Lincoln and industry colleagues mourn loss of beloved winemaker


Published February 7, 2022 at 10:46 am

The Lincoln community and colleagues in the winemaking community are reeling over the loss of one of their own – area winemaker Paul Pender.

For the past 15 years, Pender has been the the Director of Viticulture and Winemaking for local Tawse Estate and its sister vineyard Redstone Winery.

While the cause of his death on Friday has not been revealed, those in the know had referred to it as “sudden” and “tragic.”

Tawse Estate owner Moray Tawse said in a release, “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of our colleague and friend Paul Pender, who passed away on February 4, 2022. Paul died unexpectedly under tragic circumstances. We will all miss him more than words can express. He was not just our manager but our good friend as well.”

Under Pender’s leadership, Tawse achieved EcoCert Organic and Demeter Biodynamic certification and was named Canadian Winery of the year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. He earned the title of Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards in 2011.

Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton said, “On behalf of Town Council and Staff, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues; as we know this heart-breaking loss will be deeply felt by many.”

Rick VanSickle, publisher of the online Wines In Niagara (, said that Pender guided both the Tawse and Redstone wineries into two of the most well-rounded, awarded and extensive portfolios in the country.

“I have known Pender since he began his incredible journey at Tawse and have tasted his wines every vintage. He was soft-spoken and passionate about making the very best wines he could from organic and biodynamic grapes and tackled new ventures such as spirits and cider with equal enthusiasm,” said VanSickle.

“He was a brilliant winemaker and crafted some of Niagara’s most profound Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Rieslings as well as more fuller bodied red and finessed sparkling wines. He was largely responsible for building of the most awarded and widely respected wineries in the country.”

Jamie Goode, who writes for Wine-Anorak Global Wine Journal, remembered meeting him during his first trip to Canada back in 2013 and spending a dinner in Toronto with Pender and like-minded wine lovers. He noted, “He was great company, and I warmed to him.”

After hearing the news, Goode said, “It was a huge shock. All I can say is that I’ve met with him, tasted with him, drunk with him and socialized with him many times. He was always engaging: measured and understated, but fun, too.”

“He was my age, but fitter and younger-looking. His wines spoke for themselves, both at Tawse, and also sister winery Redstone. It’s a great shock to hear he’s no longer with us.”

Paul Di Ianni, Lincoln’s Director of Economic Development and Communications said Pender leaves a legacy for generations of winemakers to come.

“Paul’s impact and influence in the Ontario Grape and Wine Industry cannot be understated. Hel leaves behind an indelible legacy in Lincoln’s Grape and Wine Industry – a legacy that we know will be celebrated for decades to come,” said Di Ianni.

Paul Pender, right, with Tawse Estate owner Moray Tawse in 2013. (Photo: Jamie Goode)

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising