What was it like being part of the budding Niagara wine scene? Why are wineries so well-suited to be family-owned? How does the terroir of the Niagara bench influence what you taste in Henry of Pelham wines? Why is Henry of Pelham so well-known for their Baco Noir? What hidden message can you find on the label of Henry of Pelham Family Tree wine?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Daniel Speck of Niagara’s Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- How was Daniel’s experience as a child and helping with the family winery?
- What was it like being an active part of the budding Niagara wine scene?
- How did a particularly long day with the vines shift Daniel’s perspective on his work in the vineyard?
- What was Daniel’s least favourite aspect of growing up at the family farm and winery?
- What differences can you find between family-owned and corporate wineries?
- Why would you find that wineries are well-suited for being family-owned?
- Are there aspects of a winery that you’d find a bad fit in the corporate world?
- How does the terroir of the Benches influence what you taste in the wines produced in the region?
- What can you expect in a tasting experience with Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay and Sibling Rivalry?
- What hidden message can you find on the label of Henry of Pelham Family Tree wine?
- What price point range will you find when shopping for Henry of Pelham wines?
- Why do you know Henry of Pelham for Baco Noir from Niagara?
- How does the evolution of Baco Noir translate to what you taste in the glass?
- Why should you try the Baco Noir version of a “tequila shooter”?
- What history is behind what you experience with the Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red?
Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips
Viticulture is unique in any place you go in the world. I don’t care where you are, there’s always unique opportunities and challenges. - Daniel Speck Click to tweet
The work is rewarding and it’s interesting but the lessons are paid over a long time and that’s the hardest part of it. - Daniel Speck Click to tweet
Wineries are very good candidates for family businesses because everybody on a farm – if they’re run by a family, which they mostly are – ends up participating in one way or another. - Daniel Speck Click to tweet
There are three Benches in the western part of Niagara that come together to be one sub-appellation called Niagara Escarpment. - Daniel Speck Click to tweet
Chardonnay belongs in Niagara – our climate has so much in common with Burgundy. - Daniel Speck Click to tweet
Our greatest strength as a wine region is we keep the freshness in our wines. - Daniel Speck Click to tweet
About Daniel Speck
Daniel is co-owner and one of three brothers who, as children, shovel planted the modern-day vineyards that became Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery in Niagara’s Short Hills Bench. The Speck brothers founded the winery with their parents, a family venture which began in 1984.
Daniel spent the years from age 8 to 22 in the vineyards. He studied philosophy, math and science at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, then returned to work on the farm/winery upon graduation. After fourteen vineyard-years he migrated from the farm to the marketplace when a key salesperson left the company. Today he is Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Daniel actively promotes and sells his family’s wines while still participating in determining each wine’s final composition with his two older brothers and the winemakers.
Daniel has received partnership awards from the LCBO; has sat on various sales and marketing committees with the Wine Council of Ontario, and is now a member of the CCOVI Outreach Committee at Brock University helping determine future educational needs for the wine industry. Daniel actively promotes and sells his family’s wines but determines each wines final composition with his two older brothers and the winemakers.
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 99!
How are family-run wineries different from those owned by corporations? How does that affect almost every decision, from the way the wine is made to how it’s marketed? Should you seek out family-owned winery wines?
That’s exactly what you’ll discover in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m chatting with Dan Speck, one of three brothers who own and operate the Henry of Pelham winery in Niagara.
This conversation took place on my Facebook Live video show a couple of years ago so please keep that in mind as the context for Dan’s comments. Since we spoke, Dan and his brothers have launched several family-themed wines, including a Limited Edition Baco Noir called Lost Boys, from vines they shovel-planted as youngsters back in 1984, in crooked rows that roll with their land.
Then there’s ‘The Goat Lady‘ Chardonnay, named after a woman who kept goats next to the vineyard when they were children. She fed their dog Boswell warm bowls of fresh goats’ milk and it didn’t take long for him to abandon them and move in with her.
‘The Bootlegger’ Baco Noir, celebrates their shady roots during Prohibition when airplanes would visit the estate to collect whiskey and wine made in local barns. And ‘The Padré’ Cabernet-Merlot refers to the brothers’ father, Paul Speck Sr., who was a priest before leaving the order to marry their mother.
They’ve also created their first Charmat sparkling wine, called a Bianco Secco, called ‘Lazzara’ after their mother’s grandmother, Julia Lazzara, a New York Italian.
You can find videos about these wines that Dan’s own children have made on their website. I’ll link to them, links to the wines we tasted, a link to the video version of this chat, where you can find me on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/99.
Now on a personal note before we dive into the show…
“How are those first few bites?”
That question used to bug the heck out of me until I watched it satirized on the brilliant tv show Baroness Von Sketch.
The world’s most overbearing server also asks how the third, fourth and fifth bites are, and so on…
What about the sixth and seventh sips?
That’s what interests me ;)
So, let me ask, how were your first and second bottles this week?
Next week is episode away 100. Do you have ideas on how to celebrate this milestone?
I’m going to give away 3 signed copies of my second book, Unquenchable, which Amazon named one of the best books of the year to 3 people who come up with the best ideas.
So please email me at email@example.com or tag me on social media with any ideas you have to make it fun. And there will be wine.
Okay, on with the show!
