On Friday afternoon, Moray Tawse – proprietor of Tawse Winery and Redstone Winery in Niagara – announced the sudden passing of winemaker and close friend, Paul Pender, at age 54, saying the following:
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.
Paul Pender joined the Tawse team in 2005 and became head winemaker in 2006. Under his 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.
Former carpenter, Paul was in the second graduating class of Niagara College’s Winery and Viticulture program. He adopted a “non-interventionist as far as possible” philosophy and was a firm believer that the start of every great wine begins in the vineyard.
We will share information regarding the funeral or memorial service as we hear more details. We ask that the privacy of Paul’s family be respected at this difficult time.
An outpouring of condolences from throughout the industry can be read all throughout social media as people began learning of the tragic news.
Tawse himself, posted to his own social channels, saying “Last night I lost a brother, a mentor, a partner and one of the nicest human beings I have met. Our winemaker Paul Pender passed away tragically as he tried to help someone in distress. Over the last 17 years, we jointly built a vision to increase the quality and reputation of Ontario wines. Our family is crushed and will never recover from this loss. Thank you, Paul.”
The Grape Growers of Ontario issued a response to Tawse Winery’s posting, saying “We are saddened to hear of the loss of Paul. He was a champion for our grape and wine industry and a passionate and celebrated winemaker. Our condolences to his family, friends and coworkers at this difficult time.”
Magdalena Kaiser, head of the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, said this: “My heart breaks for the news of Paul, an amazing colleague and very wonderful friend. My deepest condolences for the family and so many friends that will miss him.”
Many others in the industry have also chimed in with their heartfelt condolences, and they have continued to pour in throughout the night, posting messages on both the Tawse and Redstone Winery Instagram feeds.
More to come…