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Region: North America - Canada
The story of Pillitteri started in 1965 when Gary and Lena Pillitteri settled in Niagara on the Lake, now an official appellation on the Niagara Peninsula, the largest and best wine-producing region in Ontario.
After years of growing fruit, they turned their hands to Icewine and, in 1993, built a state of the art winery capable of producing 16,000 cases. Further expansion in the vineyard and the winery has continued so that today they have around 45 hectares and produce 100,000 cases each year. They are now the biggest family owned producer of Icewine in Canada, which in turn, produces 80% of all the world's Icewine.
In a good year, when temperatures are consistently below the legal requirement of -8C, over half of Pillitteri’s production is Icewine. However, their dry and off-dry table wines, made typically from the earlier-ripening varieties of Cabernet Franc Chardonnay and Riesling also exhibit the freshness, intensity and purity of cool climate viticulture.
Niagara has the same latitude as Burgundy and although significantly colder in Winter, during the height of Summer and the ripening season, temperatures can be on average 4 or 5 degrees warmer overall. As a result, because of the lack of ripening, these table wines can not be produced every year and in those years, thankfully, icewine is then made. Better even than a silver lining: an icy lining!