You can also watch the video interview with Daniel that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my chat with Dan Speck. Here are my take-aways:
- I love the literary references Dan shares, like when he describes his brothers and himself as living out the wine version of the Lord of the Flies, as well as their most recent new Baco Lost Boys, a nod to Peter Pan. Every wine has a story, and Henry of Pelham adds authentic tales to their blend.
- I also enjoy the visual pictures Dan painted, like the story of him walking back along the long vineyard road looking at the vine leaves that he had suckered or cropped and feeling such satisfaction with the visual proof of his labour.
- Dan makes some excellent points about why family-owned wineries have an advantage over corporations because their planning horizon is long-term, and looks to the next generations which suits the long agricultural cycles of wine itself, from how long vines take to mature to ageing them in the cellar. They’re not under shareholder pressure to produce quarterly pay-offs.
- I found it fascinating how Dan tied the birth order of his siblings to their natural roles within the company. I’m sure that has broader application to other family-owned businesses and affects the products they produce and the wines they make.
- Lastly, I can’t wait to try the Baco Noir shooter that Dan described… eat a strawberry rolled in freshly ground in pepper that will pull out its flavour, then take a sip of Baco.
You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Sheila Walsh and Anita Reynolds MacArthur, hosts of the wonderfully entertaining podcast Moms Sipping Sangria. They’ve got 6 kids between them. During each episode, these working moms discuss the ups and downs of motherhood while navigating the pre-teen, teen, and young adult years.
On this episode, they’re actually interviewing me, and we laugh and share mutual stories on everything from gruesome homemade wine to early family experiences with wine.
This is episode 100, so I’ll also be announcing the winners of the 3 signed hardcover editions of Unquenchable, named one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. These will go to the three people who come up with the best ideas on how to celebrate this milestone and/or who suggest great interview candidates for the next 100 episodes.
There’s still time to enter, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on social media @nataliemaclean
In the meantime, if you missed episode 4 where I take you behind the scenes in creating the audio version of my first book, Red, White and Drunk All Over, go back and take a listen. I also share with a passage from the book that I think you’ll find entertaining. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine tips that Dan shared.
You can find links to the wines we tasted, a link to the video version of this chat, where you can find me on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/99.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a wine that’s made by a family-owned winery or that reconnects you with your own family memories!
Daniel Speck 0:00
wineries are very good candidates for family businesses, because everybody on a farm ends up participating one way or another. The kids are out there, the husband or the wife are somehow involved together. They’re small businesses for the most part. And they can grow and become bigger businesses, but people are quite invested their childhood is tied up in the thing is a sense of carrying on a legacy perhaps, there’s also a lot of passion and pride associated with what you’re doing. And it’s kind of the romance of a winery. It’s kind of what makes it cool means that you’re making longer term investments that aren’t looking for quarterly payoffs. Typically, we’re as public companies under a different kind of stress. public companies need to show returns fast. They can’t always take those long, long term investments that a private company would take. And most wineries frankly, are family owned businesses for that reason, because vineyards take years to come into production. Wine takes years the age and barrel are so
Natalie MacLean 1:00
do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 99. Our family run wineries different from those owned by corporations. How does that affect almost every decision from the way the wine is made? to how it’s marketed? Should you seek out family owned winery wines and drink them? That’s exactly what you’ll discover on this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m chatting with Dan spec, one of three brothers who own and operate the Henry of Pelham winery in Niagara. This conversation took place on my Facebook Live video show a couple of years ago, so please keep that in mind as the context for Dan’s comments. Since we spoke, Dan and his brothers have launched several family themed wines, including a limited edition baco noir called Lost Boys from the vines they shovel planted as youngsters back in 1984 in crooked rows that roll with their land. Then there’s the goat lady Chardonnay, named after a woman who kept goats next to the vineyard when they were children. She fed their dog Boswell warm bowls of fresh goat’s milk and it didn’t take long according to Dan, for Boswell to abandon them and move in with her. The bootlegger bahco noir celebrates their shady roots, as Dan says during Prohibition, when aeroplanes would visit the estate to collect whiskey and wine made in local barns. And the Padre Cabernet mirlo refers to the brothers father, Paul spec senior who was a priest before leaving the order to marry their mother. And finally, they’ve also created their first charmat sparkling wine, a Bianco, Seco called La Zahra after their mother’s grandmother, Juliet Lazzara, a New York Italian. You can find videos about these wines that Dan’s own children have made on their website. I’ll link to them the wines we tasted a video version of this chat, where you can find me on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm including this evening, if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, and how you can join me in a free wine and food pairing class. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 99. Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show, how are those first few bites? Question used to bug the heck out of me until I watched it satirised on a brilliant television show called Baroness von sketch. The world’s most overbearing server also asks the diners how the third, fourth and fifth bites aren’t she keeps going. But what about the sixth and seventh sips? That’s what interests me. So let me ask you, how are you first and second bottles this week and next week is Episode 100. Do you have ideas on how to celebrate this milestone? I’m giving away three signed copies of my second book unquenchable, which Amazon named One of the best books of the year to three people who come up with the best ideas. So please email me at Natalie, at Natalie MacLean calm or tag me on social media with any ideas you have to make it fun. Okay on with the show
our guests Daniel speck is one of three brothers who has children shovel planted the modern day vineyards that have become Henry capellan Estate Winery in Niagara has short tail beds. The spec brothers founded the winery with their parents a family venture, which began in 1984. And after Daniel graduated from philosophy, science and math at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, he returned to work on the farm and winery. After 14 years on the vineyard. He migrated from the farm to the marketplace and today, he is vice president of sales and marketing. And he joins me from the winery in Niagara welcome dance back. Hello. Hello, it’s good to see you again. Good to see you too. Thank you so much for joining us. We’re gonna dive in right away. Since our focus is on families and wine. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about who your parents were, and where you were before your family bought land in Niagara for the winery.
