People

Marlize Beyers - Winemaker

Marlize joined the Hidden Bench team in the spring of 2010 bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience making premium wine in Niagara and internationally. In addition, Marlize has an intimate knowledge of working with estate grown, Bench fruit acquired over the last five vintages working in Niagara. A graduate of the renowned University of Stellenbosch, Viticulture and Oenology programme, Marlize is extremely well qualified and passionate to carry on and enhance Hidden Bench's reputation for making benchmark, terroir driven wines from its three estate 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 natural winemaking style. When Marlize is not busy in the vineyard or the cellar, she can be found travelling or working in her garden with her husband Meiring and their young son David or on a running or mountainbike 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.

Steve Roche: Vineyard Manager

Steve was formerly the Viticulturalist and Assistant Winemaker at Eagle's Nest Winery in Constantia, South Africa. Prior to his tenure with Eagle's Nest he was the vineyard manager for 5 years at world renowned cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer Hamilton Russell where he developed his interest and experience in organic and biodynamic viticulture in a cool climate environment. Steve holds a post secondary degree in Viticulture and Winemaking from Elsenburg Agricultural College in South Africa. "With enough passion, loads of dedication and a dream, one can achieve almost anything you set out to achieve - nothing is impossible. My belief is that the soil which we farm is not an inexhaustible commodity; it is our duty to look after it for future generations. We are merely the custodians of the land for future generations."

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.