Women of Wine

Page 2 O-Z


Jennife Molgat

Jennife Molgat

Please nominate someone!!


Sandra Oldfield
Winemaker/ Business Women

Sandra Oldfield grew up in Marin and Sonoma counties in California. She received her bachelor of arts in business administration with a focus in international business. After graduation, Sandra chose to work in the tasting room at Rodney Strong Vineyards while she decided what she wanted to pursue with her degree. After a year of working in the tasting room, a position came up in the cellar for a lab person. It was then that she realized that she preferred working on the production side of the wine business.

After this revelation, Sandra took two years of prep courses (chemistry, physics, etc.) at Santa Rosa before starting at University of California at Davis (UC Davis) in the summer of 1993. Her research focus was the ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. Seven different wineries allowed Sandra to use their vineyards for her research and she was given the use of the Mondavi facilities to make her wine. She also studied Canadian history

While attending UC Davis, Sandra met Kenn Oldfield. Kenn had recently purchased the Tinhorn Creek Vineyard and was at UC Davis learning more about vineyard care and practices. Kenn convinced Sandra to get involved and they struck an agreement. Serendipitously Kenn found both his winemaker and a wife. Sandra was excited about the opportunity to get involved in the still young wine industry in British Columbia and was very optimistic about the region's ability to produce great quality wines.

In 1995 Sandra moved to Oliver from Santa Rosa, California. I packed my ‘66 Mustang and drove across the border to a new life, full of excitement and hope – including the hope that my car wouldn't break down somewhere in Washington.

Since then she has taken the production from 1,000 cases to more than 35,000 cases all with 100% estate-only fruit. In addition, she led Tinhorn Creek to become the first carbon neutral winery in Canada as well as the first winery in BC to receive a certificate of recognition for its vigorous health and safety program

Sandra resumed her studies and was awarded her master's of Enology in 2002. In 2002, while watching the men's gold medal hockey game during the Salt Lake City Olympics, Sandra noticed that she was not cheering for the Americans, but for the Canadians to win. It was in that moment that Sandra realized that she had become Canadian and needed to make that official. She began preparation for a series of exams and, in October 2002, she officially became a Canadian citizen – a proud moment for the entire winery team

Sandra was president and CEO of Tinhorn Creek One of Canada's most distinguished wineries . Located in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley on the Golden Mile. The winery has 150 acres of prime land on two very distinct benches. The 100 acre Diamondback vineyard on the Black Sage Bench and the 50 Acre Tinhorn Creek vineyard on the Golden Mile

Sandra firmly believes that the wine is made in the vineyard and the winemaker just babysits the wine until it goes into the bottle. For this reason, she strongly supports a winery being an estate winery because of the full control they have over vineyards.

Sandra and Tinhorn Creek support many local charities including the Boys and Girls Club

She is a wife, mother ( a daughter) and owner of several pets, seven cats and 2 dog.. She has a vintage purse collection cars are '66 Mustang from California and '57 DeSoto

Sanadra is the host and founder of #BCWINECHAT on tweeter

In 2016 CEO Sandra Oldfield has been named as a Top 100 award winner in the Sun Life Financial Trailblazers & Trendsetters category of the Women’s Executive Network’s (WXN) 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women.

In 2018 she was awarded The Ben Hume Leadership Award from theManufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.

In 2018 A new Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council (MTEC), with a diverse membership to help guide government's tourism policy, strategy and program implementation, has been announced by Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Sanadra is on this Council

 Sandra Oldfield inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame Oct 2018

With her husband Sanadra has started a winery consulting company. Elysian Projects focuses on ways to help wineries realize their dreams. 


Lyndsay O'Rourke


winemaker at Ruby Blues winery in Naramata. She obtained a bachelor degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University in New Zealand before joining Ruby Blue.In 2012 Ruby Blues won the Lieutenant Governor's Award for their 2011 Viognier

All Canadian Wine Championship 2012” 
Double Gold ( best in Class )  for     Viognier 201

In 2013 Lyndsay and her husband Graham opend Tightrope Winery

Deborah Paskus
at Closson Chase

Viticulturalist and iconoclast Deborah Paskus is one of Canada's most celebrated winemakers. Deborah uses innovative viticultural techniques; she is devoted to dirt – rich, pesticide-free and pure as possible .

Paskus graduated from the University of Guelph with an honors degree in Agriculture (Horticulture major). She was quick to develop ideas of her own, refusing to be limited by accepted boundaries.

In 1997 Deborah was ready for a new challenge. With 17 years of growing experience in Beamsville, she suspected that Hillier offered the best possible Ontario site for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Closson Chase was created, the following year. There she developed the Closson Chase mantra: High density planting (to ensure flavour and intensity) and crop reduction at veraison (to allow the vine to concentrate on ripening a smaller amount of fruit).

Deborah Paskus received the inaugural Larry Paterson Award, on Friday night, June 10, at the 2011 annual Ontario Wine Awards . The award, named in honor of the man many knew as The Little Fat Wino and given out by a committee formed by the Grape Growers of Ontario , rewards the efforts of a person who has demonstrated innovation in the vineyards.

