From Chablis to Niagara: the International Appeal of the Niagara Region

What makes for a World Class wine is no secret…the best winemakers will tell you: the best wines come from the best grapes, grown in the best vineyards.


For this reason, wine can be seen as a combination of the best that both humans and nature has to offer.


One of the most celebrated winemakers in Niagara is Jean-Pierre Colas, of 13th Street Winery.



Born and raised in a notable, historical wine region – Chablis, France – Jean-Pierre made wines for Chablis House, Domaine Laroche.


In 1998, he produced Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year as well as Best Wine by Wine Enthusiast (a 99-point Chardonnay!).


So, what compelled this world-class winemaker to move to Niagara not too long after that career-defining feat?


In search of innovative winemaking ideas and terroir, Jean Pierre traveled and worked extensively around the world, including Carmen Vineyards in Chile, Bodegas Chandon in Argentina, and Oyster Bay Winery in New Zealand.


He studied and worked under a number of exceptional winemakers, including Michel Givors in Morgon, Beaujolais and Gilbert Picq, and Michel Laroche in Chablis, Burgundy.


While working on some wine projects in Chile, he got the call for an exciting opportunity to make wines in Niagara.


At first, he wasn’t even too sure where Niagara was on the map!







After visiting the region and learning more, Jean-Pierre was hooked. He was sure that Niagara was on the verge of becoming a sought-after, World Class wine region.


And, it sure helped that Canada was a place that he felt safe bringing his family, including three young children. That was one hesitation he would have with a move to other emerging wine regions at the time in South America.


Some of the most exciting parts of the Niagara terroir are the glacial soils, the micro-climates in and around the Niagara Escarpment, and the many different varietals you can plant and make wines with.



Decades later, Jean-Pierre is still in Niagara, at 13th Street Winery. He continues to excel at making wines in this cool-climate region, and has developed a reputation for outstanding traditional-method sparkling wines.


With his terroir-first philosophy, Jean-Pierre crafts high-quality red wines paramount to the Niagara peninsula: Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.



Likewise, Jean-Pierre guides the production of exceptional white wines, including world-class Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.


And his track record on awards continues. In 2018, Jean Pierre received ‘White Wine of the Year’ and a Gold Medal for Premier Cuvée 2012 at the 2018 Ontario Wine Awards, to mention just a couple of the many awards he’s received.


I highly recommend stopping by 13th Street on your next visit to Niagara – not only are the wines world class, but they also have an on-site bakery (hello, butter tarts!), restaurant, accommodations, and an art gallery.









Watch the full interview here:


You can learn more & order a 13th Street Tasting Pack at Carl’s Cellar:








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