For us wine is a lifestyle, a passion and the result of a year round creative process that never ceases to amaze us as winemakers and grape growers. Wine for us is an object of beauty and sophistication which has been central to the cultivation of joy and inspiration in people’s lives for millennia. We also see it as something very regional, very local and very much part of a sense of place. A sense which is created by the people, the geography, the weather, the soil and everything else that can only be found where the wine is grown, made and first enjoyed. There are other things besides food and wine which have this sense of place. Things like local artists, local craftsmanship and local festivals.
That’s why we took the name Marionette. It’s because many years ago a family of artists and performers lived on the property where we built our winery. They traveled in beautifully painted, horse drawn caravans to perform shows which featured handmade marionettes. Although they moved on long before we got here we felt when we heard their story that it was something special. It was unique to this place and its history. It felt like there was a magical thread, an invitation – a story that we could pick up and start to work on again. So, that’s we intend to do. We intend to build something beautiful that could only be from here and from us. Something magical.
Amanda is from Europe and she spent her summers as a child in France where her grandparents lived. She has fond memories of sipping her parents’ wine on warm summer evenings in the french countryside. Her grandfather has always been a connoisseur of French wines and those evening meals in the open summer air cultivated an inspired interest in wine from an early age. As an adult Amanda lived in Spain for a number of years and fell in love with the culture that surrounds Spanish wine.
Jamie is Canadian, originally from Salmon Arm. He spent 11 years working and living in Europe. Most of those years were spent in Spain, a place where language and culture are so entwined with regional wines that Jamie could not help but be enchanted and drawn into its rich mystery. While living in Spain he met Amanda and his interest in wine crystallised into a way of life and the beginning of a wine making career.
After meeting in Spain both Jamie and Amanda moved to Brighton, England to study degrees in Viticulture and Oenology. They both completed a BSc. Hons in the subject and began working in both in England and in Europe. The university in which they studied is highly regarded in the world of wine. It has strong links with the Champagne region which has invested a considerable amount into the English sparkling wine industry. As well as their degrees in Oenology and Viticulture Jamie and Amanda also studied the prestigious WSET professional wine tasting exams which have given them a comprehensive knowledge of wines through out the world. Their WSET training has also helped them develop excellent tasting skills.
Jamie and Amanda have had the opportunity to make wine in award-winning and breathtaking European wineries. They’ve worked with renowned winemakers in France, Portugal and England (where some of the world’s finest traditional method sparkling wine is made). In France they were fortunate enough to work under a prestigious Bordeaux wine researcher and academic in his own winery just south of the Loire Valley. In Portugal they worked for an exciting young winery in the Alentejo region that consistently gets exceptional reviews in the Wine Spectator. In England they worked for a small winery with distinguished traditional-method sparkling wine that was highlighted on the wine list at the Savoy hotel in London. After leaving Europe they worked in a beautiful boutique Gulf Islands winery before taking the opportunity to start Marionette winery with Jamie’s family.