Family owned and operated, Bench 1775 Winery is led by General Manager Henry Bian who is passionate about creating excellent wines as well as memorable customer experiences. Through his minimalist approach, Head Winemaker Richard Kanazawa aims to create unique wines that are varietally correct. Henry and Richard are supported by our dedicated team of outstanding professionals from the vineyard to the cellar to the tasting room and office, our amazing team is at the heart of Bench 1775’s success. Meet some of our key staff members below.
Jim was born and raised in Vancouver and currently lives in sunny Tsawwassen with his wife Kristine. While travelling and playing hockey in Europe, he had his first taste of fine wines and never looked back. Jim has been immersed in all areas of the beverage alcohol business for over 30 years but his heart has always been in the wine Industry. Having travelled, toured and worked with wineries worldwide, he brings all of his experience to Naramata and Bench 1775. He also brings the knowledge that some of the best in the world are right here in the Okanagan.
It seems like everyone (in the industry or not) either knows JI or has heard of him. He is recognized, and wildly respected for his expertise, passion and of course, his humour. Jim Irving (JI) Consulting was created in 2013. As a consultant, Jim specialized in brand building, market strategies, retail sales and consumer trends. He is the ultimate connector of brands, people, and passion for the grape.
Richard was born in Vancouver and raised in Langley. After travelling abroad playing rugby overseas, he was offered a summer job delivering wines for Domaine de Chaberton Winery. Instead of going back to post-secondary studies, he decided to stay on at the winery and learn everything he could from being around the vineyard and the cellar. He studied Food Technology at BCIT before heading to Australia to work multiple vintages in Mudgee, NSW and the Yarra Valley, Victoria. He continued his studies by taking courses through Charles Sturt University.
He returned to Canada in 2004, where he accepted the head winemaking position at Red Rooster in Naramata. After three vintages at Red Rooster, he moved onto the head winemaking position at Blasted Church in OK Falls. Richard is proud of the wines that he made at both wineries, winning Lieutenant Governors Awards of Excellence at Red Rooster and Blasted Church. Before his departure, both wineries were ranked in the Top 20 wineries in Canada through the Canadian Wine Awards.
This is Richard’s second time with Bench 1775. His first vintage with Bench 1775, was in 2012. He went on to run his own brand for 8 years, before returning to Bench as the head winemaker. His 2012 Blanc de Blanc went on to win a platinum award at the National Wine Awards of Canada. Since his return to Bench 1775 in April of 2020, Richard has started a sparkling program and has implemented his minimalist winemaking style to all the wines in our portfolio. His goal is always to make every wine unique from the next. No two wines should taste the same and each wine should be varietally correct.