Grape Grower of the Year (2006-2007)

Matthias Oppenlaender

Country Tyme Vineyards and B&B, 753 Line 3 RR#2, Niagara on the Lake.

44 years old.

Matthias is married to Monica and has 5 children Danny, Alison, Michael, Aaron and Jessica.

Matthias grew up on a small mixed farm which included a vineyard. At an early age he developed a love and passion for farming.  Because of that Matthias studied agriculture and viticulture in Germany and graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1984.  Shortly after he came to Canada and was hired as a manager at Huebel Grapes Estates in Queenston.

Realizing the potential for the grape and wine industry in Niagara, over the past 20 years, he grew the vineyards to approximately 220 acres along with another 80 acres of contracted vineyards. In 1991 Matthias became a partner in the business and in June of 2005 he purchased his own grape farm of 12 acres with a Bed and Breakfast to introduce people to the unique Niagara grape and wine region. He knew that by planting vitis viniferas grapes he would set the foundation for producing world class wines.

Grape Varieties Planted: 
Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, Baco Noir and Vidal.  Matthias produces premium grapes for Peller Estates Winery, with three different vineyard sites 1 in Queenston and 2 in Virgil.

Farming Philosophy: 
Making great wines start in the vineyard, that’s why Matthias aims to produce the highest quality of grapes possible. He grows mostly on heavy soil which reduces the yield naturally or when necessary reduces the yield ourselves to achieve high quality grapes. 

Comments on the Wine and Grape Industry: 
Matthias has watched this industry over the past 20 years, despite its ups and downs, grow into one of the best in the world. Ontario grape growers represent what makes Canada great.  They have tenacity, endurance and a passion to succeed. That’s why the industry is where it is today.