One of the young bright stars of the British Columbia Wine Industry.
Nikki is the winemaker add the renowned Quails' Gate Estate Winery in West Kelowna.
Born in Calgary in 1982, Nikki is the daughter of a physician who worked for many years in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Nikki lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years until she was 14 and had completed elementary school. At that point, her family moved to Dubai so she could complete high school. She came back to Canada f0r a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of Victoria.
She successfully completed her Bachelor's in Biology at the University of Victoria in 2004, then headed to Europe to learn winemaking from the ground up. Her winemaking career began with the 2004 vintage in the Beaujolais (Château La Louvière) and Bordeaux (Château Palmer) regions of France and culminated when she graduated with a Diplôme National d'Oœnologue (DNO) from the Université Bordeaux II in 2007. Upon her return to Canada in 2009 she worked as a winemaker for Mission Hill Family Estate.
While at Mission Hill Nikki produced an award winning Pinot Noir. the Martin's Lane Pinot Noir was named best of class by Decanter Awards
In Aug 2013 she became winemaker at Quails Gate
Quails Gate and family
The Stewarts have been involved in Okanagan agriculture since Richard Stewart Sr. arrived in the valley in 1908. Richard Stewart Jr., the father of the current owners, first planted grapes in 1961 on property in West Kelowna that became Quails' Gate vineyards. As well, he formed a partnership with Calona Wines to establish Pacific Vineyards, then a major vineyard on Black Sage Road.
Richard (left) was a founding member in 1961 of the Association of British Columbia Grape Growers (with Frank Schmidt and Martin Dulik), set up to lobby government for favourable policies. He was not an original member of the Grape Growers' Marketing Board but soon joined this price-negotiating body and subsequently became its chairman. Interested more in grape growing than winemaking, Richard encouraged his son, Ben, to establish Quails' Gate in 1989. Subsequently, Tony Stewart, Ben’s younger brother, joined the business.
A pillar in the Kelowna business community for over 25 years, Quails’ Gate Winery received the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation. The 2017 Best Managed program recognizes the best-in-class of Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieving sustainable growth.
The key, however to the winery success is the quality of its wines. Quails’ Gate 2014 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay awarded. The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. Quails’ Gate 2014 The Connemara (red blend), and Quails’ Gate 2015 Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay, won Gold at the Nations. More Gold at the Nations for Rosé 2016 and Quails’ Gate 2016 Botrytis Affected Optima.
A tip of the hat must also go to Vineyard manager Jo Breti and his team.
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