14 november 2012

Ontario wineries develop new drying technique to produce premium reds


(Photo: Rennie Estate Winery)

Canadian icewine is known all over the world. But soon a new type of full bodied, complex wine will also be competing for notoriety worldwide. Two wineries in the Niagara region are developing a new drying room facility that will produce superior fruit for appassimento-style wine.

The drying process has been used traditionally in Italy for more than a century to produce Amarone wines. Besides producing premium vintages, it also lessens the risk of various production pitfalls, such as poor climatic conditions or the growth of mold.

“This technique has proven, over the years in Italy ... that you can intensify the flavours”, says Graham Rennie, owner of Rennie Estate Winery.

The drying room is being developed by Rennie Estate Winery and Angels Gate Winery, in partnership with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. When ready, it will be temperature controlled and will optimally manage humidity and air flow.

The appassimento drying process can help produce premium wines (Photo: Rennie Estate Winery)

The final goal is to create a large-scale cooperative facility. According to Graham Rennie, wine makers are interested in the appassimento technique to improve the quality of their wines, but don’t want to invest individually in a complete facility that would be used for only 60 to 120 days a years.

“You don’t want to take a risk with putting in 10 or 20 tons of fruit and having it turn moldy”, he says.

Most importantly, these premium wines could increase competitiveness for Canadian wines worldwide.

"There’s an international palate ... that’s looking for a different style of wine. If we can create this improvement in our domestic reds, I think that we ... would have the opportunity to sell outside the Ontario marketplace", says Rennie.

It seems that the three partners are in the right path. Samples of the appassimento wines are already a success in Rennie’s winery.

“At the winery, people come in and they taste a wide range of wines, and then finally get to these appassimento wines, it just blows them away”, he says.

Gilda Salomone spoke with Graham Rennie, owner of Rennie Estate Winery.
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