Dennis O’Rourke, Owner
Dennis O’Rourke is known among his peers as a pioneer, innovator, and risk-taker who thrives on overcoming challenges. After founding one of Western Canada’s leading construction companies, Dennis is now bringing his passion for building only the best to create a visionary winery and world-class tourism destination that showcases the very best of BC winemaking.
After leaving school at age 15 to dig ditches, Dennis founded Sureway Construction Group Ltd. in 1973. Over the next 46 years, Dennis worked relentlessly to foster a competitive edge for Sureway by incorporating the latest, largest, and most productive construction equipment in the industry. From these modest beginnings in water and sewer construction, Sureway now employs more than 900 people and has the largest fleet of earthmoving, water, and sewer equipment of its type in Western Canada.
Dennis and his wife Elizabeth are pleased to make a home in Edmonton, AB where they give back to the community by donating to numerous organizations including Kids with Cancer, Notre Dame College, the Alberta Heart Institute, the University Hospital Foundation, STARS, Edmonton Opera, NAIT, and many more. Dennis has also been a long-time supporter of Junior Achievement and was deeply honoured to be named a JA Laureate in 2008 in recognition of his ongoing contributions to youth business education.
Adrian Baker, Director of Winemaking
Adrian Baker has spent more than 20 years developing his adventurous winemaking style, having worked in both hands-on and consulting roles.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Adrian initially pursued post-graduate training in biochemistry, molecular biology, and medical research. He now jokes that his zeal for winemaking grew out of a realization that he was less suited to “saving the world” than he was to finding ways that improve it. He completed his Oenology training (University of Adelaide, Aus.) soon after.
Although Adrian’s passion for making world-class pinot noir began in New Zealand, he has travelled extensively to enrich his craft. He has worked in many award-winning wineries including estates in New Zealand’s Martinborough, Central Otago and Marlborough (Lawson’s Dry Hills, and Craggy Range), California, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and BC.
Adrian’s critical acclaim includes: twice making New Zealand’s highest ever scoring pinot noir in the Wine Spectator, placing other wines in the Top 100 for 2010 and 2006 in the same journal, multiple high scoring wines with other influential US, UK, and Australasian critics, as well as prominent wine placement in scandalously good restaurants around the world.
Adrian and his family moved to Lake Country in 2011, when he consulted confidentially on pinot noir winemaking, operational efficiencies, and general strategy for a prominent BC winery. He then spent two years on a start-up project in Lake Country to establish vineyard, wine styles, and marketing/branding strategies.
Adrian is a foundation employee and has overseen all development to date.
Nikki Callaway, O’Rourke Family Estates Winemaker
Nikki joined our team in June 2019 and brought with her a serious winemaking pedigree. She completed a Masters in Enology from the prestigious Université de Bordeaux and gained viticulture and winemaking experience in various regions of France including Beaujolais, the Loire, and multiple appellations in Bordeaux (Margaux, Pessac-Leognan, Blaye and Cotes de Bourg).
Nikki returned to Canada 10 years ago to work in the Okanagan Valley, a region that was brand new to her at the time. Since then she has specialized in northern valley fruit including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and aromatic whites.
Nikki has proven her talents through significant roles at major British Columbia wineries such as Mission Hill and Quails’ Gate. In 2011, a pinot noir she produced was awarded the ‘World’s Best Pinot Noir’ at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Nikki possesses a keen interest in both viticulture and winemaking. Her passion for small-lot premium production combined with her attention to detail make her the perfect match for our state-of-the-art project and estate grown fruit.
We welcome her passion and commitment as the best winemakers are those who truly live and breathe this industry, and Nikki achieves this everyday.
Stephanie Stanley, Peak Cellars Winemaker
A true Okanagan native, Stephanie Stanley was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley and is well-versed in all aspects of viticulture in the region. She received a Bachelor of Science with Honours from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture program where she was also awarded the President’s Medal.
From 2003 to 2015 Stephanie was mentored by esteemed winemaker, Howard Soon, at Sandhill wines. She then worked as the lead winemaker for Wayne Gretzky Okanagan when it launched in British Columbia, as well as lead winemaker for Peller Estates Okanagan.
Stephanie left Peller Estates in 2016 to propel her career by working two vintages each year for six months at a time in both New Zealand and Canada. After four years at Wither Hills in Marlborough she was commissioned by Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards winery to bring her expertise back to the Okanagan full-time.
Stephanie has been part of the O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars for the past three years as lead winemaker. Her expertise and professionalism are integral to the winemaking team.
Heather Courtney, General Manager
Heather joined the team in June 2019 and brought with her nearly two decades of experience from the hospitality industry. Originally from Powell River, Heather lived in the Lower Mainland for 15 years before relocating to the Okanagan Valley with her husband Don and children in 2012. Her experience in the Lower Mainland includes six years with the Sylvia Hotel, three years with the Sequoia Company of Restaurants, and five years with Monk McQueen’s Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar.
Most recently, Heather is known for her six-year leadership role at Cedar Creek Estate Winery in Kelowna where she developed innovative and unique guest experiences and the winery’s celebrated tasting, touring, and event programs.
Heather holds her WSET level 2 Diploma and is pursuing her education and passion for wine.
Tom O’Rourke, Project and Winery Site Manager
Tim Parsons, Vineyard Manager