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Monday, Feb. 22, 2010

DiBello out as winemaker at Kelowna's CedarCreek

KELOWNA, British Columbia — CedarCreek Estate Winery today announced the departure of award-winning winemaker Tom DiBello.

A news release said DiBello, a native of New York City and a graduate of University of California-Davis, is "leaving to pursue other oenological opportunities."

Winery president Gordon Fitzpatrick said, "Tom has been a big part of our success and we would like to thank him for his many contributions to crafting quality wines on behalf of CedarCreek. We wish Tom all the best in his future endeavours."

DiBello and his trademark ponytail spent nine harvests at the showpiece winery along the east bank of Okanagan Lake.

He helped prove that remarkable Pinot Noir can be produced in British Columbia. The most recent example was the 2006 Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir, which won a gold medal at the 2009 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition before, ironically, earning a Platinum in Wine Press Northwest's 2009 Platinum Judging.

Upon graduating from Davis, DiBello trained at the famed Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in the Napa Valley and working for Brian Carter at Washington Hills in Sunnyside when CedarCreek hired him in 1998. DiBello was worked at Claar Cellars in Pasco, Wash.

Among those who worked for DiBello at CedarCreek include Randy Picton, longtime head winemaker at Nk'Mip Cellars in Osoyoos.

CedarCreek said it has begun a search to "find a suitable replacement." In the meantime, the cellar will be managed by assistant winemaker Bill Pierson.