Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery is an Ontario winery that released their first vintage in 1988. 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. We named the winery Henry of Pelham after 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. He 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. Our tasting room and wine store are in Henry’s carriage house. In 1984, when our parents decided to replace Henry’s concord and Niagara grapevines with old world vinifera grapes, the Niagara wine scene hardly existed and there were a lot of naysayers—but we had done our homework. Heat scans proved we had the right conditions, and we bettered our chances by contouring the hills and installing drainage. At the time, we were one of only a few Niagara wineries to make premium wines from our own grapes.
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