Kelley Michael Schaefer Returns to Canada for Role with Top BC Wineries
[Penticton, BC] ENCORE Vineyards is elated to announce that Kelley Michael Schaefer has returned to the Okanagan to join their team as hospitality manager, from April 2019.
Schaefer is in charge of all hospitality programs, guest services, special events, and the wine club for ENCORE Vineyards’ brands, including TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection.
Returning to the Okanagan is an “encore” for Schaefer, both literally by joining a company bythat name, and figuratively, as the return to hiscareer genesis.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the wine industry, Schaefer’s wine career began after completing the Okanagan College Oenology program in 1995. He then went on to work several vintages at numerous wineries in the Okanagan. This led to international tenures as head sommelier and wine director on Cunard Cruise Line’s QM2, at luxury resorts in
the Maldives, Starwood Hotels in Dubai, the Tokyo American Club in Tokyo, Japan (which he considers his second home), and most recently as corporate head sommelier and wine educator for luxury cruise line Seabourn.
His desire for a land-based role has led him home to British Columbia. “After living overseas for 15 years, to return to the place where my career started is a full circle moment for me.
I owe my career to the Okanagan College Oenology program, where Harry was my teacher,” Schaefer stated (referring to ENCORE Vineyards CEO Harry McWatters). “I am very proud to be part of the inaugural graduating class. I’m looking forward to working for a family-run business, especially a family with as much BC wine history as the McWatters.”
Throughout his career, Schaefer has served as a wine judge (in Japan, Dubai and Canada,) visited countless wine producing regions and attended wine industry events and workshops globally, including South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and all corners of the Old World.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Kelley to our team and have great confidence in what he will be able to accomplish,” shared Christa-Lee McWatters, ENCORE Vineyards sales and marketing manager. “The diversity of his career is truly unparalleled, and we feel fortunate to be privy to his breadth of expertise.”