THE NOBLE RIDGE TEAM

The Noble Ridge Team is a hardworking, dedicated group of people, all striving to achieve the highest standard of quality. Whether they are working directly with our vines, coaxing out the best flavours of our wines in the cellar, taming administrative challenges, or ensuring our guests are having a fun, informative and memorable experience in the Tasting Room, our team members are the magic behind all of Noble Ridge’s successes. Learn more about them below.

James A. D’Andrea, QC+

James A. D’Andrea, QC, Co-Owner & Chairman

Leslie D’Andrea+

Leslie D’Andrea, Co-Owner & CEO

Benoît Gauthier+

Benoît Gauthier, Winemaker and Director, Vineyard & Winery

Preston Radford+

Preston Radford, Director of Sales & Hospitality 

Don Prest+

Don Prest, Director of Finance

Hospitality Team+

Hospitality Team

Vineyard & Winery Team+

Vineyard & Winery Team

James A. D’Andrea, QC

James A. D’Andrea, QC, Co-Owner & Chairman

 

Jim is the co-owner and Chairman of Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery LLP and has held that position since 2001. He is also the President of the Rolling Hills Road Irrigation District and a co-founder and director of the Vaseux Lake Stewardship Association as well as a founding director of the Okanagan Falls Community Association. Jim is currently a member of the Fairview Mountain Golf Course Board of Directors and is the RDOS Alternate Director for Area D. He was also Chair of the Committee to establish the Okanagan Falls Sub-GI wine appellation in 2018.

From 1982 to 2016, Jim was a partner of Bennett Jones LLP and was the head of the firm’s national employment and labour law practice. He has experience in virtually all aspects of labour and employment matters and has appeared before a broad range of provincial and federal courts, councils, labour arbitration panels, commissions, appeal boards and tribunals, ranging from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to the Alberta Court of Appeal, the British Columbia Supreme Court, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the Alberta Labour Relations Board and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. He also acted as an adjudicator under the Canada Labour Code.

Jim is the author and current editor of Employee Obligations in Canada (Canada Law Book, 2003) and co-author and current editor of Illness and Disability in the Workplace: How to Navigate Through the Legal Minefield (Canada Law Book 1995) and past editor of the Annotated Alberta Labour Relations Code: Practitioner’s Manual (Legal Education Society of Alberta, 1999).

Jim was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers in 2011 and was subsequently a member of the Canadian Credentials Committee for the College. Jim was named by Lexpert as one of Canada’s 500 leading lawyers in 2012. Jim was consistently ranked in Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the employment category and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014.

Jim and his wife Leslie have three wonderful children (Jennifer, Benjamin and James) and live on their vineyard with their two dogs Sassicaia (Sassi) and Ornellaia (Nella).

 

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Leslie D’Andrea

Leslie D’Andrea, Co-Owner & CEO

 

Leslie grew up in Toronto, achieved her Honours Bachelor of Sciences, Life Sciences at Queen’s University and later her Masters in Health Sciences, Health Administration from the University of Toronto. For 15 years Leslie worked in the Alberta health care arena in various management positions. Her roles included Director of Educational Resources and Information Technology Project Manager for the Human Resources department for Foothills Hospital, a large urban teaching hospital.

In 1993, Leslie founded D’Andrea Health Management Consulting which focussed on health promotion and primary care. She continued in that business until 2001 when the D’Andreas purchased the land which has become Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery LP. By then, the D’Andreas had 3 children, Jennifer, Ben and James. The entire family commuted back and forth between Calgary and Okanagan Falls at every opportunity, initially overseeing the development and planting of their land.

Leslie enrolled in the full-time Viticulture course offered at Okanagan College, Penticton, achieving her Certificate in 2002. The development of Noble Ridge included balancing Jim’s demanding legal career, 3 children all-in high-level sports (soccer, football, hockey respectively), their junior high and senior high school education and primary operational and development responsibility for Noble Ridge.

In 2012, Leslie took on the position of CEO of Noble Ridge. Since that time, the senior management team has led the business to financial success as well as the recipient of many notable international awards for the wines and wine experiences.

Leslie has always been active on the volunteer front. In Alberta she was a Provincial Board member of the Alberta Association of Gerontology and a Board member of the Calgary Alzheimer Society for over 15 years and Chair of the Parent Council for their children’s school. Once in Okanagan Falls full-time, Leslie has been active as a Committee member of the Okanagan Falls Governance Study and Chair of the Okanagan Falls | Skaha Lake Winery Association. Leslie currently sits on the Board of the South Skaha Housing Society, is a Member of the BC Hospitality Foundation’s Industry Advisory Council and a member of the Wine Growers BC Marketing Committee.

Leslie looks forward to stepping back a bit and is currently preparing a strong succession plan for Noble Ridge, working with the Noble Ridge team, family members and external experts.