Severine Pinte


Severine joined Le Vieux Pin August, 2010 with 14 harvests of international wine making experience under her belt along with 8 years of vineyard management. A graduate from the illustrious ENSAM (Ecole National Superior Agronomic of Montpellier) she acquired her Masters in viticulture and oenology, and also obtained her National Diploma of Oenology. She then apprenticed in the AOC Gaillac at the Cave de Tecou before coming for the first time to British Columbia to work for Domaine de Chaberton as an assistant winemaker. In 1999 she returned to her native France and worked a year in Bordeaux under the direction of Andre Lurton in Pessac-Leognan before returning south to the Languedoc. For the following 9 years Severine was head winemaker and viticultural council for "Le Vignoble des 2 terres" in the Terrasse du Larzac terroir, with a brief sabbatical in the winter of 2003 when she took leave to harvest in the southern hemisphere. At Frankland Estate winery in Western Australia, she enjoyed learning a different take on her beloved syrah and viognier, but also had the chance to be exposed to some other varietals.

Serverine is also the winemaker for LaStella

Simultaneous to her winemaking Severine has led a tasting club in France as well as sitting on countless tasting panels for competitions and revues. Her passion for wine has benefited the Guide Hachette and Vinalies, where she has been solicited as a trained taster every year since 2001.

Curiosity and the pursuit of new challenge brought Severine to the Okanagan and she brought with her an astute understanding of wine and terroir. Her favorite quote is from Jean Hugel, that "100% of the quality of a true wine is already in the grapes, not in the cellars where you can only lose quality", because it sums up the important role of viticulture in the crafting of great wine. For her, the Okanagan, with its unique terroir and cool climate has always been intriguing. "I look forward to seeing and tasting the influence of the terroir and the spectacular day to night temperature variations on some of my more familiar varieties

Bonnie Preece

is the new owner of Carolian Winery & Eatery in Thorndale. Ontario. She is also new to the wine industry. Bonnie had no idea when she met her sister for lunch at the winery that it was for sale. Bonnie had made her mark in the retail business and was retired she took the plunge and bought the winery. After three months of renovations it was reopened in April 2012.

For Bonnie, the business is a way to give back to her community. “I'm passionate about animal rescue, feeding people and art,” she says. So Carolinian buys locally grown products, features local bands and donates to local causes

She's also a member of Middlesex Tourism, Tourism London and the Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers Association.

One has to believe in oneself along with the product you manufacture and sell.  It is fun creating, and I get a great joy when people are pleasantly surprised how the envision fruit wines.  We try to put a new spin, on the myths of fruit wines. 

Linda Pruegger

Co-owner of Stag's Hollow Winery established in 1995

Linda moved from a role of selling and transporting crude oil to producing and selling wine. Her dream of living in the foothills west of Calgary moved her further west to the foothills of the Okanagan Valley. Since 1995, Linda has been involved in every aspect of the winery and vineyard from pruning and suckering to crawling into tanks to clean as well as being a mother to her son, Tyler, who was born coincidently with the start up of Stag's Hollow in 1995. Today you are more likely to find her in the wine shop or the office.

Natasha Ponich

Natasha is currently the winemaker at 40 Knots. Born and raised in Duncan, BC she knew that working with plants and food was her calling. She had a desire to make wines and after graduation from Simon Fraser University Natasha moved to the Okanagan.

She managed vineyards in the Naramata and visited vineyards in California France and Portugal.

She returned to the Comox valley to make wines for 40 Knots owned by Bill and Michal Montgomery

Lindsay Puddicombe


Lindsay graduated from Guelph viticulture school and then later from the Niagara College for winemaking. With over 10 vintages under her belt: Lindsay's expertise is making wines that showcase the finer attributes of cool climate wines; balancing fruit, acid and tannins.

Currently winemaker at Georgian Hills


Katherine Reid

The associate winemaker at Joseph's Estate Winery Niagara -on-the-Lake.
She graduated with a BA in Geography from McMaster University in 1981.   Her  winery career began in 1981 when  she  was hired by the far-sighted Paul Bosc Senior of Chateau des Charmes as a research assistant for Dr. John Paroschy at the winery.  She  worked in almost all viticulture and oenological endeavours at this winery until 1994

In 1994 she became the winemaking consultant at Sunnybrook Estate Farm Winery.She was the first female fruit winemaker in Canada, and the first Canadian fruit winemaker to earn best of class in International competition. She has, since then, earned an impressive array of awards. In 1994 she had the opportunity to become assistant winemaker to pioneer John Marynissen, where she stayed until she became associate winemaker at Joseph's Estate Winery in 1996 .

An even-lesser-known side of Katherine is her involvement in sports (many awards including Provincial Champion, Girls Basketball) and as a poet (she has been published several times in anthologies for the National Library of Poetry). Katherine is a member of Who's Who of Canada and of Who's Who of Canadian Women, where her quoted comment (p. 799) is "I feel honoured and privileged to have worked with four special gentlemen that have given me an opportunity to shine and who share the same philosophy, knowing that a great wine is made in the vineyard.

Julie Renni
co owner Pentage Winery in the Okanagan

Julie is co owner at Pentage Winery in the Okanagan Julie, with many years of business and administration experience, manages the business side of the operation. Between employees, accounting, sales and marketing you will most likely find Julie in the office. However, when needed, she can be found up in the winery getting sticky with the rest of the team.


