Peller Estates Winery
Meet Winemaker, Katie Dickieson
From growing up on a farm to experiencing grape harvests in New Zealand and France, Katie’s path has led her to the exact place she should be.
Did you always know you wanted to make wine?
I can’t say that as a child I knew I wanted to be a winemaker, but growing up on a farm I always had a really strong appreciation for the land, a love for the excitement of harvest season and I just knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in agriculture in some way.
When did you decide to focus in on the wine industry?
When I went to the University of Guelph I majored in Food Science and was thrilled to discover that the field of winemaking offered a perfect way to combine my love of agriculture and affinity toward science with the more right brain, sensory side of things.
Where have your winemaking travels taken you?
Working in the wine industry is a great way to see the world! I actually started with the Peller Estates Winery team back in 2006 in Niagara and then eventually moved to BC’s Okanagan Valley as a winemaker. After that I spend time in New Zealand working at Omihi Hills in Waipara and Man O’ War Vineyards on Waiheke Island. I learned a lot about cool climate Pinot Noir there, as well as red Bordeaux varieties, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.
From there I took a position in France at Domaine du Monteillet, Vignobles Montez in the Rhone Valley, before returning to Niagara. I’ve been the Winemaker at Peller Estates since 2012, and I can’t think of a place I’d rather be.
Why is Peller Estates the perfect place for you?
Well, in addition to getting to work with some of Niagara’s best vineyards, I’m a foodie, so working at a winery that has Jason Parsons at the helm in the kitchen is a really great fit. To get to craft wines that enhance the dishes he is creating is a pretty amazing job perk, but it goes beyond that. Our winery and our wines seem to really speak to people who love food, so making wines that are well-balanced, with the perfect degree of freshness, acidity and structure for the table is a real priority.
Peller Estates has received several awards in the last few years. Are there any that really stand out for you as career highlights for you?
It’s always amazing when our wines get recognized on the international stage, like the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards we received for our Peller Estates Signature Series Oak Aged Vidal Icewine, Riesling Icewine, Ice Cuvée Classic, Ice Cuvée Rosé, Cab Franc and Riesling, but our Winery of the Year wins really hold a special place in my heart. We take such a team approach to the way we do everything at Peller Estates, so being named Canadian Winery of the Year in 2015 and then Ontario Winery of the Year in 2017 and again in 2018 really speaks to the strength of our entire team. These are awards that you simply don’t win unless everyone at the winery, whether they’re working in the vineyard, the barrel cellar, the tasting room or the restaurant, is incredibly passionate about what they do.