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Moms Behind BC Wine

Mother’s Day is May 9, and we are celebrating by highlighting some of the moms behind BC wine! We caught up with some of the hardworking moms behind BC wine to talk to them about balancing life in the vineyard with motherhood.

From winemaking to their favourite wines to their most cherished part of the day, we covered it all.


Kristy French, Winemaker, The View Winery

Tell us how you got started in wine?
I grew up in Swan Valley, Western Australia, a winegrowing region. I loved what the industry had to offer, Art & Science rolled into one, as well as the beautiful outdoors. I studied Viticulture & Oenology at Curtin University and did my first vintage in 2003 at Houghton Wines.

Do you hope your kids follow in your footsteps?
I would love them to! I started teaching them how to taste wine (swirl, smell, taste, spit) from a very early age. They often help me with the final blending trials.

What makes good wine?
Good fruit! Balance between sugar, acid, tannins and texture. In the best wines, nothing stands out. It’s all cohesive and as one.

What new release BC wine are you most looking forward to?
The View’s 2020 White Rhino, 2020 Pinot Gris, 2019 Dry Riesling and 2019 Barrel Select Pinot Noir. In the Valley, I love trying new releases of Rosé, Chardonnay and Viognier.

How do you find balance in your work and family life?
I work a four-day week at work and 14 hours, seven days a week with my kids. I try to take an hour here and there for myself and my husband.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Have your kids younger and near your mom (my mom lives in Australia). I feel guilty she never gets to see her grandkids and there have been many times I could have used her help and words of wisdom.

What is your favourite part of the day? Why?
My one hour of TV at night when all of the kids are in bed, all the lunches packed and laundry is folded. It’s the only hour of the day where I can just switch off and not talk or think.


Joanna Schlosser, Owner, Niche Wine Company

Tell us how you got started in wine?
Honestly? I fell in love with a winemaker! I met James when he was doing his masters in viticulture and from that moment on it has been a wild and wonderful wine adventure. Although our backgrounds are very different (I am design and communications trained, and he is science all the way) we both found place and passion in the wine industry here in BC. I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Do you hope your kids follow in your footsteps?
I do hope our son will continue to have a strong connection to our farm and my hope is that one day he will love the world of wine like we do. The strong sense of community that James and I have found in the world of BC wine is also something I would love my son to experience. That being said, if he is happy, then we are happy and that’s really all that matters.

What makes good wine?
Well, isn’t that the million-dollar question! I think, for me, a good wine is about balance. Finding the right mix of fruit, sweetness, acid and alcohol is really the challenge. I think, not unlike cooking, the best wines start with really high-quality grapes. If you think about it that way, good wines are made with good farming.

What new release BC wine are you most looking forward to?
This time of year is so exciting because there are so many amazing new releases to look forward to. I’m a big Rosé lover, so any Pinot Noir based Rosé will quickly get my attention!

How do you find balance in your work and family life?
Honestly, my work life and family life are really one in the same and I love that. There is always wine talk at the dinner table and farm talk over coffee and I can’t imagine my life any other way. Maybe that is the sign that this is truly a passion? For me, the world of wine does not feel like work.

What advice would you give your younger self?
At 20 years old there are just so many options and even more unknowns and it can be hard to know where to focus. I would tell a younger version of me to slow down, take the time to dream and don’t be afraid to dream really big. I would also want to coach a younger me into goal setting for 10, 20, 30 years down the road. It is that kind of vision work that I think really sets the stage for building a happy life.

What is your favourite part of the day? Why?
I used to say happy hour! That kind of golden hour between 4pm and 7pm when the light is just right, and the wine is ready to be opened. But the older I get the more I love my morning coffee time. There is something so nice about the stillness at that time. Kind of a calm before the onset of the chaos of the day.


Ann Sperling, Owner, Winemaker, Sperling Vineyards

Tell us how you got started in wine?
Truly, we were born into it. Within our own generation we got to roam the hillsides, explore the terrain and soak up the sun – all within the family vineyard. Much like the vines growing in this place, we were guided by our grandfathers, and learned wisdom by doing and persevering. At some point, after leaving home, we had a wine epiphany and knew we had to make wine as an ongoing part of our life. Maybe we overdid it?

