The History of the Stoney Ridge Winery
July 1985: Stoney Ridge Cellars became the 18th licensed winery in the fledgling Ontario wine industry. The winery had inauspicious beginnings at the Weylie farm on Ridge Road in Stoney Creek, consisting of a small barn and garage that served as a retail boutique. Under the direction of Winemaker Jim Warren and his two business partners, Stoney Ridge’s first vintage consisted of 500 cases of 11 different wines, produced entirely by hand. Stoney Ridge Cellars had a commitment to “make small amounts of the very best wine possible from Ontario Grapes.”
In 1989: Jim formed a new partnership with a Winnona grape and tender fruit farmer Murray Puddicombe. The new facility was upgraded with more sophisticated winemaking equipment and was located just below the escarpment from the original location. With greater access to a wider selection of grapes, a new bottling line and more tanks and barrels, the Stoney Ridge wine portfolio grew by leaps and bounds.
In 1997: Production was at 26,000 cases annually with over 60 different wine products. Stoney Ridge developed a reputation for having unique and exotic wines that all possessed the inimitable style that was a signature of winemaker Jim Warren. Jim and Stoney Ridge became very well known by wine writers and enthusiasts alike, garnering more awards than any other Canadian winery. Jim’s efforts were officially recognized when he was awarded Winemaker of the Year in 1997. The winery continued to produce benchmark wines and winning international acclaim such as the Civart Trophy in Bordeaux France.
In 2002: Stoney Ridge began refocusing the winery property towards the craft production of premium Niagara wine. With the addition of a Pinot Noir vineyard to the winery property, the winery name was changed to Stoney Ridge Estate Winery. This decision reflected the commitment to continue the Stoney Ridge tradition of honouring viticultural excellence and winemaking expertise which begun by Jim in 1985, while maintaining its strict quality-controlled output of 40,000 cases of VQA wines.
In 2013, one of Canada’s best known radio and television personalities became the new owner of Stoney Ridge Winery. Bob McCown is a sports broadcasting legend and currently can be seen and heard as host of Prime Time on The Fan 590 Radio and coast to coast on Sportsnet TV. Bob began his career in 1975 and is behind the launch of numerous Canadian media successes including the all sports radio FAN 590 and television programs including Talking of Sports and Sportsline. With the purchase of Stoney Ridge, Bob also acquired an interest in Mike Weir Winery which only seems fitting to now be paired with Canada’s most famous golfer. Having Bob McCown at the helm offers a unique opportunity to further increase the profile of Niagara wines across Canada. So far, it’s definitely bearing fruit!
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery continues to produce a wide array of 100% Niagara wines, featuring more than 30 products that include a full complement of VQA varietals and Icewines. In addition, Stoney Ridge continues to produce one of its trademark products – the popular Cranberry Wine.