The CEO of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has been named as one of the most powerful female executives in the country.
Sandra Oldfield is the recipient of a Top 100 award in the Sun Life Financial Trailblazers and Trendsetters category of the Women’s Executive Network’s 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women. She will become part of a group of 939 female leaders that have won the award since 2003.
“It is nice to be recognized but most of what I do is just to better the B.C. wine industry. It’s not for notoriety, it’s for moving forward,” said Oldfield.
A staunch supporter of the industry, Oldfield is always one to speak up to highlight problems with access to wine. In 2012 she proved it was easier in Canada to order and ship a 12-gauge shotgun online than a 12-bottle case of Canadian wine. As part of the FreeMyGrapes fight to get Canadians access to Canadian wines she purchased the gun online from Saskatchewan. While it was legal for her to buy and get the gun delivered, to ship a case of wine across provincial lines remains illegal.
“I still have that shotgun. I hope to auction it off with some wine one day once the borders open up for shipping,” said Oldfield. “I hope that happens before I die. I keep saying it will happen in a few years, but I have been saying that for awhile now.”
Oldfield is one of the few B.C. female winemakers when Tinhorn Creek opened over 20 years ago and she is now one of the few female CEOs in the Canadian wine industry.
“I’m honoured to be recognized as a trailblazer and have the opportunity, as a female CEO in the wine industry, to act as a role model for younger generations and my peers,” said Oldfield. “At Tinhorn Creek we strive to be at the forefront of the industry; pushing boundaries and setting trends to promote Canadian wine.”
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, family owned and operated, was established in 1993 just south of Oliver. Producing wine that ranks among the best in the world, Tinhorn is also the home to Miradoro Restaurant and hosts a summer concert series in their outdoor amphitheatre.
“We certainly have had some pretty great wines made in difficult years. We seem to have some really good days in this industry pretty frequently,” she said.
In 2015, 20 years of Oldfield’s work came to fruition when the provincial government officially recognized Oliver’s Golden Mile Bench as a sub-appellation region. She spearheaded the initiative so the 11 wineries that produce in the area can label their bottles to reflect the region they were grown in. The new sub-geographical indicator is a first in B.C.
Read more: Golden Mile earns international recognition
Always on the forefront of the industry, Oldfield make Tinhorn Creek the first winery in Canada to move their entire production to screw top closures rather than corks in 2003 and started the province’s first wine club — shipping wine direct to consumers.
In 2009, Oldfield tackled sustainability becoming Canada’s only carbon neutral winery and in November of this year Tinhorn Creek was named Canada’s Safest Employer in the Hospitality category.
Read more: Oliver winery named Canada’s Safest Employer
“We hire good people and have fostered a really caring environment … we have real stars working for us,” said Oldfield. “The better people we have on staff the more things we can do as a winery.
Wine lovers and those in the industry also know her well for the 140 characters at a time she posts every Wednesday. Since 2011, Oldfield combined her love of wine, the industry and social media to bring a weekly online discussion on Twitter called #BCWineChat bringing together consumers, wineries, retailers and restaurants on specific topics of exploration weekly.
The Women’s Executive Network wanted to highlight the accomplishments of professional women across Canada. Founded in 1997, Women’s Executive Network is Canada’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women in management, executive, professional and board roles.