Hidden Bench Winery

 

Hidden Bench - Montage
The Hidden Bench Winery, an artisanal winery located in the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula, is owned and operated by Harald Thiel and his family. Since his young age, Harald wished to one day have his own winery and after selling his audio-visual business in 2003, he realized this dream and purchased the property that is now the Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery. Today, the winery employes 6 full-time employees and 10 people as a seasonal staff, who ensure that every detail, whether related to winemaking or to the look of the winery, is craftily met.
Upon entering the boutique, the feeling of warmth and coziness bestows oneself as the room’s design provides peace and tranquility, whether accomplished by the fireplace, the bookshelf full of wines, the guest book corner with captivating painting by Kevin Sonmor, or the friendly staff pouring ultra premium wines.  Everywhere you look, a lot of attention has been paid to the smallest of details – trully Artisanal winery.

 

Harald’s passion and attention to detail can be seen
within the winery just as much as within the wines themselves
Hidden Bench - Guest book corner2

 

The Wines
Hidden Bench Winery grows mainly cool as well as some warm climate varietals including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec – the red ‘grapes’; and Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Semillon – the white ‘grapes’.  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling account for 55%, 25% and 15% of total plantings, respectively. Vines are strictly pruned to yields less than 2 tons of grapes per acre (Pinot Noir less than 1.7 tons per acre).  After harvest, grapes are hand selected and sorted before fermentation, after which crafting is done collectively, though Marlize Beyers (the Winemaker) has the final say. The end product is intensely flavoured, clean tasting wines.
Though currently producing ~6,800 cases/year, the winery has a capacity of 10,000 cases/year; and the premises hold 260 French Oak barrels, of which ~20% are yearly replaced for new ones.

 

The Vineyards
Grapes are harvested from three properties totalling nearly 100 acres:
Locust Lane Vineyard (Estate Vineyard) – a 33 acre parcel with oldest vines planted in 1998.
Locust Lane Vineyardclick the map to view winery’s interactive map
Rosomel Vineyard – a 26 acre parcel with oldest plantings from 1976 – growing grapes destined for Nuit Blanche (white blend), La Brunante (red blend crafted only in excellent vintages – ’05,’07 and ’10), Vieille Vignes Chardonnay and Roman’s Block Riesling come from here
Rosomel Vineyardclick the map to view winery’s interactive map
Felseck Vineyard (“corner of the cliff”) – a 45 acre parcel with oldest plantings from 1988.
Felseck Vineyardclick the map to view winery’s interactive map
.

 

Services/facilities
– Wine tastings for $10 or free if 3 bottles are purchased.
– Boutique open daily 11 am to 5/6 pm (winter/summer).
– Hidden Bench also offers a wine club membership.

 

Events
– Skating on the Bench – event held in January.
– Raclette – cheese event held in February.
– Graze the Bench – food & wine pairing event held in June (reserve ahead)
Participating wineries:
– Angel’s Gate Winery,
– Fielding Estate Winery,
– Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery,
– Organized Crime Winery,
– Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery,
– Rosewood Estates Winery and
– Thirty Bench Wine Makers.
. Link to a website with more information

 

Interesting facts
The winery prides itself on being organic and having sustainable viticulture practices. That is: no herbicides and no pesticides are used, 105 solar panels on premises generate 100% of electricity consumed on annual basis and geothermal energy is used to both cool and warm both buildings.
The winery partakes in the ‘1% for the Planet’ initiative by donating 1% of revenues to environmental causes.

 

Click image to go to the next one

 

My thank-you’s to Harald Thiel for taking the time to show me and my mom around.

 

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For recommended wines that can be purchased at the winery, see http://grapeselections.com/grapeselections/wines-from-wineries/

 

For other wineries in the Beamsville Bench Appellation
and the rest of Niagara Peninsula see
http://grapeselections.com/wineries-of-niagara-peninsula/

 

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Location and growing characteristics:
Beamsville Bench sub-appellation has these characteristics important for wine growth: 217 days/year that are frost-free; 1420 growing degree days and precipitation of 544 mm/year. The soil is composed of clay loam and silty loam that contributes towards the wine’s minerality composition.
Note: Values represent yearly averages normal for the Niagara Peninsula; information mentioned here as well as the Appellations map was obtained from http://vqaontario.ca and is used with permission.

 

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Hidden Bench Winery
4152 Locust Lane, Beamsville,
ON L0R 1B0
(905) 563-8700
http://www.hiddenbench.com/index/page/name/home

 

 


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