Our Story

It’s a truism that dreams work when you do. This is deeply illustrated by John Ness, our owner of Pipe’ Dreams ®, one of Oliver’s newer wineries. After childhood summers with his family experiencing the Okanagan, John formed a lifelong dream to return and live among grapevines.
 
Throwing caution to the wind, John moved to Oliver in 2009 to bring his dream to life.
 
He secured prime grape growing land and planted some less-common-in-BC varietals, ones that are best suited to the site including Kerner, Zweigelt, Gamay and Grüner Veltliner. With only 2,800 cases produced annually, these are very rare and limited wines.
 
Consulting winemaker Bernhard Schirrmeister works to bring John’s vision to life: that the wines of Pipe’ Dreams offer an authentic expression of the land, while inspiring people to challenge themselves to achieve beyond their wildest imagination.
 
Wines are available online, and onsite in the wine shop.
 
Pipe’ Dreams represents the fulfillment of chances taken, working against the grain to achieve the impossible. Taste the lesser-known and raise a glass to your dreams.

 

Biographies

John Ness, founder and proprietor of Pipe’ Dreams Estate Winery


John Ness, founder and proprietor of Pipe’ Dreams Estate Winery had a dream or two. John grew up in Vancouver and Alberta, and lived in Edmonton, Airdrie, Cochrane and Calgary, although he never sat still for very long. From a young age, John spent part of his family summer vacations in Oliver and Penticton, swimming, cliff jumping and exploring the natural beauty of the Okanagan Valley. Later in life, John began taking motorcycle tours through the valley in the summers, and skiing in the winters, with the vision that one day he would make his home there.

His work as a surveyor for potential pipeline routes in the wilds of Alberta and BC meant that he was constantly on the move, rarely at home, and working more than 300 days a year with little or no time off. Many weeks on the road alone, however, gave himself space to dream, and in many ways, it was the constant thread of ideas that kept his plans moving forward. He wanted to get off the road, put down roots, find a space to call his own, and get back to the land.

The dictionary definition of a Pipe Dream is a “hope, wish, or dream that is impossible to achieve or not practical”. It can also be an “illusory or fantastic plan, hope, or story”, suggesting that his plan for starting a new life and business in the Okanagan was a dream too inaccessible to become a reality.

Throwing caution to the wind, John moved to Oliver in 2009 and purchased a small acreage in 2011 with the intention of growing grapes. After studying the soil, he found that his land was best suited to interesting varietals – Kerner, Zweigelt, Gamay and Grüner Veltliner among them, which he planted with enthusiasm. John he soon realized that the way to truly accomplish his goals was to open his own winery. Thus, his pipe dream became a reality.

Pipe Dreams represents the fulfillment of chances taken, working against the grain to achieve the impossible. Finally settling down, John’s intention is that the wines of Pipe’ Dreams offer an authentic expression of his land, while inspiring people to challenge themselves to achieve beyond their wildest imagination.

 

 

 

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