Daniel Speck 6:24
My mother is still with us. My father passed away many, many years ago. 93 we grew up in Toronto, right downtown. My parents are their characters. They met in New York. My dad was a Catholic priest at the time, she was a book editor. And they came back to Canada and started a small High School in Toronto that moved along and eventually had some other related businesses and my brothers Niall went to the school worked at the school. And that was kind of how life started for us. Okay, so when you or your family bought the land, how old were you and your brothers? When the land was purchased? I’m the youngest of three. So I was eight. And my oldest brother Paul would have been about 15 or 16. And we bought a little bit of land off of cousins of ours who were as we are descendants of the people who settled that land in the 1790s during the American Revolution. But I don’t want to sound do Lahti die was just a piece of land out in the country and not much have been done within a long time.
Natalie MacLean 7:22
Okay, cool. All right. Now, you bought the ladder, your family bought the land. But your parents they stayed in Toronto, is that right?
Daniel Speck 7:31
Well, yeah. So if you can imagine a school, a small private high school, they were running, they needed to be in Toronto in the summer, because that’s when you fill the school students interviews and enrollment. So in the summertime, my brothers and I would drive out to Niagara lift in the building on the property. And like you said earlier, shovel plant fines and get things going.
Natalie MacLean 7:49
Oh, wow. And so what was that? Like? We had been talking earlier, you had a bit of a literary analogy, three young boys 10 to 17. What was that? Like?
Daniel Speck 7:59
Yeah, it was unsupervised sweat equity situation. It was Lord of the Flies. We were I was just a little kid and my eldest brother ball was, you know, 70. And what what did he know about, you know, taking care of Matt, for that matter, my middle brother, about taking care of a young kid. And it was crazy. I mean, it was definitely an adventure that was maybe somewhere between Lord of the Flies and maybe Mad Max. At the same time, a very creative time that we were we had a lot of responsibility at a young age. But it was exciting. It was exciting and stressful was exciting.
Natalie MacLean 8:32
Wow. That’s cool. So you grew up hands on the vine, so to speak. So what were the unique challenges? When you were younger? Working with your brothers on this farm? You said it was a very creative time, actually, let’s go to that first, what was creative about it?
Daniel Speck 8:47
You know, we were unencumbered by higher education. So another way of saying we didn’t know what we were doing. And we had to self teach a lot of things. And there weren’t a lot of mentors at the time. And really, to be fair to the whole industry, you know, our colleagues, our friends, our competitors, all the same, frankly, even to this day, you know, we’re all learning this together at the same time. So that was super creative and very exciting. And a little bit of culture is unique. Any place you go in the world, I don’t care where you are, there’s always unique opportunities and challenges and so we were really figuring it all out together first time, which was very cool hindsight. We’re very lucky
Natalie MacLean 9:25
as a child and growing up what was your favourite part of working on the family winery?
Unknown Speaker 9:31
Unknown Speaker 9:34
Daniel Speck 9:35
We were part of working on that. I think, if I really honest about it, I look back because those were pretty hard days. You know we romanticise farm work and romanticise the physical labour of what that is and the monotony of it. But one of the greatest things I’ve taken away from the whole experience was one day I remember, these rows are like, you know, half a kilometre long or more like they’re massive. And I was out there alone, so I was suffering Pulling leaves off and see if the mind just right for sunshine to get on the berries, and it’s a long row. And it was a long day. And I didn’t have a lot of water. And I was just out there. It was that time of my life, where when I was really young, I was happy to get out as soon as I could at the end of the day. But this day, something had changed to me. I was like, no matter what come hell or high water, I’m going to finish this row. This ever seemed like it was growing as the day went on, and finishing it. And I think I sat there from eight in the morning till 8pm I’d done a few rows that’s going to finish my piece of work. And I got it done. And I still had a long walk home. After that at a walk from the vineyard back to where we stayed. And coming through that I felt the satisfaction of a getting the job done to be being able to see the work done was really it changed me that day. There’s something about seeing your work done, and then try to take that idea to work that you can’t see that’s done is always a challenge, but there’s something satisfying
Natalie MacLean 11:00
how wonderful Wow, so what was your least favourite? That sort of combined maybe best and least but what did you really dislike growing up doing on the farm?
Daniel Speck 11:12
Well, as I said before, you know there’s there’s a lot of monotony and tedium to to farm work, you know, it’s hard stuff. I disliked the Russian tractors that we bought, were the one time the steering wheel broke off and my hands were undercapitalized we were really working on a shoestring budget. And that made things tough, but it also made us resourceful. And so the word is rewarding, and it’s interesting. But the lessons are paid over a long time. And then that’s the hardest part of a thing. Hmm,
Natalie MacLean 11:42
that sort of ties into the whole thing about family run and wineries their generational. We talked a little bit about this. But there’s that long term perspective, maybe touch on that a bit more. One of those differences between family owned wineries and those that are owned by say, corporations who have shareholders to report to quarterly.