Aura Rose 

Aura and her husband took over the ownership of the House of Rose winery in 2009. In 2009 Aura and her husband Wouter have decided to turn to organic practices in maintaining the vineyard and are increasingly shifting from traditional to more sustainable practices in the overall winery operations.

The winery received the Champion of the Environment for Business Civic Award from the City of Kelowna 2014

House of Rose Winery has won a Double Gold for their 2011 Winter Wine™ in the 2013 All Canadian Wine Championships held in Ontario.

Aura is also the winemaker


Wendy Rose

In 2010, Wendy discovered the wines of the Okanagan Valley and decided, like her classes at Dubrelle, that she wanted to work as a cellar hand for a number of wineries to gain a deeper knowledge of wine production and viticulture.  It was during this leave from the tech industry that she found her true loves:  her now husband and their shared passion for sparkling wine.

In 2011 Bella Sparkling Wines was founded by Wendy and her husband. Bella is BC’s only sparkling wine house and is a pioneer and promoter of the transparent natural wine movement in BC – something she is deeply proud of that brings her back to her California roots. The small four acre homestead Wendy and her husband tend incorporates vineyard, husbandry (pigs, chickens, laying hens, bees), organic gardens and heritage orchard fruit – all skills picked up as a child.  Through  her association with Les Dames d’Escoffier, Slow Food and Cittaslow Naramata, Wendy is driven to promote, support and educate a farm-to-table community and lifestyle and share that knowledge with young and old alike.

Caroline Schaller

Caroline Schaller joined the Osoyoos Larose winery in July 2017 as the Executive Manager and Winemaker. 

Born in Toulouse, she trained at the wine school there, the Centre de Viticulture et d’oenologie de Midi Pyrénées, from which she graduated in 1999. She acquired in international experience first in Napa, where she worked as a cellar hand for Pine Ridge Winery in 2000 and then as a laboratory technician there in 2001.

In 2002, she became an assistant winemaker at Daumaine Cauhapé in the Jurançon region in France. In the following year, she worked as an assistant winemaker at Viña Leyda in Chile. On her return to France, she became a consulting winemaker in southwestern France.

From 2004 until 2017, Caroline was executive manager and winemaker at Domaine d’En Ségur, a producer in the Tarn region of southwestern France. She also was active as a writer and teacher of wine. This year, a winemaker friend employed by Groupe Taillan recommended Caroline for the position in the Okanagan.


She has moved to the Okanagan with her husband, Arnaud Thierry, who is also a winemaker, and their children, a daughter aged six and a son aged nine, and their dog.

souce: John Schreiner

Joanna Schlosser

Joanna Schlosser


Joanna and her husband James own and operate Niche Wine Company, a boutique winery in West Kelowna. Joanna’s responsibilities include harvesting, bottling, packaging, branding, communications, sales, and a healthy amount of quality control. Since 2010 Niche has made wine in small-batch crops from estate grown fruit. Their Small Batch White blend, Pinot noir blanc, Pinot noir, and Marechel Foch have all won both national and international awards. 

Joanna is also currently a Marketing Manager with Accelerate Okanagan. Over the past decade, she has worked with multimillion dollar brands like luluelmon athletica and startups like Luvo Inc as a creative, digital, and editorial strategist. Joanna is passionate about dynamic content that promotes brand presence both on and off line.

 When she is not busy with words or wine you will find Joanna chasing her three-year-old, running the boardwalk, or hunting down a hot plate of truffle fries. 


Michelle Willcock Schulze

Michelle is the daughter of Marilyn Venturi Schuze co owner of Venturi-Schulze Vineyards She has always had a passion for food and travel, a natural ability in writing and an affinity for foreign languages. She surprised the family by her decision to join the winery in early 1995, soon after graduating from high school.

After years of immersion in all aspects of the business (soil preparation, vine planting, pruning, canopy management, harvesting, crush and winemaking) and following an intensive program of reading and research into other wine regions of the world, Michelle is an integral and indispensable part of the wine growing process.

Catherine Scott-Taggart

"Winemaking and viticulture is a labour of love driven by passion and tempered by science.”

Catherine is a highly educated and deeply passionate winemaker. Born in Wimbledon England, Catherine was raised just outside Montreal, Canada. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, a Master of Science in Plant Physiology and a Graduate Diploma in Oenology from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Catherine applied her extensive education in Australia and Canada gaining invaluable experience working as a crush labourer for Kirihill in the Clare Valley and with Inniskillin in Ontario, Canada. Two years later, she accepted her first job as an assistant winemaker for Willow Heights before working once again as a crush labourer under the tutelage of Bruce Nicholson at Jackson Triggs.

Today Catherine works as vineyard and winery assistant at Osoyoos Larose. At Osoyoos Larose, Catherine balances her time between the vineyards and cellar, supervising and coordinating staff.


Jennifer Schell

A native of East Kelowna Jennifer is the author of cookbook series The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine and Cheese Maker, the former editor of Food and Wine Trails magazine, co-founder of Garagiste North Wine Festivals and co-proprietor of Schell Wines. She was also the creator f the Okanagan Women On Wine lunch series.

Schell Wines is collaboration between three siblings: Jonathan, Jennifer and Jamie Schell, but the whole Schell family is involved. 

