526 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 4 JULY 2021
Chris, his wife Betty and their family lived on Testalinden Creek, above
which was one of those dams. One Sunday in June 2010, while Chris was
out running some errands, Betty looked out her kitchen window and saw a
tsunami of muddy water, mixed with huge rocks, crashing down the creek.
She could tell at once that it would envelop their home. She grabbed her
young children and they all ran for their lives. All lived, but their home and
all around it was destroyed. The family dog was found unharmed but rather
hungry in the wreckage of the home a couple of days later.
Chris was outraged. While genial by nature, he was fiercely protective of
his family and had a temper. He learned from the investigations done that
the rancher had not maintained or even checked the dam for years. Some
weeks later, Chris was driving by the Oliver airport when he saw that
rancher land in a small plane. Chris stopped, stomped over and grabbed the
startled rancher, who was much smaller in size, in his meaty hand. Chris
lifted him off the ground by the throat and made a number of threats for
having had his family almost killed before dropping him. When we got to
court and the context was explained, the seasoned and rather wise local
judge discharged Chris, who was somewhat chastened but not apologetic.
Betty and Chris built a new home north of Summerland on the lake and
filled the hillside above it with vines.
The last work I did for Chris was when another winery in Lake Country
had the temerity to call itself “Chase Wines”, using the same name as one
of C.C. Jentsch’s signature wines, “The Chase”. When we told them to stop,
they told Chris where he could go, as the owner said he had lots of money
to fight this, and would do so on a scorched-earth basis. So fight we did,
engaging Chris Wilson of Norton Rose, a top Vancouver IP lawyer, and eventually,
after a couple of scathing Federal Court judgments, the other winery
turned tail and turned name.
While C.C. Jentsch is a fairly recent addition to British Columbia’s wine
scene, it started fast out of the gates, winning top Syrah in 2015 at the Judgment
of BC competition, and “The Chase” has won awards year after year.
It was a shock when Chris died suddenly this year. Again, a growing light
in the industry has gone dark.
But life is a circle, and it renews. All the wineries of these three iconic
pioneers continue and thrive. I review wines from these wineries below.
HESTER CREEK ROSÉ CABERNET FRANC 2020
BC VQA Okanagan Valley #776500 $19.99
The winery states that the wine underwent a 48-hour cold soak followed by
gentle whole berry pressing to develop a “brilliant ruby colour”. It is on the