Coyote’s Run Estate Winery is very experienced and specializes in the Niagara terroir, with a particular focus on soil. Their estate vineyard is situated on an intriguing piece of land with two sharply defined and distinct types of clay soils. The CREW named these the Red Paw and Black Paw Vineyards.
The distinctively red Trafalgar clay loam of the Red Paw Vineyard is rather scarce in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. Formed by the weathering of the underlying Queenston shale bedrock, this soil is particularly old (~450 million years). Stony, rich in iron (hence the red color), with little organic content, this soil is particularly infertile, and thus quite good for growing premium wine grapes.
The heavier, dark Toledo clay loam of the Black Paw Vineyard is more common in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is a rather new soil (a mere 15,000 years old) that was formed from lake bed deposits from glacial Lake Iroquois, the same lake that carved the Niagara Escarpment. The Toledo clay contains more organic matter than the Trafalgar clay, and as a result, this soil holds more water and has higher heat retention. It’s quite tricky to grow vines on this soil, and the resulting fruit develops tremendous character.