The people who make up the core Hidden Bench team are one of the major reasons that we can strive to achieve our mission and vision. We invite you to get to know them though a short bio on each and then upon your visit to Hidden Bench:
Joel Williams: Vineyard Manager
Originally from New Brunswick, Joel's love of quality focused, sustainable/organic agriculture and great wine has led him to his current role at Hidden Bench. Quality focused with an acute attention to detail, Joel leads a dedicated team of 12 in the maintenance and continual improvement of HB's 32 hectares of certified organic vineyards. A CAPS sommelier, Joel's understanding of the linkage between precision viticulture, the winemaking process and the final product makes him a vital component of the HB wine production team. Prior to joining HB, Joel attended St Thomas University in New Brunswick and acquired valuable experience working with a couple of the top Niagara producers. When he is not working, Joel loves to cook, enjoy great wine and forage in the natural surroundings of the Beamsville Bench with his wife, Jen.
Marlize Beyers - Winemaker
Marlize joined the Hidden Bench team in the Spring of 2010 bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience about making premium wine in Niagara, and internationally. In addition, Marlize's intimate knowledge of working with estate grown, Bench fruit has been acquired over the last ten vintages working in Niagara. A graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, Viticulture and Oenology programme, Marlize is well qualified and passionate about carrying on Hidden Bench's reputation for making benchmark, terroir driven wines from its three estate and organically certified vineyards. Marlize's belief that winemaking is a craft, supported by a healthy dose of science meshes very well with Hidden Bench's quality-focused attention to detail from vineyard to bottle and non-interventionist winemaking style. Marlize is a strong advocate for the quality of the Beamsville Bench's terroir and year after year, her wines reflect their true authenticity of the unique HB terroir. When Marlize is not busy in the vineyard or cellar, she can be found travelling or working in her garden with her husband Meiring and their young children David and Kate or on a running trail, staying fit.
Meg McGrath: Retail Manager
Meg has a diploma in Fine Dining and Restaurant Management from William Angliss College in Melbourne Australia. Over the years she has acquired an in-depth knowledge of wine while working in some of best restaurants and wine shops in Australia. In 1998 she moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake and after the initial shock of the cold, Meg secured a position as Restaurant Manager at Inn on the Twenty and also completed her Sommelier’s Certificate. Meg has also worked as Sales Manager at Peller Estates, before moving on to Food and Beverage Sales Manager for Vintage Inns. In 2003 Sophia was born which permitted Meg to step back from her passion for wine for a while. In 2005, Meg and her family returned to Australia for a short visit and just recently they moved back to Niagara. They say timing is everything and we are very pleased to have Meg as part of our team and she is very excited about working to make Hidden Bench one of Canada’s iconic labels and joined the team in early 2007. In Meg's spare time she enjoys cooking for close friends, spending time with Sophia and Philip walking with puppy Jasmine and going out for lunch.
Harald Thiel: Vigneron/Proprietor
From a very young age Harald had the dream of owning an artisanal winery. Harald and his brother built a very successful audio visual business which they sold in 2003, permitting him with the support of his family to pursue his dream which has become Hidden Bench. In addition to his involvement with Hidden Bench, Harald sits on a number of public, private and volunteer sector boards and is the former chairperson of Tourism Toronto and the International Communications Industry Association. (ICIA). Prior to starting Hidden Bench, Harald was one of the founders of the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo in Toronto and is also a founding partner in the Upper Canada Cheese Company in Jordan Ontario. Passionate wine collector and consummate foodie, he gives Hidden Bench its strategic direction and focus. As a hands-on owner he is intimately involved in all the day to day operations of the winery from vineyard to bottle. In his spare time Harald loves to read, cook, fly fish and ski powder.