Henry of Pelham Winery

Henry of Pelham Winery

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery is one of the [http://winesofontario.org/html/winemakers.htm Ontario Wineries] created in the aftermath of the wine revolution on the Niagara Peninsula unleashed by Don Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser in July 1975 when they received the first new winery license in Ontario since Prohibition.

[http://www.nataliemaclean.com/articles/canadian_wine_facts.asp Existing Ontario wines] were made with the local [http://www.grapegrowersofontario.com/thegrowers/industry.html labrusca grape] which produced sweet wines with a particular aftertaste. It took a long time and a lot of work to change public opinion about the quality of wine made in Ontario.

Although it can be said in general that Canada and specifically Ontario has too few growing days to accommodate variety grape production, there exist a number of unique geographic locations that create micro-climates suitable for grape productions. The Niagara region along the Niagara Escarpment is one of those [http://winesofontario.org/html/dis_environment.htm areas] . This [http://winesofontario.org/html/wallpaper3_1024x768.htm photo] illustrates the relationship of the bench to Lake Ontario with Toronto on the northern horizon.

In 1984 Paul Speck (Sr.), an educator who was originally from Niagara but lived in Toronto, and his wife Bobbi (Barbara) Speck, a book editor, enlisted their three teen and pre-teen sons Paul, Matthew and Daniel to remove the original vineyards and replant by shovel on the newly contoured, under-drained hills along the Short Hills Bench and start the process of becoming a wine producer. Henry of Pelham is one of two vinyards who use the name as their [http://www.vqaontario.com/images/map_subappellations.jpgappellation] .

The first vintage from Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery came in 1988. This rekindled family tradition of viticulture first started by the Smiths marked a new embrace of the vineyard, but it also commenced a commercial winemaking venture under their Speck family descendants (NB: branches of the Speck family were also Loyalist contemporaries of the Smiths).

In the 1980s there were only a few estate wineries dedicated to producing premium quality wines made from 100% Ontario grown grapes. The winery was a founding member, in 1989, of the regions' appellation of origin system the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA). The winery's focus is on Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc for the whites, and Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends for the reds. They are also well known for their distinctive Baco Noir. Riesling and Cabernet Franc Icewine along with sparkling wines round out their portfolio.

The namesake of the winery, Henry (Smith) of Pelham was an early settler in Upper Canada’s Niagara Peninsula. His father Nicholas, the first settler, was Pennsylvania Dutch and a United Empire Loyalist who sided with the crown during the American Revolution of 1776. He was forced north from his home in Pennsylvania and served as a soldier, bugle boy and Iroquois translator with Butler's Rangers during the war. After the war he was granted 100 acres of land under the Kings' Grant as were many of his 14 children. This land became known as the Smith Family Community and it was his son Henry who built an inn, tavern and toll-gate along the old trail known as Pelham Road which ran across his property. When applying for his liquor license young Henry signed his name "Henry of Pelham", winking at the fact that the recent British Prime Minister was Sir Henry Pelham. This became Henry's nom de plume and the name of the winery more than a century after he planted his first vineyards to native species of grapes.

* [http://www.dirtyhandsproject.com/ The Dirty Hands Project Promoting the preservation of agricultural land and small scale wine making]

* [http://winesofontario.org/html/wineInOntario.htm Sustainable Wine making in Ontario]

* [http://www.henryofpelham.com/ The Henry of Pelham Winery]

* [http://winesofontario.org/PDFs/2008OntarioWineriesGuide_hi.pdf Guide to Wines of Ontario]

* [http://winesofontario.org/PDFs/2008WineRouteMap.pdf Driving Tours of Ontario Wineries]

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