Interview with Christa-Lee McWatters Bond

Sumac Ridge Winery | SummerlandChrista-Lee McWatters Bond

I understand Sumac Ridge is launching a new wine called Tribute, can you tell us how this new wine was named?

Tribute was created to honour world-class athletic performance as it takes centre stage at The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

What lead to Sumac Ridge developing a wine for the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympics?

As an official supplier of the 2010 Winter Games we wanted to create a commemorative wine to celebrate this exciting event. What better way to celebrate than with sparkling wine?! We wanted to help celebrate World Class athletic performance as Canada goes for the Gold and with the purchase of every bottle of Tribute, $1.25 is proudly donated to the Canadian Olympic team and the 2010 Olympic and paralympic winter games.

Who created the wine and determined which grapes and varietals would be in the wine?

Sumac Ridge Senior Winemaker Mark Wendenburg crafted this sparkling wine in the traditional “Méthode Classique”. Tribute is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.

How long did the development process of Tribute take?

As a winemaking, marketing, and sales team, the development of the product took us just over 2 years. The Tribute Sparkling wine fermented on the lees 16 months.

How many cases of wine did you produce?

We produced 4300 cases of Tribute.

Which foods would be best paired with Tribute?

This soft approachable sparkling wine will pair well with a variety of foods. Try it with oysters, fresh shell fish, or buttered popcorn.

What is your role at Sumac Ridge? Please describe in detail.

I am currently the marketing manager, responsible for all product and marketing initiatives for Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, See Ya Later Ranch, Osoyoos Larose, Nk’Mip Cellars, Okanagan Vineyards, and the Great Estates of the Okanagan.

Where is your vineyard located?

We have an Estate vineyard on site at the winery in Summerland, but the majority of our grapes come from our 115 acre Black Sage Vineyard located in Oliver.

How long have you been involved in the wine industry?

I have been involved in the wine industry since the age of 10 when my father, Harry McWatters started Sumac Ridge Estate Winery. My whole family worked together in order to make the winery a success. Funnily enough, my dad didn’t encourage my brother, Darren, and I to get into the wine industry. He didn’t want us to be involved unless it was our decision. So once I had gone to college and had experience with different jobs I knew that working at Sumac Ridge was what I wanted to do.

What do you most love about the wine industry?

Getting to share my passion of food and wine with new people every day.

By: Richard Wolak