Norm Hardie on Why Try Prince Edward County Wines

What a terrific chat with Norm Hardie, Winemaker, Hardie Wines!

Click on the arrow above to watch the video.

Listen to Norm’s stories about his journey from sommelier to winemaker.

Discover why Prince Edward County is such an exciting wine region.



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Watch previous episodes of the Sunday Sipper Club (SSC) and find out who’s coming up next.




Click on the arrow above to hear ​Norm’s story about becoming a leader in the wine industry, especially in defining the role of winemakers.

Watch previous episodes of the Sunday Sipper Club (SSC) and find out who’s coming up next.

If you’d like to read the comments for this tasting, or make a comment yourself, visit:

Here’s a sampling of our lively discussion from our tasting…

Lise Charest Gagne12:45 I’m drinking a Huff Estate Riesling I drank all my Hardie Wine and I need to come back! We had a lovely day in the boat in northern Ontario today
Elizabeth MacSween
Elizabeth MacSween1:02:00 Loved his critique on the VQA and how now that the sophistication of the Ontario wine drinking population has increased it is time to acknowledge that maturity and let us discover wines on our own!
Natalie MacLean
Natalie MacLeanYes Norm is a leader in the industry, especially in defining the role of winemakers in a maturing region.
Deb Kennedy
Deb Kennedy44:28 Have had several of Norm’s Chardonnays from both Niagara and The County. Love them all, among my favourites, but my favourite of his is the Cuvee de Roche

Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLeanThanks for bringing this wine up in the conversation Deb!

Anne-Marie Chivers

Anne-Marie Chivers1:00:58 Will be looking for Norm’s Tornado wine…. on line maybe??

Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLeanTry his web site Anne-Marie Chivers … so glad you could join us this evening

Marc Savard

Marc Savard53:49 Are you planning on planting different grapes in the future?

Jenn Havers

Jenn Havers39:53 What a great story! Your Riesling is wonderful! So glad it’s getting recognition!

Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLeanAgree Jenn Havers – love Norm’s stories!

Lynn van der Linde

Lynn van der Linde23:58 I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to try some of the world’s best wine. What’s one of the most memorable wines you’ve had?

Peter Chandler

Peter Chandler19:19 Just noticed that we can buy your wines from The Wine Society this week. Which Chardonnay do you recommend 2013 or 2015?

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin13:58 Norm – what do you attribute your Chardonnay aromas to – it’s a bit “different” from other Chards??

Dave Head

Dave Head2:09 I am a wineman for the county…with apologies to Glen Campbell

Emilie Patenaude

Emilie Patenaude30:45 Apart from your own wines, are there other PEC wines that you particularly enjoy and would recommend?

Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLeanI hope Norman Hardie will answer you here Emilie Patenaude … I’d like to know too 

Simon T P Wong

Simon T P Wong11:16 Hi Norman will visit you soon from your friend Simon
Rick Neufeld
Rick Neufeld7:20 Love the label

Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLeanYes Norman Hardie is focused and done to the essentials in all that he does from winemaking to wine labels Rick Neufeld

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne39:18 I saw Norm tank a beer I brought him he’s my kind of guy

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne29:58 I’d like to ask Norm what his most heartbreaking moment in winemaking was other then 2015

Peter Chandler

Peter Chandler1:01:02 Great to hear a wine producer who wants to ditch sulphur. My pet hate is SO2 in in the nose of white wines

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin41:06 Have had both Chardonnays and Pinot’s from Niagara and the County!

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne17:05 I sure hope this years crop will be ok how has the rain been affecting things

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin28:07 It’s on my bucket list to do a harvest – they look like so much fun!!

Lynn van der Linde

Lynn van der Linde15:39 This summer has been so wet, what do you predict for your 2017 vintage?

