Origins of Family Tree

As Niagara matures we see that different appellations are being replanted with even better grape varieties for their sites; greater specialization is taking place as people adapt to their weather and soils.

Our idea for these wines is to create something reflective of the entire Niagara Peninsula, not cut from whole cloth but made as a quilt, by choosing the best, small, family owned single vineyards. We source the best fruit, from the best grape varieties and sub-appellations in the Niagara Peninsula, including our own, the Short Hills Bench.

We then compose two multi-varietal blends, a red (Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc) and a white (Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Musque).

The inclusion of the Rhone varieties (Syrah and Viognier) is a nod to the great blends of Southern France with which these wines share some similarities – perhaps they are our 'Chateauneuf-du-Pelhams'?

Of course we would never call them this. In fact, several years ago our cousin did a 14(!) volume family tree, and along the way to making these wines we found that we were related by blood or marriage to many of the farmers we were working with (it's a universal truth that anyone would discover if they examined the community they were born in).

The continuity from the people, to the vineyards, to the wine, to the label is perfectly captured by this metaphor: Family Tree.

-The Speck Family


Reviews of Family Tree


January 10, 2013
Graham Duncan, Now Magazine
“This family tree is bearing a lot of fruit. A great vintage, strategic sourcing and smart blending all help to make this a Shiraz-based winner. Tar, mocha and leaf aromas are underlaid by thick berry flavour. Almost Aussie-like without all the weight. Pair with spicy pork dishes.”
Rating: NNNN

November 21, 2012
Beppi Crosariol, Globe & Mail
“A relatively new blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, this medium-full-bodied red excelled in the sunny 2010 growing season, showing impressive ripeness. Moderately smooth, it comes with whispers of bell pepper and roasted nuts, adding interest to the currant-like fruit. It would match nicely with juicy burgers.”
Rating: 89 Points

October 31, 2012
Michael Pinkus, Ontario Wine Review
"This primarily Shiraz based blend (58%) is full of pepper, black raspberry and smoke on the nose. The palate has cassis, cocoa with hints of cigar box, vanilla and smoke all finished off by a wonderful spiced finish."
Rating: ****+

October 26, 2012
Rod Phillips, Ottawa Citizen
“This is a very successful blend of syrah (58%), cabernet sauvignon (17%), cabernet franc (15%) and merlot (10%). The ripe-sweet flavours are consistent right through the palate, and ride that middle road between lean and plush, while the acidity contributes a very attractive juiciness to the texture. The tannins are not too firm, and this is drinking well now and over the next three or four years.”
Rating: 4/5 Stars


July 6, 2013
Natalie Maclean
“Vibrant and pretty with lovely floral notes, almond and lime blossom. Medium-bodied and refreshing yet a great richness. Awesome price.”
Rating: 90 Points

May 10, 2012
Ontario Wine Awards
Allen's Blended White Award - Gold Medal

October 24, 2012
Vic Harradine, WineCurrent
“Mostly Chardonnay with aromatic whites, Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Chardonnay Musqué, it’s a salad bowl of aromas with rosewater, honeysuckle and pit fruit to the fore. Broad, balanced and beautiful, there are palate-bathing flavours of lemon curd, white nectarine and melon galore. It’s medium bodied with silky-smooth texture and a lengthy, lip-smacking aftertaste. Well paced, well priced… delicious”
Rating: 4/5 Stars

2009 Family Tree - Red

2013 Family Tree - Red





Niagara Peninsula VQA



Shiraz 48%
Cabernet Franc 23%
Cabernet Sauvignon 20%
Merlot 9%

2009 Family Tree - White

2013 Family Tree - White





Niagara Peninsula VQA



Chardonnay 44%
Gewurztraminer 29%
Viognier 14%
Chardonnay Musque 13%

We can't choose our family. We also can't make our soil or predict the weather. So we adapt to them all and in the process discover something special about the people, the soil and the weather nature gives us. Part of that adaptation is working with brothers, cousins, friends and neighbours who have unique and different vineyard sites and grape varieties. From small family farms, one great wine. This is our Speck Family Tree.