Meet James. James Schlosser is the Co-Founder and Winemaker for Niche. He is also a Master of Science, Hugh’s Dad, with a serious passion for farming. When he’s not pressing grapes, bottling wine or power washing, you can usually find him drinking all the Pinot noir or building something with LEGO.
Meet Joanna. Joanna Schlosser is the Co-Founder and CEO for Niche. She is also a Creative Director, Hugh’s Mom, an avid wine enthusiast. Brand building, content strategy, and Pinot are probably her three favourite things to do but she is also a big fan of reading books, building community, and a good late-night Instagram scroll.
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. 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.