Deb Kennedy

Deb Kennedy8:01 Drinking another PEC wine right now…Old Third Pinot Noir

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne2:55 Norman has the best people working with him.. it’s like a big family. Well that’s how it feels when you visit

Anne-Marie Chivers

Anne-Marie Chivers56:48 Love Norm’s wines from he county and Ontario! Keep up the good work. You definitely🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 have a following!!

Anne-Marie Chivers

Anne-Marie Chivers54:42 People in general talk about Pinot. I never know??? so I was just asking for qualifying…Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir… LOL

Deb Kennedy

Deb Kennedy36:00 What other winemakers do you most admire in Canada?

Gail Johnston

Gail Johnston20:02 Unfortunately, no. I live in Niagara and try to support local. PEC will be soon,

Deb Kennedy

Deb Kennedy57:01 I think Norm would be interested to know that Randall Grahm mentioned him when he was asked what other winemakers he most admired

Deb Kennedy

Deb Kennedy1:01:37 Loved hearing his story about Anthony Bourdain and his riesling, and the impact on sales in NYC

Paul E Hollander

Paul E Hollander46:14 Natural evaporation occurs with Pinots.

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne49:10 Sans soufre without sulfur yes I’m totally into it

Marc Savard

Marc Savard47:30 Do you have any other special wines coming up?

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin0:56 I drink them all the time and visit often!

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne16:24 I’m wearing my Hardie t shirt 😃

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne40:30 His unfiltered Chardonnay is one of faves

Lynn van der Linde

Lynn van der Linde0:56 Love PEC wines!

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin21:53 Do you enjoy winemaking more than being a Sommelier ?

Peter Chandler

Peter Chandler21:12 Thanks so much. I will go with your 2013 recommendation

Romain Gagne

Romain Gagne49:25 do you use any hard spice in your Pizza

Emilie Patenaude

Emilie Patenaude1:53 He has the best Pinot Noir!

Paul E Hollander

Paul E Hollander1:01:55 Juice Monkey, love it!

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin39:04 Love the Bourdain story!!

Deb Kennedy

Deb Kennedy1:46 Love Norm’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir!

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne1:21 I’m a Norman Hardie addict

Marc Savard

Marc Savard58:52 Will definitely visit the winery

Anne-Marie Chivers

Anne-Marie Chivers59:15 Shop and sip!!!

Anne-Marie Chivers

Anne-Marie Chivers58:57 Patio time!!!

Romain Gagne

Romain Gagne13:37 Can we get your wine in BC

Emilie Patenaude

Emilie Patenaude6:53 Tasted Norm’s Riesling a few weeks ago…divine!

Peter Chandler

Peter Chandler2:53 Joining from the UK so looking forward to learning about canadian wines

Romain Gagne

Romain Gagne32:11 I am sorry to asked you is your pinot gris has a lot of citrus or peaches back taste

Lori Kilmartin

Lori Kilmartin5:21 Visit Norman Hardie EVERY time I go. Heading there end of September

Lise Charest Gagne

Lise Charest Gagne50:01 I have chardonnay and Cab Franc with some reviews






There’s a reason that Norm Hardie has a cult following. Taste one of his wines and you’ll see why.

But it’s more than that.

This South African native, moved to Toronto with his parents as a teenager. However, it wasn’t until his graduated from a sommelier program in Dijon, Burgundy’s region iconic for both wine and mustard.

He returned to Toronto to become a sommelier at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel for six years. However, the itch to make wine, not just serve it, prompted him to spend another six years working in various vineyards around the world. That’s actually 12 vintages since he was working in both hemispheres.

Eventually, he found his small piece of winemaking heaven in Prince Edward County, and specialized in the wines of Burgundy, namely Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The soils are a mix of limestone and clay, much like Burgundy.

He’s now been making wine in PEC for 11 years.


We’ll find out why people thought he was crazy even to try making wine in PEC, and why he stubbornly persisted.

The County is much cooler than Niagara, and winters can be harsh. It’s one of the reasons that winemakers have to bury the vines before wine — a process called hilling, or pushing earth half way up the cane of the vine to protect it from killing frosts.

