In Niagara, Canada (11) The Organized Crime Winery


The Organized Crime is a slightly unusual name for a winery, but they are making some really lovely wines from a spectacular site on the Beamsville Bench. Guests can relax in spacious grounds with a view to Lake Ontario, and this is a real treat on a sunny day when it’s not too humid.

The name memorializes a feud between two local Menonite congregations in the early 1900s, and this centred on a pipe organ. The beef between these two church groups resulted in members of one congregation taking the other’s pipe organ and throwing it 20 metres down an embankment.

I met with Ania de Duleba, second generation of this family-owned winery. Her stepfather and mother bought the property in 1998, and then bought a second parcel, making 40 acres with 25 acres under vine. It was an old pear orchard that had gone to seed. ‘My parents always had a dream of having a vineyard and did everything from start to finish,’ says Ania. ‘They’d get all the cheap labour of family so my husband and I helped, and then we had kids and disappeared for a few years.’

Ania de Duleba

In a previous life her mother was an art director of Harlequin Romance – a painter and an illustrator with a good design sense. ‘She felt the name and design should be something to bring people in,’ says Ania. ‘She hired a design company and looked for a local historical hook.’ The result was the Menonite organ clash which features on the labels, and which inspired the winery name.

Initially they just grew grapes, but the goal was for it to become a winery, not just a vineyard. 2006 was first vintage under the Organized Crime label. ‘Everything is on site here,’ says Ania.

In 2014 her mum got sick with cancer and died in 2016, and as the only child she inherited half of the property. ‘It was too much for my stepfather, so we sold everything in Toronto and bought him out.’ Ania had already She’d done diploma with WSET.

Greg Yemens

Greg Yemen is the consultant winemaker here, and we tasted with him also. Ania’s husband was a composer in a previous life, but he’s now working here as well as writing music. ‘He’s probably the newest to the wine world,’ says Ania, ‘and he helps out Greg in the vineyard.’

There are nine grape varieties planted here. ‘There used to be 10,’ says Ania, ‘but we ripped up the Gewurztraminer: it’s going to Chardonnay which does well here. And we run out of Chardonnay.’

Total production is 5000 cases production. They buy a bit of Pinot Gris but everything else is estate grown.

The biggest challenge? Everything grows so fast here that labour is the big issue in the vineyards.


Organized Crime Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
14% alcohol. 15% neutral oak and the rest in stainless. A ripe wine from a hot vintage. This is fruity and intense with lovely ripe pear and melon fruit as well as a citrus freshness. Pleasurable and expressive with some mandarin. Delicate finish. Lovely fruit here. 90/100

Organized Crime Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
12.8% alcohol. Fresh and delicate with nice grapefruit and lime, as well as some elderflower and dried herbs. Lovely fruit here with real finesse and a lightness and purity. 91/100

Organized Crime Limestone Block Chardonnay 2020 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
In old puncheons, no malo, no stirring. This is bright and lively with good acidity and a lovely focus to the palate. Crisp with nice edges – it’s not at all fat with a really precise style and keen acidity. You can sense the limestone character here. 92/100

Organized Crime Cuvée Krystyna Chardonnay 2019 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
12% new oak, full malolactic. This is fresh and focused with good acidity and nicely integrated oak. There’s brightness and some spicy character, with a stony edge to the finish. Supple and bright. 92/100

Organized Crime Cuvée Krystyna Chardonnay 2020 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
25% new oak, full malolactic. Rich and fruit driven with some pear and apricot notes, as well as fine spices. There’s well integrated oak here. It’s supple and quite stylish. 92/100

Organized Crime Pinot Gris 2021 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
There’s some colour here from skin maceration. Textured and rich with a grapey edge to the sweet cherry and pear fruit. It is rich and beautifully textured with some jelly-like richness. Lovely depth to this easy wine. 88/100

Organized Crime Sacrilege 2021 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
33% Pinot Gris (12 d skin ferment), 67% Riesling 12 h skin contact in press. So interesting: this is dry and expressive with some pear, apple and citrus, as well as some marmalade and apricot, with fruit sweetness but finishing dry with some structure. Very stylish and quite distinctive. 92/100

Organized Crime Rose 2021 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
Mainly Pinot Noir. 40% Saignee, half barrel fermented. This is fruity and expressive with juicy cherry and strawberry fruit. It’s supple and expressive with a fine, delicate red fruit character. It’s dry and very easy to drink. 88/100

Organized Crime Wild Ferment Riesling 2018 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
In 1000 litre wooden casks. Ripe and limey with a touch of green apple. Juicy and textural with nice acidity, and a touch of sweetness on the finish. 90/100

Organized Crime Wild Ferment Riesling 2019 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
12 g/l rs and 9.9 g/l acidity. Limey and intense with bright acidity. Lime, lemons, some apple and a touch of spice. Really vivid and finely weighted with just enough sweetness to balance the keen acidity. Really pure. 93/100

Organized Crime Break-in Pinot Noir 2020 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
9 months in barrel, 8% new oak. Supple, textured and sweetly fruited with rounded cherry and plum fruit. There’s some brightness here with red cherries and raspberry. There’s lovely fruit here with a nice supple juicy quality to this wine, which offers a lot of pleasure. 90/100

Organized Crime Sacred Series Tara Block Pinot Noir 2020 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
18 months in 17% new oak. This has a nice stony, mineral edge to the juicy cherry and plum fruit. There’s a bit of structure here as well as fleshy red fruits. This is satisfying with lovely balance and a touch of seriousness. 93/100

Organized Crime Pipe Down 2019 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
13.8% alcohol. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc, 16% Petit Verdot. Bordeaux-style blend, with a portion appassimento. 18% new oak. This is ripe and fruity with nice presence. Lovely blackcurrant fruit with some raspberry freshness. So lively and expressive with good acidity supporting the juicy fruit. Very expressive with generosity but also focus. 92/100

Organized Crime Cabernet Franc 2017 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
14.1% alcohol. Fermented in concrete and aged in foudre and barrels. Fleshy and juicy with good concentration. There’s flesh here with some nice juiciness, and a touch of strawberry too. Very stylish with good texture and a nice hint of green. 92/100

Organized Crime The Download 2017 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
14.3% alcohol. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 17% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc. 89% appassiemnto. Ripe, sweetly fruited and spicy with a nice grainy structure. Some nice maturity here: bold and rich with some red cherry and plum, as well as blackberry and blackcurrant. This is an impressive, bolder style of wine that works well. 91/100