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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 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!
Originally from Dryden (yeah we had to google it too), Allison was on a trip to visit friends in Niagara, when she toured a winery. The person behind to tasting bar fascinated her with the notions of wine being a blend of art and science. A way to take nature and put it into the bottle, a fabulous dance of smell, taste and feel. She was SOLD. She first completed her Undergraduate in Biology at Lakehead University, before venturing off to her new life in Southern Ontario. Attending Niagara College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program was the perfect compliment to her previous science education, as well as opened her eyes to the vast world of wine. After participating in multiple vintages both locally and internationally, she finally found her true love on the Twenty Mile Bench. At Flat Rock Cellars, she took her passion for science, nature and creativity and now produces exceptional terroir-focused wines.
The 2020 vintage marks not only Dave’s 38th vintage in Niagara (40th in total) but also the beginning of a new and exciting chapter as he makes the move from ” The Run” (Coyote’s Run Winery, where he was the founding winemaker, since 2003), to “The Rock” (Flat Rock Cellars). The move is also a reunion of sorts as Dave and Ed team up for the second time after having spent several years together on the Inniskillin Wines team where Dave trained under the tutelage of renowned Canadian wine pioneer Karl Kaiser.
Having cut his teeth making Rieslings in Germany and then Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in Burgundy, coming to Flat Rock Cellars with its focus on those varieties seemed a natural fit.
Still inspired and excited about his craft after so many years Dave, often referred to by co-workers as “the energizer bunny”, is looking forward to not only making wine with the likes of the talented cellar master Allison Findlay but also to playing some pond hockey with Allison and the team on “that awesome pond at The Rock”.
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.
Jacob graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Kinesiology and a career on the varsity volleyball team, but his experience in the food and beverage industry sparked his passion for wine!
After travelling around Europe (mainly hopping from one wine region to another), Jacob settled in Bordeaux and completed an MBA in Wine Marketing and Management from INSEEC. Jacob remained in St. Emilion to soak up the European lifestyle and work in private client relations at Chateau Tour St. Christophe, one of the six wineries belonging to Vignobles K. When it was time to come “home”, Jacob was eager to bring his enthusiasm and passion for wine to Flat Rock Cellars.
Jacob spent three years as the Hospitality & Trade Marketing Manager throwing parties and hosting tastings. He also developed our Club on the Rock into one of the most sought after wine clubs in the Niagara region before taking the reigns of the business.
DAVID SHEPPARD PRESS RELEASE – RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT
Check out a few of Dave’s recent appearances:
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