The Pillitteri name is at the heart of Riverview Cellars, a surname that is certainly familiar in the Niagara region and beyond. Gary Pillitteri and family’s eponymous wines – reds, whites as well as icewines – regularly garner good reviews and do well in competitions.
In 1992, Gary’s older brother Sam began growing grapes (beginning with Gewürztraminer) for Gary on his nearby farmland property, which came with a storefront and was originally planted as an orchard. By 1998 a modest six acres were planted on the property – although Sam had plans for the rest of the land.
A couple of years later, Sam opened Riverview Cellars Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Sam and son Michael continue to move the winery forward, considering the soil, elevation, proximity to water and climate when choosing which grapes are planted where.
And while Riverview Cellars is still achieving the widespread commercial success of Pillitteri across Canada, it has been carefully carving out a well-respected corner for itself in Niagara-on-the-Lake since gradually converting the property from orchard to vineyard.
Winemaker Alyssa Bator is a Niagara native, and has been making Riverview’s wines since June 2014. She completed a science degree at McMaster before enrolling in Brock University’s wine program. Her training, as well as the fact that she grew up not far from Riverview Cellars, made her an ideal candidate to step in and start making wine.
At present, approximately 22 acres are planted under vine in Riverview Cellars’ vineyard. For the most part, the family focuses on cooler-climate white varieties such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, but also grow some red Bordeaux varieties as well as a couple of hybrids (including Vidal, from which they make their icewine).
Riverview Cellars is one of My Wine Canada’s featured wineries offering free shipping on six bottles or more through to Dec. 31. For more details on how to get free shipping on these wines below, click here!
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.