Today, it all looks easy when his wines are getting top ratings in coveted publications such as Decanter and Wine Spectator.

Norm also takes a special interest in developing new winemakers, sommeliers and wine enthusiasts. He makes time for wine education, whether it’s chatting to those who drop by the winery tasting room or who seek him out for advice.

We’ll ask him about the so-called “Normatory” where he has a spare bed for visiting winemakers and sommeliers.





Norman Hardie Riesling 2016
Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
















Norman Hardie is one of a select few winemakers in the world who has mastered the art of tasting, growing and making wine in both Hemispheres and six wine regions around the world. In his early twenties, he received his sommelier certification from the esteemed wine program at the University of Dijon in Burgundy and put his skills to work as a sommelier for Four Seasons Hotels for six years.

His insatiable thirst to master the art of winemaking, led him on a six year journey apprenticing for the very best producers/winemakers of cool climate varieties in Burgundy, South Africa, Oregon, New Zealand and California.

1996 Evesham Wood (Oregon); winemaker apprentice
1997-2000 Bouchard-Finlayson (South Africa); assistant winemaker
1997 Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, Volnay (France); winemaker apprentice
1998 Domaine de la Vougeraie, Premeaux (France); winemaker apprentice
1999 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St. Georges (France) winemaker apprentice
2001-2002 Central Otago Wine Company (New Zealand); right hand to the winemaker
2002 Au Bon Climat and Qupe, Santa Barbara (California); right hand to the winemaker

In 2003, grape acreage in Prince Edward County was still considerably small and the opportunity to purchase fruit was non-existent. Norman’s decision to establish his winery in Prince Edward County, versus Niagara, put him in a position to grow and plant in the County while still providing opportunity to source fruit from select limestone-clay driven sites in Niagara.





Norman Hardie Chardonnay 2015
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada





In a few short years Norman Hardie Winery has established itself as one of Canada’s premier wineries. It now has 40 acres of land under vine in Prince Edward County and continues to work with the most dedicated growers on some of the best sites in the Niagara Peninsula.

Though climatic conditions to grow vines in the County are more challenging than in Niagara, it was the soil profiles that were the deciding factor. Our mineral based Hillier Clay Loam, a mix of clay and limestone chunks, derived from the under-laying fractured limestone base to a depth of 30”, is the equivalent of Burgundy type soils.

Combined with the moderating lake effect assisting our growing conditions, Prince Edward County is the most promising wine region of Canada to produce top-quality cool climate wines. After many years of working in the wine industry worldwide, Norman believed that it was not only important to ensure the quality and high standards of the wines he makes, but also to provide his customers with an experience when they visit the winery.





Norman Hardie Pinot Noir 2015
Niagara, Ontario VQA, Canada






In order to achieve this goal, the winery was designed by Ian Starkey, a specialist in rural Ontario architecture, who, after looking at the local surroundings, advised to build it as a modern barn. Thus the present premises of Hardie Wines were built in 2004 to accommodate a barrel cellar, wine processing, cellaring facility and a tasting bar.

The rural design portrays the image of the agricultural setting and provides our guests with an experience that helps them to identify with the hard work, effort, and skill needed to grow premium grapes and make high quality wines that can compete on a global scale. But the experience cannot stop here.

It also extends to our customer service at the tasting bar that can only be attained by a knowledgeable staff that has had, as a matter of policy, a hand in creating our wines, be it in the vineyard or involvement in the actual wine making process.

In recent years, our wood-fired pizza oven has been drawing crowds and receiving rave reviews from patrons of all ages. In addition, our annual harvest is the highlight for us and our friends and patrons. They are invited to help bring in the grapes, participate in grape processing and share a local fare of fresh farmed meats and vegetables in season and witness the passion and hard work that goes into making a great wine.

From his inaugural vintage, Norm’s wines have garnered both local and international recognition. Most recently, Norm’s wines were celebrated by Jancis Robinson, Decanter’s Steven Spurrier and Ian D’Agata.

