Two Sisters Vineyards and us go way back. How far back? Well, back at least to the Summer of 2015 when we took a bike tour through Niagara-on-the-Lake, which included a pit stop at the super scenic and impressive winery. As we rode up the tree lined boulevard leading to the entrance, sweaty and tired (and thirsty 🙊), we had many questions. What’s the story of this beautiful vineyard? Who are the two sisters? Do they have a sparkling wine? And, when did this beautiful château pop up in Niagara-on-the-Lake?
We may not have gotten all the answers on our quick, first stop, but the winery did make a big impression on us. From the sense of refined luxury upon entering the doors, to the sense of calm at the wine bar, to the hustle and bustle of the on-site restaurant, Two Sisters really is a wine destination unto its own. Oh, and spoiler alert: we bought Jann Arden some of Two Sister’s Lush Brut Rosé sparkling… but, that’s another story! 😜
So, let’s chat about Two Sisters, shall we?
Two Sisters is located in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, quite possibly the most charming little town in Ontario, Canada. Located just south of the historic old town, the winery benefits from lower vigor soils comprised of sand, loam, silt and some red shale which contribute to the special character of the Niagara River sub-appellation. The winery site also benefits from a gentle, sloping plain and full sunlight exposure throughout the day. This, in turn, offers excellent heat accumulation and moderate drainage. Oh, and the Niagara River offers a moderating effect, making the site perfect for red grape growth – from Cabernet Franc, to Merlot, to Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s right: Cab Sauv! Two Sisters holds 76 acres under vine, and their red grapes are all estate grown. White grape production is in development, and at the current time, they are sourced from the best Ontario growers.
So, who are the Two Sisters?
Featured prominently in the branding for the winery (including the lovely art deco labeling of their wines) the “two sisters” of Two Sisters are Angela Marotta and Melissa Paolicelli. The two sisters work together and share key duties at the winery which, at it’s core, is a private, family-owned corporation that strives to offer a full service prestige destination winery experience, with on-site services. All in all, a tall order. Juggling family and business, the two sisters of Two Sisters are busy women who also serve as the face of winery. While the winery itself is grand – in vision, execution and experience – at heart, it’s an extension of the family.
If we would describe Two Sisters in two words, it would be: refined luxury. From the elegant presence of the winery, to the wonderful details in their branding, to the excellent wines and the knowledgeable and engaging staff, Two Sisters provides an elevated experience for the visitor.
The on-site tasting bar – aka the Tasting Boutique – is elegant, but relaxed and a great way to experience the winery first hand. If you’re looking for something more in depth, the winery also offers the Explore the Grape experience, which includes a structured tasting of three wines with a wine consultant. And, if you’re really looking for the full shebang, the Experience Tour is the perfect way to get the most out of your time at this beautiful winery. With a barrel tasting in the cellar, you’ll fully appreciate the estate wines held on site.
We are big fans of Two Sisters’ Lush, a beautiful, fresh and vibrant sparkling rosé that evokes the feeling of relaxing on a resort or a quiet night at the cottage (…but not a rustic cottage, one of those really beautiful Airbnb cottages with a giant, wrap around patio, infinity pool and flat screen tv’s, ok?). With a striking pink hue, it’s certainly not a wallflower. It’s in your face and we can’t get enough! With that said, though, we were blown away by the still wine portfolio at Two Sisters.
Most wines here are single varietal, and what we learned on a recent trip is that the wines labelled as a single varietal are truly 100% produced from that grape. While regulations may allow a small percentage of the wine to be drawn from another grape or a blend, Two Sisters’ and winemaker Adam Pearce let the wines shine on their own “two feet.” So, when you’re tasting a Two Sisters Cabernet Franc, that wine is made solely from that grape varietal.
Winemaker Adam Pearce favours a non-interventionist approach to winemaking, and without sounding too cliche, always relies on the classic line: the wines start in the vineyard. On a recent tour of the production facility with Adam, we got to learn first hand how he uses the unique terroir of the Two Sisters property to craft exceptional red wines.
Working with one of the most productive sites in the Niagara River sub-appellation, Adam utilizes meticulous vineyard practices – such as cropping at low yields – to select the best fruit for his wines. This really helps convey the best of the site through the wine, respect the character of the varietal and take advantage of cool climate viticulture. With that said, the reds – including the Cabernet Sauvignon – are exceptional and we can’t say enough about their complexity and impressive structure. And the whites? Sourced from premium vineyards within the Niagara Peninsula, the Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc provide a wonderful counterpoint to the estate grown reds.
Well, we already mentioned we’re big fans of the Lush. Perfectly pink, this traditional method sparkling wine has a beautiful mouse with persistent bubbles that help elevate the every day. As a sparkling wine with a dosage of Cabernet Franc, this wine offers notes of cherry and red tree fruit, and a creamy mouthfeel. We found it so striking that we gifted it to our pal Jann Arden when she was performing in Niagara-on-the-Lake. A ten out of ten on presentation and performance! …Not only Jann, but the Lush itself! 😜
During our recent visit to the Two Sister’s production facility with Adam, we had a sneak peak at an upcoming release in the Two Sisters sparkling wine portfolio. Not sure if we can let the cat out of the bag just quite yet, but we were excited to learn that Adam’s got a few surprises coming down the pipeline, and we can safely say that it will be the first of its kind here in Ontario. We’re so excited and can’t wait for the finished product!
A visit to Two Sisters would be incomplete with a dining experience at Kitchen 76. Reflecting the 76 aces of land under vine, Kitchen 76 the perfect place for lunch and dinner while out in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
We felt as if it was the extension of the winery, with a rustic but refined decor reminiscent of a Tuscan villa or a kitchen in Positano. And it’s no surprise – when we sat down for lunch with Melissa, we learned that not only did her mother hand pick some of the art on trips back to Italy, but the whole family helped build the menu of their favourites. We have to say that the take on Italian classics was perfectly balanced.
We loved the arrancini and pizza, which was a perfect early summer lunch, overlooking the sweeping views of the soon to be abundant vineyards.
Bellissimo! 👌😍 For more on Two Sisters Vineyards, visit their website, and follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and definitely stop in for a tour, tasting and some delicious Italian eats next time you’re in Niagara-on-the-Lake! Tell ’em the Sparkling Winos sent ya! 😜