Ravine Estate Winery
1366 York Road, St. Davids, ON L0S 1P0
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery is a family owned biodynamic and organic winery located on St. Davids Bench in Niagara-on-the-lake. Ravine opened in 2008. Also known as the Upper Lowrey Farm, the family has milled, farmed and canned fruit at Ravine for 5 generations. The farm is known to be one of the first commercial grape vineyards in the area with 500 vines planted in 1869.
Located on a lush rolling hillside farm in the Village of St Davids. There is a rich history to be told about the farm and
the buildings of Ravine Estate.
The home in which the tasting room and hospitality centre of Ravine Vineyard is located is considered to be one of the top fifty most architecturally
significant houses in all of Canada.
The winery is housed in a heritage home that dates back to 1815. The building
has been painstakingly restored and is set amidst lush rolling
The hospitality centre is located in the 200-year-old Loyalist Georgian Wm. Woodruff House. It is one of Canada’s top fifty most architecturally significant ancestral homes.
The property has 34 acres in what Ravine's owns says is the warmest section of the Niagara region; by almost 20 percent. In fact, the property is actually an anomaly. The soils are lighter, its airflow and water drainage are more consistent, and its position on the Bench is at its highest elevation.
Owners Blair and Norma Jane Harber believe their success is due to the dedication of numerous people who work with them or for them. This includes consultant Peter Gamble who realized the significant potential of the farm. Historical tradesman Arnold Traven who built board by board, the estate’s hospitality centre and packing shed restaurant, keeping the integrity of the historical components of the designs and structure completely intact. The winemaker is Martin Warner.
Executive Chef Ross Midgley heads the wineries restaurant. Here they bake their own bread, raise their r own pigs, grow their own certified organic vegetables while pairing the meals with the guidance and discriminating palate of a winemaker. Paul Harber is the Chef Proprietor & Brand Manager
The menu includes Roasted Duck Breast, Lamb Sirloin, Pan Seared Steel Head Trout and House-made Sage & Ricotta Gnocchi
The wines at Ravine Vineyard are often described as “elegant” or “refined”. This style is as much a result of the terroir as it is of a unique winemaking effort. All grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted on a state of the art, vibrating sorting table before going to the press or crusher de-stemmer. Gravity flow is used throughout been very gentle on the juices and wines.
All red wines are fermented in French oak Demi Muids. Their amazing Chardonnay is barrel fermented and barrel aged in a combination of new and previously used barrels. All chardonnay barrels are French oak, sourced from various forests and coopers in France.
Ravine Vineyard won The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines for their 2010 Reserve Chardonnay.
In 2012, Ravine Vineyard accepted the Lieutenant Governor’s award for the 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc Picone Vineyard
The following is reprinted from Commemorative Walking Tour of St Davids
on the 200th Anniversary of the Burning of the Village
Date: July 19th, 2014
Ravine Winery (Lowrey House history; Restaurant and replica of packing shed);
The land was originally purchased in 1867 by David Jackson Lowrey, the current owner’s great grandfather. Norma Jane (Lowrey) Harber can still remember as a child, playing in the cherry, peach and pear orchards where five farming generations later, grapes are now flourishing. She and her husband Blair Harber, decided to plant European grape varietals. The house that is now the tasting room was originally built in 1802 by David Secord, a major in the 2nd Lincoln Militia. He later sold it to a William Woodruff who was a Member of Parliament in Upper Canada and the house has kept his name. The Woodruff House tasting room is like walking through an early 1800’s time capsule. The paint colours have been resurrected all the way down to the original fireplace that was left from the Lowrey farm homestead after it burnt down in the war of 1812. During the war of 1812, the buildings in St. David’s – a grist-mill, a blacksmith shop and a general store – were all demolished. The house however was rebuilt and remains an authentic example of Loyalist Georgian architecture. Norma Jane remembers how the people in the village affectionately called it the House of Nations as many families rented and lived here when they first settled in the country. The house was later sold to a Judge on the condition it remains intact. He eventually sold it to someone who was going to restore and relocate it to the Caledon Hills area. The subsequent owner hired a Norwegian architect who numbered and labelled all the beams and posts as the house was dismantled but unfortunately, he did not see this relocation realized. It was after Norma Jane and her husband decided to plant a vineyard that she got wondering what happened to the original farmstead. They eventually found the “boxed up” house in Port Hope and decided to bring it home to its original and final resting place where we sip wine today. Many descendants still remember the “House of Nations” which is a landmark of not just St. David’s village but of Canadian history.
Wineries to Watch 2014
Wineries to watch in 2015