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MEET THE DIRECTORS


Manfred (Fred) Freese, BCGA President
Manfred and his wife Barbara operate a small 5 acre vineyard that they planted in 2000 on a steep hillside on the east bench overlooking Lake Osoyoos. After retiring in 1996 from a 30 year career in government and industry R&D and management, Manfred decided to return to his early interests in farming and wine. He joined the BCGA in 2001 and became a director in 2003. Besides growing grapes, Manfred enjoys studying the various technical aspects of modern viticulture and customizing some of the vineyard instrumentation and equipment designs. In the off-season Manfred & Barbara like to go skiing and curling. They also enjoy traveling and performing various volunteer activities in the community.


Renee Martin - BCGA Past-President
Renee Martin and her husband Ken Maclean bought their 5 acre property in Kaleden, having been seduced by the spectacular view. They planted their vineyard in 2006 and have been enjoying sipping their wine ever since. Renee is Professor Emeritus in Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary and Adjunct Professor at Florida International University but she spends most of her time hiking, skiing and toiling in the vineyard. Renee was elected to the Board in 2009.


Marc Beaudry BCGA Vice President
Marc & Denyse planted a 2 acre vineyard on Naramata Bench in 2004. After more than twenty-five years waking up at night to care for premature and sick newborn babies in Edmonton, they retired to their present property in 2003 where they built their new house and vineyard. They say that the past eight years have been quite an experience of learning viticulture from the ground up.


Ed Thibault - BCGA Treasurer
Ed & his wife, Linda purchased a ten-acre property in Summerland & converted a five-acre peach orchard to a vineyard in 2000/01. Ed is retired from a thirty year career with IBM where he held a variety of positions that provided him with an excellent business background that included finance, marketing and management. Ed was happy to take on the task as chairman of the BCGA Finance Committee. Ed is also on the Board of the BC Wine Grape Council.


Charlie Baessler
Charlie grew up on farms of different types, so when he came to visit the Okanagan & Similkameen valleys soon after having completed his science degree from the University of Lethbridge, he decided to stay and work there. He currently lives and works on Corcelettes Estate Winery and Vineyard in Cawston, as well as for Burrowing Owl in Oliver. He is committed to environmental stewardship and making a place for himself in the grapegrowing industry as a grower and wine maker.


Bill Collings
Bill and Joan Collings, with three other couples, purchased a vineyard in the Similkameen south of Cawston in 1975. They sold their share in 1979 and purchased thirteen acres in Okanagan Falls. They planted grapes in 1980 and have been growing grapes on that site ever since.

Bill became actively involved in the grape and wine industry a little more than 20 years ago. He was on the executive of the now-defunct Grape Marketing Board and the Grapegrowers Association in various capacities. He has chaired many committees dealing with government regulations and other industry issues. He was a director of the BC Wine Institute and was their liaison to the VQA programme until it was taken over by the BC Wine Authority. In 2010, he was awarded the Wine Festival's Founders Award for his many contributions. He has also been both provincially and nationally recognized as a home winemaker and wine judge. He continues to have a deep interest and involvement in the industry. His interests have not been confined to the grape and wine industry, however; he was actively involved with amateur wrestling, both provincially and nationally, beginning in 1963 and was inducted into the Canadian Amateur Wrestling hall of Fame as a Builder in 1983.


Nathan Goltz
In 2012, Nathan introduced himself as a thirty-one year-old fourthgeneration farmer who grew up in Oliver on a twelve-acre soft fruit/apple orchard. Over his life in Oliver, he watched the changes from big old trees to high density apples to the current grapes in holds now. After high school in Oliver, Nathan attended Malaspina University in Nanaimo to study Business, and then apprenticed under his dad, Robert Goltz Nathan currently owns and operates R&N Management with him.

Eight years ago, he settled in Keremeos with his wife Katerina. They currently own and operate a small ten-acre plot of grapes in Cawston called Tainted Toes, which is an homage to his dad and the farmers before them who walked the rows of dirt often in bare feet tending to the crops and food that are produced for people in the valley. He is the current Manager of Sand hill Estate Vineyard and Burrowing Owl Vineyard Estate Vineyards in Oliver, as well as Rocky Ridge and Vanessa Vineyards in Cawston.


Roger Hol
Roger Hol developed a passion for farming after his parents decided to purchase his grandparents farm in Richmond to continue their family heritage in agriculture. He and his family purchased a second farm in Cawston in 1981, where they cleared rocks and sage brush, installed irrigation, leveled the fields, picked more rock, and finally they managed a total of 75 acres of irrigated hay land. In 1996, Mr. Hol sold his Vancouver- based business to farm full time and to become the progressive operator of a 75 acre farm used to grow hay. When he started searching for an alternative higher value crop and decided to evolve the farm into a viable, sustainable vineyard. Shortly thereafter, in 1997, Andres Wines approached Mr. Hol to grow grapes for them. Note that Andres Wines planted the first grapes in BC in the Similkameen Valley in 1961 before they planted grapes in the Okanagan Valley. In 1998, Mr. Hol and his team planted the first 25 acres of grapes and planted the remaining 50 acres in 1999. In 2008, Mr. Hol sold Rocky Ridge Vineyards, and bought a new farm further south in the Similkameen Valley and he has now planted it to wine grapes. Mr. Hol believes deeply that farming is more than just economics. His focus is on preserving natural resources, sustaining the eco system, and achieving a sustainable lifestyle. Mr. Hol's ultimate goal is to build a successful agricultural tourism business based on his vineyard.


Ed Schiller
Ed has a small vineyard in East Kelowna & sells mostly to individual wine makers. Ed has been a long time member of the organization and is now in his fourth term as a Board member. He is currently the Chairman of the Membership committee which fits well with his enthusiasm for touring the BC grape & wine regions & meeting with growers in their vineyards & wineries. Ed is a consulting geologist. He also claims to be the best dancer in town!