With a nod to history and an eye to the future, Bob Johnson and Petra Flaa have dived headlong into the challenging waters of BC’s wine industry. The location in the Erickson district of the Creston Valley makes Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery the province’s closest winery to Alberta. It’s a fitting geographical fact—Bob and Petra built their careers, he as a reservoir engineer and she in information technology, and raised their two sons, in Calgary. The Baillie-Grohman name was chosen to honour a Kootenay pioneer, an Austrian aristocrat who first arrived in the Creston Valley in the company of his goat-hunting partner, Teddy Roosevelt.
With Bob still working in Calgary and Petra learning the ropes as Vineyard Manager, Dan Barker, one-time ‘Young Winemaker of the Year’ in New Zealand, was hired to make the wine—Pinot Noir (including a luscious Blanc de Noirs Rosé), Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris—and share the knowledge he has gained as owner of Moana Park Winery in Hawke’s Bay. With three Baillie-Grohman vintages under his belt and a maturing vineyard, Barker gets more and more excited about the quality and complexity of wine that starts in the vineyards and ends in the glass.
The south and west sloping vineyards are enriched by minerals from boulders left behind by a receding glacier. William Baillie-Grohman was an adventurer whose plan to create a dyking system transformed the Creston Valley Flats into verdant farmlands. With Bob and Petra’s foray into the emerging Creston wine industry, the adventure, as their motto says, continues. ~ Lorne Eckersley