Born and raised on an orchard in East Kelowna, the trio has deep roots in the farming industry and this foray into the wine world is a celebration of their family history and tribute to the European generations behind them who brought forth their livelihoods from the soil.

Lynzee Schatz

Raised in Kelowna BC, Lynzee Schatz was introduced to wine through her mother, who was a budding wine aficionado and avid gardener. In 2006, Lynzee worked at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, where her inquisitive nature gained her the opportunity to start shadowing the cellar hands. These early experiences left Lynzee with a fascination for wine, planted the seed for her future career, and provided her first efforts in organic winemaking.

Lynzee has a Bachelor of Wine Science from Charles Sturt University in Australia. She has traveled widely, completing many vintages abroad including stints at Pisoni Vineyards and Winery in California, Domaine Chandon and Yeringberg in Australia’s Yarra Valley, and Tawse and Angels Gate in Ontario. Her travels have gained her extensive experience with sparkling wine production, and while at Yeringberg, she realized her love of farming; in particular, rearing lambs, minding sheep, and cattle work.

Lynzee returned to Canada in 2014 and for three years, split her time between making wine at Vancouver Urban Winery and brewing for their sister company, Postmark Brewing. Longing to bring her experience and education back to the Okanagan, Lynzee relocated to Penticton in August 2018 and is excited to get her hands on the sparkling wine lineup and put her work experience from Domain Chandon to good use.

Lynzee is the winemaker for Evolve Cellars, TIME Winery, and The McWatters Collection.

Stella Schmidt

Co-owner assistant winemaker at Castoro de Oro. Bruno Kelle and Stella Schmidt believe they found a diamond in the rough when they located their winery on the Golden Mile south of Oliver. The couple fell in love with the wine region while touring the area in 2005.

Stella was raised in Alberta on land, which included a dog kennel where her father bred, trained, field trial campaigned, showed and boarded dogs. Stella spent the majority of her life in and around Calgary, and was in the bookkeeping business before the winery. Stella is often found in the wine shop telling jokes, happily answering winemaking questions or being ‘the music audience' for Bruno or Kurtis. Stella is the personality behind the winery facebook and twitter accounts and handles most of the business/marketing of Castoro de Oro Estate Winery so has to spend a lot of time in the office

The winery has grown over the years under guidence of Stella and Bruno. One of their best moves was to change the name of the original winey bought


Dianne Smith

Dianne is GreenLane Estate Winery's winemaker. With a passion for producing wines through biodynamic and organic practices, Dianne is committed to putting GreenLane on the map in Niagara by creating more environmentally sustainable vineyard practices resulting in the production of unique flavour profile wines for GreenLane Estate Winery.

Prior to joining GreenLane Estate Winery, Dianne worked at several award-winning, ultra-premium producers in the Niagara region including Tawse Winery and Southbrook Vineyards. She also worked for the New Zealand wine producer, Carrick Winery.

A graduate of Niagara College's Viticulture & Winemaking Program, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Geology/Biology) from University of South Florida.

When not producing incredible wines for GreenLane Estate Winery, Dianne serves as a volunteer with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Toronto Cat Rescue and the SPCA.

Ann Sperling

Ann is among the best known winemakers and wine growers in Canada.
After a great career working for Ontario wineries Ann started her own consulting business and later Sperling Vineyards winery in Kelowna.

Through her mother, Ann is a member of the Casorso family that planted the first vineyard in the Kelowna area in 1925.

Ann, who was born in 1962 and has a food sciences degree from the University of British Columbia, started her winemaking career in 1984 at André's in Port Moody. She went to CedarCreek in 1991 and then moved to Ontario in 1995. There, she consulted for several wineries before becoming the inaugural winemaker for the well-regarded Malivoire winery. Several years ago, she took over as the winemaker at the new Southbrook winery in Niagara, Canada's first certified biodynamic winery.

In 2004 Ann was awarded with Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards. Ann prefers to think of herself as a “Winegrower,” instead of a winemaker


Natalie Spytkowsky

A native of Niagara Natalie started her career in 1994 working in the vineyards. She also worked in marketing and sales before joining Strewn Winery as a cellar assistant working her way up to assistant winemaker. As she worked Natalie was also taking wine related courses.

In 1999 she started her own analysis and consulting business Vines to Vintage .
Starting in 1990 she was the winemaker at Angel's Gate winnery winning over forty awards including (twice) Best Riesling in Ontario at Cuvee Awards

In 2006 she joined the Rosewood Estate Team to produce Mead and wine. Inspired by Ontario's cool climate she continues to push the envelope while developing a strong terroir and vintage expressive portfolio at Rosewood. Once again producing award winning wines.

In 2007 Natalie with Darryl Fields, re-opened Vines and Vintages as a one-stop shop for supplies, analysis, consultation and assistance to both amateurs winemakers and wineries

Natalie is currently Consulting for Hinterbrook Winery in NOTL and Eagle Point Winery in Nova Scotia

Sue Ann Staff

Winemaking has been a life-long ambition of Sue-Ann's having stemmed from a family background in viticulture spanning five generations in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula and encompassing two "Grape King" titles. After her formal education in winemaking from the renowned University of Adelaide, South Australia, and several vintages abroad, Sue-Ann has become one of Canada's top winemakers, winning over 450 national and international wine awards.

