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Just a few years less than half a century ago, a Hungarian immigrant, Andrew Peller, opened a modest winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, with grand plans of expansion coast to coast. At the time he was 58 years old, an age many people consider advanced enough to contemplate retirement plans.

       Today, his hard work and considerable efforts of his off springs have succeeded in making the company the second largest Canadian winery.

       Andres Wines has always been very good at marketing, analysing and anticipating trends. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the company grew by marketing popular low and medium priced wines catering to entry-level wine consumers. As Canadians started to gradually switch to better quality, his son Joe and grandson John were ready for the challenge.

       They wanted to build a high-end winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake with high tourist traffic and an excellent reputation for fine wines.

       To this end, plans were drawn, and suitable land was purchased with the objective to cerate the Peller Estate winery. They envisioned a high tourist traffic and decided to include a fine restaurant with the objective to use local produce whenever possible.

       The winery has an impressive underground barrel-aging cellar with a capacity of 1000 barrels. Two winemakers supervise the process, from the delivery of grapes all the way to the bottling.  The estate produces three lines of wines: Andrew Peller Signature Series, Private reserve and Vineyard Series. All are varietal wines (Cabernets Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot for reds and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for whites. Most are unfiltered particularly the reds.

       Even though the winery was opened in 2001, it won several prestigious international and domestic awards of excellence.

       Production is restricted to 25,000 cases annually to guarantee the highest quality standards.

       Peller Estates Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Vidal icewine (the only hybrid) are highly recommended.

       The restaurant serves fine food, professionally, at a reasonable cost.

       The winery is open seven days a week 10 – 6 pm, with extended hours in summer.

       Private tastings can be arranged on the premises. For more information contact
1 888 673 5537, 905 468 4678

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu

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