Marg and Jake Ootes, Proprietors of Celista Estate Winery
We are building our dream on a 160-acre farm and vineyard in Celista, a small community on the north shore of Shuswap Lake in the Interior of British Columbia. We bought the property in 1995. At that time we lived in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and for the next several years travelled back and forth to build our home and develop the property. We became permanent residents in February 2005. The first vines were planted in 2002 and now we are proud owners and operators of a multi-award winning winery.
I began life in Holland in 1942. In 1952 my parents emigrated to Canada and we settled in Renfrew, Ontario. It was in Ontario where I started a communications career as a reporter for several Ontario community newspapers. I began focusing on politics in the 1960's when I worked for the Federal Department of Northern Affairs in Ottawa. In 1967 I joined the Government of the Northwest Territories as Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and in 1970, I became the first Director of the Territorial Department of Information, responsible for all government public affairs and communications. My life took a turn towards publishing in1975 as the Owner/Publisher for three award-winning and successful weekly newspapers in Alberta. In 1983 I launched Northwest Explorer Magazine, the in-flight magazine for NWT Air and in 1988 I became the Owner/Publisher for Above and Beyond, a general interest magazine for the Canadian Arctic and in-flight magazine for First Air. I was elected as MLA of the Northwest Territories for Yellowknife Center in 1995, and upon my re-election in 1999, was appointed to Cabinet as Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and responsible for the NWT Power Corporation. I served as MLA from 1995 until my retirement from politics in 2004.
I grew up on a dairy farm in Chilliwack, BC, where most of my family were also farmers. I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA and BSW and worked as a social worker in BC, Ontario, Montreal and the Northwest Territories, specializing in adoption and staff training. While in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories I started Arctic Art Gallery which became the largest art gallery in the Northwest Territories. I also had the priviledge of serving on the Board of Governors of the National Gallery of Canada for three years in the 1990's. I sold Arctic Art Gallery in the late 1990's to Arctic Co-op. My passion for business and the farming lifestyle brought Jake and I to Celista.
Lee Hollandl, Winemaker at Celista Estate Winery
Lee has been in the wine industry since his early 20's and has been making wine for Celista Estate Winery for the past five years. His wine has won such awards as a Double Gold Medal (Best in Catagory for the red wine Inspired Madness) in the All Canadian Wine Championships.
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