This month's 2 Bottles & 2 Questions is with Erika Neudorf. I (Ange) have known Erika for over 8 years. Her and I originally met when we worked at both Vineland Estates Winery Restaurant & Peller Estates Winery Restaurant and we have been friends and passionate wine buddies ever since!

Erika grew up in the Niagara region, and most of her family lives amongst the vines of Niagara. In fact, the Neudorf property is home to the highly coveted Le Clos Jordanne's 'La Petite' single vineyard Pinot Noir.

Erika's passion for the wine industry started long ago with a co-op placement in the cellars of Vineland Estates while still in high school. This followed by jobs at both Vineland Estates and Peller Estates Winery Restaurants while finishing her degree from Western. She has recently returned from Australia, where she completed her Masters in Wine Business from the University of Adelaide.

Since her arrival Erika has been very busy. She started by getting her 'hands dirty' during the 2007 harvest at Le Clos Jordanne, and is now working for the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University. Erika is co-ordinating the research for the new wine consumer laboratory, headed by CCOVI researcher, Isabelle Lesschaeve. They look at consumer perceptions and preferences where choosing, buying and drinking wines are concerned. Erika is also consulting for Niagara College's Post Grad Wine Business Program to commence this September.

For more information about the lab, go to

Notably, the lab was also just featured in the California based wine trade magazine, Wines and Vines!

2 Questions:

1 - What would you say is the biggest contributor - or a few - to your passion for wine?
There are so many great things about being in the wine industry! However, anyone who knows me would say food and wine. I love the way they can compliment and contrast each other, creating such a diverse range of flavours. In most regions wine and food have evolved together, resulting in a perfect match.

I am also fascinated by the role geography and history play in the world of wine. There are so many factors that go into making a bottle of wine, but it all starts with the place that the grapes are grown.

By far the most entertaining part of the wine industry is the people. I met some really interesting, talented, and incredibly entertaining winemakers all over Australia. Everyone is in the industry for a reason, and there certainly isn’t a shortage of good times!

2 - Being in your twenties and from Niagara how do you view the local wine industry and how do you plan on helping to contribute to its future at Brock's CCOVI program?

The wine industry in Niagara has seen so much growth recently. The global wine market has changed, and so must the wine industry here. It is great that more and more young people are heading abroad and bringing their knowledge back to Niagara. More importantly, Brock University and Niagara College are continually improving programs and research capacities. The wine consumer lab at Brock will add another dimension to the current research at CCOVI. Knowing what wine consumers want is so important for local wineries in terms of marketing and sales. We have the products to compete in the global market, and if everyone works together we will be unstoppable. I am so excited to see where we will take this industry!


Cave Springs 'Dolomite Vineyard' Riesling - 2006 $15.85 Winery only
Cave Spring Cellars consistently produces wonderful Rieslings. The introduction of this vineyard designated wine is no exception. It gives the wine a definite sense of place, and the name refers to the dolomitic limestone in the soils unique to the Niagara Escarpment. The wine is slightly off-dry, with aromas of fresh lime and other ripe citrus fruits. There is unique minerality on the nose and palate, with a full and luscious feel in the mouth. It finishes with the perfect amount of acidity to make you go back for more. This wine is only available for sale at the Winery, but I have also seen it on wine lists in Toronto. Keep your eyes open for it or better yet, visit Niagara and try some other wines as well. Visit Cave Springs Website

St. Hallett GST 2006 - $23.95 Vintages 660910
St. Hallett is one of my favourite wineries located in the Barossa Valley region of South Australia. They source old vine fruit (some over 100 years old) and I have never been disappointed by any of their wines. For this wine, instead of the usual Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre blend, St. Hallett has replaced the Mouvedre with a small amount of Touriga Nacional (the principal variety used to make Port). This wine has aromas of rich red fruit from the Grenache and Shiraz, and a hint of Cinnamon from the 7% Touriga added. The palate is well balanced, and could be drunk with food or on its own. It is definitely chuggable!
For more infor check out the website -