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Dads Behind BC Wine

Father’s Day is June 21 and we’re celebrating by highlighting some of the Dads behind BC wine!

We caught up with some of the hardworking Dads behind BC Wine to talk to them about balancing life in the vineyard with fatherhood. From winemaking to dad jokes, we covered it all.



Charlie Baessler, Owner, Winemaker & Manager, Corcelettes Winery and father of twin girls

What do you love about winemaking?
Not much beats the high, risk and continued challenges behind a great vintage. Whether we as winemakers are moving the goal posts for ourselves, or the industry does, one can never really do the same thing every year and expect the same result.  Oh, and farming. I love dirt.

What is the most challenging part of winemaking?
Weather, every time. The best plan can be fouled by a weather event. The one element no one controls.

How do you balance being a parent and winemaking?
Honestly, barely! However, we are in such a fortunate spot to have the kids right on our farm so the long days and weekends are cut by jokes and pokes from the kids, evening irrigation rounds on ATVs or riding bikes around the wine shop.  Because they are literally seeing the day-to-day operation of the wine business, and are on some level involved, it’s the ‘norm’ and until they learn otherwise, the way it has to be.

What has surprised you about being a winemaker? And surprised you about being a dad?
Well, both wait for no one, that’s for sure. The biggest surprise would certainly be how fast time passes. Currently growing my 15th vintage and I have twin girls turning 5!

What new release wine are you most looking forward to?
TALUS! Talus represents years of work in understanding our Similkameen vineyards and continuously improving our cellar practices while working with this fruit. It will be released this fall.

What is your favourite BC wine not from your winery?
Some seriously gorgeous Merlot and Chardonnays on the ‘scene’. Recently, I was invited to a tasting of Addendum from Black Hills Estate Winery, certainly a wine one would be excited about having made. I have an obvious soft spot for Merlot/Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blends.

Karnail Singh Sidhu, Owner & Winemaker, Kalala Organic Estate Winery and father of two 

What do you love about winemaking?
There’s not just one thing, I love many things! Winemaking is a combination of art and science, so you always get to be creative. Coming up with wine blends is kind of like when you are painting and mixing paint to find just the right shade. I never hesitate to make new wines.

What is the most challenging part of winemaking?
The most challenging can be the grapes and weather. Without nice weather to grow good grapes it is harder to make good wine; it requires more attention. We don’t always have perfect weather, but I am able to work around the weather to produce good quality grapes and wine.

How do you balance being a parent and winemaking?
It is important to have a balance between family and work. Lucky for me I live on the property so it’s easier to either put the two together or take a step back from work for some family time. Being a smaller family run operation, it is difficult sometimes when we are busy and trying to meet deadlines. Often times if I am working late my daughters join me to help which is nice.

What is your favourite thing to do with your kids?
I love working with my kids and just hanging out with them in general. I like teaching them how to grow things so they can grow their own food if ever needed. Being able to grow your own food is a skill I think a lot of people are starting to lack so it is up to the famers to pass down the knowledge to the next generations.

What new release are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to release Dostana Simran. It’s a port style wine. We didn’t add any alcohol, we just let if ferment longer to produce higher alcohol. The grapes were picked later in the season, so they have a higher sugar content. It is named after my oldest daughter Simran. We have Dostana Kiran, which is named after my youngest daughter, now we’ll have one for both.

What is your favourite BC wine not from your winery?
My favourite is Summerhill’s Cipes Brut Rosé. It is a nice sparkling Rosé good for summer.

Marcus Ansems, Owner & Winemaker, Daydreamer Wines and father of three 

What do you love about winemaking?
It combines art, science and agriculture.

What is the most challenging part of winemaking?
Trying not to intervene.

How do you balance being a parent and winemaking?
I try to get the kids involved in the vineyard, but it’s hard during harvest due to the long hours.

What surprised you about being a winemaker? And surprised you about being a dad?
I really enjoy the physical work of winemaking and the unconditional love from being a dad.

What is your favourite dad joke?
What do you call somebody with no body and no nose? Nobody knows.

What new release wine are you most looking forward to?
2019 Riesling.

What is your favourite BC wine not from your winery?
Quails’ Gate Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay.

Tony Holler, Owner, Poplar Grove and father of four and grandfather of five 

Tell us your story of how you got started in wine?
My story begins with a love for drinking wine which started when I was very young. My Dad would give us sips of wine when we were having dinner. Forward 20 years and these first sips eventually became a bit of an obsession once I graduated from medical school and had some cash. I started to collect wine from all over the world and over several decades my wine cellar grew to about 5000 bottles. My wife Barbara and I decided to build a home on Okanagan Lake just outside Penticton and our neighbours owned Poplar Grove. The opportunity arose to partner with Ian Sutherland and develop a new business plan for Poplar Grove which included buying vineyard land, a new production facility and a new tasting room and restaurant.

Do you hope your kids follow in your footsteps?
The biggest surprise for me was that all four of my sons wanted to be part of the family business. My sons grew up in Vancouver, so no farming background, and when I purchased Poplar Grove, I assumed that my sons would go to University and choose various career paths. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be seeing my sons almost every day and working with them in the various tasks required to run the winery and vineyards.

What is your favourite thing to do with your kids?
Our regular family dinners at the lakehouse typically on Sundays are very special as we all get together and help prepare the meals and we get to spend time with our grandkids. We have 5 grandsons aged 10 months to 7 years.

What new release wine are you most looking forward to?
Lakeview Rosé 2019. We made only 300 cases of this single vineyards Rosé from our Lakeview vineyard. $5 from every bottle of the Lakeview Rosé 2019 sold online, in the tasting room and in our restaurant from June – August goes to support the BC Hospitality Foundation. The Lakeview Rosé 2019 is 100% Malbec from the Lakeview vineyard that is situated close to our family home on the Naramata Bench. The vineyard is special because its proximity to Lake Okanagan moderates the temperature in this vineyard, so we find the grapes have great acidity that are prefect for a dry, well-balanced Rosé that is far too easy to drink.

What is your favourite BC wine not from your winery?
I do not have a favourite wine because there are so many wineries producing superb wines! In terms of varietals, I am drinking more Pinot Noirs and we have excellent examples from Tantalus, Liquidity, Martin’s Lane and others. We have planted over 15 acres of Pinot Noir on the Naramata Bench and first harvest will be next year.