Malivoire Wine was founded in 1995, when Martin Malivoire acquired a property in the Beamsville Bench viticultural area of the Niagara Peninsula, one of the region’s preeminent sub-appellation for the production of wine grapes. Malivoire, a director of motion picture special effects with an impressive thirty-year career to his credit, had decided it was time for a change, and turned his hand to wine. Named for Malivoire’s wife and chosen for the site of their residence, this original property would become the Moira Vineyard, fifteen-acres of vines from which has flourished the development of an estate comprising one hundred acres producing a diverse portfolio of cool climate varietals.
The Moira vineyard’s original plantings of Gewüztraminer were expanded to include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and in 1996 a second nearby thirty-one acre property, also in Beamsville Bench, was acquired where production facilities and cellars were completed in 1998, named the Estate vineyard. Varietal representation is similar to that of the Moira vineyard, with the addition of Gamay, Chardonnay Musqué and Melon de Bourgogne.
Two further vineyards supplement production: that of Winemaker Shriaz Mottiar, with 7.5 acres in Beamsville Bench, and of Assistant Winemaker Daniel Stouck’s family, with twenty acres in Lincoln Lakeshore. Total production from all four vineyards totals 24,000 cases a year at maximum potential.
Vineyards contributimg to Malivoire’s portfolio of wines lie in or adjacent to the Niagara Escarpment, a crescent shaped regional appellation rising to an elevation of 575 feet, stretching across the Peninsula’s mid section. Three sub-appellations are situated on the Escarpment: Beamsville Bench, to the west, Twenty Mile Bench and Short Hills Bench, to the east. Formed by a northerly exposed bench in Beamsville, it transitions to a double bench in Twenty Mile and ends in the rolling hills of Short Hills.
Transected by numerous streams that have carved north-south ravines, the region is well drained yet holds vital groundwater reserves during the dry months. Steep cliffs along the escarpment’s southern face shelter the region from southwesterly winds and trap warm Lake Ontario breezes in late summer to extend maturation time. The lake influence also moderates temperatures year round, slowly warming the air in spring to delay budbreak until risk of frost has passed. The Beamsville Bench’s high elevation, superb illumination and constant airflow provide an optimum environment and long growing season for consistently healthy, perfectly ripe fruit at harvest.
Soils in the Niagara Escarpment are the most complex and varied of the Peninsula, and those of the Beamsville Bench are particularly heterogeneous. The early passage of glaciers and continued erosion of the Escarpment has resulted in a litter of boulders over interspersed gravel, sand, silt and variegated red, olive and yellow clays, with pockets of shale, sandstone and Dolomitic limestone that lends the wines mineral qualities.
Lincoln Lakeshore borders the north boundary of the Niagara Escarpment and grades gently to the shore of Lake Ontario, benefitting from even illumination across the appellation. The continuation of streams rising from the Niagara Escarpment, including Thirty Mile, Forty Mile and Fifty Mile Stream, provides ground water kept in balance by the gradual slope. Strong lake influences maintain diurnal temperatures within a fairly narrow range, and frequent shore fogs in early fall cool the days and warm the nights.
Part of the extensive Lake Iroquois Plain that was the lakebed of an ancient lake, Lincoln Lakeshore’s distinguishing characteristic is its distinct geological variability and soil depth. These complex soils are situated over the red shale bedrock of the Queenstown Formation. Topsoils in roughly half the appellation consist of light sands; the balance are parcels of comparatively heavy, water retentive, fertile red clay loam scattered throughout the region.
The Stouck Vineyard lies in an exceptionally warm pocket of the Lincoln Lakeshore, and is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines producing Malivoire’s Bordeaux varietals. The alluvial soils overlying the rocks and gravel of a postglacial beach yield wines of great depth and power.
Sustainability is at the heart of Malivoire Wines. From the facilities’ repurposed building materials to efficient water and energy use, integrated pest management, preservation of natural habitat in the vineyards, and responsibly produced, lightweight packaging, all winery operations are designed for maximum reduction of environmental impact within the limits of climate.
Spanning the slope of a ravine, the winery was designed to use gravity in transport of grapes throughout the winemaking process, the first such facility in Canada. This very gentle treatment follows a hand harvest and sorting on a vibrating table prior to pressing or crush. Fermentation with indigenous or cultivated yeast takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks from Rieger in Germany, and cooperage is in Burgundian and American oak vessels crafted by the finest coopers.
Under Martin Malivoire’s direction, Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar is responsible for viticultural and winemaking operations with the assistance of Daniel Stouck. Managing Director Stephen Gash completes the small, efficient team. With a shared philosophy of excellence, sustainability and purpose, their efforts result in expressive wines of purity and balance reflective of their unique environment.
Visit: http://www.malivoire.com for more information about Malivoire.