NewsTop Stories

Buhler returns to Niagara to take the reins as winemaker at Henry of Pelham

Niagara winemaker

By Rick VanSickle
Winemaker Lawrence Buhler has a lot of notches in belt, but his latest stop at Henry of Pelham in Niagara just might be his biggest achievement.

Previously in the Okanagan Valley as winemaker for ENCORE Vineyards’ winemaking operations, including the McWatters Collection, TIME Estate Winery, Evolve Cellars, and the winemaking group’s custom winemaking clients, Buhler has an impressive resume that also includes stops at Peller Estates and Angels Gate in Niagara, Cape Mentelle in Australia and Colio Estate in Lake Erie North Shore.

He joined Henry of Pelham this month and is already on site making wine. The family estate winery on the Short Hills Bench has one of the deepest VQA portfolios in Ontario spread across three different labels — Henry of Pelham, Sibling Rivalry and Family Tree.

Ontario wine
The Speck brothers, with Paul in the middle.

“Lawrence was an easy choice for us as he comes with well over 10 years of experience working at small, ultra-premium estate VQA wineries in Ontario and B.C. as well as many years of making award winning wines at a larger premium winery,” said Henry of Pelham president Paul Speck.

“He has the experience and knowledge to produce great wines across a large portfolio such as ours — from sparkling wines to estate Pinot Noir to Riesling Icewine. Lawrence also has a great sense of humour and a relaxed, professional style which fits well with the Speck Bros and our entire team.”

Buhler replaces winemaker Sandrine Bourcier, whose last day was today (Thursday) and is moving to California on a new adventure.

Buhler is a graduate of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University and spent eight years at Peller Estates Winery where he was instrumental in producing high-quality wines across the company’s portfolio. He was convinced to join Colio after tasting the potential of the fruit from the Lake Erie North Shore.

His last winemaking job was at ENCORE working for the legendary Harry McWatters in the Okanagan Valley. He started there in August, 2015.

McWatters told Wines In Niagara that he was not quite ready to announce the new winemaker to replace Buhler in the Okanagan.