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For Gary Pillitteri, the opening of Pillitteri Estates Winery in June of 1993 was the culmination of a lifetime dream. Since arriving in Canada from his native Sicily in 1948, and through many years as a grape grower in Niagara and amateur winemaker, his goal had been to open his own winery.
The turning point took place in 1988 when Gary won a gold medal for his homemade Icewine in Niagara’s amateur wine competition. He knew then that he could make his dream come true. Ironically, he had been thinking about early retirement at the time, he knew he could only build a professional and high-quality winery with the expertise and full commitment of his entire family.
Pillitteri Estates Winery started as a family enterprise, Gary and Lena’s children grew up on the family farm spending hours working in the fields and at the family’s roadside fruit stand learning the business from the ground up. Today, Connie is C.F.O President of Operations, overseeing the finances of the business, managing government reporting and on-site operations. Lucy is C.M.O. President of Marketing, overseeing the global marketing programs, including on-site event and retail promotions. Charles is C.E.O. President of Sales, overseeing the sales channels domestically and in the 35 countries Pillitteri wines are currently being sold. In addition, son-in-law Jamie Slingerland is Director of Viticulture, Jamie has extensive farming background, managing all vineyard and farm operations.
Now the 5th generation of Pillitteri family members have taken their place within the family business, Gary and Lena’s eldest grandson Richard, having spent his life working in the vineyards, in the retail store and travelling the world opening new markets for Pillitteri wines, has taken on the role of V.P. of Sales, overseeing the extensive Chinese portfolio of customers. Grandson Jared continues to develop new export markets in Europe, Central America, Asia and Australia. Both Richard and Jared have taken up the mantle to keep Pillitteri a true family business for years to come.
1696 Niagara Stone Road
June – September
Daily 10 am – 8 pm
October – May
Daily 10 am – 6 pm
Aleksandar Kolundzic, our wine maker joined the Pillitteri team at the beginning of the 2010 harvest and brings with him 20 years of experience and expertise in wine making. Previously, he has worked with Vincor Canada as a VQA Winemaker since June 2004 and previous to that with Hillebrand Winery as a Winemaker and Lab and Cellar Technician commencing in 1996.
Aleksandar received his Bachelor of Science at the University of Zagreb, Croatia and his Honours Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at Brock University. Aleksandar’s proficiency in HACCP and his ISO program knowledge is also valuable for Pillitteri to continue with the production of secure and quality VQA wine making.
Alex has instituted an austere and meticulous policy for monitoring and classifying wine produced at Pillitteri. In combination with his talents to sample and blend wine, Alex and his team utilized a set of strict criteria to classify wines to designations. Alex and his team adhere to these criteria based on three key influencers of wine quality. The key criteria consists of; the growth of the grape in the vineyard, the pressing and fermentation of the wine in the press house and the ageing and blending of the wine in the cellar.