Another Winemaker Goes Solo
After three decades, BC winemaker Mark Wendenburg goes solo.
It seems that going solo is the newest trend in winemaking. In the last few months, I think at least three winemakers have turned in their punch cards to work for themselves. Unlike starting up their own wineries, these individuals have opted to sell their knowledge instead. Every industry has its experts who pass that expertise on to any company that hires them. Why should the wine industry be any different? The only caveat might be this: when the same individual consults at numerous wineries, the resulting wines might end up being very similar. On the other hand, the combination of said consultant’s expertise and the winemaker’s passion might produce something truly exquisite and unique. Let’s wait and see.
Mark Wendenburg was winemaker at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery from 1992 to 2010. As winemaker for one of British Columbia’s biggest and successful Okanagan wineries, Wendenburg comes away with a wealth of knowledge and talent gleaned from his years of local and international experience. While at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, he made the first Red Meritage in Canada followed by the country’s first White Meritage. During his tenure, he also made the winery’s Private Reserve Gewurztraminer and Steller’s Jay Sparkling wines.
Wendenburg is moving on to found his own consulting firm. In this new role, he’ll have the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients. Despite the prospect of making wine for new vineyards, Wendenburg remains continues to tend to his family’s own Pinot Blanc vines, planted in 1980.
Most recently, Wendenburg shared that his first wine-consulting client is Haywire Winery, a new vineyard in its fourth leaf for the 2010 vintage, located in Summerland, BC. Says Wendenburg, “I’m pleased about the possibilities of this fruit and site.”