Friday, August 3, 2018

Winemaker Changes in the Okanagan

Two Okanagan Valley winemaker roles have recently been filled; Kelowna's Quails' Gate Winery have promoted from within and Naramata Bench's Moraine Winery have scooped-up the temporarily vocation-less Dwight Sick.

From the Quails' Gate Winery Media Release:

Quails’ Gate Winery is pleased to announce that Ross Baker has been promoted to the position of Winemaker. Ross has been an integral part of our winemaking team since 2013 and was a protégé of former winemaker Nikki Callaway.

A native of Kelowna, Ross completed his Bachelor of Science in Wine at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Ross previously worked at Villa Maria Estates in Marlborough, New Zealand and also held positions locally at both Red Rooster Winery and Kettle Valley Winery.

Tony Stewart, CEO of Quails’ Gate winery, notes “We are very excited for Ross to assume the role of Winemaker. Ross has been part of the Quails’ Gate family for many years, and with his intimate knowledge of our vineyards and wine styles, is the perfect candidate to maintain the consistency and quality of our wines.”

Quails’ Gate is also happy to share that Kailee Frasch has assumed the role of Oenologist. Kailee started at the winery in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, and a Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology from Brock University.

In the coming weeks, the Stewart family will announce its selection for the Director of Winemaking position. This new role will oversee winery operations at Quails’ Gate as well as the family’s Sonoma operations for Lake Sonoma Winery and Valley of the Moon.

From the Moraine Winery Medial Release:

Moraine Winery owners Oleg and Svetlana Aristarkhov, are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dwight Sick as their new winemaker and director of vineyard / winery operations. Dwight Sick, former winemaker, over the past 10 years, at award winning Stag’s Hollow Winery (awarded #5 small winery in Canadaat the 2018 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada), brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the operations of Moraine Winery. His style of winemaking is well suited to our winery and the fruit which we grow in our estate vineyards on the Naramata Bench.

The timing of Dwight joining forces with Moraine Winery couldn’t be happening at a better moment as the winery is currently completing a major reconstruction including an expanded winery production area, barrel cellar, tasting room and guest experience centre.

“I’m very excited to be stepping into this role at Moraine Winery. While I’ve only just had time to inspect the vineyards, taste through the wines and view the construction of the new winery
facilities, I couldn’t be happier with the situation. There is a strong team at work and they are doing great things at Moraine Winery. My hopes are to add to these successes and to help take the brand to a new level”.

There is little doubt that Dwight will be able to help take Moraine to a new level bringing his years of experience in the vineyard and cellar as well as his years pouring at trade and customer events building brand awareness and educating tasters - an underrated skill in the industry.

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