Friday, April 11, 2014

Tinhorn Creek names new winemaker

Photo: Andrew Windsor

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards president Sandra Oldfield is transferring the role of head winemaker to Andrew Windsor, 35, an Ontario-born vintner with a master’s degree in enology from Adelaide University in Australia.

Sandra has been the head winemaker at Tinhorn Creek for 20 years. In recent years, she has taken on an increasingly heavy management role. That triggered the decision to launch a six-country search for a new winemaker that ended with hiring a Canadian.

“I have a day job, running Tinhorn,” Sandra (left) explained in an interview. “It turns out that is a pretty big job. I can’t make wine on the side. For me, it was not a really difficult step to take. It is not like I am going anywhere.” 

Andrew Windsor has been recruited from Andrew Peller Ltd. in Ontario where he has been involved in making wines from the VQA portfolio during the past three vintages.

“We have hired him to be a winemaker and to bring in new and creative ideas to the cellar in the same way that Andrew Moon did things to revitalize our vineyards,” Sandra says. 

Moon (right) is the Australian viticulturist that Tinhorn Creek hired in 2008. He has had a profound impact on how the winery manages its vineyards, resulting in a quite apparent rise in the quality of Tinhorn Creek’s wines.

Korol Kuklo, the assistant winemaker at Tinhorn Creek for almost 15 years, will continue in that role.  “She is great with managing people and she is great with managing cellar operations,” Sandra says. “That need does not go away when you bring on a new winemaker. The new person needs to have a cellar manager that knows what they are doing.”

This will be Andrew’s second winemaking job in British Columbia. He was hired in July 2010 as winemaker for EauVivre Winery and Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley. He left in March 2011, after 10 months, to work at a large Pernod Ricard winery in New Zealand.

“He switched to a bigger winery than us,” EauVivre owner Dale Wright says. “We were too small for him.”

However, that gave Andrew a taste for winemaking in British Columbia that has brought him back. “He made red wine out here in the Similkameen, so he knows  what the possibilities are here,” Sandra says. “When he was interviewing with us, [he said] on three or four separate occasions that he really does want to make the best wine in Canada. He has targeted that this is the place where he can do that, on the Golden Mile Bench and on Black Sage Bench.”

Andrew initially studied environmental science at the University of Guelph but got a taste for winemaking in 2005 at The Ice House Winery at Niagara-on-the-Lake. He completed his winemaking degree at the University of Adelaide in 2006.

In 2008, he joined the winemaking staff at Mollydooker Wines, a McLaren Vale winery that had been started in 2005 and has since made a reputation for its big red wines. He left there to join EauVivre and then, in the spring of 2011, returned to the southern hemisphere for the 2011 vintage at huge Pernod Ricard operation in New Zealand.

When that job was completed, he moved to France and spent six months, and another 2011 vintage, at Cave de Tain, a producer of Hermitage. On returning to Canada, he joined Peller in mid 2012.

France taught me that wine is not just a science but an art form, a culture and an expression of a place,” Andrew said in a new release from Tinhorn Creek. “Wine has the ability to take you to a place in the world without leaving your home.”

“Once he was back in Canada, he really did want to be back in B.C.,” Sandra says. “He is going to be bringing a lot new to us. He is here to do what Andrew Moon did – bring a skill set from different locations and apply it here.”


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home