Bella Wines
Wendy Riddling

Photo credit: Chantal Ireland

Wendy Rose

You could say food and wine are deeply embedded in Wendy’s marrow.

Growing up in a household where her mother was a chef and her father’s only hobby was wine has a way of influencing a child.  The culinary world of northern California in the 70’s offered two paths: embrace advances in food preservation (e.g. velveeta, tupperware parties, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”) or support the organic farming practices of the forefathers.  Wendy’s parents chose the latter.  As a chef, Wendy’s mother fully immersed herself in the California Cuisine culture pioneered by Alice Waters while her father continued to discover small producing wineries of northern California that rivaled old world producers (e.g. the Judgement of Paris).  All the while Wendy was along for the ride – gardening, eating, and drinking alongside her parents.

As a young adult, Wendy inherited her mother’s kitchen and in an effort to understand the mind of a chef deeper she took almost every class Dame Glenys Morgan taught at Dubrelle Culinary School in Vancouver, BC.  At the same time, her dad started an annual tradition of investigating a new emerging wine region in the hopes of deepening his relationship with his daughter while expanding her already developed palate.  It was a surprise to all that Wendy had not gone into service, kitchens or the cellars and instead rebelled into the technology industry.

In 2010, Wendy discovered the wines of the Okanagan Valley and decided, like her classes at Dubrelle, that she wanted to work as a cellar hand for a number of wineries to gain a deeper knowledge of wine production and viticulture.  It was during this leave from the tech industry that she found her true loves:  her now husband and their shared passion for sparkling wine.

In 2011 Bella Sparkling Wines was founded by Wendy and her husband. Now six vintages in, Bella is BC’s only sparkling wine house and is a pioneer and promoter of the natural wine movement in BC – something she is deeply proud of that brings her back to her California roots. The small four acre homestead Wendy and her husband tend incorporates vineyard, husbandry (pigs, chickens, laying hens, bees), organic gardens and heritage orchard fruit – all skills picked up as a child.  Through  her association with Les Dames d’Escoffier, Slow Food and Cittaslow Naramata, Wendy is driven to promote, support and educate a farm-to-table community and lifestyle and share that knowledge with young and old alike.

You can take the girl out of northern California, but you can’t take northern California of the 70’s out of the girl.

When Wendy is not in the tasting room or out in the vineyard she can be found telling tall tales under the cherry trees with a glass of her wonderful husband’s bubbles in hand.

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