She was acclaimed as "2002 Winemaker of the Year" by the Ontario Wine Society and is a two-time recipient of the International Wine and Spirits Award in London, England for one of the top four "Women in Wine" in the world. Currently Miss Staff is proprietor of Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery based on her family's two hundred year old estate in Jordan, Ontario, producing quality VQA wines from grapes grown on the escarpment property.

Sue-Ann Staff recieved the 2018 Tony Aspler Award for her decades of important work in the grape and wine Industry.

Lynn Sullivan

is Managing Partner of Prince Edward County's, Rosehall Run. Together with her partner, winemaker and viticulturalist Dan Sullivan, Lynn oversees all aspects of the Operations of the Vineyard and Winery which they founded in 2000.

Graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in English and a position as Music Director of CHRW FM in London, Ontario Lynn pursued a career in the recording arts industry which led to positions at A&M Records of Canada and Arts & Communications Counselors, where she honed her skills in public relations and promotions of the Arts.

Lynn and Dan Sullivan, purchased the family business, Agincourt Aluminum Ltd., where they jointly ran a successful renovation company, focusing on superb customer service, effective sales and marketing, and solid business plans. This period also allowed Lynn a flexible environment in which to raise a family while Dan honed his skills first as a home hobbyist and soon an award-winning amateur winemaker.

By combining Lynn's administrative skills and Dan's passion for winegrowing with investments from other family members, the 150 acre Rosehall Run Farm was purchased in the Fall of 2000 and planting began the following Spring.

Today, Lynn is thrilled to be able to employ her entrepreneurial experience, PR training and small business management expertise in this brand new wine region of Canada. And, through Rosehall Run's support of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, the Quinte Ballet School in Belleville and the Festival Players of Prince Edward County, she continues to demonstrate her support and enthusiasm for the Arts.

Lynn serves on the Board of Directors at the Festival Players of Prince Edward County and the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association.



Illia Suter

Illia is a graduate of McMaster University with an Hons. BA in English and History. In 1995, after a brief stint as a paper conservator and book binder she decided to change her career path and pursue her passion for wine. Starting her wine career in the retail store at Cave Spring Cellars, Ilia quickly made her way into the lab. She has been the Asisant Winemaker at Cave Springs for the last 12 vintages

Kelly Symonds

Kelly grew up in the lower mainland & spent her summers in the Okanagan Valley where she developed an avid interest in wine. After searching for an appropriate Oenology program, she chose Australia's University of Adelaide's Waite (Roseworthy) program and earned a Bachelor of Science in Oenology. While in Australia, Kelly worked at several notable wineries developing her craft.

Upon completion of her degree, Kelly returned to Canada and moved to the Okanagan Valley in early 2003 and began her wine career at Hillside Estate Winery where she created the wines through 2008. Since then, Kelly has joined the California Cult Classics team as the Director of Wine Operations & Winemaker

She is the head winemaker for 3 Mile Estate in Naramata,


Val Tait

Is the winemaker and general manager at Bench 1775 Vineyards on the Naramata Bench of the Okanagan.

She has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a master’s in integrated pest management. She started working at the Summerland research station on plant viruses and then developed her independent consulting business with grape growers in the early 1990s as new vineyards were being planted.

Her Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics degrees come from Siomon Fraser University. Her Oenology and Viticulture from UC Davis.


She became a partner at Bench 1775 in 2013 and, after the winery ownership changed the following year, she was given her currant portfolio of responsibilities.

The philosophy at Bench 1775 is to capture the full expression of the grapes grown in vibrantly healthy and balanced vineyards. 

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce moderated a panel on women involved in our wine industry, Val Tait, was invited.. Val is a strong beleiver in team work. TheWinery amazed the whole industry by eight awesomely-qualified women calling the shots at the winery. John Schreiner said in his latest blog that "these eight women at Bench 1775 are making excellent wines!"

Senka Tennant

Is best know for starting along with her husband Bob and partners Black Hills Winery. Where she created some very memorable wines ( Note Bene and Alibi).

From Black Hills to their new winery Terravista Vineyards and Figaro Wines Senka is also the winemaker for Lariana Cellars

Lydia Tomek

Obtained an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Oenology and Viticulture in the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University. Lydia wa inspired and motivated by Dr.Wendy Mc Fadden Smith and Dr. Helen Fisher at Vineland Research Station

Lydia made use of her summers working at 13th Street, Henry of Pelham, and Hillebrand wineries. Among her many awards she won as a student were 2001 Top winemaking student at Excellence of Women In Gastronomy and Most Distinguish Graduating Oenology and Viticulture Student. Lydia would go on to win numerous winemaking awards

2004 Lydia became acting winemaker for Hillebrand under the guidance of Robert Summers. A year later, she joined the winemaking team at Jackson Triggs where she worked under the direction of Kristine Casey. In 2006 she became head winemaker at Hernder Estates

Her proudest achievement is the creation of “Pink”, a rose made to help raise money and awareness towards breast cancer in Niagara. This wine was the first step towards developing the Hernder-Picasso Foundation. Since the release of “Pink”, $250, 000 have been pledged towards cancer treatment in Niagara and two other foundation wines have been released, Blue and It's Our Time Red.

