Barb & Tony Holler
Owners of Poplar Grove Winery
Tony grew up in Summerland, BC. He studied sciences at Okanagan College and moved on to UBC where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Medical degree. Tony met his wife Barb when he was a medical intern at Vancouver General Hospital. After completing his doctorate he worked at the University Hospital for 11 years as an Emergency Room Physician and was a Clinical Instructor of Medicine. An avid collector over the years, Tony had a large wine cellar from all of the premium wine regions from around the world. This love and passion for great wine led him to an interest in Okanagan wines in the early 2000s when only a few wineries existed along the Naramata Bench. He started tasting wines from some of the top producers in the Okanagan Valley and believed that this relatively undiscovered region had the terroir to produce world class wines. This, coupled with Barb & Tony’s love for the Okanagan, led to the purchase of Poplar Grove Winery in 2007. Fifteen years later, Poplar Grove’s signature red blend, The Legacy, has been internationally recognized, achieving gold medal status, vintage after vintage. Along with their four sons, Chris, Andrew, Matthew, and Eric, they farm more than 160 acres between the Naramata Bench and Osoyoos.
Chris Holler, Vice President and General Manager
Meet Chris Holler, our General Manager and Vice President at Poplar Grove. Growing up in Vancouver, Chris enjoyed spending his summers in the Okanagan with his family. He attended Langara College and UBC. He achieved a BBA with a focus on Business Management and Accounting. During summers off in university, he began working part time in the vineyards where he developed a love for the lifestyle of agriculture – working outside, learning about farming, and working closely with his family. Although he began learning about wine from his dad, his true love for wine came while living in Europe. Him and his wife Mei-Lan, spent 3 years living in Amsterdam and visited southeastern France in Saint-May, Remuzat, and Nyon. It was here that Chris’s love for wine flourished as he got to learn different farming techniques, spend time with winery owners who were often humble and proud of their farming history, and enjoy the food and wine culture. Being immersed in the culture of the region, Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhone Valley, became one of his favourite wine regions and sparked his love for Syrah.
Chris joined Poplar Grove fulltime in 2015 and although you will often see Chris running the show at the winery or entertaining guests in the Tasting Room, his true passion lies in the vineyards – working outside with his 3 brothers and parents doing something they all love to do. When asked what his true inspiration is in life, it’s family. He is motivated by the opportunity to build something for his children and ensures that the future is the focus when making decisions for the next generation to build upon. When not working at the winery, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, 3 kids and 2 Great Danes indulging in the true Okanagan lifestyle of skiing, camping, and swimming in Okanagan Lake.
Andrew Holler, Penticton Vineyard Manager
Meet Andrew Holler, our Penticton Vineyard Manager. Throughout his time attending the University of Prince George studying soil science, Andrew worked in the vineyards during his school breaks and helped his family establish our original Merlot vineyard on Davenport Road. This hands-on experience ignited Andrew’s passion for working outdoors and fostered his love for working in the vineyards. He enjoys working most on the original Chapman Davenport vineyard, growing Merlot specifically and after years of hard work has it down to a well-practiced science. His love for the wine industry was furthered when he visited his brother, Eric, in New Zealand. He spent 5 weeks exploring the central Otago region, visiting the smaller wineries who all farm by hand and have a true focus on quality over quantity. This experience added layers to his appreciation for his craft and his commitment to elevating the standards in our vineyards.
Beyond the rows of vines, Andrew is a true Farmer and when not immersed in vineyard work, he enjoys adventuring out into the valley with his kids in tow to forage for mushrooms and wild berries. He also enjoys skiing, downhill mountain biking, tending to his garden and spending time with his family.
Matthew Holler, Osoyoos Vineyard Manager
Meet Matthew Holler, our Osoyoos Vineyard Manager. Following in the footsteps of his older brothers, he began his vineyard journey during school breaks from SFU. Initially, farming wasn’t on his radar. A passionate skier, he travelled North America and Europe competitively racing. It wasn’t until he spent a year fully immersed in farming that he decided he wanted to join the family business and discovered an unyielding love no matter the weather. Driven and self-motivated, Matt learned the nuances of farming from his older brother, Andrew, and his younger brother, Eric. He often attributes his success in farming to the unwavering support of his family. For Matt, his favourite time to be in the vineyard is with the sun rising when the vineyard is quiet, and the air is crisp. One of his career highlights involves the inception of our Pinot Noir vineyard. From extensive planning, researching blends, selecting clones to seeing the fruition of this labour in the first bottled vintage. As Vineyard Manager of our Osoyoos vineyard and personally tending to the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, witnessing its development makes this particular wine his favourite.
When he is not working in the vineyards, Matt enjoys guiding in the mountains, skiing, and spending time with his family. On the personal front, Matt and his wife, Christine, eagerly anticipate the arrival of their second child.
Eric Holler, Viticulturist and Packaging Manager
Meet Eric Holler, our Viticulturist and Packaging Manager. After spending many summers in the Okanagan, Eric knew he wanted to be a part of the wine industry early on and attended the University of Christchurch in New Zealand where he achieved his bachelor’s degree in viticulture and Oenology. Upon completion of his program, Eric started fulltime at Poplar Grove in 2017. He was first tasked with the challenging setting up the bottling line in our production facility, a feat he continues to find satisfaction in when it operates seamlessly. Always a keen learner, Eric can run every piece of equipment in the winery and has even been known to charm guests in the tasting room. In 2020, Eric played a pivotal role in the construction of our new warehouse and Pinot Noir winemaking facility which became fully operational in 2021.
When he is not at the winery, Eric enjoys skiing, hiking with his dog Brew, cooking, and spending time with family. He is also an avid beekeeper and provides honey to our restaurant for our famous ‘Holler Honey Buns.’
Stefan Arnason, Executive Winemaker
Meet Stefan Arnason, our Executive Winemaker. Hailing from Port Moody, B.C. Stefan’s journey into winemaking began making homemade wine with his father, then took the step to professional fermentation while studying at the BCIT Food Technology program in Burnaby. Fueled by a passion for wine, geography, and history, Stefan started as a craft brewer before moving over to the wine industry working the 2003 harvest in the Okanagan Valley, eventually making the bold move to relocate his family (wife Julie, daughter Coryn and son Simon) to Summerland in 2007. Joining Poplar Grove in 2008, Stefan is gearing up for his 17th vintage as Poplar Grove’s Winemaker this year. A standout moment for him was the move to the new production building on Tupper Avenue in 2012. Since then, Stefan and his team have worked hard to create a safe and efficient winemaking facility while seamlessly increasing the production of Poplar Grove from 10,000 to 55,000 cases.
Stefan’s favourite wine to make and enjoy is the Poplar Grove Pinot Gris. Beyond BC, the Northern Rhone holds a special place in his heart, fostering a true appreciation for Syrah. Stefan can often be found in production dreaming up his big plan for next year’s harvest, sharing Rosé wine with the office team, or finding the best way to turn any information into a pivot table on Excel. When not immersed in the winemaking world, Stefan enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, walking in the hills with his dog, or riding his motorcycle far and wide to find the best fishing lakes.
Laurie Barnes, Sales & Marketing Director
Meet Laurie Barnes, our Sales & Marketing Director. Growing up in Victoria BC, Laurie moved to Vancouver to train in the culinary industry, achieving her Red Seal Chef certification from the B.C. Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission and her Canadian Sommelier Certification from the Canadian Sommelier Guild. With this appreciation for food and wine, she discovered a whole new perspective in the art of the perfect pairing. Laurie then went on to complete her MBA from Simon Fraser University in efforts to connect her love of flavour with the business side of the wine industry.
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