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The Little Engine Team

STEVEN & NICOLE FRENCH
PROPRIETORS

Steven and Nicole met at the University of Western Ontario and upon graduation moved to Calgary where they spent twenty years, Nicole in education and real estate development and Steven in oil and gas.

Successful entrepreneurs with an inherent family motto of will and determination it was their desire to create that beckoned them to an industry steeped in creativity. They purchased their first vineyard site in 2011 with the foresight of combining their love for both wine and the rich tradition and culture of wine making into a brand that would deliver excellence without compromise, the Little Engine brand.

Their family motto: "Dreams don't come true, dreams are made true."

SCOTT ROBINSON
WINEMAKER

A winemaker who believes a wine should speak for itself. His element is the cellar and vineyard. An artist with wine, his canvas begins to show colours as he works through the entire spectrum from veraison, to harvest, from crush to barrel and ultimately to bottle. Scott becomes animated when he is sharing his wine and wine making knowledge. A masters in Oenology with Distinction from the University of Adelaide led to multiple vintages in New Zealand, Australia and the Okanagan. A continuous researcher and teacher, Scott has furthered the industry’s growth as a Winemaking instructor at the Okanagan College and serves on the BC Wine Grape Council Research & Development Committee.

MATT RADEMAKERS
VITICULTURE

Matt is the type of person who thrives in an outdoor environment. His viticulture career began in 2003 in Wanaka, New Zealand. Arriving in Canada the following year he worked throughout the Okanagan and Vancouver Island before calling the bench his home.

While completing the Viticulture program at the Okanagan College he quickly worked his way up to Vineyard Manager managing vineyards in excess of 135 acres. His drive to manage a small vineyard dedicated to employing the right practices is what drew Matt to Little Engine.

 Matt's philosophy is consistent: no matter the size, all vineyards require understanding, and dedication to produce wine of exceptional quality.

MICHELLE YOUNIE
VITICULTURE

Born and raised in Penticton, Michelle has witnessed first hand the development of the wine industry in the Okanagan Valley. The fields that she works in today were her playground as a child. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Calgary, Michelle quickly realized that her heart would always reside in those fields.

She has spent the last 10 years developing her knowledge and skills in organic horticultural practices. Attracted to Little Engine by the quest for perfection of the French family and their team, Michelle has now turned her energy and enthusiasm to the wine industry and the development of sustainable viticulture.

NATASHA SADOWY
DIRECT TO CONSUMER MANAGER

Natasha moved to the Okanagan in 2017 to explore her passion for wine, relocating from Calgary, where she spent over 15 years in hospitality sales and events including time with the Calgary Flames and the Calgary Petroleum Club. 

She is completing her WSET Level 3 and has studied Event Management. Natasha is excited to share Little Engine Wines with Canadians across the country.

RENE BOUSQUET
SOMMELIER

A self-described wine professional, cyclist and espresso shot perfectionist, Rene has spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry. Rene began his career as a young chef where he travelled throughout Canada seeking to work with the country's top chefs.  

Rene has earned his accreditation through the International Sommelier Guild, Court of Masters and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. 

Rene has spent the last 10 years immersing himself in the world of fine wine. Honing his skills at the Four Seasons, Rouge, Langdon Hall and most recently at Hy’s of Canada as their Wine Director. 

 

Anthony Chalmers
Sommelier

Anthony began his career in hospitality as a waterski, tennis and windsurfing instructor at a lodge in central Ontario working for a Swiss-German couple who modeled a strong work ethic and laid a solid foundation for him to build on.

At the age of 19, Anthony entered the world of restaurants rising quickly through the ranks becoming the manager of some of Toronto’s premier restaurants working alongside top Chefs and Wine professionals…and the love affair began.

Becoming a certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild in 1993, with David Lawrason as his mentor, a penchant for fine dining and exquisite wine led him to the Banff Springs Hotel as the first certified Sommelier in Alberta in 1996. It was here that Anthony led his team’s restaurant to achieving AAA 5 diamond certification in 2003, at which point he was the Restaurant Manager/Sommelier of the Banffshire Club and Wine Director of the Hotel. 

After opening up two successful restaurants in Calgary, the lure of Okanagan wineries pulled Anthony to BC in 2014 and the future has never looked more exciting.

 

DEANNA CARLONI
BRAND MANAGER (BRITISH COLUMBIA)

Deanna's experience in Hospitality and Wine Sales started over a decade ago after making the decision to be a permanent resident of the Okanagan Valley after living in Vancouver and the United States. Accredited by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, completing up to level 3 passing with merit, as well as completing her Diploma in Hospitality Management, her interest and excitement for the BC wine industry is contagious.  

Her passion for wine has led her to Alsace, Italy, South Africa, Napa/Sonoma, Washington and every wine producing region in Canada. 

Deanna's role at Little Engine is building the brand throughout British Columbia including Vancouver, Whistler and the Interior.

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