Marynissen Estates - Ontario, Canada
The Marynissen Story
Marynissen Estates was founded in 1990 by John and Adrianna Marynissen. Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the vineyard is home to the oldest commercial planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in Canada. John was a pioneering force for viticulture in Niagara, becoming one of the first in the region to successfully grow Vitis vinifera. The vineyard’s rich history was born out of a strong devotion to the land, pioneering spirit, and a passion for excellence.
The property was purchased in 1953 by John Marynissen and his wife Adrianna who had immigrated from the Netherlands. The property was home to an old pig barn, an orchard, and a small juice grape vineyard. In the 1970s, there was a big push in the area to switch over from growing primarily juice grapes to growing wine grapes. Most of the growers in the area switched to hybrid grapes, such as Baco Noir and Vidal. John was one of the few who replanted with Vitis vinifera vines, and in 1976 he planted Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, and Gamay.
In 1978, he planted Cabernet Sauvignon. This was unheard of at the time, when the vast majority of people did not believe that European vinifera vines could not survive the harsh Canadian climate; they believed our cold winters would kill the vines, and our cool summers would not be enough to fully ripen the grapes. John proved that Vitis vinifera could survive the Canadian climate, and that the unique microclimate of Niagara could produce unique and outstanding wines. That original planting of Cabernet Sauvignon still stands to this day, and is now the oldest commercial planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in Canada.
John never sought out to open a winery for himself; he was happy being a grapegrower and making wine on the side for his friends and family to enjoy. He entered some amateur winemaking competitions with those wines, and won a ton of awards. His friends and family had said he makes such great wine that he should open a winery. He was resistant at first, but they eventually convinced him to turn his hobby into a career. The first commercial vintage of the winery was in 1990 with the retail store opening its doors in 1991. Sadly, John passed away in 2009, and the family sold the winery in 2012.
Although no longer involved in the winery, the Marynissen’s vision still lives on through our winemaking philosophy. With small-lot, handcrafted wines, we strive to deliver quality wines that pay homage to the original founders through a modern lens of winemaking. Our winemaking team is currently headed by Mitchell McCurdy, a graduate of Brock University’s Oenology and Viticulture program. Mitchell believes in staying true to varietal and terroir to create a pure, honest expression in his wines, while also enjoying experimentation to create new, fun, and exciting wines.