CAVE SPRING CELLARS, Jordan
Almost four decades ago, the Pennachetti family — Len and his father John, Sr. — helped pioneer the cultivation of European grape varietals on the Niagara Peninsula. The site that was to become Cave Spring Vineyard was purchased in 1973, and planted with some of the region’s first Riesling & Chardonnay vines in 1974 and ’78. Named by 18th century European settlers for the limestone caves and mineral springs located throughout the property, and situated on a gently sloping hillside at the heart of a narrow 15 km shelf of the Niagara Escarpment known as the Beamsville Bench, the site offered significant potential for quality winegrowing. These original blocks now represent some of Niagara's oldest vinifera plantings — the Chardonnay and Riesling reserved for Cave Spring’s iconic ‘CSV’ bottlings.
The winery, Cave Spring Cellars, was founded in 1986 by the Pennachetti family and winemaker Angelo Pavan in the historic former Jordan Winery, with cellars dating to 1871. By the time Cave Spring celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011, it was firmly established as one of Canada’s most acclaimed wineries, earning a reputation for crafting elegant and distinctive cool-climate wines in the heart of Ontario’s wine country. In 2014, Ian D’Agata, recognized Cave Spring as “arguably Canada’s best winery” in Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.
As Niagara's only hillside, the Escarpment prevents frost damage in Bench vineyards during winter and spring by trapping warm air released from Lake Ontario. In the summer months, the Bench benefits from cool lake-effect breezes, which, as they circulate along its slopes, discourage harmful mildews. And during autumn, warm lake air displaces cool air as it descends from the Escarpment crest, thereby extending the ripening season. The Beamsville Bench's hillside exposure furnishes excellent natural drainage, which forces vine roots to search deep into mineral-rich clay/loam soils for moisture. This serves to reduce yields and improve the concentration and complexity of flavour in the fruit. Cave Spring Vineyard is planted at densities of up to 4500 vines per hectare, twice Niagara's norm. Cave Spring 'Estate Bottled' wines embody the highest commitment to the terroir of the Beamsville Bench. In addition to the 55 ha Cave Spring Vineyard, the winery farms the 8.5 ha Meyers Vineyard (planted to Weis 21 Riesling clone) and 3 ha Tufford Road Vineyard, both in the Lincoln Lakeshore appellation.
Estate vineyards furnish 90% of the winery’s grape supply, with the remaining 10% purchased from two long-term contract growers, also in the Beamsville Bench and Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellations. Overall, 80% of the grape supply originates from the Beamsville Bench and 20% from the Lincoln Lakeshore. Within the portfolio of wines, the various tiers are clearly identified on the labels - from ‘CSV’ (Estate Bottled/ Beamsville Bench); to Estate Bottled/Beamsville Bench; ‘Dolomite’ (Niagara Escarpment); Niagara Escarpment; and Niagara Peninsula. Wines bearing the 'Estate Bottled’ designation originate 100% from fruit grown at Cave Spring Vineyard according to strict qualitative standards, assuring unique & identifiable character — a true sense of place.