Fun-filled wine marketing
For the fifth year, the Neudorf family will celebrate the release of its latest wines by inviting consumers to taste and enjoy an experience at The Farm. Spaces for the August 15 event were snapped up in 45 minutes, but there’s an opportunity to order online starting August 1. Visit thefarmwines.ca to get on the mailing list for details.
How did you arrive at the idea for an open house?
Erika Neudorf Once we got our retail license, we wondered what we were going to do? My grandparents still live on the property. We couldn't really have people, you know, coming in and out of their home. We came up with the idea to open one day a year and have a big party. We’re very good at hosting parties, going back probably almost 40 years now.
Jeff Neudorf We set up a tennis tournament every year. Well, we’d call it a tennis tournament and bocce tournament. We would raise a lot of money for charity, and people look forward to coming to this party every year. Essentially, the format of the day — people enjoying themselves on the farm, dancing and drinking and eating, that's been part of our family for many years. This was a natural fit, an extension of how we enjoy the farm as a family. It is great to have people come and experience this, but we can only really afford to have it over one day a year… When I say afford, I mean, the amount of work that goes into it is a lot. But it’s such a great day.
Erika Neudorf I think the model works well for us right now. For the time being, while it’s still my grandparent’s home and because we had the experience of the tennis tournament for the last 40 years. Everyone in their family knows their role. Uncle Pete orders the tents and Uncle Bill's got the sound equipment for the band. We settle into our roles of what everyone needs to do for the day and, and we have a lot of fun. At the end of the day, we love watching people get out of the city and kind of let loose.
Any new developments to share?
Erika Neudorf There have been a lot of family meetings and lots of bottles of wine consumed to really nail down what we are doing and who we want to be. We’re ready for a bit of change in the future, in terms of access to fruit and winemaking. We made the decision to work with Morgan Juniper (winemaker) at 16 Mile Cellar, who are neighbors across the street. After coming to know Morgan and her philosophy, she really aligns with our vision. We're really excited to work with her as of this harvest.
Thomas Bachelder was the pioneer with us at The Farm for five years and Kelly Mason was the natural progression having worked under him for so long, for another five years. We’re committed to making great quality pinot, but I think we’re open to experimenting a little bit, too. Morgan’s a bit more unconventional, which really fits with our passion and vision.
Jeff Neudorf We want to create something at The Farm that will last for generations. It’s not the intent that when my mom and dad aren’t around that we sell the property and split the money between all the children. The idea is it stays going forever — generation after generation. The farm stays in the family and everybody gets to use it and enjoy it as much as they can. And by having a winery there, by having the vineyard, basically the farm can sustain itself. There’s no reason to sell it. That means a lot to me, but it may even mean more to up to my Mom and Dad. It's been in the family for 60 years now. They’d like it to be at least another 60 years.
Niagara Peninsula $25
A blend of chardonnay grapes from vineyards spread across Niagara, “fruit from friends” according to the Neudorfs, wild fermentation, full malolactic conversion, second fill and neutral French oak barrels.
Citrus and stone fruit flavours gain added richness from aging in older French oak barrels and puncheons. Vibrant. Refreshing. Drink now to 2025. (90/100)
Pinot Noir 2019
Niagara Peninsula $25
A blend of pinot noir grapes from vineyards spread across Niagara, once again “fruit from friends” according to the family, aged in French oak, 20 percent new. 12 percent abv.
Nice spice and dark fruit notes on the nose and palate. Appealing fruit, with a fresh finish that highlights the savoury spectrum flavours. Vibrant and supple on the palate, with a light imprint of oak. Refreshing character with easy drinking appeal. Best enjoyed with a slight chill, drink now to 2024. (90/100)
Mason Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula $50
Hand-picked and -sorted fruit from winemaker Kelly Mason’s own vineyard, all the viticultural and winemaking TLC you can imagine as a result.
A rich and rewarding Niagara pinot marked by red fruit (cooked and ripe berries) and spice (with some orange zest notes). Nice concentration and pinot character with a savoury finish. Drink now to 2023. (91/100)
Neudorf Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula $55
Vineyard planted in 2000, farmed organically from the start. All the viticultural and winemaking TLC you can imagine. Fermented and aged in French oak (older second use to neutral barriques).
Freshness, fragrance, and fine chalky tannins combine to create a compelling Niagara single vineyard. Dialed in on fruit character (cherry and raspberry) with some floral accents and earthy notes. The most harmony and focus of the 2021 collection. Drink now to 2028. (93/100)
About the Author
Christopher Waters has been writing about wine for two decades. He is the wine and spirits columnist at The Globe and Mail, education director of IWEG Drinks Academy and a WSET certified instructor at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University.
For 21 years, he was the editor/co-founder of Canada's largest circulation wine publication, VINES, and author of the nationally syndicated column, Waters & Wine.
An internationally recognized wine judge, Christopher represents Canada for the Six Nations Wine Challenge and served as head judge and organizer of the InterVin International Wine Awards from 2009-2019. He was awarded the Business Citizen of the Year at the 2011 Niagara Grape and Wine Festival and was received the VQA Promoters Award for Education, also in 2011.
Christopher has been organizing and conducting unforgettable corporate and private fine wine events for 20+ years. He has developed and conducted masterclasses and seminars and moderated panels for organizations, such as The Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, Wines of British Columbia, Wines of Chile, Wines of Germany and Wines of South Africa.