Michael Bartier of Bartier Bros.
Michael Bartier grew up in the Okanagan Valley, leaving as a young man for his education. After receiving a degree from the University of Victoria and working in wine sales on Vancouver Island for a few years, he and his wife Jodi returned home to the Okanagan. While looking for a "real job", Michael accepted casual work in a winery cellar. And, since he's still in the cellar, you could say he hasn't found a real job yet.
Through on-the-job training, university extension, and distance learning at Washington State University and University of California Davis, Michael worked his way into a winemaking position.
He quickly made a name for himself: first as a maker of white wines, earning two Canadian White Wine of the Year titles within three years, and then as a maker of red wines with several consecutive Lieutenant Governor's awards for his red wines.
Michael enjoyed stints at Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards, Township 7, and Road 13, among others. Currently, he acts as consulting winemaker to what is surely the most coveted client list in North America among consulting winemakers (in fact there are rumours that other winemakers are plotting his demise).
Michael and Jodi are parents to a wonderfully active son, who is also their best friend. The whole family gets twitchy if they sit still too long, so they each run, ski, and do martial arts.
Michael's winemaking philosophy is simple:
- Plant the correct grapes on the correct site.
- Farm these well, thinking of the vineyard as a 200-year project.
- Take the good fruit into the cellar, and make sure the vineyard characters, not the winemaker's manipulations, make it to the glass.
- Don't try to copy Napa, or Bordeaux, or Burgundy; make Okanagan wine. These places make beautiful wines, but they're different from what the Okanagan gives, and they don't have the privilege of working with Okanagan grapes.