Two of Ontario's oldest, most popular and highly respect wineries are neighbours. Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery and Hernder Estate Winery are both located west of Thorold and south west of St. Catharines. Numerous other Niagara Peninsula wineries are located just west of St. Catharines, they include Rockway Vineyards, 16 Mile Cellars, Kings Court,13th Street Winery, Harvest Estate and Creekside.
Henry of Pelham ~ 1469 Pelham Road, R.R. #1 St. Catharines, ON L2R 6P
Henry of Pelham’s 300-acre vineyard is located in the Short Hills Bench
sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula. The historic winery is owned by three Speck brothers, Matthew E Speck, Paul T Speck and Daniel Speck. The winery Henry of Pelham is named after after the Speck brothers great-great-great grandpa’s son, Henry, who we think had a pretty dry sense of humour, nicknaming himself “Henry of Pelham” after a British Prime Minister.
Henry was quite the entrepreneur, building an inn and tavern on the property and operating a toll road. He raised sheep. And grew grapes—some of the first to be planted in Canada. The tasting room and wine store are in Henry’s carriage house.
Paul Speck Sr. and Bobbi Speck purchase several contiguous parcels of the original family farm. It was 1984 when the brothers parents decided to decided to replace Henry’s concord and Niagara grapevines with old world vinifera grapes.
Paul Sr. and Bobbi put their three boys to work hand-planting Riesling and Chardonnay vines. At the time, Paul Jr. was 17, Matthew was 14 and Daniel was 10. The back-breaking work continued over several summers and too many weekends to count. But success would come!
In 2006, Henry of Pelham was the first vineyard to be certified as local and sustainable by Local Food Plus. They followed Sustainable Winemaking Ontario’s world-leading standards in their farming practices since 2004. In 2017, they became one of only six wineries in Ontario to be certified by the Wine Council of Ontario as following sustainable winemaking practices from soil to shelf.
“Real sustainability is never done. It’s an ongoing process of improvement where we find and apply the best new practices, never being afraid to break with the past.”– Daniel Speck
The winemaker is Lawrence Buhler, he has been with the winery since 2018.
One of the best wines I have enjoyed is Henry of Pelham 2016 Riesling Estate.
A fine example of an off-dry Riesling. Pale straw colour with a nose of honeyed grapefruit and lime; light to medium-bodied, with guava and citrus fruit flavours that linger long on the palate. It won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines.
Cuvée Catharine Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine is also won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines.
Hernder Estate Wines- 607 Eighth Avenue Louth,
St. Catharines, Ontario
The Hernder family has transformed a love of viticulture into one of the largest family Estate winery operations in Canada. In 1939, the family moved to the “Grapeview” area of St. Catharines, Ontario, to a mixed fruit farm that included acreage of indigenous grapes.“Fred” Hernder’s boyhood chores would become the foundation for future skills. After the passing of his father, Fred purchased the family farm in 1968, and began the acquisition of others.
His success was heralded when he was crowned as the youngest Niagara “GRAPE KING” in 1977. Forever the entrepreneur, Fred began selling not only grapes & juice, but also winemaking supplies to the growing home market as well as wineries.
In 1988 Fred made 2 important decisions: to replant his acreage with classic Vitis Vinifera & French Hybrid varieties and purchase the Victorian cattle barn (circa 1867) on 8th Avenue Louth ~ this, to launch his newest endeavour, that of his own winery.
Hernder Estate Wines has expanded it’s operation five fold to presently producing more than 25 varieties of VQA wines from it’s 500 acres of land spread between St. Catharines and Beamsville. Since their very first international recognition in 1995, Hernder Estate Wines have gone on to achieve many more domestic and international awards adding special recognition to the Hernder legacy.
The winemaker is Angela Kasimos. Her prestigious awards including the Lieutenant Governors award for her 2012 Cab Franc and a Cuvee Gold award for best white wine for her 2010 Gewürztraminer.
When visiting check out the "Wine & Coffee Lounge”