Lydia is currently the Head Winemaker at Burning Kiln Winery 


Barbara Thompson

Winemaker Petite Riviere Vineyards.

Barbara Thomson a designer, RHN (Registered Holistic Nutritionist), Sommelier and winemaker. She relies on her nose and her chemistry training as a certi­ed natural nutritionist to lead her approach to wine making. She targets wines that are healthy to consume, re-ect of the terroir and distinct from each other in style and approach. She wants Petite wine drinkers to be able to compare and contrast different wines and ­nd something they really love.

She has studied with the Culinary and Wine Institute in Napa Valley as well as with Clark Smith in Sonoma. She was supported by local wine maker's Patrick Cantieni and Jurg Stutz in her ­first few years and now has Dominic Rivard of New Wine Planet as an advisor.

Sue Thygesen

Co owner of and co winemaker at Kraze Legz Vineyard and Winery inc. in Kaleden, BC
Sue and her husband Gerry come to the wine industry after successful marketing careers here and in the United States. Gerry, who was born in Alberta in 1957, first came to Penticton in 1973 to play junior hockey. He returned to the Okanagan in 1980 after university in the U.S. to marry Sue, a native of Golden

Sue's passion for wine starts in the vineyard, growing low cropped estate grown grapes she then crafts into stellar, fruit forward, small lot, award winning wines.

Co-designer of the 1920's themed labels, she is heavily involved in branding and marketing of their consumer friendly wines, including hosting winemakers dinners, events  and as  a Whisper Sister.... the female proprietor of the Kraze Legz Speakeasy/tasting room.

Sue is also a professional photographer



Teresa Townsley

Teresa began her career as a Trauma Nurse and Emergency Researcher and received special training to become one of the first Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in BC. She returned to university to study Medieval and early English Literature at Simon Fraser University, where she went on to develop a love for historical fiction and the mead that was featured in it.

She became involved in her community and eventually Municipal and Federal Politics, holding positions on Police Board, a Therapeutic Riding Association, and a Recovery House Advisory Panel before moving to Langley to begin working her hobby farm. She is currently on the Board of Directors for both Tourism Langley and New Wave Wines, a BC wide quality assurance marketing board similar to VQA for non-standard varietals, fruit wine and mead.

She is also an “Spirit of the Cranes” award recipient for excellence in Environmental Education.

She is a musician, singer and has been a choir director for over 30 years. Her current instrument of choice is Bass Guitar. She lives with her husband Bill, her two university-aged children, two dogs, two cats, four horses and about 50 chickens.

Teresa Townsley is the Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder of Festina Lente Estate Winery, a land-based winery specializing in premium honey wines (Mead).  Located on 5 acres in sunny South Langley’s Campbell Valley, Teresa began her foray into culinary pairings in 2010 by creatively combining wine and her own produce into gourmet Jellies and Jams for sale to local markets.

In 2016, she opened Festina Lente Winery combining her passion for sustainable agriculture and unique culinary experiences with her husband Bill’s expertise in apiculture. Drawing from a long family history in professional winemaking spanning several generations, they reinvented the ancient beverage of Mead to fit our modern drier palates and brought it from the stuff of legends to the sophisticated wine enthusiast’s table.

Under Teresa’s careful stewardship, Festina Lente Estate Winery is poised to become British Columbia’s largest meadery and will be undergoing major expansions in the near future to keep up with rapidly increasing demand for their products.


Elaine Triggs

Born and raised in rural Manitoba on the family grain farm, Elaine temporarily left her farming roots and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1966 with a BHE c ( H ons). Following her marriage to Don Triggs in 1966, they moved to Ontario. Elaine became an instructor of History of Costume, Patternmaking and Clothing Construction for several years in the Fashion A rts D epartment at Seneca C ollege, Toronto. For a period of eight years, she raised three daughters while moving with her family from Ontario, to California, to Vancouver and later back to Ontario.

While living in Vancouver she furthered her education, articled with Price Waterhouse in both the Vancouver and Mississauga offices and achieved her CA designation in 1992. After five years of public accounting, she worked with Ericsson Communications Canada as Corporate account manager.

Feeling the pull of their farming roots and love of wine, in 1998, Don & E laine purchased a 100 acre apple orchard on the Niagara P arkway in Niagara-on-the- Lake, Ontario and over the next three years, planted eight vinifera varietals, with each of the two or three selected clones grafted onto two or three different rootstocks. Delaine Vineyard became their first research project to develop the best possible viticultural practices in order to produce the highest quality wine grapes. As the C o- P roprietor of the vineyard, Elaine developed a real passion for vineyard management. An advocate of continuous learning, she developed an understanding of viticulture from many sources: Gerald Klose, Vineyard Manager at Inniskillin, tours of our vineyard with French consultant, Alain Sutre and by reading and attending seminars. Being the daughter of a grain farmer in Manitoba, it was like coming full circle; in fact her dad was consulted on occasion when buying tractors and other equipment.

