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Red Paws Black Paws
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Red Paw / Black Paw Vineyard

Taste the difference terroir makes

Terroir is a French term used to denote the combination of soil, climate, and exposure to the sun – anything Mother Nature may contribute to the vineyard - that makes each vineyard and region unique.

At Coyote’s Run, we are very interested in the Niagara terroir, with a particular focus on soil. As luck would have it, our estate vineyard is situated on an intriguing piece of land, where Mother Nature has gifted us with two sharply defined and distinct types of clay soils. Naturally, we have planted vines on each, and named these the Red Paw and Black Paw Vineyards.

The distinctively red Trafalgar clay loam of the Red Paw Vineyard is rather scarce in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. Formed by the weathering of the underlying Queenston shale bedrock, this soil is particularly old (~450 million years). Stony, rich in iron (hence the red color), with little organic content, this soil is particularly infertile, and thus quite good for growing premium wine grapes.

The heavier, dark Toledo clay loam of the Black Paw Vineyard is more common in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is a rather new soil (a mere 15,000 years old) that was formed from lake bed deposits from glacial Lake Iroquois, the same lake that carved the Niagara Escarpment. The Toledo clay contains more organic matter than the Trafalgar clay, and as a result, this soil holds more water and has higher heat retention. It’s quite tricky to grow vines on this soil, but the resulting fruit develops tremendous character.

For a few years now, we have been producing wines from the same varietals from the two different vineyards. Vintage after vintage, we can see the direct effect that terroir has on these wines. The Red Paw Vineyard wines display bright fruit character and possess more perfumed and floral bouquets. The wines also tend to be a delicate and refreshing on the palate. The Black Paw Vineyard wines are a remarkable contrast. They tend to express more richness in the body of the wine, with prominent earth and smoke character in the wine.  The Black Paw wines tend to be more rich and robust on the palate as well.

To date, we have Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Gris from the two soils.