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Hagan Kruger, Winemaker, Wild Goose Vineyards

Clearly, dad is the source of all that is good at Wild Goose. Adolf Kruger purchased 10 acres on a stony slope in Okanagan Falls in 1983 as a retirement project.
Encouraged by Mission Hill, he planted 5 acres each of Riesling and Gewürtztraminer, becoming one of the first growers of such classic varieties in the Okanagan. From the get-go, son Hagan spent all his spare time helping out in the vineyard. A piping draughtsman in Calgary, he traveled to the Okanagan on weekends until he found a job in Penticton in 1984. When Adolf opened his winery in 1990, Hagan worked full time every fall, soaking up the basics of winemaking. “There were no schools or consultants,” says Hagan. “We made trips to the wine school at Davis in California.” In 1998, Hagan took over as full-time winemaker, with assistance from Bordeaux-trained wine consultant Christine Leroux. As wine production steadily increased to the current level of 7-10,000 cases a year, other vineyards have been added – Mystic River and Secrest Road near Oliver as well as 30 acres of contracted vines. Family still reigns at Wild Goose with Hagan as winemaker who insists that, “I still haven’t made my best bottle of wine.” His brother Roland is in charge of PR and sales, son Nik an OC graduate with a stint making red wine in Australia, son Alexander in the vineyard, and wife Kerry in the office. Now 80, Adolf pitches in as maintenance man repairing equipment.

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