Konzelmann Estate Winery
Konzelmann is Niagara’s only lakefront winery, located on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Winery began in the small German town of Uhlbach, near the turn of the 19th century. A restauranteur named Friederich Konzelmann left the culinary trade to pursue the craft of winemaking. Bolstered from previous success in producing house wines for his restaurants, Friederich officially released his first vintage to the public in 1893. He would eventually produce 200,000 litres of excellent wine per year from an array of Germany’s celebrated aromatic varietals.
The winery was expanding and the demand for his product was increasing more quickly than the land could sustain. Contracts with growers were becoming increasingly costly and the price of buying additional land was high. A recreational trip through the wilderness of British Columbia seeded a profound love of the land and rumours of fledgling wine operations in Ontario and the Okanagan perked Herbert’s imagination. Subsequent visits produced evidence that Canada’s wine potential had been drastically underestimated by most of the world.
Herbert Konzelmann is a fourth generation wine-maker and the first in the family to leave Germany in search of the next perfect spot to grow grapes. In 1984, he discovered one of the prettiest properties in Niagara, along the shores of Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the- Lake, a spot that reminded him of Alsace, France. Not because of the scenery, but due to the micro-climate, which is similar to Alsace with a wonderful balance of sun, soil, airflow and moisture conditions, ideal for making clean, aromatic, fruity wines.
It was a long way from Stuttgart, Germany, where Friedrich Konzelmann, Herbert’s great-grandfather, first established the winery in 1893.
But with land running out in German wine country, Herbert made the decision to take the family’s wine roots to the New World.