Hello. My name is Joanna Schlosser and I am a wine enthusiast. I am also a Creative Director, Hugh’s Mom, and Co-Founder of Niche Wine Company. Brand building, content strategy, and wine drinking are probably my three favourite things to do. I am also a big fan of reading books, eating French fries, and a good late-night Instagram scroll.
Hello. My name is James Schlosser and I am a winemaker. I’m also a Master of Science, Hugh’s Dad, and Co-Founder of Niche Wine Company. If I’m not pressing grapes, bottling wine or power washing, you can usually find me drinking Pinot noir and smoking something in my Traeger.
Our winemaker, James Schlosser, received his Masters degree in Oenology and Viticulture from Brock University in Niagara. This, followed by another 15 years of winemaking experience has taught James that although it's important to be attentive throughout the process, ultimately wine is an expression of the things you can’t control [insert hair-pulling emoji here]. We recently caught up with James to learn more about his love for Pinot noir, his passion for farming, and what it's like to own a small winery.
Q. Why is the small-batch nature of your business so important to you?
A. Although this fact makes our jobs a little more challenging, it also means we can ensure quality at every step of the process. The reality is, when we say, 'small batch, big love', we really mean it. We have always been passionate about quality. OUr small batch production demands attention to detail. We hand picked, basket press, and bottle every single bottle of wine we produce.
Q. Is it true that you love Pinot noir more than all the other grapes?
A. Short answer? Yes. It's funny because Pinot noir can be quite difficult to grow and hard to work with so you would think it would be my least favourite. For me, making Pinot noir is truly a labour of love. All of our Pinot is produced exclusively with grapes grown by my parents on the farm where I grew up.
There is something really special about this place. The vineyard sit at an elevation of 620 meters and when it comes to growing pinot, elevation is key. Pinot noir is delicate—too high and the vines get stresses, too low and there is too much vigor. The hot summer days and cool nights at Hugh & Mary Vineyard make it vineyard prime Pinot growing country (the vines have to work harder up here).
Q. What would you say is the hardest thing about owning a small winery?
A. All the multitasking! My responsibilities include everything from winemaking to financial planning to government reporting. The good news is, I’m also responsible for quality control and that is a job I take very seriously.
Our friends David and Alison from Spatula Media spent the bulk of Harvest 2017 capturing all of the winemaking action. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at our small-batch, big love production.