her name, aware of the significant investment she made while wondering how her wines would be received by the public. This was a fleeting moment now a couple of years later, as success has shown with several wines already sold out!
Our feature of Sue-Ann Staff Estate wines ensures Savvy subscribers have the opportunity to sample a unique selection of Sue-Ann’s wines:
- – Staff Cabernet Franc VQA 2010 – the velvety, earthy laced with balsamic characteristics
- – Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank VQA 2009 – a BIG treat for our subscribers!
- – Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2008 – full bodied red that she made as a consulting winemaker for winery owner John Howard
–Riesling Icewine VQA 2007 – a luscious, beautifully balanced honeyed fruit extravaganza,
– Pinot Gris VQA 2010 – previous vintages quickly sold out. Given the quality of the 2010 vintage, it is anticipated that this wine will fly off the shelves
We are delighted to introduce you to Sue-Ann & her wines. Be sure to visit the Staff farm to experience the warm welcome offered by Sue-Ann, her family & BRIX too!
Debbie & Savvy Team