Pioneering winemaker and environmental engineer Dr. Joseph E. Pohorly founded one of the three original cottage wineries in Niagara in the late 1970’s, laying the foundation for the entire new industry of wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Joseph’s innovative technique drew the attention of investors and he was given carte blanche to create innovative wines and build the reputation of the region. In 1983, Joseph produced one of the first Icewines ever to come from Niagara. The following year nearly every winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake began leaving grapes on the vine well beyond harvest in anticipation of the winter frost.
Joseph left the industry for a time and designed and built The Colonel Butler Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which he ran with wife Betty for a number of years. The vineyard called however, and in 1992 Joseph purchased a 20-acre fruit farm that is now the site of Joseph’s Estate Winery. Within a few short years, overwhelming popularity led to expansion and Joseph’s now produces a full portfolio of premium VQA red and white varietal wines, Vidal Icewine, unique fruit wines, specialty wines, sherry and port in a facility that covers 10,000 square feet.
Notable wines include Joseph’s signature Vidal Icewine, Cream Sherry and Joseph’s Pinot Grigio, the official white wine of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for 2010. All of the wines at Joseph’s Estate Winery are fruit forward and crafted with passion and three decades of winemaking knowledge. The vineyards benefit from ample sunlight, warm mesoclimate and nutrient-rich sandy loam soil.
Family owned and operated, Joseph’s Estate Winery fosters friendly and educational relationships with visitors. Public tours take place daily through the growing season and the tasting bar and boutique offer a wide selection of wines for sample and sale throughout the year. The boutique also features a variety of wine products, glassware, unique giftware, serving pieces, wine jellies and food products. The facility also houses a large hospitality room that can accommodate up to 60 guests and is available for meetings, conferences and corporate functions.
A true entrepreneurial endeavour, Joseph’s Estate Winery continues to grow its reputation as Niagara’s best-kept secret, producing top-notch terroir-focused wines in the family tradition. Dr. Joseph Pohorly is on-site often and represents his namesake at many of the terroir wine events throughout the year.