Photo: Osoyoos Larose winemaker Jean-March Enixon
New winemakers have been announced for both Osoyoos Larose
Winery and See Ya Later Ranch.
Mathieu Mercier, the general manager and winemaker at Osoyoos
Larose since 2013, has just announced that he and vineyard manager Julie Rapel
are returning to Bordeaux at the end of March 2016. Groupe Taillan, which owns
Osoyoos Larose, has asked him to manage several of the company’s estates in
France and handle other projects.
His successor is Jean-Marc Enixon, another Bordeaux-trained
winemaker who sold his small winery last year as part of a decision gain
winemaking experience beyond France,
“I will still be involved in Osoyoos Larose project, tasting
and making blending decisions from Bordeaux, with all the Groupe Taillan
winemakers team,” Mathieu says. “It has been a wonderful ride for Julie and me,
where we have spent all our time to continue elevating the quality of this
exceptional estate, Osoyoos Larose.”
Benoit Giroussens, a vineyard manager from Bordeaux, will be
replacing Julie (who also returns to Groupe Taillan).
During their three vintages at Osoyoos Larose, Mathieu and
Julie initiated trials in barrel-fermenting red varietals, with a view to
taking the estate’s wines to the next level of quality.
They also initiated plans to build a tasting room at the
vineyard. Currently, Osoyoos Larose still makes its wines in a separate area at
the Jackson-Triggs winery near Oliver. There has never been an Osoyoos Larose
tasting room there. Construction of the vineyard tasting room is expected to
begin this summer.
Jean-Marc Enixon is
a native of Bordeaux where, as he says in a biographical note, he was “born in
the heart of the wine world,” spending time in the vineyards with his father. Passionate
about winemaking and its alchemy, he has a Master’s in Viticulture and Enology
from Bordeaux University. He has produced wines in several regions of France as
well as in California. In 2004, he took on the responsibility of managing the
family estate, Château Puy Guilhem, in the Fronsac appellation.
Jean-Marc began working together in the 2015 vintage. “During a wine tasting organized by Groupe
Taillan, Jean-Marc was impressed by the quality and the potential of Osoyoos
Larose wines,” Mathieu said in his statement. “The richness and the complexity
stimulated his curiosity.”
Photo: SYL winemaker Dave Saysomsack (courtesy Constellation Brands)
At SYL, Dave Saysomsack succeeds Dave Carson, now the senior
winemaker at Jackson Triggs Okanagan.
Born in Laos and raised in the farming community
of Abbotsford, B.C., Dave was a passionate hobby winemaker for more than a
decade before he decided to turn professional. He went back to school to
complete an honors degree at Brock University in Oenology and
He has worked in Ontario, California, Washington
State, Oregon, New Zealand and now the Okanagan. In British Columbia, his
previous winemaking stints have been with Pacific Breeze and Burrowing Owl
At See Ya Later, he takes over one of the most
historic wineries in the Okanagan Falls region. It opened in 1986 as LeComte
Estate Winery. It was renamed Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards after being acquired
by Sumac Ridge founder Harry McWatters.
The winery is now owned by Constellation Brands
who renamed it See Ya Later Ranch, inspired by a story, possibly apocryphal,
about Major Hugh Fraser, who owned the property for about 45 years from the end
of The Great War. It is said that the Major brought a British war bride with
him. After a few months, she found Okanagan Falls so remote that she returned
home, leaving a note for the major that read “See Ya Later.”
The more probable explanation is that the major
was a prolific letter writer in the habit of signing See Ya Later on his
What is not in doubt is that the major was a great
dog fancier and buried a dozen of his pets on the property with headstones.
These are now gather in one spot in from of the wine shop. The names of several
of the major’s dogs are now on the labels of the wines here, including Ping,
Nellie, Belle, Rover, Hunny and Jimmie My Pal.