Domaine Queylus is a newly-established Domain winery located in Ontario’s renowned Niagara Peninsula. It is the fruition of a group of friends’ dream and their passion for wine, vineyards and terroir.
Queylus refers to GABRIEL THUBIÈRES DE LEVY DE QUEYLUS, Seigneur of Montréal, and superior of the Sulpicians in New France in 1670. Gabriel de Queylus oversaw the first vinification ever on the shores of Lake Ontario. On an expedition to the Great Lakes the Sulpicians established themselves on the shores of Lake Ontario to vinify the wild grapes that were growing in the region. This is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and talents of the builder Gabriel de Queylus.
In 2006, after having recognized Niagara’s immense potential to produce great wines, the idea of planting a vineyard was born by this group of friends. Thus began the Queylus adventure.
After a study of the region, the first investors bought an orchard in Beamsville, on Mountainview Street, and converted the orchard to a vineyard.
Several samples of soil from 30 locations were collected and shipped to France for analysis. An analysis of the soil produced in Bordeaux demonstrated the exceptional quality of the terroir.
Mr. Alain Sutre, consultant winemaker from Bordeaux, as well as Mr. Lloyd Schmidt of Niagara, identified grape varieties, clones and rootstocks appropriate to different soils.
A very efficient drainage system was installed according to soil type. In the Pinot Noir section, there is drainage for each row. Also, vines of Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc were planted.
The part of the vineyard attributed to Chardonnay required a slight leveling and the earth was left fallow for two years.
Cabernet Franc vines did not have the desired results, it was decided to uproot them and we replanted with new vines.
After two fallow years, the soil is ready to welcome the Chardonnay vines.
Mr. Thomas Bachelder was engaged as our principal consultant and manager after having just left his job at the Clos Jordane.
The summer of 2010 proved to be especially hot. In order to not stress the young vines, it was decided to practice a very aggressive green harvest with 2/3 of the bunches cut. With the end of harvest, the vinification was done by Thomas Bachelder outside the property as the winery of Domain Queylus had yet to be built. The small production of 2010 proved to be an exceptional wine. The particularly warm summer was conducive to Merlot producing a powerful wine with an impressive result coming from such young vines.
A long term lease was renewed with the Neudorf Family Vineyard giving Domaine Queylus access to older vines. It gave Domaine Queylus the opportunity to create a blend of wines made from younger vines in clay-limestone soil and yielding a fruity flavour. The older vines planted in 2000 in limestone soil resulted in a wine with strong minerality.
The first tastings confirmed the potential of the soil.
After many visits to different wineries, plans for the Domaine Queylus winery were developed. After months of consultation, the most modern equipment manufactured in Germany was selected.
We began work on a marketing strategy with the name, label bottle choice and colours that would best reflect our goals for this local product.
There was a problem with the construction of the winery. To overcome these problems, we acquired a new property located in St. Anns (West Lincoln) where the new winery was established, with a tasting room as well.
The property is situated on 20 acres of land, 5 acres of which were planted with own-rooted Chardonnay vines, a first in Niagara.
The new winery allows us ample opportunity to vinify small-lot Pinot Noir. The pneumatic punch-down installed on an overhead crane allows the winemaker to do pigeage effortlessly without resorting to pumping.
Our story continues. In 2014, Domaine Queylus is dedicated to presenting our vintages to wine lovers, sommeliers and journalists. Domaine Queylus participated at Cuvée, the most important event for Ontario wines. Domaine Queylus also had the honour of being selected for the Expert Tasting.