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High Quality Niagara Wine at Ferox

Posted 6/27/2021

Ferox WineryFerox Winery


 The next time you taste Ferox' high quality Niagara wines on select menus in Toronto's finer restaurants, you may not realize that Ferox Winery itself is ready to discover just over an hour down the road.

 In Niagara-on-the-lake at 1829 Concession 4, just off of Niagara Stone Road, Ferox Winery is the real deal. In addition to the patio, the winery comprises the vineyards, the production facility, retail shop, and wine tasting bars. Exquisite original art by a local artist graces both its walls and some of the wine labels. The wine menu offers many high quality Ferox wines - with charcuterie board selections also available.

I dropped in to Ferox on the spur of the moment because I mistakenly thought the winery was brand new. I sampled their 2020 Rose, which could easily be called the best Rose in Niagara. I found out that in 2015 Ferox began as an online winery, and in 2019 they took over Rancourt Winery.

Ferox' 2020 Rosé has a delightfully pink colour, more concentrated and clear than you'd ever expect. The aroma suggests juicy watermelon freshly cut from the field, and its full-mouth taste is light, sweet, tangy, and almost effervescent. I spoke with production manager Cubby and professional wine staff Chris, who each filled me in on what makes Ferox' Rosé so outstanding.

How does Ferox produce a Rosé with no bitterness or orange tinge? It doesn't create Rosé from reds that didn't work out. Rather, it pours even more planning and energy into the process. For their 2020 Rosé, Ferox used the direct press method, which is a delicate process. In this method they press the grapes at about 50% the usual pressure, which releases more of the 100% merlot grapes' taste. They take the whole cluster of young fruit, which eliminates the phenolic bitterness that can occur from associated leaves and skins. This Rosé is clear, bright and sweet with no acidity, giving it a wonderful balance. It has a very long finish with a satisfying aftertaste. They use tinted bottles to block energy - in order to avoid anything affecting either the colour or quality.

The atmosphere on Ferox' outside patio is laid back and sophisticated. Several wine experts buzz around the tables giving just the right information that patrons want, while happy animated conversation wafts above the full palm trees and light music. A backdrop of wide vineyards are grounded just under the horizon in every direction - all under an open sky. I was told that on Saturday, 8 cyclists broke out into an impromptu salsa dance right on the patio after sampling some wine. 

Ferox is dedicated to making small lot, terroir-driven wines. They are an Estate winery, growing all of their own grapes. They planted Dirnfelder and Kerner grapes and inherited all the rest from the Vancourt family. This is where old world Europe meets the essence of Niagara. And it is called quality.

They are located here but their wines are rooted in old world Europe. They take what European traditions perfected and adjust it to our land and climate, making it our own.


Ferox Winery buildingFerox Winery building

I sampled some outstanding quality wines at Ferox.

2016 Black Lion Cuvée

The rich, velvety wine which sells for $104.80 per bottle is made from 52% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 10% Syrah and 8% Cabernet Franc.

  • Aroma - very strong, rich, tart berry smell, Touch of peppery
  • Taste - rich, dry Berry, velvety taste
  • Finish is long, of more berries
  • This outstanding, high quality Niagara wine is aged 3 years in 500 litre barrels, all oak sourced from France. Our Canadian oak is more porous, and is not always economically feasible due to the loss of wine through evaporation.

2018 white wine

  • Fragrance is floral
  • They work on more acidity without adding more sugar' to create a Crisp and balanced - pear taste - thats the gewurztraminer coming through

2017 sauvignon blanc, French style - aged 50% in acacia barrel and 50% in stainless steel barrel

  • Aroma - grassy notes, from the lighter acacia wood barrel- citrus and clean aroma
  • Taste - vanilla and full, very satisfying , its $35 a bottle - has a slightly bitter aftertaste that's not unpleasant, it's a grassy aftertaste - pairs well with trout, chicken and is very malleable

Reisling 6 g residual sugar, very balanced

  • Aroma is bright and lemony, suggestion of nut
  • Taste - very, very fruity - due to balance mentioned above
  • Low acidity
  • Finish is long, satisfyingly combined off-dry and dry to balance of acidity & sugars

Vintages Chardonnay

  • Aged French-style: 1 year in one barrel, 2nd year in another barrel, third year in stainless steel barrel - made of different 2016, 2017 and 2019
  • Aroma - clean, wet stones
  • Taste - butter
  • Chris told me that it didn't taste like butter a year ago when it came straight out of the stainless steel barrel, it's had a chance to age in the bottle

Ferox is owned by Fabian Ferox and Stephanie Reis. Fabian was raised in and studied in Germany. Gianluca, the winery's assistant winemaker, brings the expertise of Italy, and Cubby studied in Canada and abroad. This quadrumvirate of perfection understands what wine masters do in Europe and have figured out the chemistry to make it distinctly "Niagara".