Wine Stories: Ontario Winemaker of the Year

Meet Shiraz Mottiar, from Malivoire Wine Company and learn about Millenial Pink and the Winemaker of the Year!

Hailing from the Beamsville bench and with 20 years under his belt winemaking (with 17 of those at Malivoire Wine Company) Shiraz sat down to talk to us at iYellow. I’ve been lucky enough to know Shiraz for many years now (we’ve both been in the industry the same amount of time) and the wines from Malivoire are some of my absolute favourite (I buy magnums of the Rosé and it never last long in my home). Just last week Shiraz was honoured with the Ontario Winemaker of the Year Award at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards. To boot, their Lady Bug Rosé also won gold for best Rosé! Shiraz sits down with us to talk about his favourite wine, millenial pink and his name!


iYELLOW:With a name like Shiraz, would you say that you were destined to be in the wine industry? Is there a good background or story to your name?

SHIRAZ: There is no cool story, I wish there was. I’m certain most guys named Shiraz are not destined to be winemakers. Once I met 2 others at the same time. It freaked me out and I had to leave as I was the only Shiraz I knew.


iYELLOW: What prompted you to get started in the wine industry?

SHIRAZ: It was a combination of a few things. First, my name, hearing people say they had a wine bearing my name drew me in. Up until then, I was only experienced with crappy cheap wine. The discovery of good wine with great aromas and flavours got me hooked. Then the idea of how it was created made me realize I could be well suited to growing grapes and making wine. I grew up exposed to many different and exotic flavours, which I didn’t value until I got into wine. And I like to be outside with fresh air and breathtaking views, but then who doesn’t.


iYELLOW: What’s your favourite wine that you make/have made?

SHIRAZ: I love our Small Lot Gamay. Year in and year out it is so dynamic. I love gamay for it’s energy, full of vibrant, dense fruit, yet so nimble too. It’s a style I appreciate in a red wine and am excited that we can grow in our backyard.


iYELLOW: Who is your biggest mentor in the wine industry?

SHIRAZ: I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, with 17 of those here at Malivoire, so Martin Malivoire has had a great impact on my development as a winemaker. His approach to doing anything is novel and unique, I’ve learned from that. He also drives me to express myself with confidence. And he drops off some pretty cool wines to taste now and then.


iYELLOW: What/who influences your wine style?

SHIRAZ: From within, and from mother nature. I try my best to figure out what is the finest expression of grapes from each site, and let that guide my style. What I’ve learned is bigger isn’t always better. I appreciate taking cues from other regions and if there is a method to explore, I will, but I’ll implement only if it I see the benefit to the style I’m aiming for.


iYELLOW: Would you consider Rosé a challenging wine to make? If so why/why not?

SHIRAZ: Interesting question! Sure, it can be tough. What I’ve discovered is the fruit in a red grape will express fresh fruit better as a rosé than as a red. That I guess is the easy part. After that, the colour that is most appealing can be a real challenge, quite subjective too. Achieving that ‘pretty’ hue (I just recently heard of millennial pink! Ha!), while creating the delicate texture with complex flavours is the hard part.


IYELLOW: If you were stranded on a desert island and had to pick one rosé to sip forever what would it be?

SHIRAZ: Will I always get the newest vintage?? Chateau Léoube La Londe.