Local Wine Industry Blows Off Steam With Wild ‘Winemaker’s Cup’ Ski Competition


The GOODS from Black Hills Winery

Okanagan Valley, BC | An amateur skiing competition among professional winemakers and winery staff drew record numbers at Big White last weekend.

About 70 wine industry staff skied or snowboarded the slalom course at the 10th annual Cellar-Tek Winemaker’s Cup located at Big White’s Lower Speculation run. Penticton’s Pent?ge Winery Proprietor and Winemaker Paul Gardner completed the course in the fastest combined time of 45.19 seconds.

It was a startling upset in a race won in three out of the last four years by Winemaker Charlie Baessler of Corcelettes Estate Winery. Graeme Duncan of Deep Roots Winery, who took home the title in 2015, took second podium spot in a tie with Paul Embgrets of Quails Gate Winery. Third place went to Glenn Fawcett, president of Black Hills Estate Winery.

The 2017 fastest female skier on the course was JoieFarm Winery’s Diane Fox in a combined time of 53.02, followed by Claudia Embgrets of Quails Gate Winery and Caley Fraser of Hester Creek Estate Winery who placed second and third respectively.

The best snowboarder on the day was Richard Charnock of Bartier Bros at 58.35, just slightly ahead of top female snowboarder Amy Kinnear of JoieFarm Winery.

The excellent race times were made even more remarkable as many of the competitors were racing following a long night – dressed in 1980s costumes – sabring and tasting sparkling wine at the Hot Tub Time Machine/Sabre Fest at the Globe Café & Tapas Bar.

On Saturday the celebration continued into the night after the race as wineries enjoyed an awards dinner and silent disco party.

“Our 10th year was significant because of the amazing turnout – a record – the fierceness of the competition and the strong relationships developed throughout the weekend,” said Cup Co-Founder Glenn Fawcett, president of Black Hills Estate Winery, a key sponsor. “The wine business is very competitive and can be political at times. This race gives the industry a chance to forget all of that for a weekend and just have fun together.”

Fawcett said the success of the event in bringing the industry together is evidenced by the ongoing support from long time sponsors like Cellar-Tek, ATS Healthcare and Big White Ski Resort, as well as the many new sponsors who came on board in the 10th year.

“It’s a necessary industry event that helps us remember we are all in this together,” Fawcett added.

In its first 10 years, the Winemaker’s Cup has had 500 participants from 77 wineries.


Wine Experience Centre
4190 Black Sage Road
Oliver BC, V0H1T1

Winery and Office (and Mailing Address)
4318 Black Sage Road
Oliver BC, V0H1T1
(250) 498-0666

Office & Tasting Room
Tasting Room Closed December thru March

Wine Shop Inquiries: tastingexperience@blackhillswinery.com
General Inquiries: info@blackhillswinery.com



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Glenn Fawcett, president
Graham Pierce, winemaker
Jesse Cooper, assistant winemaker



Founded in 1999, Black Hills Estate Winery produces wine exclusively from its estate vineyard on the Black Sage Bench, north of Osoyoos, British Columbia. The vineyard microclimate is one of the hottest, driest, and sunniest sites in the South Okanagan, allowing the vines to yield flavourful grapes of balanced intensity. Using environmentally-friendly viticultural techniques and thoughtful winemaking practices, the winery produces varietally-labelled Viognier, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Carménère. The winery is well-known for its two signature blends, Alibi (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) and Nota Bene, an age-worthy Bordeaux-style red, produced in limited-quantities from select barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. A second label, Cellar Hand, was introduced in 2012, allowing the winemaking team freedom to experiment with select barrels from the estate.

The Black Hills team welcomes wine lovers to visit their Wine Experience Center in Oliver. The new facility allows visitors to enjoy a 90-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the Black Hills winery and vineyard with winemaker Graham Pierce or assistant winemaker Jesse Cooper. New for 2016, the tour will include barrel tasting, a charcuterie plate and a full portfolio tasting at the Wine Experience Center. Annual summer events held at the facility are bold, exciting and fun. Members of the Black Hills Wine Club enjoy access to limited-release wines not available to the general public.

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