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History

1977, Becker Project Begins

Led by renowned viticulturist Helmut Becker, over 30 different grape varieties were specifically planted at (what’s now) Becker Vineyard as a demonstration that traditional European vines could survive in British Columbia. And not only did they survive—they thrived.

1993, Bordeaux Varieties Introduced

Becker Vineyard was one of the first in the South Okanagan to showcase the potential for late ripening Bordeaux reds, putting it at the forefront of the shift that would soon take place in the region’s winegrowing philosophies.

1996, Phantom Creek Vineyard

Phantom Creek Vineyard was planted by leading Okanagan viticulturist Richard Cleave to Cabernet family varieties and Syrah. Today, our namesake vineyard is recognized as one of the best in the country, and has produced the “Best Red Wine in Canada” on three separate occasions.

2005, Kobau Vineyard

Kobau Vineyard was originally planted as an apple orchard in 1929, shortly after irrigation was introduced to the South Okanagan. Located on the Golden Mile Bench, the acclaimed vineyard was planted to Cabernet family varieties, Viognier, and Syrah in 2005.

2016, Bai Family Founds Phantom Creek Estates

Driven by a love of Bordeaux-style wine, Richter Bai purchases Becker and Phantom Creek Vineyards, where his dream of starting a winery in the famed Okanagan Valley begins.

Today, Phantom Creek Estates

With the aim of setting the benchmark in Canadian viticulture and winemaking, Phantom Creek's estate vineyards are now in transition to organic and biodynamic farming practices. We’ve got a foot firmly rooted in the past with our vision to the future.

Winemaking

Viticulture

Our winemaking truly begins in the vineyard. We farm our estate grapes with the aim of expressing the character of each vineyard in the final wine. And then we get out of the way.

Harvest

From sampling each individual block to meticulously hand-harvesting each cluster, our goal is to ensure fruit is brought into the winery at optimal ripeness. We pick earlier than most, a crucial step to retaining freshness and achieving balance once bottled.

Winery

Our red wines are first hand sorted, then optically sorted; each berry must meet our standards before it’s pressed and fermented in small oak barriques. Our whites are pressed whole cluster, wild fermented in custom Stockinger oak casks. Our goal with every one of our wines is to achieve optimal texture, layers of complexity, and integration with oak.

Our Team

Olivier Humbrecht MW

Consulting Winemaker

Olivier, France’s first Master of Wine, is the owner and winemaker of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. The renowned estate has been in his family since 1620, and today is one of the world’s leading Pinot Gris and Riesling producers. Olivier has an integral role in our white winemaking program, and also guides our transition to organic and biodynamic practices.

Francis Hutt

Winemaker

Francis has made wine on both the north and south islands of his native New Zealand—in addition to harvests in Hunter Valley, Australia, Oregon and Burgundy—developing a deep knowledge of organic and biodynamic winegrowing. At Carrick Winery & Vineyards in New Zealand, he led the transformation of the vineyards to organic certification as General Manager and Head Winemaker. In this role, he also oversaw winemaking for Kennedy Point Vineyard, Waiheke Island’s only certified organic vineyard and a highly regarded producer of Bordeaux varieties.

Anne Vawter

Founding and Consulting Winemaker

After graduating from UC Davis’ prestigious Enology and Viticulture program, Anne worked under the guidance of winemakers Michael Beaulac and then Heidi Barrett. For over ten years now, Anne has consulted for numerous small prestigious wineries throughout Napa Valley. As a founding team member of Phantom Creek, Anne’s commitment to quality continues to set the standard at the winery.

Cameron Vawter

Founding and Consulting Winemaker and Viticulturist

As the founding winemaker at Dana Estates, Cameron played an integral role in building the cult Napa winery into a critical darling, earning three 100-point scores. He was also privileged to work alongside famed winemaking consultant Philippe Melka, who was ranked the most influential American winemaker in 2013.

Karin Grosstessner-Hain

Assistant Winemaker

A native of Austria, Karin fell in love with wine while visiting the mountains of South Tyrol. After earning her PhD in Technical Chemistry, Karin decided to pursue her passion for wine by studying Oenology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. She joined Phantom Creek in 2016 after working harvests in Marlborough, Central Otago, and the Okanagan; and has since completed a lengthy harvest at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River.

Calli Bailey

Oenologist

Calli grew up in rural Saskatchewan, but her family’s summer home in the Okanagan meant she was immersed in the wine industry from a young age. An introductory wine course at UBC, while completing her degree in Food, Nutrition, and Health, inspired her to pursue a career in wine. After graduating from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, she worked harvests in New Zealand and the Okanagan before joining Phantom Creek in August 2017.

Allison MacLeod

Cellar Master

From the mountains of Canmore to Napa Valley, Allison completed her Culinary Arts degree at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America before enrolling at Napa Valley College to study her true calling: winemaking. With extensive experience in the Okanagan and abroad, including in Sonoma, Barossa Valley, and Tasmania, Allison worked the 2017 harvest at Phantom Creek before returning full-time in June 2018 as Cellar Master.

John Pires

Vineyard Manager, Black Sage Bench

Born in Portugal, John grew up tending his family’s vines and making wine in the Portuguese tradition. As our very first employee, he has tended the vines at Phantom Creek and Becker Vineyards for over 16 years, leading the charge to produce exceptional wine from the ground up and championing our biodynamic and organic vineyard practices.

Benjamin Brown

Vineyard Manager, Similkameen Valley

A graduate of Niagara College's highly regarded Winemaking and Viticulture program, Ben has broad industry experience working for some of Canada's top wineries. Detail-oriented with a passion for organic and biodynamic farming, Ben oversees the development of Evernden Spring Vineyard on raw, uncultivated land in the Similkameen Valley.

Ben King

Vineyard Manager, Golden Mile Bench

Born and raised in the Coldstream, Ben is no stranger to the Okanagan Valley. Growing up in a small town, Ben fell in love with the outdoors. This passion for nature inspired him to study agriculture, from where he made the move to viticulture after receiving his degree. Joining the Phantom Creek team in 2019, Ben is assisting in introducing biodynamic practices to the Phantom Creek Estates vineyards. His expertise and knowledge of the Okanagan Valley, combined with his ambition, see the Golden Mile Bench vineyards in good hands.

Richter Bai

Chairman

Having discovered wine’s complex appeal in his youth, Richter Bai retained an interest in wine throughout his career in China. Born within an agricultural community, he has always been close to the land, and Phantom Creek Estates marries his passion for great wine, appreciation of agriculture, and pursuit of excellence in a thrilling new venture.

Faye Yao

Executive Director

Born and raised in China, Faye graduated from the University of British Columbia before developing a successful career in real estate. In 2014, she transitioned to the wine industry and worked closely with Richter Bai to begin to realize his dream of building one of the leading wineries in Canada. Since day one, she has been involved with every facet of the project.