Henry of Pelham winemaker Ron Giesbrecht joins Niagara College wine program

Celebrated winemaker and Niagara wine industry leader Ron Giesbrecht has concluded a successful career at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery to join the team of faculty at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

“Our Wine programs at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute are an integral part of our programming here at Niagara College and this is an exciting addition to the CFWI family,” said acting dean of the CFWI Craig Youdale. “Ron brings a quarter-century of wine experience to our college along with many accolades and industry connections that will be great for our programming.”

Giesbrecht has a degree in Biology from the University of Waterloo and a master’s degree in Food Science (specializing in Oenology) from the University of Guelph. For the past 23 years, he has worked at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery with brothers Paul, Matthew and Daniel Speck, where he shared their ambition to put their regional wines on the map. In 2012, Giesbrecht was the recipient of the Tony Aspler Award of Excellence at Cuvee which recognized his long commitment to the larger wine community and over two decades of consistent excellence in winemaking.

“We are pleased to see Ron take the knowledge and experience he has gained at Henry of Pelham and share it with the next generation of winemakers and growers. We are also proud to announce his assistant of 16 years, Sandrine Bourcier, is stepping into his shoes as head winemaker,” said Paul Speck, president of Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. “My brothers and I wish Ron and Niagara College the best of success.”

Giesbrecht has valued his work at Henry of Pelham and looks forward to embarking on a new chapter of his career at NC, to encourage the development of the next generation of grape growers and winemakers that will make the industry flourish for years to come.

“I am certain that Niagara College is on a great course towards the enhancement and development of the human resources that keep the wine industry active and growing,” said Giesbrecht. “I want to be a part of that and also the fantastic energy and synergy that is being developed in the Canadian Food and Wine Institute between chefs, sommeliers, winemakers, grape growers and others that work in our separate and also intertwined roles and industries. It is truly a unique and well-orchestrated hub that Niagara College has developed already.”

Giesbrecht will take on his new role as professor for the College’s Wine programs on August 19.

The Canadian Food and Wine Institute, located on Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, is the College’s centre for food, wine and beer education. It is home to Benchmark, the college’s teaching restaurant, as well as the Teaching Winery and Teaching Brewery.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit