Our Story

What happened when a Canadian Expat fell in love with an Italian Temptress...

1990

Our Founders, Len and Marisa Crispino, were living as expats in Italy when they discovered the wonders of Amarone, or 'Appassimento' wines.

The more they learned about this technique and grew to love these wines, the more excited they became at the prospect of bringing this incredible craftsmanship back with them to Ontario.

And so, they did.

Valpolicella, Veneto
2000

In 2000, taking a leap of faith, Len and Marisa bought 40 acres of prime farmland in the Vinemount Ridge sub-appellation of Niagara's Twenty Valley wine region, starting their journey to becoming trailblazers of Appassimento winemaking in Canada.

They sourced quality vinifera varietals from Europe, and after three years of carefully nurturing vines, 2004 became the inaugural vintage of Foreign Affair wines.

Niagara, Ontario
NOW

While the first vintages had many challenges with this approach, the big, bold red wines they produced as a result spoke for themselves, and so Len and Marisa persisted.

Today, The Foreign Affair Winery offers a unique and diverse selection of award-winning wines, all touched by the Appassimento process in some way, and many stories to share about the journey.

Niagara, Ontario

Appassimento Winemaking

An old-world style of winemaking, known as 'Amarone' in Italy and adapted to the new world setting of Niagara wine country.

  • Foreign Affair Winery Process: Careful, year round attention in the vineyard.

    Careful, year round attention in the vineyard.

  • Foreign Affair Winery Process: When the grapes are perfectly ripe, a portion of our vineyard is handharvested.

    When the grapes are perfectly ripe, a portion of our vineyard is handharvested.

  • Foreign Affair Winery Process: These grapes are set aside to dry in our drying barns.

    These grapes are set aside to dry in our drying barns.

  • Foreign Affair Winery Process: After 1-3 months, the grapes lose around 50% of their yield, concentrating flavours and depth of colour in the wine.

    After 1-3 months, the grapes lose around 50% of their yield, concentrating flavours and depth of colour in the wine.

Our Team

Passionate about hand-crafted Appassimento wines.

Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: René Van Ede

René Van Ede

Winemaker
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: Caitlin Kern

Caitlin Kern

Hospitality Director
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: Alyssa Tharby

Alyssa Tharby

Asst. Winemaker
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: John-Daniel Steele

John-Daniel Steele

Assistant Hospitality Supervisor
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: Bekky Briscoe

Bekky Briscoe

Cellar Hand
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: Megan Price

Megan Price

DTC & Hospitality Coordinator
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: Ed Haddon

Ed Haddon

Sommelier & Business Development
Foreign Affair Winery Team Member: Kelly Josephson

Kelly Josephson

Marketing & Sales