ENCORE Vineyards is elated to announce that Kelley Michael Schaefer has returned to the Okanagan to join their team as hospitality manager, from April 2019.
Returning to the Okanagan is an "encore" for Schaefer, both literally by joining a company by that name, and figuratively, as the return to his career genesis.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the wine industry, Schaefer's wine career began after completing the Okanagan College Oenology program in 1995. He then went on to work several vintages at numerous wineries in the Okanagan. This led to international tenures as head sommelier and wine director on Cunard Line's QM2, at luxury resorts in the Maldives, Starwood Hotels in Dubai, the Tokyo American Club in Tokyo, Japan (which he considers his second home), and most recently as corporate head sommelier and wine educator for Seabourn.
His desire for a land-based role has led him home to British Columbia. "After living overseas for 15 years, to return to the place where my career started is a full circle moment for me. I owe my career to the Okanagan College Oenology program, where Harry was my teacher," Schaefer stated (referring to ENCORE Vineyards CEO Harry McWatters). "I am very proud to be part of the inaugural graduating class. I'm looking forward to working for a family-run business, especially a family with as much BC wine history as the McWatters."
Throughout his career, Schaefer has served as a wine judge (in Japan, Dubai and Canada,) visited countless wine producing regions and attended wine industry events and workshops globally, including South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and all corners of the Old World.
"We are thrilled to be welcoming Kelley to our team and have great confidence in what he will be able to accomplish," shared Christa-Lee McWatters, ENCORE Vineyards sales and marketing manager. "The diversity of his career is truly unparalleled, and we feel fortunate to be privy to his breadth of expertise."
About ENCORE Vineyards:
ENCORE Vineyards, a progressive Okanagan-based company, is home to British Columbia (BC) wine brands including TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection.
ENCORE Vineyards Ltd. has amassed an impressive team, poised to help define the next generation of BC wine and winemaking via its production centre in the Okanagan Valley. The company is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 50-vintage pioneer of the modern British Columbia wine industry, with children Christa-Lee McWatters (sales and marketing director) and Darrien McWatters (operations manager) who are each armed with lifelong wine industry experience and insight. Graham Pierce is the group's director of winemaking, supported by winemaker Nadine Allander, and talented hospitality and sales teams, managed by Kelley Michael Schaefer. See more on each winery at encorevineyards.ca.
For photos of Kelley Michael Schaefer, the ENCORE Vineyards team and wineries, please click here.