Okanagan Crush Pad winery has appointed Darryl Brooker as chief executive officer.
In this newly created position, Brooker will take over roles played by founders Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie.
Coletta and Lornie say the appointment of a chief executive officer is a key part of their succession plan, as they turn their attention to the next phase of their company.
Brooker will lead the operations team including chief winemaker Matt Dumayne, director of viticulture Duncan Billing and Andrew Raines, director of sales for OCP’s sales division HQ Wine + Spirits. Coletta will be part of that team for transitional support.
“Steve and I had come to a critical point: plan to sell, or develop a dynamic succession plan. It’s evident that we chose the latter by bringing Darryl into our wine family,” Coletta said.
“We are excited to drive forward doing what we love, and with Darryl’s help build a stronger wine culture in our business and provide key support for Matt and Duncan, replacing our reliance on outside consultants.”
Brooker graduated from the Wine Executive Program at the University of California Davis in 2018, having previously earned a graduate diploma in wine business management at the University of Adelaide, Australia in 2003 and a Bachelor of Applied Science, Wine Science at Charles Sturt University, Australia in 2001.
Before joining Okanagan Crush Pad, Brooker spent a year working in the cannabis industry.
He also served in various capacities from vice president of winemaking to general manager and then president of a family-owned Kelowna-based winery from July 2015 to March 2021.
Brooker was vice president of winemaking and operations at CedarCreek Estate Winery from May 2010 to July 2015, and senior winemaker at Andrew Peller Limited from April 2005 to May 2010.
“I always had in the back of my mind that I would work in the wine industry again,” he said. “I didn’t feel my story had finished and I know I still have a lot more to give to B.C. and Canadian wine.”
He added that he has been impressed with Okanagan Crush Pad’s fruit, unique organic vineyard sites and the winery’s vision to be bold and push the boundaries.
Lornie and Julian Scholefield, Okanagan Crush Pad’s director of estates, are forming a development team with Brooker to oversee several projects under the winery’s newly formed construction division, Fairmile Management Ltd.
Another key goal for the founders was securing a long-term grape supply to support growth.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with Rod, Don, and Ian King, who will supply grapes from their Naramata Bench vineyard. The Kings have been family friends for more than two decades and we are excited to form a working relationship with them that can help us flourish long into the future,” said Coletta.
Okanagan Crush Pad is closed to visitors until late fall 2022 to accommodate expansion plans.
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