A Visit to Niagara Wine Country During Harvest Season!

Waking up at 6am after a Wine Club dinner party is not necessarily easy, unless you know that you’ll be picking grapes for a special sparkling wine… this is exciting!


With a warm coffee, I walk from Lou Puglisi’s house to the Chardonnay block at Bella Terra Vineyards, where the skilled, experienced crew of pickers rapidly execute the first pick of the year.


These grapes are dedicated to the 2021 Bella Terra “Blanc de Blancs” Sparkling which will be released in 2025.


That September morning, the picking crew, under the supervision of Bella Terra Winemaker Fred Di Profio and Owner Lou Puglisi, harvested five and half tonnes of Chardonnay in 3 hours.


According to Lou, the quality of the grapes is exactly on par with the exceptional vintage of 2020, the difference is, the crop is bigger… way bigger. This is great news for Bella Terra’s Team and all farmers and wine producers in the Niagara Region.


At 9am, the first tractor brought the fruits onto the crush pad and started to load up the press. The big and shiny machine gently presses the juice out of the grapes and transfers it to a stainless-steel tank for primary fermentation.


I had the chance to taste the free-run juice, and I have to say, this is a darn good grape juice!


It was fascinating to me that when I tasted the grape juice, I was able to identify some of the primary aromas of the Chardonnay grape. A fun and unique experience.


See below my tasting notes of the current release of the 2016 Bella Terra Blanc de Blancs” Sparkling. Let’s see what we will get from the 2021 vintage… let’s chat about it in 4 years!


2016 Bella Terra “Blanc de Blanc” Traditional Method Sparkling

Ontario VQA, Niagara Peninsula

100% Chardonnay | Dry wine (RS 3.8 g/ltr)

91pts Carl’s Wine Club

This was the first edition of this brilliant Blanc de Blanc Sparkling, made from 100% Chardonnay from 30 year old Estate grown vines. The juice spent 4 years on the lees to develop incredible texture and complexity. The nose opens up with loads of baked apples and pear aromas followed by pleasant and not overpowering notes of baked croissant and toasted almond. The Palate is elegant and approachable including a vigorous mousse, flavors of green apples, lemon custard and chamomile tea, while the length is impressive with a wonderful dose of acidity.


Pairings: fresh oysters, fish and chips

Drink now until 2024

Winery price: $39.95


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