Curtis Fielding Crowned 2012 Grape King

Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To view photos of this event check out the event photos

Announcement caps a great year for Beamsville’s Fielding Estate Winery

Farm Credit Canada, the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival are pleased to announce that Curtis Fielding of Fielding Estate Winery in Beamsville has been named the 2012 Grape King.

“Farm Credit Canada has been a longtime supporter of Ontario’s grape farmers, and is extremely pleased to honour Curtis Fielding as this year’s Grape King,” says John Geurtjens, Director, Agribusiness and Agri‐Food Ontario, Farm Credit Canada.

Fielding, 34, will be installed as the 56th Grape King on Wednesday, September 19th at his winery on Mountainview Road.

“We are so excited to have Curtis serve as the 2012 Grape King and be the ambassador for Ontario’s viticulture industry,” says Grape Growers of Ontario Chair, Bill George. “Curtis is a young, dynamic figure who has quickly established himself as a leader in viticulture innovation and producing outstanding wines.”

It has been a good year for Fielding Estate Winery. The family‐owned winery situated on the Beamsville Bench came away from the annual Cuvée Awards in March as the most decorated winery, winning three of the prestigious awards. Fielding was honoured with the most outstanding awards for its 2010 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, 2010 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc.

“This is a huge honour,” says Fielding. “Look at some of the names who have been Grape King in the past. They are big names with world‐class vineyards. They are people that our industry really respects and looks up to. It is amazing to have my name associated with them.”

The Grape King jacket is an honour recognizing viticulture excellence. The Grape Growers of Ontario have installed a Grape King each year since 1956, selecting the grape grower judged to have maintained the best vineyard in the province while being able to serve as a representative and ambassador for the industry.

“The annual crowning of the Grape King is recognition of the best that Ontario’s grape growers have to offer,” says Debbie Zimmerman, Chief Executive Office of the Grape Growers of Ontario. “In a relatively short time, Curtis has established himself as an outstanding ambassador for Ontario’s grape growers, producing award winning wines and experimenting with new varietals that add more layers to Ontario’s rapidly‐growing grape and wine industry.”

As Grape King, Fielding will represent Ontario’s grape and wine industry at events across the country, starting with the Pied Piper Parade on September 22nd and a float in the 61st annual CIBC Grande Parade on September 29th.

“The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is delighted to have Curtis represent the grape and wine industry over the next year,” says Kimberly Hundertmark, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. “Curtis is an excellent example of the next generation of grape grower, a first‐generation farmer who has quickly embraced sustainable practices while maintaining a beautiful vineyard and producing top quality wines.”

While Curtis Fielding was once a competitive racecar driver on the Canadian circuit, he has become a natural grape grower as the General Manager of Fielding Estate Winery. The Fielding family purchased a 20-acre peach and pear orchard on the Beamsville Bench in the early 2000s, replacing all the trees — and a few rows of juice grapes — with high‐quality VQA vinifera vines in the summer of 2001. The unique Fielding Wine Lodge opened its doors in May 2005, and has quickly established itself as one of the finest wineries in Ontario, being named one of Canada’s Top 10 wineries by the Canadian Wine Awards in 2009.

The Fielding operation also includes a 40 acre farm in Beamsville, supplying all the grapes needed to fill the winery’s needs.

Coming out of Georgian College with a diploma in Automotive Business Marketing, and once done with competitive racing, Curtis spent three years learning the ins and outs of the grape and wine industry with winemakers in the Niagara area before embarking on his own winery adventure. At his winery, Curtis and his family have taken great care to be mindful of the environment, using as much natural light in the Wine Lodge as possible, utilizing a natural lagoon to treat wastewater and recycling all left over grape stems as mulch. Curtis is also starting the three year process to have Fielding Estate Winery recognized as an organic winery. It was noted in the Grape King judging that Curtis’s vineyard is “pristine.” Curtis lives in Beamsville with his wife Heidi and two young sons.

About the Grape Growers of Ontario

The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization that represents 500 registered grower members of nearly 17,000 acres of vineyards in the province’s three viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County.

Follow Grape Growers of Ontario on Twitter @Grapegrowersont, like it on Facebook and get more information at www.grapegrowersofontario.com.

About Farm Credit Canada

Farm Credit Canada, FCC is proud to support Canadian agriculture. FCC has been in business over 50 years, with a portfolio of over $23 billion, more than 100,000 customers and more than 1500 employees serving them from coast to coast. We are focused on the long term success of agriculture and agribusiness and agri‐food. FCC supports primary agriculture (grape growers) as well FCC has a separate division serving agribusiness and agri‐food companies (wineries). Agriculture, we know it, we love it and we’re in it for the long run. For more information, visit www.fcc‐fac.ca.

About Fielding Estate Winery

Fielding Estate Winery is a unique, award‐winning winery with an inviting atmosphere located on Niagara’s Beamsville Bench. Fielding’s Muskoka inspired wine lodge nestled at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment offers stunning views across the winery’s vineyard to Lake Ontario and Toronto’s skyline. This vista is the dominating feature as you sample of some of Ontario’s finest VQA wines, made from grape varieties that perform best in Niagara’s unique microclimate vineyards — Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay for whites, and Pinot Noir and Merlot for reds. Fielding was the most decorated winery at the 24th annual Cuvée Awards, taking home gold medals for its 2010 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, 2010 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc.

Follow Fielding Estate Winery on Twitter @FieldingWinery, like it on Facebook and get more information at www.fieldingwines.com.

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For more information, please contact:
Debbie Zimmerman
CEO, Grape Growers of Ontario
d.zimmerman@grapegrowersofontario.com
905‐401‐2471