This month's 2 Bottles & 2 Questions is with Lawrence
, Winemaker at Peller Estates Winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake. We had a great time interviewing Lawrence at the Ontario Wine Awards Gala back in the Spring and we hope to see him again when we go there for our iYellow Wine Tour in September.

Lawrence is very busy these days with early harvest work and we're pleased to have him as our first Winemaker for the 2 Bottles & 2 Questions segment. It's true what they say, "
Ontario Wines have as much character as the people who make them." We're really enjoying meeting the Winemakers and Lawrence is no exception!

Graduating from Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) in 2002 with just one other, Lawrence was determined to make wine in Canada, and specifically in Ontario.

Lawrence interned at some of Niagara’s most well known and respected wineries including; Marynissen, Strewn, Vineland Estates and Angels Gate, providing Lawrence with a broad range of expertise from Viticulture Manager to Assistant Winemaker. He joined Peller Estates in April 2003 as an Assistant Winemaker to Rob Summers, and in the summer of 2005, was awarded the coveted position of Peller Estates Winemaker. Enjoy this month's interview.

2 Questions

1. What point in your life did you know you wanted to become a Winemaker?

I was 20…sitting with my family at Thanksgiving dinner. My father being quite a wine enthusiast offered me a glass of Pinot Noir. I liked wine and had an interest in wine and food, but never thought about making wine. I tasted the wine and was captivated by the intensity of fruit, complexity of the oak and the ripe, rich mouthfeel. Having an interest in chemistry (as well as wine and food), I looked into the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture program at Brock University. I applied and was accepted the next year, spending the next three years completing my degree. After graduating I moved on to a winemaking career with Peller Estates.

2. What do you think is so special about Niagara's Wine Country?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Niagara is that it is unique. We are a cool climate, but different than other cool climates around the world. The Niagara Peninsula is made up many different microclimates which are highly influenced by Lake Ontario, each offering different growing conditions. For example, Riesling may grow well in both Niagara on the Lake and on the Beamsville Bench, but both wines will be completely different, each offering there unique aromas and flavours, indicative to their vineyard. This can also be said from neighbouring vineyards that may have different soil types. Between site selection and clone choice, there are endless possibilities in our region. On top of that, we are a young industry compared to many wine regions around the world. It is exciting to see the quality of wines that have been made in our short history…what a time to be a winemaker in Ontario!

2 Bottles

1. Peller Estates Private Reserve Pinot Gris 2006

2. Spy Valley Gewurztraminer 2006 (New Zealand)