February 25th, 2023-Meet the Makers


Meet the Makers

Culmina & Laughing Stock




It was just another Friday morning when the happy invitation came in from the delightful  Lindsay Kelm.

Come celebrate the harvest season with Culmina Family Estate and Laughing Stock Vineyards.

Join Winemakers Jean-Marc Enixon and Sandy Leier for an elegant afternoon sampling their latest releases and chatting about the 2022 harvest. We also have a couple of special sneak peeks in store, including the unreleased 2020 vintage of Laughing Stock’s signature Portfolio, and 2017 vintage of Culmina’s flagship Bordeaux blend, Hypothesis


Sandy Leier–Winemaker Laughing Stock (Naramata)

Here’s what I knew. I hadn’t spoken to Sandy Leier for years. At the time she was working with the legend Howard Soon at Sandhill and Calona. In 2018, after 15 years as a great team,  she took over from the departing  Howard.  Then a series of projects with Andrew Peller, Gray Monk and Gretzky Wines. Then, this year, a major move to Senior Winemaker at Laughing Stock on the Naramata Bench.  It’s the home of seriously great wines including a Syrah that makes hearts flutter and their red blend Portfolio.  Sandy brings six wines to taste and discover.

(List below)


(tdm and Sandy Leier)

Jean-Marc Enixon – Culmina Winemaker – (Oliver)

(tdm and Jean-Marc)


Jean-Marc Enixon’s wine career took flight in Toulouse, France. JM gained international experience in Sonoma County, China, then  back to France at Chateau Puy Guilhem in  Saillans as senior winemaking director.

At the suggestion of his wife saying something to the effect of   “how about making some new world wine”

Jean-Marc joined the Culmina Team  as Vineyard Manager and Winemaker in 2016.  Today he pours 7 wines.

As good as he is, perhaps his greatest accomplishment is welcoming two new children to the family while in the Okanagan.

“they’re taking French and I’m taking English”

 Sandy, Jean-Marc and I  tasted and talked about Laughing Stock Vineyards.

2021 Viognier

2020 Chardonnay

2020 Pinot Noir

2019 Syrah (new release)

2019 Portofino (new release)

2020 Portofino (unreleased)


Culmina Family Estate Winery

2019 Decora

2021 Unicus

2018 Dilemma

2019 Malbec

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Hypothesis

2017 Hypothesis (unreleased)




Kitten Swish – with Brad Royale

Van Wine Fest

Lt Governors Awards

Mt Boucherie

Okanagan Wine Festivals

Oaxaca Mezcal and Food

Osoyoos Le Rose




Tasting Room Radio B_BANNER2
AN HOUR IN THE OKANAGAN  – Special Holiday feature
Featuring visits to/with Wild Goose.   Liquidity.   Moon Cursor.   Culmina.   Road 13.   Brodo.   Fairview Cellars.   Local Lounge and Grill.   Howard Soon at Sandhill and the legend – Dick Cleave.
Plus our host Ellen Walker Mathews – Thompson Okanagan Tourist Assn.
Hope your holidays are going well.



  In May of this year I was invited to join other journalists on a 4 day tour of the Okanagan.
I welcomed the opportunity to reconnect in person with many of the winemakers that I’d met when I lived 5 glorious years on the Naramata Bench.
I asked my Host Ellen Walker Mathews if I could duck away both  to interview people I’d missed over the course of a year.
I just had to start at Moon Cursor..makers of very good wines and very good times.
I snuck away from the tour to  include  Richard Cleave..recognized as one of the original and best growers in Canada. He always has an opinion and I counted on that.
I took an hour and visited my friend Joe Luckhurst at Road 13 and the always entertaining Bill Eggert at Fairview Cellars.
Also very much a part of the journey and this special were Roland Kruger from Wild Goose, who had added a Deep South BBQ to the crush pad. Whats better than smoked meat,  to go with their outstanding Rieslings. 
Next it was off to his neighbour Liquidity and its Chef Rob Walker. This was the surprise of the trip…a restaurant so cool you could drop it into Vancouver nightlife and it would thrive.  It helps that it has the same views as their next door neighbour Blue Mountain.
We included a stop at Culmina in the South Okanagan. It’s the home vineyard of Don, Elaine and Sara Triggs. (Jackson-Triggs)
And their famous winemaker Pascal Madevon (Osoyoos La Rose)
What a beautiful vineyard and winery.. When you look at the talent assembled here it all says “here is a winery to keep a very close eye on”.
 Up the road – two fine dining destinations.
First  was Chef Paul Cicconi at Brodo in Penticton.
(There’s a town that can always use a new food destination!)
And  a wonderful visit to his former kitchen,  Local Lounge and Grill in Summerland with host/owners Christa Lee McWatters-Bond, Cameron Bond and Chef Lee Humphries.
 And we finish with  BC Wine veteran winemaker Howard Soon at his new Sandhill winery , right downtown in Kelowna.

And that’s it …One Hour in the Okanagan!!  Why not make plans to do your own tour??


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