Daniel Speck 12:02
It’s very different. I mean, wineries are really good candidates for family businesses in one respect. And that a family farm, if you think about any family farm, it’s a place that grows some sort of produce. And then the next thing the winery is is a way to preserve the crop, right? We’re trying to extend the life of our crop, which is grapes to turn it into wine that gives it more shelf life essentially. And then from there, what happens is it’s well, you have to market this wine unless you sell to a co op or something which happens very often say European countries, but not so much here. So, wineries are very good candidates for family businesses, because everybody on a farm, if they’re run by a family, they mostly are ends up participating one way or another, you know, the kids are out there, the husband or the wife are somehow involved together. They’re small businesses for the most part, and they can grow and become bigger businesses. But the people are quite invested is probably their childhood is tied up in the thing. There’s a sense of, you know, carrying on a legacy, perhaps if that’s your situation, there’s also a lot of passion and pride associated with what you’re doing. And it’s kind of the romance of a winery, it’s kind of what makes it cool means that you’re making longer term investments that aren’t looking for quarterly payoffs. Typically, we’re as public companies under a different kind of stress, public companies need to show returns fast. They can’t always take those long, long term investments that a private company would take. No winery? No, most wineries, frankly, are family owned businesses for that reason, because vineyards take years to come into production, wine takes years agent barrel or whatever. So
Natalie MacLean 13:37
that’s a good point. It’s just not suited to quarterly results. Seven years out of the mature No,
Daniel Speck 13:42
that’s not usually a great fit. There are exceptions for sure. But if you look at the history of the wine industry, it usually goes something like the beer guys or the spirits, guys who are really in discrete production, they make stuff and they make it as fast as they need to make it and bring ingredients in and make beer for example. They decide, well wait, we should get into these other segments. Let’s get into the wine business. And then they realise Oh my god, the wine business, you make it all at once you get years of inventory, all these small growers. There’s like the nightmare. So it’s really something I think best left to independent companies, if not family companies, but family companies work well as well.
Natalie MacLean 14:21
You’re right, you get one chance each year and the learning is once a year. I mean, there’s many facets to what goes into it, but it’s like okay, this didn’t work this year. We’ll do it next year as opposed to a beer batch every I don’t know how often they will last Yeah, and why. The other thing about wine is that every vintage is a new vintage. Oh, Lori’s has got a really relevant question. She’s asking if any of the children of the three brothers work in the vineyards today. Have you employed any child labour yet sweat equity working in?
Daniel Speck 14:52
I mean, I think it’s very important with anything in life. I know we get philosophical here, but they have to want to do it very long. With my youngest child, Nicolas, he’s 11. Last year 10 even when he’s nine, he was hounding me to come to work in the winery, I couldn’t believe it. We want to work. This new generation is not like my generation where we just want to drink beer and party all the time. These kids want to work, they’re educated. So they work a lot of time inside the winery, and his cousins were in the vineyards, and Matthew, my farmer, brother. Next one up for me. And ah, I have three boys out there in the vineyard and my oldest brother Paul’s kids were respectively in the store or some of the maintenance around the property and stuff. So that’s where it all starts, you know, get out there and just do it and but find the passion. It’s more concerned with these kids being happy and educated and living meaningful, productive lives. That includes the winery, that’s going to be awesome. I will not deny that, but it’s not the most important thing.
Natalie MacLean 15:50
Hmm, well, good answer. All right. Now, the three of you brothers, you mentioned, Matt is the winemaker, the farmer. And Paul is the president and your VP of sales. So how did you decide on those roles? Did you naturally gravitate toward these roles or skills?
Daniel Speck 16:08
Yeah, I mean, anyone who has siblings knows that birth order is as much an influence on the development of your character as other aspects of your upbringing. And this, you’re doing genetics, right. So we fall in unnatural roles anyways. And I think that to some degree in our case, that played an influence in what we end up doing, but also informs our interests as well. And I mean, as how you’re shaped right. And so yeah, Paul, so there’s my oldest brother had huge responsibilities dropped on him even bigger responsibilities than me at an early age and, and so that shaped his character, and then his learning and his skills. So Paul has always dealt with the business side of things to finance the deal with government regulations. You know, alcohol is always a very regulated industry, wherever you go. Matthew is a bit of a gearhead and I bought his first motorcycle when he was 10. He’s one of these guys. He’s very hands on and very sharp guy. So he always I think gravitated towards fingers worth production, towards machines towards that sort of thing. And then the winemaking team reports them fully. And I don’t know I’m like a nerdy Well, I don’t know where I fit in. I’m the youngest. I’m the most spoil the most coddled, so probably makes me well suited towards selling and promoting the brands and that kind of thing
Natalie MacLean 17:25
is truly spoken by a marketing person. The undersell? Very good, very good. Lois Gilbert is asking although the bench and Niagara on the lake are close, is there something that makes your area unique from Niagara on the lake?