His 2013 County Chardonnay was selected by Matt Kramer among his “Three Most Exciting Wines of the 21st century (so far)” at the 2016 New York Wine Experience and was featured in Wine & Spirits’ “Best Wines of the Year” issue.

“These soils and climate are what winemakers from around the world are looking for to craft Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, of exceptional quality.” – Norman Hardie








Norman Hardie County Chardonnay 2007
Prince Edward County, Ontario VQA, Canada









Norman Hardie Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2014
Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada









Norman Hardie Riesling 2015
Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada









Norman Hardie Chardonnay 2014
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada









Norman Hardie Pinot Noir 2011
Niagara, Ontario VQA, Canada









Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2013
Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada









Norman Hardie County Pinot Gris 2012
Prince Edward County, Canada









Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2008
Prince Edward County, Canada









Norman Hardie Cuvee L Chardonnay 2008
V.Q.A., Ontario, Canada









Norman Hardie Unfiltered Chardonnay 2008
V.Q.A., PEC, Ontario, Canada









Norman Hardie Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2008
Prince Edward County, Canada

Before becoming a winemaker, Norm Hardie worked as a sommelier with Four Seasons Hotels for 6 years. He then studied wine at the University of Dijon and apprenticed with several wineries in Burgundy, Oregon, South Africa and New Zealand. Live from his cellar, we chat about:

– What are the differences between Prince Edward County (PEC) and Niagara wines?

– Acid in my wine? I don’t want that! Or do I?

– Does limestone really impart a flavour to the wines?

– Just how cold does it get there in the winter and how does that affect the vines?

– What must PEC do better as a wine region going forward?

– We taste Norm’s Pinot Noir and he has a brilliant flavour comparison between it and California Pinot involving strawberries.


This video is from several years ago …


In 2005, he opened his winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario. It’s a long red barn built into a limestone cliff meant to showcase his spectacular wines not the gift shop.

Norm talked about hilling the soil around the trunk of the vines. This helps protect the vine in the winter during extreme cold temperatures.In the spring, the soil is removed from the trunk.



2009 Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County, Ontario

Cherry-beetroot with tart edges. I like Norm’s style. He’s working his way to pure genius. Dark spices on the finish with some pleasant sour cherry. Vote Norm! Food matches: herbed veal cooked rare. Drink: 2011 – 2015 125310 11.5% XD 750 ml $35.20 90/100


You can access more reviews of Norman Hardie Wines here.

Norman Hardie Winery

After winning the Best Canadian Wine with Pizza for his County Pinot Noir in The Great Canadian Wine Match, Norm Hardie has shared with us his favourite wine and pizza pairings based on the pizzas made daily at his winery in an outdoor wood-burning oven from May to late fall.

Like his wines, Norm says, there is no exact recipe for the pizzas, which vary based on seasonal ingredients as well as the daily heat and humidity.

Here are Norm’s favourite pizzas with his County Pinot Noir:

Margherita: tomato, fior di latte, basil
Cochon: tomato, fior di latte, basil, salami

With his Chardonnay, he likes:

Quattro Fromaggi: fior di latte, pecorinno, parmigiano, gorgonzola, garlic, seasonal vegetables
Tart flambé: aged white cheddar, creme fraiche, speck, onion

You’ll have to visit the winery in Prince Edward County to enjoy these pizzas, and even more so, his spectacular wines! In the meantime, you can watch a wine video of Norm chatting from his cellar on site and a list of his wines to try.



You may also enjoy these video chats:

Biodynamic and organic wines: do they taste better? Healthier? We chat with winemaker Ann Sperling, Southbrook Vineyards

Price of wines: how are they set? Is expensive always better? John Skinner, Painted Rock Winery

Shipping Canadian wine across borders with Bill C-311: Shirley-Ann George talks about the Free My Grapes campaign

See all wine video chats here.

Is there someone else with a fascinating wine story whom you think I should interview? Please e-mail me:



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