Written by: Katie Truscott
Black Hills Winery welcomes the fiercely talented Ross Wise to the fold as lead winemaker. Ross brings over 16 years of unique and broad wine experience to Black Hills.
Big Goals, Big Moves
The fairytale-like wine journey of Ross Wise is inspiring and impressive. Ross grew up on a sheep farm in Central Otago, New Zealand. He enjoyed farm life, but felt a greater calling toward viticulture. He completed his degree in viticulture and began his career with Crossroads Winery — a small winery in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. He moved on to the great vineyards of Felton Road, where he spent two seasons while finishing an Advanced Diploma in winemaking. Given the choice between viticulture and winemaking, he decided his heart lay with the latter. He spent three years creating vintages at Grove Mill Winery in Marlborough. Wise’s interest in Canadian, cool-climate wine resulted in him moving to Ontario where he spent six harvests with Flat Rock Cellars.
Wise then opened a winemaking and viticulture consulting company called Wise Consulting. His company worked with brands such as Organized Crime, Rosewood and The Good Earth. This allowed him to experience working with an array of styles and grape varieties, such as traditional-method sparkling wine, terroir-driven, cool-climate varietal wines and even appassimento-style red wines.
In 2015, Wise completed the WSET Diploma and jumped straight into the gruelling Master of Wine program. He will complete the MW program this summer. In addition, he is also an experienced brewer, a qualified chef, cheese connoisseur and master bread-maker.
A Great Pairing
Wise and Black Hills Estate Winery are the perfect pairing. Wise loves the science behind growing and making wine, as well as the comraderaderie found in the cellar thanks to 12-hour days. He’s excited to dive into his new role at Black Hills and is getting to know the 2018 wines in barrel, and honing in on the identity of the winery blends.
“This is a great opportunity to be part of the next chapter of one of the Okanagan’s most recognized and respected wineries,” Wise said. “The ability to focus on making premium red wines such as Nota Bene is a big draw for me.”
He looks forward to maintaining the consistency of the Black Hills wine range and applying his level of expertise and style to the renowned line of wines.
There is a unique sense of place, terroir as they call it, with the Black Hills wines. All of the vineyards and grapes are sourced from the Black Sage Bench in the South Okanagan.
Much like Ross Wise and his striking calibre of experience, Black Hills is a brand of esteem, lifestyle and rarity. The combination of winemaker meets winery is sure to bring a whole new level of prestige to an already premium brand.