CedarCreek’s new winemaker, new releases
by John Schreiner
Photo: Darryl Brooker
CedarCreek Estate Winery has recruited a senior Australian-born winemaker to take over from Tom DiBello, who resigned last month.
Darryl Brooker, who came to Canada in 2003 to supervise the building and launch of Flat Rock Cellars near Jordan, takes over the CedarCreek cellar in mid-May.
Darryl was born in Canberra in 1973. He developed an interest in wine while serving in the Australian Navy – where tours of duty included visits to wine regions around the world. He left the navy to get a wine science degree at Charles Sturt University and a graduate diploma in wine business from the University of Adelaide.
He started his winemaking career in the vineyards at Mountadam Vineyards in the Barossa Valley and then went on to a four-year-stint at Villa Maria Estates Winery in New Zealand before coming to Ontario. Flat Rock, a producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, is, technically, a leading edge Ontario winery with gravity-flow architecture designed for gentle handling of grapes.
In addition to making Flat Rock’s initial vintages, Darryl also convinced the owners to package the wines under screw-cap closures at a time when this was still a radical idea in Ontario. “That came over with me from New Zealand,” he told me in a 2004 interview. Villa Marie’s wines were all under screw cap.
He will not need to fight that battle in the Okanagan. CedarCreek has switched most of its wines to screw cap in the past two vintages, over the initial scepticism of Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, the scion of the family that owns the Okanagan winery. For More From Schreiner visit: John Schreiner’s Blog