"A winemaker is a sensory artist. His pigment is a drawn from the vineyard and his brush a stainless steel tank or oak barrel. There are no two identical wines. Each wine is unique if you search out the details. The winemaker’s mental image shapes the sensory properties, and lab analyses give reassurance of the pathway to create the wine conceived in the mind." ~ Gary Strachan
Gary Strachan joined the staff of the Food Processing Section in 1977. Strachan and his staff made wine from the short listed Summerland breeding selections along with wines from the Becker Project and several BCMAF sites. One site was at the Inkameep Vineyard, another at what is now Zanatta Winery on Vancouver Island. They also had a large cooperative project at the Station to evaluate (mostly) Eastern European grape varieties.
Gary originates from Ontario but made his career in British Columbia. He attended High School in Oakville and Mississauga. He continued his advanced studies at University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
He taught viticulture and enology courses at Okanagan College and Vancouver Island University for over 25 years. He is the former Canadian delegate to the O.I.V. and is current past Chairman of BC’s Sustainable Practices Committee. Much of his professional practice is centered on the design and start up of vineyards and wineries.
Noted author John Schreiner credits researcher Gary Strachan for coming up with the idea of putting Okanagan acidity to good use by making sparkling wines. According to Schreiner, Strachan launched National Research Council-funded trials in 1983, making several batches at the Summerland Research Station. McWatters became involved (as did winemaker Eric von Krosigk) and Steller’s Jay eventually became a reality.
Gary supervised the judging for the Okanagan Wine Festival for its first 12 years, from 1980 to 1992. He also organized the first VQA panels for BC. Selected panelists, set up the assessment sheets, and conducted the tastings at the Summerland Research Station.
He served as Canadian observer to the International Organization of Vine and wine.*1. He is the past chair of the Sustainable Practices Committee, BCWGC.*2
Bruce Nicholson winemaker at Inniskillin says Gary has a vast knowledge of viticulture and oenology. His experience in this area has serviced many wineries and has helped the Canadian wine industry move forward.
The late William David said: Gary is extremely well-read & experienced about many aspects of the vineyard and winery world. I constantly run across his name and presence in my work on improving the fundamentals of the vineyard and wine industry in BC. Although his knowledge is both extensive and detailed, he is always pragmatic and understands that this is both a a business and a romance for many who enter the world of wines.
Steve Dale wrote: Gary was one of my instructors at Okanagan University College when I studied winemaking 2003-2004. He was a pleasure in the classroom and a fount of knowledge. As I was starting a winery in 2004 I retained him as a consultant and he adroitly guided us through the business plan, licensing, design, and operations from day one. After that he took care of our lab work on the wine, and always had valuable insights when visiting the cellar to taste wines. Over the years he has been a tremendous help, and a true friend. I can't recommend him enough! If it is the last thing he does, I hope he clones himself... If anyone could, it would be him.
Today Gary runs his own consulting business Strachan Consulting. He is also head Scientist at Oh Cannabis (Can) Inc.
Besides working in the wine Industry Gary is second tenor for Musaic Vocal Ensemble and a Boyscot leader.
*1 The OIV is an intergovernmental organisation of a scientific and technical nature of recognised competence for its works concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, table grapes, raisins and other vine-based products.
Gary Strachan an Article on resveratrol
Summerland Research Station