 

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Benoît Gauthier

Benoît Gauthier, Winemaker and Director, Vineyard & Winery

 

Benoît joined Noble Ridge in 2011. He brought with him local and international winemaking and viticulture experience and a passion for great wines. All of his 14+ years working in the wine industry in BC have been devoted to specializing in the Okanagan Falls terroir. With the help of his dedicated team, Benoît strives to grow premium Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne varietals. During his tenure as winemaker, his wines have been recognized worldwide with numerous significant awards, including 99 points for his King’s Ransom Meritage in the New World International Competition, a gold medal at the prestigious Chardonnay du Monde competition and Best Sparkling of the Year in the All-Canadian Wine Championships to name a few.

The key to Benoit’s winemaking success is developing a thorough understanding of the soils and microclimates found in both of Noble Ridge’s vineyards. By creating a tailored management system for each individual block that takes into account additional factors, such as the trellis system, varietal, and clone, Benoît coaxes the best out of every vine. His minimalistic approach to winemaking and judicious use of barrels, allows him to create the ultimate expression of Noble Ridge’s unique terroir.

Born in a small town in Northern Québec, Benoît went on to study Chemistry at Université de Sherbrooke, all the while spending time traveling extensively throughout Europe and North America. On a visit to the Sonoma and Napa Valleys in California, Benoît fell in love with wine, and decided that winemaking would be the penultimate application of his chemistry degree.

This decision led him to move to the Okanagan Valley in 2008 to commence his winemaking education.
While studying, he developed great chemistry with a wonderful woman, Maya, who would become his beloved wife. They now have two young daughters, Lili and Clara, and a rambunctious Goldendoodle named Fozzie. Together, they enjoy a happy life of family adventures at home and in the great outdoors.

 

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Preston Radford

Preston Radford, Director of Sales & Hospitality 

 

Preston moved to the Okanagan Valley in 2002 after spending 10 years in management in the retail industry. While designing, building and launching a successful high-end bed and breakfast, Preston developed a keen interest in food and wine. He then spent the next 12+ years in hospitality management with both large and small wineries across Canada. Preston joined Noble Ridge in 2018 and is the Director of Sales and Hospitality.

Preston is a Certified sommelier with the International Sommelier Guild and has obtained his WSET certificate. He excels at ensuring that Noble Ridge team members provide the best wine experience to their guests and was instrumental in Noble Ridge being awarded the prestigious 2021 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award which is only awarded to the top 10% of establishments in the world.

In Preston’s spare time, he can be found hiking and exploring the back country with his trusty sidekick – Ollie and spending time with friends and family subjecting them to his experiments with food and wine pairing.

 

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Don Prest

Don Prest, Director of Finance

 

By age 6 Don dreamed of becoming a professional accountant and by age 29 was a partner in a Vancouver public accounting firm where he specialized in Canadian and US public company audits and taxation. After building his practice over 24 years Don developed other aspirations outside of public practice. In 2007, Don retired to pursue new dreams of helping companies obtain financing and become public entities. Don became the Financial Controller for a US public beverage company providing CFO and controller support including detailed business plans until 2017. But the lure of the wine business kept calling.

Don’s passion for wine and knowledge of the BC wine industry led him to his ultimate dream of becoming entrenched in the business of wine. His mantra was “Have fun and make an impact”. Don obtained a Wine Industry Finance & Accounting Certificate and a Wine Business Management Certificate from Sonoma State University in California and rounded it all off with in person sessions on campus learning such topics as Calculating your True Cost of Wine, Budgets/Forecasting & Best Practices, and Financial and Managerial Accounting for the Wine Industry.

In 2016, armed with his accounting background and experience and newly acquired winery accounting expertise, Don sent his updated resume to a few selected wineries and serendipitously received a call from Noble Ridge. It was a perfect fit at the perfect time and the rest is history. Don provides key accounting advice to Noble Ridge including wine allocation profitability, cash flow management, wine channel and SKU profitability, strategic planning assistance and more.

Don resides in Chilliwack with his wife Jeannine and their Bernadoodle puppy Roxy.

 

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Hospitality Team

Hospitality Team,

The Hospitality Team at Noble Ridge, led by our Director Preston Radford, are the friendly faces greeting our guests when they come to visit Noble Ridge. They manage all aspects of our guests’ experiences in the Tasting Room, patio and picnic areas. Each Noble Ridge Hospitality Team member has impressive wine and vineyard knowledge, sales expertise and most importantly, a sincere interest in creating the best possible wine experience for each of our guests. Their skills, interest and caring have resulted in the overwhelmingly positive reviews we get on a wide variety of social media, online and communication channels.

 

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Vineyard & Winery Team

Vineyard & Winery Team,

All aspects related to growing our grapes and making our premium wines are handled by our vineyard and winery team. Premium quality wines truly begin in the vineyard. The Team is dedicated to ensuring that every grape bunch reaches its optimal maturation while supporting a sustainable approach to our land, people and processes. Many of our Team members work in both the vineyard and winery, underlining the understanding and importance of the work taking care of our vines. In the winery, our Winemaker Benoit Gauthier then uses his knowledge and skills, intervening as little as possible, letting the qualities of the grape shine through. The result – award-winning wines ready to be enjoyed by Noble Ridge customers.

 

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