In June 2006, Delaine Vineyard was sold but the fire was still there to start a project in an industry that was anchored in the land, one that was challenging and much loved. Elaine was involved in some very exciting design projects and acted as a client representative, performing Project and Design Management services for Vincor International Inc. From 2002- 2004, she co-ordinated the Design Development and Construction Documentation phases of L e Clos Jordanne, an estate winery project, designed by Frank Gehry for a joint venture between Vincor and La Famille Boisset of B urgundy. Prior to this, she worked with Kuwabara, Payne, McK enna and Blumberg, Architects on the design, development and co-ordination of Front of House of the Jackson-Triggs Niagara E state Winery, completed in 2001. Elaine's varied careers provided the background in design and accounting. These skills combined with her passion for growing wine grapes are a perfect fit for their new family business CULMINA FAMILY ESTATE WINERY


Jenn Triggs

Born in Victoria, BC, and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Jenn is the President and Founder of Phasion Estates Winery, a new venture she decided to undertake in June 2013. After 15 years in the telecommunications industry she decided to point her career in a new direction, entrepreneurship. After being reunited with her family after 30 years she was quite inspired by their passion and dedication to the wine industry, she sought out advice from her cousin and was then introduce to Mark Simpson. She has been mentoring with Mark for over a year. She is enjoying every minute of it and hasn't looked back. She is excited to be a part of a vibrant wine community and hopes to make a difference in the wine community the way her family has in for the past 30 years. You can find Jenn hosting wine events for charitable causes, joining wine festivals, and being a Canadian wine advocate in her local city of Calgary. She looks forward to seeking out her own vineyard and winery site in the next couple of years.


Valarie Tremblay

She is the operations and cellar master for BC Wine Studio. She is also the winemaker for Carter Wine Co.

She started working with cherries and later work at Hester Creek Estate Winery as cellar technician. 

Susan Vandermolen

Is the Co-Owner and Winemaker of Beaufort Vineyards located near Courtenay, on Vancouver Island BC. She was born in Chemainus just a few miles down the road from the winery. Susan graduated from the University of British Columbia in Chemical Engineering in 1983. She worked in the petroleum industry in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, then Houston, Texas, and the finally in London, England. Her career began in oilfield facility design and oil and gas reservoir development. The last 14 years of her career focused on the management of Environmental Protection, Safety, Health and Security for large international construction projects.

During that time she was a home winemaker. Susan and her husband Jeff had a dream of owing a winery. sharing a passion for travel, food, and wine, which they have sampled in many of the 60+ countries they have travelled to around the world. After several decades as “corporate nomads”, the Vandermolens left the corporate world behind and officially moved to the Comox Valley in Spring 2005 to establish a home-base from which to implement their work-lifestyle philosophy: work to live

Stephanie Van Dyk

(Winemaker) Born in British Columbia but raised in Alberta, Stephanie returned to BC in 1997 in pursuit of a new career in the fascinating industry of wine. Once she completed her winemaking education at Okanagan University College she joined the team at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. After many years as a laboratory technician she was promoted to Assistant Winemaker.

She took her skills and experience to Township 7 Winery where she worked closely with the Head Winemaker and collected a vast amount of winemaking expertise that she has now brought to her new role as Winemaker at Kalala Organic Winery . Later she moved to Andrew Peller

Marilyn Venturi

Co-owner of Venturi-Schulze Vineyard and Winery. In 1987 Marilyn and her husband Giordano took a three day trip to the Cowichan Valley. They fell in love with the area for its beauty and potential for grape growing and within two months they had bought their farm, planned the vineyard and given notice to their bosses

Marilyn was born in Goomeri, Queensland in rural Australia and raised in Sydney. She emigrated to Canada in 1970 and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology at UBC, then worked at UBC and the Provincial Health Laboratory.

Years later, she completed teacher training and her interest in French led her to the University of Montreal, where she met Giordano. His passion for life, food and wine was contagious and the dream became a shared one. She is also known for being uncompromising and determined in her quest for quality

She has enjoyed the opportunities for research in her field related to the wine and vinegar production, the first being an extensive and successful National Research Council project

Carol Slack-Wamboldt

Carol is owner and winemaker at Petite Riviere Vineyards. Back in 2005 when she and her late husband were just starting their adventure when tragedy stuck and Carol found herself a widow.

Carol now had two job to do by herself raising her daughter and establishing a winery. She succeed in both. Carol sold part of the wineries interests to Sean Sears and Barbara Thomson and will soon retire to as she says watching my children grow instead of my vines

Carol Wallace

Dragonfly Hill Vineyards

Carol is the owner of the winery. Dragonfly Hill is a small winery in Saanich BC. Carol Wallace has been growing grapes there for 18+ years, mostly Ortega and Auxerrois and has recently planted a section in one of the new Blattner varieties – Labelle  She produces white wines from estate and other Vancouver Island grapes, a Merlot Cabernet blend from a vineyard in Oliver, as well as her Bumbleberry dessert style. The property is ideally suited to grape growing, beautifully situated on a southwest sloping hillside with limestone and glacial alluvial gravel and a spring fed artesian water supply.


Rebecca (Becca) Willms

Rebecca started her career at a young age working on the family vineyard. After helping out at 13 th Street Winery, the winery that her parents helped found, Rebecca discovered her passion for wine. She attended Niagara College for their Winery and Viticulture Technician Program and has worked in wine cellars in British Columbia and Niagara-on-the-Lake honing her wine loving skills. Rebecca has been with Vines to Vintages since August 2010. Rebecca's knowledge is now being used to help others. She can be found doing what she does best “helping customers create their best wines ever".


