Hernder Estate Wines
Hernder Estate Wines
A quiet country road, the gentle swell of vineyards beneath the brow of the Niagara Escarpment; turn down the lane, through a unique wooden covered bridge up to an immense, perfectly restored 1867 Victorian barn.
“The passions that govern us are to grow the finest grapes, to produce superb wines, and to perpetually expand our horizons…better wines, improved varieties, and spectacular places to showcase them in; to share with new and old friends alike.”
Well into our third generation of grape growing, the Hernder family has transformed a love of viticulture into one of the largest family Estate winery operations in Canada.
A natural progression of events began after Gottfried Hernder emigrated from Germany to western 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.
With the advent of the free trade agreement between the United States and Canada in 1988, local wine producers faced the very real threat of dramatically declining percentages of Ontario grape juice in Ontario wines to imported grapes. This prompted Fred to make 2 important decisions: to replant his acreage with classic Vitis Vinifera & French Hybrid varieties and also to purchase the Victorian cattle barn (circa 1867)on 8th Avenue ~ this, to launch his newest endeavor, that of his own winery.
The first vintage in 1991 consisted of 7,000 bottles of Vidal. Two years later, on September 17, 1993, Hernder Estate Winesofficially opened to the public.
Since it’s humble beginnings, 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.
Current plantings focus on traditional Vitis Vinifera varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Gris. Other popular varieties include sturdy French hybrids that are ideally suited to our cool climate growing region and include Vidal, Baco Noir and Maréchel Foch. The juice from these grapes is then vinified using a blend of traditional methods and modern technology that includes a complete inventory of the finest equipment for the field, pressing, tankage, and cooperage.
All Hernder table wines are produced from 100% Ontario grapes, and all have attained the V.Q.A. (Vintners Quality Alliance) status. A new foray into Fruit Wines & Iced Fruit Wines, utilizing all different types of Ontario fruit has proven to be a successful addition to Hernder’s outstanding collection. All wines are available in the spacious retail wine shop and gift boutique.
This “must see” destination features an entrance through Niagara’s only covered bridge, to stone walled patios surrounding the original post and beam structure. In it’s most picturesque setting, Hernder Estates has become known as Ontario’s “Wedding Winery” with over 125 receptions held annually in rooms to seat up to 500 in total indoors, with 150 accommodated on the 2 patios.
A commitment to excellence, a 60 year tradition of grape growing in an ideal geographic location have combined to yield superb results. Open year round, Hernder Estate Winery enjoys the reputation as one of the treasures in the heart of Niagara’s wine country ~ visually and for the connoisseur of VQA wines.