Daniel Speck 17:40
Absolutely. I mean, the bench lands are all quite different from each other actually run the Short Hills bench. So there’s three benches in the western part of Niagara that come together to be one sub appellation called Niagara Escarpment. It’s not used that much. Often, the names of the individual benches are used more often. So we’re in the Short Hills bench. And about two thirds or more of the cell facing slopes in Niagara are actually in the Short Hills. So we have a reasonable amount of Southern facing vineyard, but shot makes a difference for certain wines that we make very, very heavy clay soils where we are, if you’re in an aggregate Lake, it tends to be a little bit flatter. And then it makes sure depending where you are heavy clay like us or sandier soils, and the heavy clay soils make for smaller berries lower yield per acre, naturally and more concentrated more intense wines. And then really the last thing I would say the centre of Niagara on the lake, and the Short Hills bench are the two warmest versus nagraj. It’s a different character to the wind em, you’ll get sometimes little more robust wines in some cases. So yeah.
Natalie MacLean 18:45
Wow. Okay. We should taste testing. Okay. Yeah, me too. So you’ve got the shirt Nay, I believe I’ve got to do it for me. Okay, so this is the estate shark day. What do you want to tell us about this wine?
Daniel Speck 19:00
You know, this debate. We’ll have a nagger. It’s a very healthy debate, you know, what is the soul of Nagar, winemaking? And then one answer to that for me to Chardonnay. And I know Chardonnay is when you know so widely grown around the world and maybe over planted in places that it doesn’t always belong. It has been a bit kind of bastardised, but Chardonnay belongs in Niagara or climate has so much in common with burgundy. I don’t say that with air. I mean that just if you just look at the math, the look the way the heat, heat accumulation, rainfall, soils, everything. I mean, actually it looks a bit like bone where we are. So Chardonnay where we come from, as you know, freshness acidity, richness, because we do barrel leaves this wine. We drink this every day in my house, LA. It’s ageworthy it’s elegant. It’s Thank you, I am surely having a bit of a renaissance right now. We’re lucky this wine for those who live in Ontario, it’s going to become a vintages essential very soon, so be more widely available. What’s the point 2195
Natalie MacLean 20:00
Okay, go. Oh my goodness, it does remind me of Marcel or something. It’s just rich but balanced. And then racy acidity, of course. niagra signature. I mean,
Daniel Speck 20:10
it’s not just us. I mean, there are so many good ones that we’ve chatted before. I mean, I love the wines of a hidden bench. I love the cave springs Chardonnay, I mean, which is very different than what we do an elegant and amazing. There’s so many producers out there. I’m missing a lot of my friends here. And colleagues, even some of the ones that were not friends make great wines. I think this is very much for calling card whites.
Natalie MacLean 20:29
Right. Yeah. And even you would say more so than recently, which is what we tend to think of.
Daniel Speck 20:35
Yeah, I mean, of course, it’s made great recently. I mean, for sure. And I think it becomes our calling card sometimes because it’s less ubiquitous. It’s not grown in every region in the world. And yeah, we make amazing we second very distinctive Riesling, and I’ve run a lot of great wines of our home that I think for everyday the one that I tend to be drawn towards more Chardonnay, but the recent right is a question. And then they’re very different now. chalkiness to them. That’s quite elegant as well. I mean,
Natalie MacLean 21:04
yeah, absolutely. So nice. So Linda Alexander, and some other folks are asking if your wines are available in the US anywhere.
Daniel Speck 21:12
Yeah, so they are. And we’ve just added a new distributor. So they’re gonna be more available primarily in the northeast, in New York, New Jersey, the new distributors based in the Midwest, so Ohio, through Indiana, Illinois, I’ve added 12 or 13 states in this sort of Midwest to the northeast, the best way to do that information is offer a website or just recently through our website, or even through Twitter or something like that. And I’ll be able to send that stuff out.
Natalie MacLean 21:40
Is it Henry of pelham.com?
Daniel Speck 21:42
to Twitter is just at NFL. Right? That’s all right. I don’t use Twitter that much just as my brother, but yeah, at NFL them. Then winery? Is your go to info at Henry of lm.com or winery? Oh,
Natalie MacLean 21:55
yeah, no worries. All right. I don’t know if you have this one. But I just wanted to bring it on the family tree. Because, of course, that’s our theme tonight. And I just wondered how you came up with this name. I mean, it’s obvious, but is there any story behind this wine?
Daniel Speck 22:11
Okay, so hold the label up for a second. It’s a little hard to see this. All these little names
Unknown Speaker 22:16
hidden in that. I’m reading those
Daniel Speck 22:18
Yep. Or Daniel right there. It’s me and Paul, the brothers. But you’ll see Bert Melissa, it’s hard to see on the screen. There’s layers of names in there. Yeah. And so the concept of this wine if you see it’s got least four varieties in it Chardonnay view and a converts Sonia blog calm this vintage. The idea of the wine. It’s kind of a passion project of myself, my brothers were thinking about what would be in so many years, 10 years, 50 years. 100 years. I don’t know. What would be a wine that was a pan mag or wine and the way that we drink Bordeaux which of white Bordeaux, red Bordeaux No, think of the grape varieties. What would be a blend that best represents what nagrik can do. And we had a choice to make when it came to the white because you can go down that citrusy, Riesling based blend and we make a wine sibling rivalry that’s like that, right? Try that I’m sure yes. Or you go to that more savoury sort of rich style. And that’s what the wine that we’re currently drinking the family tree is about. So that richer style is a red and a white and a white as v&a in it and red has sear on it. And we call them our shadow enough the pelicans because they’re kind of inspired by those multi varietals. That was that was areas Yes. And their wines that are that the name comes from a family tree. The idea is that if you’re from a place as we are, and you’ve been here long enough for family’s roots here over 200 years, you’re related to everybody by blood or marriage. And so every rape variety in there, we’ve intentionally looked far afield to say who goes the best ciroc By the way, it’s not us we don’t grow syrup. We found a family friend or relative who grows sir Ah, where is the best Metallo come from where’s the best Cabernet Franc which would come off our farm and so on. And put together a regional wine in the blend will change from year to year a little bit. So that’s what it’s so it’s a complicated message to deliver. But it’s about a really traditional long term view of what a wine region is and could become.
