All roads lead to the vineyard for Brock OEVC graduate – The Brock News

What started as a love of wine turned into a vineyard and winery for Brock University graduate Kelly Mason (OEVC ’10).

Mason, who received it Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology (OEVC) at Brockrecently launched its second series of small batch wines under the brand Mason Vineyard label and has been “happily overwhelmed” with the response so far.

Originally employed in the automotive sector and although she had always loved wine, she had never thought of it as a career, until she obtained her Masters in Business Administration.

Mason originally intended to pursue a career in sales or marketing in the wine industry, but before she could sell or market the product, she felt it was important to gain a thorough understanding of how from which the product was made.

His wine journey began in 2007 as a harvest intern at Saintsbury Winery in Napa Valley, California. As soon as she started in the cellar, her plans changed again.

“As soon as I started working on the floor, I loved it,” Mason says. “I ended up staying at Saintsbury for two years, and that’s when I realized, 100%, that I don’t want to get into marketing, I want to get into winemaking.”

Back in Canada, Mason enrolled at Brock’s OEVC program.

Looking back on her time at the University and its Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), she says the program suited her perfectly.

“Of all the studies I did, this was the most interesting and fun,” Mason says. “Your first degree, you don’t always know what you’re going to do with it. This time I had the benefit of being really connected to why I was going back to school; I had a clear focus, I was motivated.

Mason’s journey after graduating from Brock – from an internship at Tawse and Le Clos Jordanne and through winemaking positions at Domaine Queylus, The Farm and Honsberger Estate Winery – makes his passion for Pinot Noir evident.

The current version of Mason Vineyard includes five estate wines.

“Pinot is a challenge to be met and it is a challenge to be met. I like this internal competition every year that I have with the vine and also in the tank. I love that it’s hard to do,” she says.

“When it’s beautiful, when you have a nice nose and mouth and a really nice finish and everything is in harmony, that’s the best feeling.”

Since moving to California, Mason has been quietly working toward her end goal of owning a vineyard and eventually creating her own brand.

His search for the ideal terrain began in the outskirts of Napa Valley, then the Prince Edward County (PEC) appellation in Ontario, before finally moving to the Niagara Peninsula.

“On the bench, there was this different vibe – niche producers, boutique growers that were becoming a bit more focused and only doing one or two varietals,” Mason explains. “I see it now, 10 years later, that I absolutely chose the best ground I could for myself and what I wanted to do,”

Ultimately, she says it was CCOVI affiliate Kevin Ker who helped her find her property in the Twenty Mile Bench.

The current version of Mason Vineyard includes five estate wines and four “collaborative wines” that Mason says explore what winemakers can achieve by working together.

Although it does not currently have a formal tasting room, Mason offers a limited number of exclusive tasting and boutique sessions throughout the month and hosts an event alongside its “Collab Wines” counterparts at Honsberger Estate Winery on Sunday October 30.

For the latest details on Mason’s vineyard and offerings, visit

More information on the CCOVI program is available on the Institute website.

Elisha A. Tilghman