Kristine Witkowski

Proprietor, Seven Directions Wine

Kristine moved from Kamloops BC to Penticton BC in the summer of 1991 and started her family 3 years later. She was a stay-at-home wife and mother doing childcare for many years, and then found a casual job working at the Penticton Trade & Convention Centre. Kristine worked her way up from a ticket seller for the bar service, to eventually the fulltime Event Manager position in 2004. She is now in her 10 th year as the only Event Manager at the PTCC.

After a few directions changed for Kristine in 2008, she carried on with her career and caring for her 2 children. She inevitably met winemaker Daniel Bontorin in mid-2009, fell in love, and has never looked back.

Kristine started Seven Direction Wine, a Rosé only label, in 2012 with Daniel as her winemaker. This Rosé only wine label is produced out of Volcanic Hills Winery and is considered a “virtual winery”. Her first vintage only produced 97 cases of Pinot Noir Rosé. In 2013 year she will have 2 varieties, Pinot Noir Rosé and a Zweigelt Rosé.

Kristine hopes to one day have a small vineyard and winery where she and Daniel can finish raising their 5 children together and make a more permanent home for themselves; here in the Okanagan


Shauna White

Now vineyard managaer at Adamo Estate in Ontario

Born in Kelowna, British Columbia on Sperling Vineyards, Shauna has been around winemaking since the beginning. After graduating from the Winery and Viticulture Technician program at Niagara Collage, Shauna did her first harvest experience at Domain Laroche in Chablis, France where she developed a passion for chardonnay. The experience at Domain Laroche solidified her interest for wine making which she carried around globe, interning at esteemed producers such as Ponzi Vineyards, Brokenwood, Mount Difficulty and Le Clos Jordanne.

Shauna visited the Vineyard at Ravine for the first time in July 2008. She was instantly taken by the commitment to organic and biodynamic farming practices, the rolling hill coming off the Niagara Escarpment and the rich history in the soil that contained the vines. The farming philosophies, the vines and the site itself in Shauna's eyes were tailor made to produce world class wines.

Currently at Road 13 Vineyards

Vida Zalnieriunas

Vida Zalnieriunas

Vida is the co-owner and winemaker at at By Chadsey's Crains.
She is a trained psychotherapist . Vida loves the country and insisted on living there weith her husband Richard Johnston

They have remained as true to their heritage farm as they have to their authentic county wines. Named after an early settler who built stone markers to guide him home in the afterlife, the winery by Chadsey`s cairns is an iconic county touchstone.

Loretta Zanatta

Loretta is the co-owner and winemaker at Vigneti Zanatta winery and vineyards.
The vineyards were planted in the early 60's

 Dionisio (Dennis) Zanatta came to Canada in the 1950s from his home in Treviso, Italy. bY cahnce he found himself involved in the Duncan Project or Becker Experiment, from 1981-1986, Dennis volunteered one acre of the Zanatta farm to the British Columbia provincial government as a test site for numerous varieties of grapes.

Loretta Zanatta grew up inspired by her father’s enthusiasm for the art of winemaking and his dedication to the land. After completing her degree at the University of British Columbia, Loretta decided to continue her education in Italy, earning credentials from the University of Piacenza in Enology. During her time in Italy, Loretta studied viticulture with relatives and worked under a Spumante House in the doc region of Prosecco.

It was in Italy that Loretta became enamoured with the art and science of the champagne method of winemaking. She fell in love with the product and the process; the intricate care and attention it takes to create champagnes.

In 1996 Loretta and husband, Jim Moody, took over Vinoteca, the Italian-influenced 1903 farmhouse that Loretta’s late sister, Ileana, lovingly converted to a tasting room, wine store and restaurant.


Allison Zimmerman

Owner Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery

Allison was born and raised in the West Indies in  Northern Trinidad on her family's cocoa and coffee estate. Her fascination with wine began at herFirst Communion ceremonyat age 10. That celebration was a rite of passage to grapes and wine in her early life.

Allison is a pragmatic individualwith an adventuresome soul, with a willingness to explore new avenues and ways of thinking. She has an intuitive love for natural, organic, living things which is why her  move to Canada after graduating high school at 16 ignited her spirit for adventure.

Following studies inUrban Planning Allison’s first career has been a caring mother, and in between, pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, education, retail management and working as a real estate professional.
Allison’s adventure into the wine industry began later in her career, but it has been no less passionate.

It was not until she met David Zimmerman in 1994, that she again found her fascination for wine. With David, the passion for wine was a unison.  With strategic financial planning, extensive agricultural research, professional guidance, input from friends and acquaintances in the wine industry, Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery was born. The winery is located in the beautiful countryside just north of Abbotsford The name comes from a pearl and gift shop Allison once owned on the White Rock beach.

Allison participates with the harvest of grapes to bottling of the wines and dedicates herself to all other aspects of Seaside Pearl  Winery helping to coordinate all things related to compliance, shipping, and customer service. She is also the Event Coordinator for weddings and private events that take place at Seaside Pearl Winery.

Besides a love of wine, Allison's favorite things include laughing with family and friends, traveling and visiting other wine regions both near and far.


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