Natalie MacLean 24:20
It’s a beautiful wine like floral and very fresh and springy and nice. A pair of tea for seafood. Absolutely. Yeah. And the price point on this 117 95
Daniel Speck 24:28
in Ontario. It’s fantastic. And come back. It’s all get back as well if you have a few other markets across the country, but tobacco has actually become our biggest market for
Natalie MacLean 24:39
Oh, well. That’s great. Sam Huck, Daniel, how much land Do you have now and what is your production
Daniel Speck 24:47
so we have about 300 acres of which 275 is in production. And then Henry of Elam as a brand is about all said and done would be about 60 thousand cases. And then sibling rivalry is another, say 20,000. So that’s about 80,000. Kids. Okay, almost.
Natalie MacLean 25:09
All right. Did you want to taste any more of the weights? Or should we jump to the red?
Daniel Speck 25:14
Well, let’s do one. Let’s do the sibling rivalry white because I think that one is kind of interesting. Yeah, I’ve
Unknown Speaker 25:20
got the bottle here. I’ll put it right up. So this is the three of you brothers. Yeah. We get along.
Daniel Speck 25:28
We did we did recently is this is this interesting rate, right, because it’s super bright. It’s super fresh has high acidity, which is amazing in wines. It’s our greatest strength as a wine region as we keep the freshness of wines. Every one of the Mediterranean climates around the world, we’re always striving to get the acidity But for us, this is already the easiest thing in the world. What I love about this wine is that we have great acidity here is based on Riesling centred on raceland. acidity can also be overwhelming as we temper that with Chardonnay, right, and the hint of reverts, which we’ll play with from year to year, that’s usually the smallest component. It’s always the smallest component. Yeah, I call it adult lemonade. And it’s just easy drinking a very approachable wine. It goes through the same winemaking process as any of our wines with a lot of care goes into making this particular wine and any of our wines. The blend is the key. And these Riesling terminar blends. Recent Chardonnay blends have really exploded in Nagra, the last 10 years or so. And this was one of the first ones and it’s one that we continue to really work hard on it, keep it fresh and keep it the idea new I think it’s a great place for everyone region in the new world to go is to develop a great portfolio of multivitamin wines because they’re ultimately I think, perhaps the most complex and interesting wines Also,
Natalie MacLean 26:46
these wines the sibling rivalry line, are they all the same price point?
Daniel Speck 26:51
Yeah, they’re all 1395 No, that’s not right. Actually, the rosae and the white Ontario at least would be 1395. Red is 1495. I’ve got a cab a little cab lens as well. Yes. And it’s actually 95
Natalie MacLean 27:06
It’s incredible, though the price points really for the holiday.
Daniel Speck 27:10
Yeah, thank you for saying that. I mean, we feel that way. Everything we do to make our wines mean it’s a craft production. I mean,
Natalie MacLean 27:18
so yeah, this is lovely. The Riesling blend, again floral, but citrus lime blossom. Great. Good for spring and summer. Again, absolutely
Daniel Speck 27:29
not one path. Someone mentioned about the other ones. They’re some of the patty or so yes, this is this is that one too. I that was Jeff are wines. We can of course ship but we have another brand that we created a bunch of years ago called Red House wine company and White House wine company. Yeah. And I guess we don’t have those here today. But they’re interesting wines in BC there’s a Cabernet Shiraz and a Riesling Pinot Grigio. Okay, that and I been great successes, actually via rails using them as well right now. And also sold in most provinces are most widely distributed one and there’s sort of a lifestyle brand that but they’re very approachable, very tasty wine. So look for those in DC. And actually in restaurants you’ll find in BC, are Pinot Noir Pinot Grigio from Henry Pelham. You don’t order Pinot Grigio, baco noir or Kobe Katherine sparkling lineup. It’s such a good one the line
Natalie MacLean 28:20
guy here, Catherine. I love that girl. That’s what I bought for Christmas.
Daniel Speck 28:24
And maybe some of the private stores as well.
Natalie MacLean 28:27
Yeah, gorgeous. Well, there’s so many wines here. But yeah, the house wine. It’s kind of got a dark label with a chalk sort of font or something. All right, so maybe we should go to one of the reds. Where would you like to go on red?
Daniel Speck 28:42
Let’s start with the espec family reserve backhoe. Okay, that makes sense. I mean, this is what Henry of Pelham is known for his work.
