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Dec. 11, 2019 | Wednesday
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Pillitteri winery partners with Team Canada
Pillitteri Estates Winery CEO Charlie Pillitteri, left, Brittany MacLean, Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in swimming, and David Shoemaker, CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

NOTL’s Pillitteri Estates Winery has been named official wine supplier for the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The six-year partnership will last for the next three Olympic Games, through the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake winery will have pouring rights at Canada Olympic House and at any other events hosted by the Olympic committee.

As part of the collaboration, Pillitteri has launched a Team Canada wine collection consisting of red, white and icewine. The red wine is a cabernet franc-merlot blend and the white is a riesling-gewürztraminer blend.

One dollar from the sale of each $15 bottle in the Team Canada wine collection will go toward the Canadian Olympic Foundation supporting Canadian athletes.

Both red and white wines are now available for sale at the winery’s retail store and online. The Team Canada icewine will be introduced later this year.

The idea of extending the collaboration came to the winery’s team after Pillitteri Estates was invited to pour wines at the Canada Olympic House in Pyeongchang at the 2018 Winter Olympics, said Jeff Letvenuk, the winery’s marketing manager.

“To have a family business from Niagara-on-the-Lake on a national stage like this, it brings a lot of attention to Niagara-on-the-Lake and to Niagara-on-the-Lake grape growing,” Letvenuk said in an interview.

“We’re really proud to fly that Canadian flag and proud to be part of Team Canada and proud of our home here in Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

A number of guests were on hand for the June 14 partnership announcement at the winery, including Brittany MacLean, Rio 2016 bronze medallist in swimming, winery CEO Charlie Pillitteri and David Shoemaker, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

“What sets (Pillitteri) apart is the idea that we’re on local soil and sometimes we take it for granted. But it’s really a cool concept that local companies are supporting local athletes,” MacLean told The Lake Report. “This is something that is homegrown, we’re proud of, it goes worldwide just like our athletes do.”

Being Team Canada’s partner is “a dream” for a family-owned business, Pillitteri told The Lake Report. It’s usually big wineries that are selected for the partnership, he said. 

In selecting a partner, the Olympic committee carefully considered which winery shares a “common vision” with the organization, Shoemaker said.

“Niagara wines are well-known over the world,” he said in an interview. “So when we travel the world, as Team Canada, it will be great to have Pillitteri Estates as our partner side by side.”

The quality of Pillitteri Estates’ wines sets it apart from other wineries, agreed Alex del Luca, who is a Pillitteri wine club member.

“I think (the partnership) is amazing. When they told me about it, I was ecstatic,” he said.

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