Do you hope your kids follow in your footsteps?
What I hope for our kids is that they grow up loving and respecting the land and the environment. If they choose growing and making wine, that would be a bonus. Our farm has been in the family for five generations now, and we see it less as a possession and more of a place from which we learn and become who we are. The place and land are to be tended and cared for and in return we can make a living.

What makes good wine?
Good wine brings together all of the elements of soil, site and the people who manage the vines and make the wine in a unique and memorable way. In my view, good wine becomes great when it evolves to something more lasting. It should taste good when young but develop into a more interesting wine with time. Right now, my favourite “good wine” is our 2017 Chardonnay Vision label. Classic, delicious on its own; lingering…lets you know there is more to come. Wine can also do good. In this sense, “good” wine is made on soils that are cared for and not depleted over time; the environment and ecosystem are respected during production, and the people behind good wine contribute to the community.

What new release BC wine are you most looking forward to?
We are super excited about the release of two Rosés we made last fall. One is a barrel-fermented Pinot Noir from our favourite block. It is such a benchmark for pink Pinot Noir that we decided to bottle it under our Vision label (label art by Ann’s daughter Lauren). Fresh, with full volume and mouthfeel, this Rosé can be enjoyed as a lead up to dinner or carry it through a summertime meal. Our family Rosé is an anytime wine, made to kick back and enjoy with friends or family (in-person or by Zoom). Bright flavours, big taste. Both Rosés are certified organic.

How do you find balance in your work and family life?
Balance isn’t in my/our vocabulary. Realistically, all of our role models didn’t have balance, and neither do we. Thankfully, we have wine. But seriously, a glass to relax at the end of the day is something to look forward to. But so is a job well done. And just when you think you’ve got it figured out, we have Mother Nature to remind us to stay humble.

What is your favourite part of the day? Why?
The best part of every day is being guided by the seasons. The vineyard and winemaking cycle changes with the seasons, and while each may have its own challenges, there’s always variety to drive creative juices.


Jill Richardson Branby, General Manager, Sperling Vineyards

Tell us how you got started in wine?
I’d have to echo Ann on this. It’s been an integral part of our upbringing. A big part of spending time with my grandparents, aunts, cousins and great-grandfather was in the vineyard. Every summer it was “all hands on deck” helping to prepare for harvest (making baskets and masters for table grapes was the perfect job for us kids.) It’s been a natural progression.

Do you hope your kids follow in your footsteps?
At the end of the day, I hope our kids appreciate the unique opportunity they have been given, by working and playing on land that has been cared and tended for by our family for over five generations. If they choose to work with us as adults or carry on in the industry on their own, it would be a bonus, for sure. The wine industry has so many incredible avenues and opportunities, depending on your skill set!

What makes good wine?
To me a good wine combines intent with terroir. I love wines that have a true connection to where they’re produced, and the people that crafted them. The feeling of knowing their story through the wine.

What new release BC wine are you most looking forward to?
Our 2020 organic Rosés are gorgeous! Rosé signals spring for me, and with sunnier, longer days, I can’t wait to be relaxing on local patios (or at home) with a glass of bright, fresh, juicy Rosé.

How do you find balance in your work and family life?
Oh, that elusive balance…I’d love to say that I’ve achieved some sort of balance between the two, but the reality is that inevitably one will always pull more than the other. I’m forever grateful to have the opportunity to have our children participate in our work. All four kids have spent hours in our office, in the tasting room, in the vineyard, on the bottling line, and helping at events. It’s been a wonderful learning experience for them. To see something go from new planting to organic grapes to organic wine, and then how to market and sell that same product to the community – it’s invaluable. We count our blessings daily, and honestly, a glass of wine sure helps!

What advice would you give your younger self?
Just trust the process. Hard work and commitment pay off.

What is your favourite part of the day? Why?
I’d say the morning moments before the busyness begins, or once they’re all accounted for, settled and in bed. Some satisfied quiet; nothing beats that.