Natalie MacLean 28:51
Why did you become so known? Other than I assume you started early you paid attention but why you synonymous with baco noir from Niagara?
Daniel Speck 29:00
Well, if I tell you the story, we were used to be known as a gourmet and Riesling producer. And, you know, it was very hard for us to get grapes. We didn’t have a lot planted, didn’t have a lot of money. And so we’re buying a lot of grapes from you know, little occasional producers and they would normally sell us grapes. And along the way, I remember. And we had dinner with our my mom and my dad and my mom was very adamant that we should make a wine like this one that came in at Green Label. They’ve had script label as an AMA Roni, delicious from this small, obscure producer called kithara le. And of course, Ginger le is the kingpin of amonia. People would argue and many would. We didn’t know that. And so she said, just go make something with this amrani and we got some advice from some growers who said, Well, you know, that’s a hard thing to pull off here. plant something called back on the war, and we had no clue what this was. We were really, truly novice. We planted a bunch of alcohol in the war. And as it came into production we learned from everyone that it was so obscure no one would be interested in it. And we didn’t really have a choice but to get going and make this wine It was 1988 was our first vintage a beautiful, beautiful growing year. And the backhoe came in amazing as it pretty much does every year. Our winemaker at the time said you know well thing to do with this wine is to barrel aged. And you know, we’re the banks barking at our heels and we didn’t have the money for anything like that. But my brother said, What the hell, we’re doomed anyways, find the money. Put the wine and barrel and it came out this you know this toasty, delicious, smoky, interesting, complex kind of wine. A new world style will be read. It’s on Malbec, if there’s infidelity for sure as to bandages absolutely exploded, just totally took off. And there is literally they would put limits on how much you could buy. When it came through vintages and Ontario, tried it out to the market. It was unbelievable. It took us a decade and a half to catch up with production. And even still, we struggle to stay in supply back where we’re planting more of it even though it’s
Natalie MacLean 31:09
an underdog grape it is. I mean, you’ve taken it to new levels, especially with the reserve, but even that old vines listing in the general list of 20 bucks. It’s amazing. I mean, I love tasting them side by side, which you can do at home most. So take the regular Bako generalist, I don’t know how much 13 $14 and then go for the old vines. And then I don’t know maybe there’s another skills I’ve been in this
Daniel Speck 31:33
because in Ontario at least and these ones are free, widely available across the country. It’d be like, say $15 for the classic tier where we all started with this one. You know, that was the beginning. Premium always in the beginning of $20 for the old vines and that’s minimum age of those mines is 20 years. There’s a lot of older vineyards in that the spec family reserves a single vineyard parcel of 30 are they now 30 1988 they would have gone into so I can do the math right now I do much wine but 30 something years. Those are 8494 they want it.
Natalie MacLean 32:06
So 34 years old. Okay. Wow. So back to bahco here. What is kind of, I don’t know new and different about bahco these days, where are you going with bahco? Since you’re the leader in the industry, what is it that you want to do with it or take it to the next level somehow?
Daniel Speck 32:23
So one thing just as it only came in yesterday, actually for my brother, the classic fear of backhoe the original Foundation, this one just got picked as not just the best backhoe the best read at the Copenhagen Wine Festival in Denmark. It’s it Denmark has become this wonderful market for us as Germany and and off in London in this Nordic countries. embracing a backhoe is kind of fun because it’s so unique, right? Yeah. What do we do with backhoe? Every time we think we’ve hit the wall in terms of what other thing we can do with it. Somehow we find a new way to evolve and I think just speak of this wine specifically what makes it special. I mean beginning with we’ve got these vendors that are now 34 years old. So that is great. That means lower yield, naturally lower yield and more intensity and flavour but and more complexity. But also if all of our ageing regime where we will start ageing wine and small barriques the little barrels of 225 litre barrels, and then we finish this wine in 5000 litre fooders. It’s basically a really big barrel. But it’s got some of the features of a tank It looks like a giant barrel that beautiful same things they would use an M Moroni. For Moroni, actually, it marries the wine together better and gives you another layer of complexity. So this is this sort of evolution of this wine
Unknown Speaker 33:42
app. Wow. Okay, so what is the most unusual or best food pairing you’ve ever had with? bahco noir?
Daniel Speck 33:51
Oh, that’s easy. So years ago, Chef friend of ours showed up the winery but the most unusual and best tasting down market when I say this, but it’s kind of articulo shooter of wine for nagraj so dealer shooter of course you know what is it goes tequila salt lemon, if I remember. So this is a little different, but it really is delicious. And you have to try this at home everybody just any backhoe works for this or well any of our backhoe deleasa that’s my pad when you grind some black pepper freshly onto a plate, give it a you know, take a minute here and like get a nice thick layer of black pepper. Now July please where we are in July. It’s perfect strawberry season, the first week to the Canada Day. We This is what we do in Canada, they actually Okay, that’s kind of a tradition at the winery in our family. And those beautiful fresh strawberries and the ones that are especially when they’re they’re red in the middle, not just that white, really nice and right. But any strawberry will do. You roll the strawberry in the pepper and you eat that and the pepper pulls that berry flavour out like crazy. Then you have a big sip of back like a gulp. It’s not a sip of Gulp at work. All together and the pepper pulls a flavour out of the back of the strawberry. It’s really delicious. It’s unusual. It’s weird. It’s fun. And it was a backhoe
Unknown Speaker 35:09
and a few strawberries.
