Moray Tawse – Proprietor
A financier by trade – he is the vice president and co-founder of First National, the country’s largest non-bank mortgage lender- as well as a lifelong lover of wine, Moray Tawse could also be called a terroir collector.
After realizing the potential of winemaking in Niagara, Moray purchased his first vineyard in 2001. In 2005 he opened Tawse, the winery that bears his family name. He then secured vineyards in his beloved Burgundy and his project with famed winemaker Pascal Marchand, Marchand Tawse was born.
Redstone is the newest addition to his portfolio and his second project on the Escarpment. “When you get an opportunity to get a terroir where the wine’s great, you buy another vineyard! ”, he confesses. When the former Thomas and Vaughan property came up for sale in 2009, it was an opportunity he simply couldn’t pass up.
The vineyard, which is ideally suited to maturing late-ripening Bordeaux-varietals, was originally intended to supplement the Tawse portfolio. However, when the first wines were made in 2010, they showed such a different character and terroir signature that Moray decided that they deserved their own home. So the idea of Redstone was born. This was also an opportunity to take advantage of the great location off Highway 8 to build a state-of the art tasting room. He would also get to indulge another of his passions, with the opening of locally-inspired 80-seat restaurant and spacious patio.
Paul Pender – Director of Viticulture and Winemaking
Paul Pender has been the acclaimed head winemaker of Tawse winery since 2006, earning the title of Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards in 2011. Under his leadership, Tawse was named Canadian Winery of the year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Former carpenter and graduate of Niagara College’s Winery and Viticulture program, Paul has a non-interventionist as far as possible philosophy. He is a firm believer that the start of every great wine begins in the vineyard. Passionate about crafting wines expressive of a sense of place, Paul has been instrumental in guiding the vision and the execution of the Redstone project and will continue to lend his expertise and leadership in a consulting role.
Jessica Otting – Winemaker
Jess has been enthralled by the world of wine since a very young age; at seventeen she completed her first vintage for her high school placement. After graduating from Niagara College’s Winery & Viticulture program in 2011, Jess took her skills abroad where she took part in a harvest in South Australia and in Tasmania the following year, with a Canadian vintage in between for good measure. Her passion for cool climate wines brought her back to Niagara, and it was not long before she joined the Tawse team to perform all of the laboratory analysis required to make delicious Bench wines.
After working closely with the winemakers for over four years, Jess took on the Assistant Winemaker role in 2018, and earned the title of Winemaker in 2020.
Vicki Smyth – Director, Sales & Marketing
Growing up in St. Catharine’s Vicki witnessed the emergence of the wine industry in Niagara. After the birth of her son, she felt it was time to leave the Environmental Management field to pursue a new passion – wine. A part time Tasting Bar job fueled her desire to learn more about wine and the Niagara Wine industry. Now a graduate with honours’ from the Wine Business Management Program at Niagara College, Vicki also obtained the WSET Level 3 Award in Wine with Distinction, earning the title of “Certified Specialist in Wine”. After gaining valuable experience at some local wineries Vicki joined the Tawse team in 2013 and currently holds the position of Director of Sales and Marketing for both Tawse and Redstone Wineries. Vicki takes great pleasure in leading her team of talented and knowledgeable wine professionals as they strive to provide best in class experiences to all who visit.
Daniel Lafleur – National Sales Manager
Daniel’s passion for wine evolved from his love of food. An avid cook since childhood, Daniel studied Marketing and Nutrition at Laval University and later became a professional culinary instructor. He then pursued his budding interest in wine to become a certified sommelier and went on to work at the LCBO for 6 years in a variety of positions including Product consultant and a Vintages writer. It is the prospect of a new challenge and the opportunity to work with a leading organic and biodynamic producer that brought Daniel to Tawse in 2008. In his role, he is responsible for driving Licensee, LCBO and Export sales.
Daniel’s keen palate was recognized this year as he was crowned “Grand Award winner” of the 2015 Wine Tasting Challenge!