The turbulent, not so distant, European past displaced many people – many of which found a new home on the North American continent. The Kocsis family, parents Andy and Klara with two sons Andre and young Steve, emigrated from Hungary in 1956 and having been farmers in the old country, they settled in the farmlands of Beamsville. In 1958, they purchased a 40 acre mixed fruit farm, whose fertile land was already planted with concord grapes, pears (both still present today), peaches, apricots and cherries, whose sale for direct consumption allowed the family to derive their living.
In 1983, Steve Kocsis, who worked these lands since the age of nine, took over the proprietorship and established The Mountain Road Wine Company. He remembered that in the old Europe, many vineyards grew on slopes overlooking bodies of water, whether being lakes or the sea. To transcend this image through a name and coincident with the name of the local road, he named his new venture the Mountain Road Wine Company.
Though planting the first Vitis vinifera in 1981, Mountain Road Wine Company sold grapes to nearby wineries (mainly Thirty Bench Wine Makers) for eighteen years. It wasn’t until 1999, when the first vintage of Vidal Icewine was produced, but it would take another three years until a permit to sell wine would be obtained.
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.