Ed Madronich Sr. -Founder
Flat Rock Cellars is solely owned and operated by its founder - Ed Madronich. Born and raised in the area, the winery is the fulfillment of a dream shared by his father and son. In 1954, his father applied for a winery license, but was denied. More recently his son, also Ed Madronich, established his career in the wine business and shared the passion for wine. Combined, father and son have worked together to create Flat Rock Cellars.
Ed Madronich – President
Ed credits a summer in France and exposure to a few choice bottles of wine for his passion. Since that first foray into the vines, he knew that he wanted to make great wines. Running Inniskillin for several years helped him to define his approach to wine: one that both reflects and challenges conventional wisdom.
His easy hospitality and devilish sense of humor is juxtaposed with a more serious sensibility when making wine. Ed believes that the Twenty Valley has the potential to produce some of the best wines in the world. He also is firm in his conviction that Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling are the ideal grapes for Flat Rock’s vineyards. Using estate grown grapes and the most advanced wine making techniques, Ed and his team work tirelessly to produce wines that reflect the soils and climate from which they originate.
His passion is infectious, and his determination to share the mysteries of the vine is a bonus for the rest of us. The big question is will his passion rub off on the future wine lovers he goes home to, Madeleine and Samson? How could it not!
Jennifer Hart – Wine Fanatic (aka Sales & Marketing Manager)
Jennifer always wanted to Rock! That is why she worked in the music industry for so many years and why it seemed natural to make the transition to Flat Rock Cellars. Jennifer has long been a wine enthusiast with a soft spot for Ontario wine and through her studies and regular visits fell in love with the Niagara Escarpment. So much so that she bought a property in Vineland with the mind to make the dream move. Finally after a few years of dabbling on the periphery of the Ontario Wine Biz for she left the bright lights of Toronto behind and joined the FRC team. (Maybe not so far behind since we do have an incredible view of Toronto -and its bright lights - from across the lake!)
Jennifer brings her zest for learning, her love of wine and extensive marketing and sales experience to her new role as sales and marketing manager. Among her many responsibilities here at Flat Rock is to oversee the Club on the Rock. Jen works hard to make our valued wine-club members feel like they are a piece of the Rock. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can even find that she has emerged from her office and is (wine) geeking-out over a new piece of equipment or some happening in the vineyard. If you encounter her, she will surely smile warmly and welcome you to the Rock!
Jay Johnston - Winemaker
It was a glass of Canadian Pinot Noir in 2002 that sparked Jay’s passion for wine. Growing up in Quebec, wine was always a part of family meals so it was natural to leave city life behind in 2003 and head to Niagara for an authentic wine education.
As a ‘second career’ student in the Niagara College Viticulture & Winemaking program, Jay knew that you get out what you put in. So, endless hours of reading, learning, tasting and talking with wine professionals in Niagara helped him pick up jobs in the cellars and vineyards of some of the most respected producers in the region. And always with a taste for freshness, vibrancy and purity of our cool-climate varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sparkling.
Through a chance meeting with Ed in August 2012, Jay quickly realized that Flat Rock Cellars was the place to be and was happy to join the team for Harvest 2012, taking the Winemaking reins (Jay prefers the term ‘Wine & Vine Caregiver’) at Flat Rock Cellars.
Careful if you get involved in a discussion with Jay about terroir, English football and the potential our vineyard provides to craft world-class wines, as Jay is sure to talk your ear off. But more likely you'll share a glass of something special and solve some of the world's problems at the same time.
Tracey de Loryn - The Wrangler (aka Logistics Coordinator)
A business graduate from Saint Francis Xavier University and a native of the East Coast, Tracey boarded a plane and headed to Tokyo, Japan upon graduation. It was her new home for the next four years and it was here that she met her Australian husband, Levi. The duo moved to Adelaide, Australia while Levi completed his Master's in Oenology and it didn't take long for Tracey to convert to a stage three wine geek.
After spending over two years in Australia, the couple ventured to Marlborough, New Zealand where Tracey finally experienced her first "hands on" harvest in the cellar of Wither Hills. And here...it didn't take long for her to realize that while she did love wine, the "hands on" labour of love was not kind of love she was looking for. A changed role at Wither Hills allowed her to get back to what she's best at: helping customers in her friendly fashion, keeping the team organized and tasting, not making, the wine.
After living internationally for over seven years, Tracey and her husband decided the wine region of Niagara was a good place to call home. Tracey joined our team in the fall of 2010 and now heads the logistical side of Flat Rock Cellars.
Deanna Wolske - Lead Roadie (aka Retail Supervisor + Event Coordinator)
A native of the Niagara Region, Deanna's bright smile greets you at our Cellar Door. Discovering her passion for wine while working as a tour guide in Niagara-on-the-Lake; she has the gift of gab and is happy to share some of Flat Rock's secrets over a glass of Riesling, Chard or Pinot.
With extensive Sales and Retail experience (stemming from co-owning Butterflies Boutique in Fonthill for 12-years with her mom), she can help you pick out the perfect gift or match wine for your special event.
Deanna loves the outdoors and looks for any excuse to get out in the vineyard; so be sure to ask her for a tour upon your arrival. Scaling mountains has become a favourite pasttime of Deanna's in years of late; be sure to ask her about her trek up BC's Castle Mountain. In the words of the great Diana Ross, there "ain't no mountain high enough" to keep Deanna from giving you a great experience.