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Monday, September 26, 2022
Riverbend sells to Peller for $10M

Andrew Peller Limited's purchase of Niagara-on-the-Lake's Riverbend Inn and Vineyard was a “natural” step for the NOTL-based wine producer, chief executive John Peller says.

The company announced its $10-million purchase of the historic 17-acre vineyard property and 21-room hotel and restaurant Friday.

The property adjoins Peller Estates Winery on John Street East and the short-term plan is to keep operating the Georgian-style hotel and restaurant as Riverbend, but there are ideas in the works.

“We want to make sure that we explore ideas with people in the town and with some of our winery visitors and talk to people in the hospitality community to get their feedback,” Peller said in an interview.

“We have some ideas, but we're anxious to share them with people and get their input so that maybe after the first year we can look at making some more investment.”

The two properties will complement each other, Peller said.

The Riverbend's vineyards will provide a new source of grapes to Peller, he said, and there are already some plans in the works for how to use them.

“The vineyard itself is a very, very beautiful vineyard. It grows exceptionally high-quality fruit,” Peller said. “This is a good appellation where we really benefit from the airflow of the Niagara River. And we have ambitions to do something special in terms of winemaking with the vineyard.”

“It will be a very special wine that will have its own identity.”

He said the long-term goal is to help Niagara-on-the-Lake continue to grow as a world-class destination.

“I've definitely had the great opportunity to travel around the world and stay in the best places and I am confident that the Niagara-on-the-Lake region has an opportunity to deliver a cultural hospitality experience that competes with the very best in the world,” he said.

“And certainly part of our ambition is to try to do something that represents what we think is the future of our region, which is very unique and compelling wine, food, theatre, recreation, great history. And an incredible lake and the Niagara River and the escarpment,” Peller said.

There's much in NOTL “that is so compelling that we have to do everything we can do to keep trying to raise the bar. So, hopefully these investments kind of raise the tide for all ships.”

“We're super excited about doing something that will inspire the local community and destination travellers.” 

Riverbend was opened in 2004 and has a “successful and profitable track record as a destination of choice for visitors to the Niagara Region,” said a media release from Peller about the purchase.

“The inn will complement the Peller Estates Winery, with the new vineyards forming a now contiguous 57 acres of high-quality grape growing managed by the company’s winemakers. The inn, closed since late 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will reopen in the spring under new management with investments made to enhance the Riverbend’s unique and high-quality hospitality offering.”

The current owners of the property will be retiring on the completion of the transaction. 

“We are very pleased that our neighbours and friends are acquiring the inn and the vineyards, and excited that our heritage of providing one of the region’s highest quality hospitality experiences will be only enhanced under their new ownership,” said Jane Yu, Riverbend’s owner and manager.