Open 10am to 6pm every day except major holidays.
21 Brix Winery is one of Lake Erie Wine Country’s newest additions. Our doors opened at the beginning of September 2011, but that’s not where everything really began. You need to rewind back to eight years ago around the Jordan kitchen table when Kris Kane discussed with his parents, Michael and Marion Jordan about his dream to open a winery. At this point, Kris was a junior at Canisius College majoring in Biology/Pre-Med. He had dreams of becoming a chiropractor and massage therapist, however by working on the family farm during high school and college breaks, he realized his true passion was out in the vineyards.
After graduating, Kris worked on the family farm, Olde Chautauqua Farms, for one year and gained experience and knowledge about farming techniques and worked with many varieties of grapes, including Chardonnay, Noiret, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Concord. When a winemaker position opened up at Presque Isle Wine Cellars in North East, Pennsylvania, Kris jumped at the opportunity to put his biology and chemistry background to work. As the winemaker at Presque Isle for the past six years, Kris has processed thousands of tons of grapes and has used the bulk juice at Presque Isle to make wine as well as selling juice to amateur winemakers and wineries.
Kris also worked “down under” in Australia for Stuart Wine Company during their harvest. Since their seasons are opposite ours, he left at the beginning of February in order to experience their peak time of harvest. While working outside of Melbourne, he was lead cellar hand and night shift supervisor.
After Mike and Marion Jordan and Kris put the wheels in motion for the planning of the winery, Kris’ brother Bryan Jordan asked if he could be part of this exciting adventure. Together the four owners began the job of creating and building a winery. By 2009, building plans for 21 Brix Winery were well underway and ground was broken at the beginning of August 2010. It took only about two months to build the exterior of the winery and by October, the construction moved to the inside of the building. By September 2011, the winery was ready to open!
Why 21 Brix?
Answer: Several bottles of wine and a dart board.
Just kidding, sort of.
Let’s start at the beginning. We wanted to name our winery after something that we care greatly about and at the same time name it after something that has a deeper meaning. We looked all around us and kept coming back to grapes. Of course we love them, they have supported our family for generations, but now that we are making wine with them we have an even greater appreciation. As it turns out, a grape’s function is not to be made into wine. It is, of course, a seed that makes more grapes. An equally noble endeavor. When a grape grows on the vine its primary focus is to produce a viable seed. Only once the seed is developed does the grape focus on making itself delicious, to us and birds. There is a tipping point, as in all things, where the grape begins to produce everything we love about wine. The flavor, aroma and eventual character of the wine is all produced during this second phase. This process begins when the sugar level in the grape reaches 21%. This is denoted by wine makers as a level of Brix.
Our family business has developed over the years, much as a grape, and is now in its second phase. In this phase all the ground work that has been laid is now developing and growing into our Winery.
Thus, 21 Brix Winery was born.
For those oenology and viticulture geeks out there: We couldn’t even begin to do this article justice so we would direct your attention to an excellent article by James Kennedy of the Department of Food Science & Technology at the Oregon State University called Understanding Grape Berry Development.