Little Engine Wines reaching for the Moon


little-eng-2Steven and Nicole French, the husband-and-wife team behind  Little Engine Wines, had the vision to produce a collection of wines that would appeal to both wine enthusiasts and the most seasoned professionals.

Why is the winery is called Little Engine? A nod to the classic story “The Little Engine That Could”, one of my grandson’s favourite bedtime stories. The winery’s labels, crafted in consultation with Vancouver designer Bernie Hadley-Beauregard, convey the intent to reach high.  Each label has a ladder reaching for a stylised moon.

Chardonnay dominates the six-acre vineyard beside the new winery. That varietal also grows in an eight-acre vineyard nearby that includes Pinot Noir and Merlot. Purchased Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon will eventuallt round out their BC wine portfolio.  They opened their Naramata Road tasting room last summer with an annual production of about 2,500 cases.  Their preferred sales channel is via the cellar door and their wine club.



Scott Robinson fell in love with the idea of winemaking while on a trip to Australia and upon his return to Canada he studied winemaking and spent 3 vintages at Township 7 Winery. Then it was back to Australia to get his Winemaking Masters Degree at the University of Adelaide, known by Aussie’s as the City of Churches, before coming home in 2009 to make wine at La Frenz (see my earlier post on La Frenz & Muscat here).  After leaving there in 2012 he did a stint with a start-up winery before joining the team at Little Engine in 2015.


Management of the vineyards falls into the hands of Pénélope Roche. Wine literally runs through her family’s veins as she was born in France and has five generations behind her at the family estate, Château les Carmes Haut-Brion. This tiny estate’s elegant wines rival the Grand Crus of Bordeaux. Formal studies in Oenology in Bordeaux and a resume that includes winemaking in Spain, New Zealand and Australia combined with her vast experience in both viticulture and winemaking blends perfectly with Little Engine’s pursuit of excellence.

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