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MEET OUR WINEMAKER

SEAN PALMER

Winemaker

What made you want to be a winemaker?
I worked with some of the top sommeliers in Toronto, and wine became a personal passion.

Where did you go to school? 
Niagara College, Winery and Viticulture Technician Program.

How long have you been in the field?
I have been in the wine industry now for 15 years. My career began as an assistant winemaker at Strewn, during that time I also did wine consulting. I have been at Peninsula Ridge for over 11 years, starting as the assistant winemaker and as of 2021 the head winemaker.

What are the highlights of your job?
Being a part of the transition from viticulture to winemaking. Making wine in Ontario is a unique experience as every vintage is different.

What are you looking forward to producing, experiencing in the future?
The best wines expressing the unique terroirs of our growing region.

Do you have a favorite Wine-Varietal?
My philosophy is that a “favorite” wine varietal should be centered on the components of food and wine, there is always a culinary relationship between the two. Accordingly, my “favorite” varietal is the one that best pairs to the fare I am serving.

Thoughts on Oak vs. Tank aged wine?
Both old and new world winemaking techniques are important, especially when creating and expressing our beautiful Niagara soil.

Tell us more about you outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife and our four daughters. I value my time off Skiing in the Winter and relaxing on the beach in the Summer. I appreciate Peninsula Ridge’s beautiful surroundings and enjoy walking my dog through the vineyard all year long.

NATHAN LABATTE

Assistant Winemaker

What made you want to be a winemaker?
I grew up in our Niagara wine region but didn’t real come to learn about it until I returned home from University. It was then I fell in love with the blending of Art and Science that is wine.

Where did you go to school?
The University of Waterloo for Nanotechnology Engineering, followed by the Niagara College Winery and Viticulture Technician Program.

How long have you been in the field?
My first harvest was in 2017 at Rosewood, shortly thereafter I joined the winemaking team here at Peninsula Ridge.

What are the highlights of your job?
Tasting the finished product from a vintage and seeing how it evolves over time. I always love to share with friends and find a wine I helped bring to life that they enjoy.

What are you looking forward to producing, experiencing in the future?
Working with different varietals is always fun. I would love to someday get a chance to produce a Marquette, Viognier or Petit Verdot.

Do you have a favourite Wine-Varietal?
White- Riesling, it’s a wine that has such character as it ages. Red- Cabernet Franc, it’s by far my favourite and almost never fails to impress me every year

Thoughts on Oak vs. Tank aged wine?
I do not discriminate against wines and I think there is a place for wines that are aged in a variety of ways. But there is something about a nicely aged Oak Chardonnay that just hits the spot.

Tell us more about you outside of work?
When I am not talking or drinking wine with friends, I am often camping, hiking and or travelling to different cities.