Winery CEO part of an elite group

Tinhorn Creek’s Sandra Oldfield recognized as a national ‘trailblazer and trendsetter’.

By Susan McIver

inhorn Creek Estates CEO Sandra Oldfield has been named one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women.


She was recognized in the Sun Life Financial Trailblazers and Trendsetters category of the Women’s Executive Network 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women. “I’m honoured to be recognized as a trailblazer and have the opportunity as a female CEO in the wine industry, to act as role model for younger generations,” Oldfield said at the time of the announcement.

She attended both the gala national award ceremony in Toronto in late November and a ceremony held in Vancouver in January of this year for the 20 B.C. winners.

“I was not aware at either ceremony of any other women in the wine industry being honoured,” she said in an interview.

Oldfield was one of the few female winemakers in B.C. when Tinhorn Creek opened more than 20 years ago and now is one of the few women CEOs in the Canadian wine industry.

Although a successful CEO, she said, “If I had to do it over again, I’d learn a lot more about human resources, management and finances.”

Her advice to young women considering a career in winemaking is to earn a good degree with a solid basis in chemistry from a reputable university.

She also recommended getting a background in viticulture and to work in several areas of a winery before committing to a formal winemaking degree.

Her advice reflects her own 26 career.

A California native, Oldfield earned a Bachelor of Arts degree before joining Rodney Strong

Vineyards in Sonoma County, initially working in the tasting room.

Later, she took a job in the cellar where she became interested in the production side of the business. She then took two years of preparatory courses including chemistry and physics before starting a master’s of enology at the University of California at Davis in 1993.

At Davis she met Canadian Kenn Oldfield, who had recently purchased Tinhorn Creek and was in California to learn about vineyard care and practices. Kenn convinced her to get involved in the young B.C. wine industry and to marry him.


Sandra Oldfield was named one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women in the Sun Life Financial Trailbrazers and Trendsetters category for 2016.

It’s been a win-win for both Kenn and the wine industry ever since. Energetic and innovative, Sandra brought Tinhorn Creek’s production

from 1,000 cases in 1994 to over 37,000 cases in 1999 with 100 per cent estate grown grapes. She had put her studies on hold during this time, but once the winery was running to full


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