Ed Madronich Sr. -Founder
Flat Rock Cellars is solely owned and operated by its founder - Ed Madronich. Born and raised in the area, the winery is the fulfillment of a dream shared by his father and son. In 1954, his father applied for a winery license, but was denied. More recently his son, also Ed Madronich, established his career in the wine business and shared the passion for wine. Combined, father and son have worked together to create Flat Rock Cellars.
Ed Madronich – President
Ed credits a summer in France and exposure to a few choice bottles of wine for his passion. Since that first foray into the vines, he knew that he wanted to make great wines. Running Inniskillin for several years helped him to define his approach to wine: one that both reflects and challenges conventional wisdom.
His easy hospitality and devilish sense of humor is juxtaposed with a more serious sensibility when making wine. Ed believes that the Twenty Valley has the potential to produce some of the best wines in the world. He also is firm in his conviction that Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling are the ideal grapes for Flat Rock’s vineyards. Using estate grown grapes and the most advanced wine making techniques, Ed and his team work tirelessly to produce wines that reflect the soils and climate from which they originate.
His passion is infectious, and his determination to share the mysteries of the vine is a bonus for the rest of us. The big question is will his passion rub off on the future wine lovers he goes home to, Madeleine and Samson? How could it not!
Jennifer Hart – Wine Fanatic (aka Sales + Marketing Director)
Jennifer always wanted to Rock! That is why she worked in the music industry for so many years and why it seemed natural to make the transition to Flat Rock Cellars. Jennifer has long been a wine enthusiast with a soft spot for Ontario wine and through her studies and regular visits fell in love with the Niagara Escarpment. So much so that she bought a property in Vineland with the mind to make the dream move. Finally after a few years of dabbling on the periphery of the Ontario Wine Biz for she left the bright lights of Toronto behind and joined the FRC team. (Maybe not so far behind since we do have an incredible view of Toronto -and its bright lights - from across the lake!)
Jennifer brings her zest for learning, her love of wine and extensive marketing and sales experience to her new role as sales and marketing director. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can even find that she has emerged from her office and is (wine) geeking-out over a new piece of equipment or some happening in the vineyard. If you encounter her, she will surely smile warmly and welcome you to the Rock!
Dave Sheppard - Winemaker
The 2017 vintage marks not only Dave's 35th vintage in Niagara (37th in total) but also the beginning of a new and exciting chapter as he makes the move from " The Run" (Coyote's Run Winery, where he was the founding winemaker, since 2003), to "The Rock" (Flat Rock Cellars). The move is also a reunion of sorts as Dave and Ed team up for the second time after having spent several years together on the Inniskillin Wines team where Dave trained under the tutelage of renowned Canadian wine pioneer Karl Kaiser.
Having cut his teeth making Rieslings in Germany and then Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in Burgundy, coming to Flat Rock Cellars with its focus on those varieties seemed a natural fit.
Still inspired and excited about his craft after so many years Dave, often referred to by co-workers as "the energizer bunny", is looking forward to not only making wine with the likes of the talented cellar master Allison Findlay but also to playing some pond hockey with Allison and Jennifer on "that awesome pond at The Rock".
Tracey de Loryn - The Wrangler (aka Logistics Coordinator)
A business graduate from Saint Francis Xavier University and a native of the East Coast, Tracey boarded a plane and headed to Tokyo, Japan upon graduation. It was her new home for the next four years and it was here that she met her Australian husband, Levi. The duo moved to Adelaide, Australia while Levi completed his Master's in Oenology and it didn't take long for Tracey to convert to a stage three wine geek.
After spending over two years in Australia, the couple ventured to Marlborough, New Zealand where Tracey finally experienced her first "hands on" harvest in the cellar of Wither Hills. And here...it didn't take long for her to realize that while she did love wine, the "hands on" labour of love was not kind of love she was looking for. A changed role at Wither Hills allowed her to get back to what she's best at: helping customers in her friendly fashion, keeping the team organized and tasting, not making, the wine.
After living internationally for over seven years, Tracey and her husband decided the wine region of Niagara was a good place to call home. Tracey joined our team in the fall of 2010 and now heads the logistical side of Flat Rock Cellars.
Jacob Glantz - Lead Roadie (aka Retail and Events Coordinator)
Jacob graduated from Queens University with a degree in Kinesiology and a career on the varsity volleyball team, but his experience in the food and beverage industry sparked his passion for wine! After travelling around Europe (mainly hopping from one wine region to another), Jacob settled in Bordeaux and completed an MBA in Wine Marketing and Management from INSEEC. Jacob remained in St. Emilion to soak up the European lifestyle and work in private client relations at Chateau Tour St. Christophe, one of the six wineries belonging to Vignobles K. When it was time to come "home", Jacob was eager to bring his enthusiasm and passion for wine to Flat Rock Cellars as the new Retail and Events Coordinator. Among his many responsibilities here at Flat Rock is to oversee the Club on the Rock. Jacob works hard to make our valued wine-club members feel like they are a piece of the Rock. From intimate on-on-one tastings to busy raucous events, Jacob will share his love of wine and show his pride in the best Niagara wine has to offer!