Robert Bell's

Wines of Canada

Since 1992



Donald Triggs

Pioneer of the Canadian Wine Industry

I really had a twinge in my bones for the wine business


Today Donald Triggs is the founder long with his wife Elaine of Culmina Family Estate Winery in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. Wine consumers will know him as the man whose name appears the very popular Canadian Wines Jackson-Triggs.

Growing up in rural Manitoba as the sixth generation on a family farm, Don developed a passion for the land and a farming lifestyle very early in life. While Don's career led him into leadership roles in consumer goods marketing, agro business and the wine industry around the world, Don's life has now come full circle as co- proprietor of Culmina Family Estate Winery in the Okanagan.

A marketer, entrepreneur and builder at heart, Donald started his career in marketing at Colgate Palmolive after completing a B.Sc.H in Agriculture at the University of Manitoba and an MBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business. 10 years with John Labatt's wine division, first leading the Canadian and then their U.S. wineries sharpened Don's understanding of the wine market from a consumer, a grower and a financial perspective in Canada and internationally. The next seven years saw Don return to Canada and the UK where he and his new team grew a struggling Fison's North American Horticulture business in to a leader in North America

Ridout Wines trade name for Labatts' wine

In 1989, three partners, 26 fellow employees and Don pooled their life's savings to purchase the wine business of John Labatt. With the impending North American Free Trade deal's elimination of all protective barriers and an often questioned potential for the quality and future of Canadian wine, much of the banking and financial community thought that Don and his partners had “totally lost it”. The team only saw opportunity and with partner Alan Jackson they co-founded the Jackson-Triggs brand which went on to drive the growth of the new company, renamed Vincor International Inc., through 12 acquisitions to become the largest winery in Canada, and the 7 th largest in the world with 14 wineries and 2,250 employees located in Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Feeling the pull of their farming roots and love of wine, in 1998, Don & Elaine purchased a 100 acre apple orchard on the Niagara Parkway in Niagara-on-the- Lake, Ontario and over the next three years, planted eight vinifera varietals, with each of the two or three selected clones grafted onto two or three different rootstocks. Delaine Vineyard became their first research project to develop the best possible viticultural practices in order to produce the highest quality wine grapes . June 2006, Delaine Vineyard was sold as they prepared for their next adventure.

In June of 2006, Vincor International was acquired by Constellation Brands. Don immediately resigned so that he could once again pursue his entrepreneurial passion in the business he loved. Don and his wife Elaine then re-shaped their life's vision to start a new venture, Culmina Family Estate Winery.

At an age when most people retire, Donald and Elaine have ploughed their considerable life savings into a major new Okanagan winery. “Retirement to me is a nasty word because it implies stopping,” Donald says. “I don’t think life is about stopping. It is about
continuing and doing what you love.” (1)

As a Canadian business entrepreneur and as a champion of the Canadian wine industry Don's contribution has been recognized in Canada and abroad:

~ American Marketing Association's Marketing Hall of Legends Inductee (2006)

~ Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Canada (2003)

~ Christopher Newton Award for Extraordinary Vision in Business (2003)

~ Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin de Bourgogne (2002)

~ Tony Aspler Award of Excellence (2001)

~ American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year (2000)

~ Commandeur d' Honneur du Bontemps de Medoc et des Graves (200)

~ Donald Triggs named winners of this 2016 Canadian Wine Industry Awards.


~ Past Chair of About Face, Wine Council of Ontario, and Canadian Wine Institute.

~ Past director of Shaw Theatre Festival, Brock University, Public Policy Forum, Samsonite

~ Corporation and BC Hydro. Member: B.C Wine Institute, Canadian Vintners Association,

~ World President's Organisation, Ivey School of Business Advisory Board


Bachelor of Science, Agriculture (H), 1966, University of Manitoba Masters of Business Administration (MBA),

1968, R ichard Ivey School of B usiness, University of Western Ontario

Honourary Doctorate of Laws, 2004, Brock University

Honourary Doctorate of Commerce, 2007, Ryerson University


Also see The Names Behind Winemaking in Canada - Wineries and Wines Behind Winemaking in Canada


~ Information provided by the Triggs Family
~ (1) John Schreiner - Okanagan Wine Tour Guide 2014

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