Rosewood Estates Winery: The Buzz Around the Unconventional
A trip to Niagara’s wine country usually brings to mind the picturesque scenery and sprawling vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake. But where many don’t think to look, in the lesser-known parts of the region, is where some of Niagara’s most unique offerings can be found. In Beamsville, a town just 40 minutes from Niagara-on-the-Lake, sits a vineyard that goes beyond the traditional and embraces the art of experimentation. Say hello to Rosewood Estates Winery, a family-owned winery whose passion for sustainable winemaking is as strong as their commitment to authenticity and honesty in their products.
When asked about the importance of their eco-friendly farming practices at Rosewood, winemaker Ryan Corrigan points out the decline in the global bee population, which could have “devastating results.” That’s why they employ natural practices that take the environment and the estate apiary into consideration.
“In our cellar, we minimize water usage through the use of highly compressed steam for cleaning of tanks and barrels,” notes Ryan. “In winemaking, our choice of minimal additions is centered around the elimination of variables that could cloud the true expression of our vineyards and each unique vintage.”
Ryan says Rosewood’s role as caretakers of the land is important to them, and they strive to “preserve this opportunity for the future.”
The winery’s eco-conscious practices aren’t the only thing distinguishing them. An on-site apiary representing three generations of beekeeping means Rosewood Estates goes beyond the grapes. They are passionate about raising awareness about good beekeeping practices while also producing their own honey and mead.
But what is mead?
Sometimes called “the drink of the gods,” mead is a fermented “honey wine” with a sweet finish similar to icewine. Ryan stresses the variation in the mead they produce, letting the different seasons result in a “vintage variation” effect—more reason to come out for a visit just about any time of year.
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“Different seasons produce different flora for the bees to pollinate, and the resulting honey reflects these unique conditions,” he says. “Each stop at Rosewood for wines or honey will hopefully be a singular and inspiring visit.”
A passion for both creativity and scientific exploration drew Ryan into winemaking. He calls the vocation “the perfect marriage of artistic expression and scientific pragmatism” and, after a start in Biomedical Science, he transferred into Brock’s Winemaking Program and the rest was history. “I wanted to get into a field that allowed creativity and involved honest, hard work,” Ryan shares.
After four years abroad, he returned to Niagara where he’s constantly inspired by the land and the fruits of his labour (quite literally we may add). What does he love most about the region? The variation. He notes the way the final product reflects a certain point in time.
“In essence, these artifacts tell the story of the region, the soil and it’s evolution.”
It’s easy to see how the uniqueness of the Beamsville Bench terroir has influenced Rosewood’s individuality as a winery. A glance at their offerings, with names like “Riesling AF” and “The Bird and the Bees,” tell the story of a team who not only create quality wine and mead, but one that thoroughly enjoys what they do and has a little fun in the process too.
As for Ryan? He revels in the opportunity to be creative.
Creative Niagara Wine Making
“I really enjoy taking the superfluity out of wine and seeing customers discover a style or taste that they didn’t know about before,” says Ryan. “We try to foster an attitude of curiosity and experimentation, while creating honest and tasty wines.”
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Constantly inspired by the Niagara region, Ryan embraces the challenges of honestly representing the region in his final products. “It is inspiring for me to live in an area so rich in flavours and aromas. It challenges me to capture this essence in our wines,” he says of the area. “The region is home to numerous artisans and farmers, who share their passions and feed a collective inspiration for us all.”
In addition to the passion that comes from the people and land of the region, Ryan also takes inspiration from his own experiences, incorporating a little piece of his journey into every bottle of wine he makes. From his education to his time spent travelling abroad, every minute of his life has shaped his winemaking philosophy and played a role in his work. He blends “Old World” techniques with modern technology, resulting in a “neotraditional” approach to winemaking. But this doesn’t mean an entirely hands-off approach. They take special care to monitor and taste each product, bust choose to focus less on the process and more on the final taste. As Ryan jokingly shares, “I’ve learned that it takes a lot of work to do nothing to a wine.”
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With a new year comes new challenges and opportunities that Ryan notes he is ready to face head-on with a curious, open mind. In particular, Rosewood has plans to “push forward and ask questions about the land that we farm and the expression of the resulting products.” A winery that appreciates the tradition in pure, honest winemaking but embraces the power of experimentation, they will continue to try new things and push the boundaries for delicious results.
The winery is also looking forward to a bright and bubbly future, with plans to explore an in-depth sparkling wine program. Ryan also mentions looking at the local botanicals that may “interact positively with our meads for fortified honey wines” – a natural step for the bold winery.
But most importantly? They’ll keep doing what they do best, challenging limits and testing new ideas to keep producing exceptional, unique, untraditional wine.
“It’s an exciting time for the Niagara wine industry,” Ryan shares. “We have the opportunity to experiment and express ourselves creatively without the burden of tradition.”
With Ryan as a farmer of flavour in the vineyard, Rosewood sure is blooming with their earth to bottle approach. All you need is a taste of their honest wines, innovative meads and aromatic honey to know that this passionate team is truly listening to what Niagara has to offer—not only creating buzz amongst visitors, but their healthy and happy local bees too.
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Rosewood Estates Winery
4352 Mountainview Rd, Beamsville, ON L0R 1B2