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Canadian Sparkling Wine produced by Henry of Pelham

In celebration of Canadian Sparkling wine and Cuvée Catherine Brut being selected for 'The Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines of 2023' list, we have decided to deep dive into our collection of sparkling wines and the process used to create this effervescent wine style.

Canadian Sparkling Wines

"Canadian Sparkling wine is all about elegance, style, and good acidity,” - Paul Speck, President of Henry of Pelham Winery.

“I think first of all it makes perfect viticulture sense to grow grapes for Sparkling wines in Ontario. It’s a cool area. In Champagne, France, it is colder than it is here season-wise. It makes sense to make these wines here. It’s consistent. We get classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir flavours, yet they have a Niagara spin to it – the crisp, clean freshness is our style, especially in the Brut.”

There are a few ways to make wine bubbly. The method we use for our Canadian Sparkling at Henry of Pelham is called the “traditional method.”

  1. Tirage: First, the grapes are harvested, pressed (in a process referred to as la cuvée), and the resulting grape must is transformed into alcohol through one round of fermentation. The winemaker then adds a mixture of sugar and yeast cells called liqueur de tirage to the still wine.
  2. Bottling: Next, the base wine is decanted into bottles and fitted first with a crown cap like a bottle of beer (not a cork). The bottles are then racked horizontally in pupitres, or wooden racks.
  3. Riddling, or remuage: Riddling refers to the daily quarter-turn the racked wines receive in order to unsettle and rotate the sediment—a cloudy byproduct of yeast called lees—in the bottle.
  4. Disgorgement: In the final phase, bottles are flipped upside down, to encourage the lees to settle in the neck of the bottle. Disgorging allows the winemaker to remove the lees after its job is done, without sacrificing the pristine sparkling wine left behind: This is done by freezing only the neck, freezing the sediment in the neck which then allows the frozen lees to pop out of the bottle under pressure.
  5. Dosage, or liqueur d'expédition: With the lees removed, the bottles require a small top-off. This is referred to as the dosage, a mixture of sugar diluted in wine. Levels of dosage influence both the dryness and/or sweetness on the palate.

Named in memory of Henry’s wife, widow, and family matriarch, Catharine Smith; we currently produce 3 varietals of Cuvée Catherine; Cuvée Catherine Brut, Cuvée Catherine Rosé Brut, and Cuvée Catherine Blanc de Blanc Carte Blanche. Keep reading to discover how each Canadian Sparkling wine varietal is produced at Henry's.

Cuvée Catherine Brut

“This traditional method blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir has brilliant aromas of green apple, strawberry sorbet and warm Hawaiian sweet bread. Crisp acidity and frothy bubbles escort flavors like peach, lemon and honeycomb. — Michael Alberty

92 points - Editor's Choice, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 2023

The Enthusiast 100: Top 100 Wines of 2023

Brut: Brut is a dry, “raw” style of Champagne that receives a very small dose of sugar, or dosage, in the disgorgement process. “Brut nature” refers to no added sweetness.

Cuvée Catherine Brut is made from the blending of 70-80% Chardonnay with 20- 30% Pinot Noir. Utilizing traditional grape varieties makes this wine a modern Niagara expression of a time-honoured wine style. The grapes for this sparkling are hand-picked, bunch selected, and then chilled for 24 hours. All juice is press-fractioned to separate the finest cut. A small percentage of the Chardonnay must is barrel fermented creating a rounder, creamier flavor, and texture in the wine. A secondary fermentation happens in the bottle, followed by a further 30 months of aging on the lees.

cuvee brut
cuvee rose

Cuvée Catherine Rosé Brut

“This traditional method blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay is all about the aromas and flavors of raspberries topped with powdered sugar and juicy peach. Hints of wet slate and orange peel float in the background. It has gentle acidity and lively bubbles. — Michael Alberty

90 points - Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 2023

Cuvée Catherine Rosé Brut is a rosé sparkling wine composed from the traditional sparkling wine grape varieties of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a blend of 70-80% Pinot Noir with 20- 30% Chardonnay, an opposite blend to the Brut. The secondary fermentation is done in-bottle and the wine is aged for up to 24 months on the lees. The end result is a sparkling wine that is pale salmon in colour with fine beads. This wine provides enticing aromas of red fruit, nuts, red berries, citrus and brioche toast. The palate is extra dry, light to medium bodied, with flavours of strawberry rhubarb pie and nuts and a creamy textured mousse.

Cuvée Catherine Blanc de Blanc 'Carte Blanche'

“Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Estate 2017 is a traditional method Blanc de Blanc with a creamy and rich mousse of ripe apple, pear, lemon cream, dried quince, baked goods and briny mineral flavours, elegant, crisp and mouth-watering on the palate. It is gorgeous!" Natalie Maclean

96 points - Natalie Maclean, 2023

Cuvée Catharine Blanc de Blanc 'Carte Blanche' is a vintage expression of Cuvée Catharine. We hand-pick fruit from our oldest and best estate-grown Chardonnay vineyards on the Short Hills Bench in St. Catharine's. The base of this wine is both barrel- and tank-fermented to provide freshness and flavour to the final product. After secondary fermentation takes place in-bottle, the wine ages for 4½ years before release, forming richer flavours and texture to this impressive bubbly. Look for elegant lemony flavours and aromas of freshly baked bread.

Blanc de Blanc

Want to learn more about Canadian Sparkling wine? Watch this informative video from Daniel Speck talking through our sparkling production process!


Birthday party? Bridal shower? Business meeting? Be the host with the most.

Intimate spaces for special occasions

Henry of Pelham offers several spaces for formal and informal events and meetings, with room for up to 30 people. We've helped host anniversaries, office parties, showers, birthdays, annual general meetings and more. Our light-filled ballroom, which is also a beautiful gallery space featuring work from Canadian artists, is a bright venue for daytime events and an elegant room to host evening gatherings. Our barrel cellar is a cool retreat from the summer heat and cozy space for fall and winter events for smaller groups. Catering is available from the Coach House Café.


And with anything from Henry's wine list available to event organizers, the drinks are guaranteed to be crowd-pleasers.


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September 25-26, 2017


1 -4 p.m.


1 -4 p.m.


A Classic membership gets you complimentary tastings for two on every visit to the winery, 15% off regularly priced non-wine items in our retail store, and advance notice of special release wines, events and contests—all for free! We'll even mail you a membership card.