Pearl Morissette

Pearl Morissette

François Morissette bid adieu to Burgundy's storied vineyards, lured by the promise of complete creative control over his own Niagara winery. Pearl Morissette is one player in a burgeoning natural wine movement attempting to craft wines that truly express the essence of the land. They favor whole-cluster fermenting, leaving grapes intact rather than plucking them off stems. This allows lactic bacteria greater access to malic acid, yielding more complex flavors and textures.

Fermentation utilizes wild yeasts from the vineyard rather than predictable commercial yeasts. While riskier, Morissette relishes discovering when volatility veers into dangerous territory through diligent tasting. The unfiltered wines age on the lees, where grape skins and yeast deposits impart evolving aromas, structure and color. Morissette wants each bottle to remain dynamic, even after release.

The winery launched in 2007 through a partnership between Burgundy-trained Morissette and Toronto developer Mel Pearl. Their Jordan home base and 14 acres of vines are part of the Creek Shore VQA on gravelly soils. They also own 23 acres on Twenty Mile Bench VQA and recently leased 60 acres near Redstone on red clay, selling most grapes but enabling growth of Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot.


François Morissette 


Though his Canadian roots have shaped him in many ways, Francois's true passion for wine was born in the vineyards of Burgundy. During a formative trip to Europe in his twenties, Francois landed a job at the prestigious Domaine Alain Gras in Saint-Romain. There, he was immersed in the traditional methods of viticulture, gaining a deep respect for the nuances of terroir and the winemaker's craft. Upon returning home, he honed his palate as a sommelier, curating some of Canada's most ambitious wine lists in the late 1990s. But Burgundy called to him again in the early 2000s. Drawn by the siren song of the Côte d'Or, Francois spent 7 years working alongside masters like Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier, Henri Gouges, and Domaine Roulot. This hands-on experience cemented his philosophical approach to winemaking. For Francois, wine is not just a product - it is an expression of time, place, and culture. This reverence infuses his work to this day. Though Canada can claim him as her son, it was Burgundy that captured his heart and shaped his path as a vigneron.