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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.

2004, 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 2004.

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 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

Ross Wise

Winemaker

A New Zealand native, Ross joined Phantom Creek for our inaugural 2016 vintage after earning over 15 years of wine industry experience across four continents. His vast viticultural and winemaking knowledge, passion for creating world-class wines, and unrelenting work ethic make him the perfect leader for Phantom Creek’s winemaking operations.

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.

Ryan McKibbon

Vineyard Manager, Golden Mile Bench

Having started his wine career in the cellar, Ryan knows that that exceptional wine begins in the vineyard. Today he oversees Kobau Vineyard, bringing with him extensive experience in sustainable farming practices from working in some of the world's leading certified organic and biodynamic vineyards and wineries in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.

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.

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. Humbrecht will have an integral role in our white winemaking program and will also guide our transition to organic and biodynamic practices.

Anne Vawter

Consulting Winemaker

After graduating from UC Davis’ prestigious Enology and Viticulture program, Anne worked under the guidance of Heidi Barrett at Paradigm Winery. Today, Anne consults for wineries throughout California, Washington, and British Columbia. As a founding team member of Phantom Creek, Anne’s commitment to quality continues to set the standard at the winery.

Cameron Vawter

Vineyard Consultant

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.