One of the Okanagan’s newest, and arguably largest, wineries is one step closer to opening its doors to the public.
Phantom Creek Estates, located outside of Oliver at 4315 Black Sage Rd., announced that it has completed its first phase of construction of the over $100 million facility. According to a release, to celebrate the winery will be offering a preview estate tour and tasting guided experience by appointment beginning Sept. 1.
The winery specializes in single vineyard Bordeaux reds, Alsatian whites and the Okanagan’s benchmark varieties of Viognier and Syrah. Richter Bai, the founder of the Phantom Creek, also announced the appointment of Santiago Cilley as CEO and Francis Hutt as winemaker.
“We conducted a lengthy, global search for these key positions. I’m confident Santiago and Francis are the right individuals to build Phantom Creek Estates into a world-class, legacy winery,” said Bai in the release.
Cilley began his career in the industry with Jackson Family Wines in California, spending nine years spearheading strategic projects with the late founder Jess Jackson. He then relocated to Chile to work with certified sustainable, export-oriented Via Wines. While there, he made contact with wine entrepreneur Alejandro Bulgheroni, who made Cilley the president of Bulgheroni Family Vineyards USA. He then launched Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate in St. Helena, Napa, and oversaw Zinfandel pioneer Renwood Winery in the Sierra Nevada Foothills along with other wine related businesses, including Bounty Hunter Rare Wines & Spirits.
“Phantom Creek Estates combines heritage vineyard sites with an outstanding winemaking team and a thoughtfully crafted hospitality program,” said Cilley in the release. “We want our guests to discover this special place and taste the dedication and precision that has gone into producing our wines while immersed in an unparalleled experience.”
Hutt has had experience winemaking in both the north and south regions of his native New Zealand, as well as spending vintages in Oregon, Burgundy and Australia. This led to his profound knowledge of organic and biodynamic winegrowing. Previously, he was the general manager and winemaker at Carrick Winery & Vineyards in New Zealand, and he also oversaw winemaking at Kennedy Point Vineyard on Waiheke Island.
“I’m thrilled to join Phantom Creek Estates as it was obvious from the beginning that the team is passionate about creating something special, from back-of-house to winemaking, the energy here is really great,” said Hutt in the release. “I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to steward these distinctive sites, especially as we continue our transition to organic and biodynamic certification.”
The release states that construction on the second and final phase of the facility will conclude in early 2020, with a grand opening to follow in April 2020. Altogether, the winery will contain a multi-level hospitality centre, an indoor and outdoor restaurant and a 500-seat ampitheatre for outdoor concerts.
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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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