Natalie MacLean 35:12
Daniel Speck 35:13
Canada and a tradition.
Natalie MacLean 35:14
I’m definitely going to try that. I’m Brian. All right. So what other reds Would you like to try? Dan, especially as we head into the
Daniel Speck 35:23
zone here of people who are, you know, here’s a wine that I’m really, really love. I mean, I’m really proud of this wine. So, you know, we tried the family tree white, so I’m used to left right here. Yes, I know. It’s a little a little crazy. Yeah. True. Yeah. You’ll find this. The blend will play moves around a little bit from year to year. It’s about consistency. Right? Okay, so it’s a you know, a serraj mirlo capsule of camfrog, backhoe blend, etc. The case production on them is tiny is like 478 cases. Some of yours is 980 It’s a tiny production of wine. And I really love this wine. I was describing this it’s the white earlier or like this. Why is our shadow enough the Pelham because it’s if you know anything about shadow enough to pop in the road rose just with actually my former brother Matthew just a couple days ago, okay. They work with dozen or more grape varieties to produce these really interesting layer to complex wines. And our climate is so perfect for blending. Sometimes Pinot Noir is in there sometimes, you know other varieties. And it’s a great wine here, and it’s so well suited to Canada’s favourite cuisine, which is steak.
Natalie MacLean 36:36
So it’s the family rad. That’s what we were tasting here. But what I want to say about the reserve bahco is it tasted elegant. It was just like it wasn’t a big powerhouse. It was reminding me of an aged burgundy. Almost It was so good. Francis says heading to Niagara this week. always like to pick up a special wine I can’t get at the lcbo What would you suggest? Well, the gamma a est gamma a is a great wine and the new foom a blonde which is a Sauvignon Blanc. Also try that. So we’ll get them to try the foom a blown the gam a and I’ll show a few more bottles. Dan, thank you so much for being here, Dan. I know everybody loved it. So thank you, Dan. I will say goodbye for now.
Unknown Speaker 37:26
Okay, take care.
Natalie MacLean 37:32
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with dance back. Here are my takeaways. I love the literary references Dan shares, like when he describes his brothers and himself living out the wine version of Lord of the Flies, as well as their most recent new baco noir wine called Lost Boys, which is of course a nod to Peter Pan. Everyone has a story, and Henry Pelham manages to add authentic tales to their blend of two. I also enjoyed the visual pictures Dan painted for us like the story of him walking back along that long vineyard row, looking at the vine leaves that he had suckered or cropped and feeling such satisfaction with the visual proof of his labour and three, Dan makes some excellent points about why family owned wineries have an advantage over corporations. Because their planning horizon is so long term it actually looks to future generations, which suits the long agricultural cycles of wine itself. From how long the vines take the mature to ageing the wine in the cellar. Family on wineries are not under shareholder pressure to produce quarterly payoffs. For I found it fascinating how Dan tied birth order of his siblings to their natural roles within the company, I’m sure that has broader application to other family owned businesses and affects the products they produce, just as it affects the wines that Henry apella makes. And five Lastly, I can’t wait to try the backhoe noir shooter that Dan described. So you eat a strawberry rolled and freshly ground pepper that will pull out its flavour. Then take a sip of Bako. If you try this, let me know what you think. You will want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Sheila Walsh and Anita Reynolds MacArthur hosts the wonderfully entertaining podcast called mom’s sipping sangria. They’ve got six kids between them. During each episode, these working moms discuss the ups and downs of motherhood while navigating preteen teen and young adult years. on next week’s episode, they’re actually interviewing me and we laugh and share mutual stories on everything from gruesome homemade wine to early family experiences with vino and this will be Episode 100. So I’ll also be announcing the winners of the three sign hardcover editions of unquenchable, named one of Amazon’s best books of the year. These will go to three people who come up with the best ideas on how to celebrate this milestone, and or who suggest great interview candidates for the next 100 episodes. Oh, yeah, baby. There’s still time to enter. So just email me at Natalie, at Natalie MacLean calm, or tag me on social media at Natalie MacLean. And in the meantime, if you missed Episode Four, where I take you behind the scenes and creating the audio version of my first book, red, white and drunk all over, go back and take a listen. I also share with you a passage from the book that I think you’ll find entertaining. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. Have you ever talked non stop for two hours, it is a marathon for the mouth. I was constantly sipping on water so that my tongue wouldn’t stick to the roof of my mouth permanently. When you read out loud for performance, you need to triple your energy, your vocal variety and you need to exaggerate your mouth movements for better enunciation. Because it all gets dampened or mushed together in a recording. Then there’s the technique of not sounding like you’re pounding on the microphone when you have words beginning with the letters p, d, c, k, and T. The rush of air on those letters creates plosives or plosives. I did that on purpose. The sessions were physically and emotionally draining. I ended up taking a vow of silence for the rest of the day until I had a glass of wine.
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine tips that Dan shared. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted a link to the video version of this chat, where you can find me on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm. Eastern including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 99. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps it’s a wine made by a family owned winery, or one that reconnects you with your own family memories.
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash subscribe. We’ll be here next week. Cheers