History

In 2006 the land was purchased from Clarence Schneider, a second-generation Similkameen farmer. The 220-acre site was previously a grazing pasture, partially planted with alfalfa.

Upon visiting the property for the first time, our co-owner Suki Sekhon, discovered the pasture was covered in beautiful butterflies. As a symbolic gesture to the enchanting flutter, it was decided to name the vineyard Vanessa, which is Greek for butterfly.

The quantity of rocks on site initially made vineyard development exceedingly challenging. However, under the guidance of our renowned viticulturists, the late Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, and with Howard Soon overseeing the planting, the vines were planted in rows of rocks, and became a key asset to our property’s unique terroir. The rocks absorb the days heat, imparting the warmth throughout the cooler nights, which enables the fruit to produce complex flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive.

Exclusively grape growers for the first five years, we sold our high-quality fruit to a select few British Columbia wineries before transitioning to vintners! In 2012, owners Suki Sekhon and John Welson aspired to produce the best red wines in the country, making the decision to begin crafting small quantities of premium red wine.

Although Howard Soon played a key role in our vineyard from the very beginning, it was in 2017 that we officially welcomed Howard to our team as Master Winemaker of Vanessa Vineyard. In doing so, we’ve been able to produce some of the most profound reds in Canada. A true pioneer in the BC wine industry, Howard has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation for over three decades, one of the first people to be named to the Order of Canada for everything he’s accomplished and contributed to the wine industry, and continues to create the most precise flavour profiles that reflect our unique vineyard.

2017 also saw the opening of the much-anticipated tasting room. Just a 19-minute drive from Osoyoos, it’s elegant and simplistic design was inspired by the region’s natural grandeur, incorporating the mosaic of the land, and celebrates the rocky terrain.

The terroir of the site, along with our extraordinary viticulture team, and our award-winning Master Winemaker, creates the perfect blend for making truly distinctive wines.

We hope you enjoy!

Carved from stone, fuelled by sun, a vineyard like no other. Our vineyard is situated high on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley with grapes cultivated on 75 acres of sloping, and extremely rocky terrain. We focus on producing small quantities of premium red wines using only estate-grown fruit.

Our Vision

Our vision is simple. We want to become one of the premier red sites in Canada, producing the best red wines from the renowned Similkameen Valley. We hope that by using only the highest quality of 100% estate-grown fruit that we properly represent and strengthen its reputation.

Our Values

As a boutique winery, our daily actions can have a large impact. While our dedication to achieving uncompromising quality wines goes without saying, it’s our commitment to adopting environmentally-conscience practices and respecting the land, to supporting local BC charities and community initiatives which really gives us a sense of pride.

Our People

From legendary viticulturists to award-winning winemakers, our team may be small but our expertise is vast. Thanks to our extraordinary people, we are able to craft profound wines that reflect this truly distinctive vineyard.

Proprietor

Suki Sekhon

A decade ago, President and CEO of CRS Group of Companies, Suki Sekhon, discovered and identified a unique opportunity and acquired a rock-strewn 220-acre piece of land in the Similkameen Valley. Known today as Vanessa Vineyard, you can now add vintner to his portfolio. Suki is a passionate philanthropist and businessman, helping businesses and charities grow and thrive. As a champion for several BC non-profits, community has always been at the forefront for Suki and his family as they make it a mandate to give back. 

Proprietor

John Welson

After spending much of his professional life in Canada’s financial industry, John decided to move on to pursue new adventures in farming. His knowledge and appreciation for wine led him off the beaten path in two distinct wine regions, purchasing a Finca in Northern Argentina, followed by joining forces with Suki in establishing Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley.  

Master Winemaker

Howard Soon

A living legend, for over forty decades Howard has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation.  Since joining the wine industry in 1980, Howard has earned innumerable awards and accolades, and in 2019 was the first winemaker named to the Order of Canada, a milestone we are so proud to celebrate with him.  

Site Manager

Nathan Goltz

A fourth-generation farmer from Oliver, British Columbia, Nathan brings a strong history of innovative agricultural techniques to Vanessa Vineyard. His dedication to producing quality fruit, and improving the vineyards operations can be attributed to the legacy of his late father Robert Goltz, and the Goltz familywho have been leaving a footprint in the Okanagan for many years. 

blair-dufty

Estate Manager

Blair Dufty

With over 30 years of experience, Blair is no stranger to British Columbia’s hospitality scene. His desire for more intimate and hands-on work combined with his passion for people, food, and wine, led him to Vanessa Vineyard which felt like home. When he isn’t providing exceptional service at our Tasting Room, he can be found cooking for his friends and family, surfing, skiing or playing hockey in beautiful BC’s back yard. 

Community

At the very heart of Vanessa Vineyard is our passion for how great wine, from grape to glass, can bring people together. Our pride does not only stem from growing unique grapes in the Similkameen Valley but from supporting the local community and charities in BC.

 

 

 

 

Learn more about our community initiatives below:


ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH 2021

Debbie Shing founder of Quvé shines the light of Asian influence in the wine industry and featured Vanessa Vineyard on Your Morning, CTV. Debbie highlighted our Master Winemaker Howard Soon and his contribution to the wine industry and featured our award-winning Meritage. You can watch the clip here (go to the 1:34 mark)

WORLD BOOK DAY WITH RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE BC & YUKON

Ronald McDonald House is a place of comfort, healing, and a home away from home for kids and families from all across BC and Yukon. In honour of World Book Day we partnered with RMH BC & Yukon and donated books for children and their families going through treatment. Children love books and reading together is such valuable time for families. We wrote a blog post about it here.

BC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL 34TH ANNUAL CRYSTAL BALL

Vanessa Vineyard was very proud to be the wine sponsor of the 34th Annual Crystal Ball by BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. This hospital holds a very special place in all of our hearts here at Vanessa Vineyard and we are excited to share that the first-ever virtual Crystal Ball raised over $3.8 million that will make a positive impact on the lives of kids who relapse from hard-to-treat cancers. Learn more.

NO WINING: BC WINERIES GET CREATIVE WITH GRAPES TAINTED BY SMOKE

“When life gives you bad grapes, what do you make? After British Columbia’s disastrous 2018 wildfires left vineyards tainted with smoke, some wineries managed to get creative so they didn’t waste the fruits of their labour. Robin Gill explains how.” Watch here.

GENEROSITY FROM THE SIMILKAMEEN VALLEY

“Vanessa Vineyards aims to donate a total of 200 meals over the next 90 days to the Meals on Wheels Program at the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society, which delivers food to seniors every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.” Read more.