Flat Rock Cellars

In the picturesque community of Lincoln, Ont. on the Niagara Escarpment, world class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rieslings are being made at the Flat Rock Cellars winery. On 98-hectores of some of the best grape-growing soil in the world, Flat Rock Cellars is heralding international acclaim for its award-winning wines. But the team at Flat Rock Cellars are not in this business for the awards; they are following a deep-rooted passion for wine and enjoyment of life.

“I think every winery has its own personality,” says Flat Rock Cellar President, Ed Madronich. “Certainly what distinguishes Flat Rock Cellars is my belief that, although wine is a very special beverage, it is meant to be enjoyed. We have combined that desire to have great quality wine with a passion to share that enjoyment with people. Our goal isn’t to sell wine; it about sharing our passion for wine.”

To that end, Madronich distilled his prior experience working at Vincorp and as Managing Director of Inniskillin into the small-estate winery, which opened in 1999. Very quickly, Flat Rock Cellar’s principles of focusing on a few varieties that grow very well in Niagara got the winery a lot of attention, and now the 15,000 cases produced a year are in high demand both locally and internationally.

“If you are growing the right varieties every year they are going to be great, they are just going to be different,” says Madronich. “Every vintage is different and gives different variation and that’s what is so great about wine.”

Premiere winery experience

The Flat Rock Cellar’s experience begins before even a drop of wine is poured. Driving up the estate, the natural beauty of the environment is what first strikes the guest. Designed with this intention, Flat Rock Cellars’ landscape architecture incorporates trees, shrubs and flowers all native to the region. The unique, hexagon-shaped building was designed by architect Brian Porter of Two Row Architects, the native-owned and operated firm on the Six Nations reserve in southern Ontario, which specializes in bringing together local traditional symbols and current building technology. Two Row Architects envelope Flat Rocks Cellar’s priority on environmentally sustainable building materials.

“I wanted people to enjoy the winey itself, so it is designed for people to come in and see the winery, see the products and see the operations, and aesthetically I wanted it to be unique,” says Madronich. “What we loved about [Brian Porter] is how he takes traditional native sensibility and marries it with modern technology which allowed us to create something with a very unique and powerful design.”

Flat Rock Cellars was also the first winery to have geothermal heating and cooling, as well as to incorporate a state-of-the-art natural bio filter, and an environmentally-friendly gravity flow system for the movement of wine during production.

Madronich prefers to let his wine speak for itself, but that won’t stop us from mentioning Flat Rock Cellars’ most recent award from the esteemed Decanter World Wine Awards, the leading industry wine competition. This year’s expert panel of judges included 75 Masters of Wine, and 13 Master Sommeliers. Out of an assessed 14,362 wines from 52 countries, Flat Rock Cellar’s was awarded a Regional Trophy and a Gold medal in the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards for its 2009 Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling, a true distinction for the winery, and the Ontario wine industry as a whole.

“From a quality perspective, the wines from the Niagara region are as good as you can get anywhere in the world,” says Madronich. “In fact, sometimes our pricing makes them even greater value. Our soils and climates are almost identical to Burgundy, France, regarded as one of the world’s best wine growing regions, so it just makes sense we are making some great wines.”

Flat Rock Cellars is open to the public for group and private tours tastings, or for visitors to come and enjoy the natural beauty with a glass of wine. 

For more information, visit www.flatrockcellars.com