Our Story

Play Estate Winery is a passion project for Jason Pechet (CEO of the iconic Stagewest Hospitality brand) and long time collaborator and sommelier Mohamed Awad (General Manager, and Wine Maker). For years the two business partners talked about opening a winery in the picturesque Okanagan region. They could never find the perfect vineyard site until Mohamed stumbled upon the Skaha Lake location and immediately put in a call to Jason. Play is an exciting low key estate winery experience.

Play Estate will feature an iconic modern architectural building that will house a wine shop and tasting lounge, indoor/outdoor bistro with function space, and a 14 acre vineyard. Wine varietals will be Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, and Viognier. Play Estate Winery is projected to produce approximately 4,000 cases in 2016.

Stage West Hospitality is building and will operate Play Winery; and are honored to have Mohamed Awad as general manager of the property. Awad is well known in the Okanagan as he managed the Spirit Ridge Resort and Vineyards in Osoyoos and is a former manager of the Black Hills Estate Winery.

“We are very excited to be launching this winery as the site is incredible,” says Awad. “Its location on the west side of Skaha Hills enables the entire vineyard to have a south east exposure from sunrise to sunset, which is ideal for grape growing. Stay tuned for our full website as well as details on our grand opening.

Our Team


Mohamed Awad

WINE MAKER,
GENERAL MANAGER

To say that wine is Mohamed’s passion would be an understatement!

He joined the Stagewest Hospitality family as the Food & Beverage Manager of the River Rock Resort & Casino in Richmond. Well known in the Okanagan, he was the General Manager of the Spirit Ridge Resort and Vineyards in Osoyoos and former manager of the Black Hills Estate Winery.

Knowledgeable in wine and growing, Mohamed spent the last 15 years embracing the beauty of the Okanagan and the outstanding product that is produced in this region.
A sommelier, cultivator and wine maker, he is consistently researching all aspects of wine from nurturing the grapes to strategically creating the blends to sampling wines from here and around the world.

Specialized, informed and professional you will find him in the vineyard caring for his new crop and cheering on the sidelines of his children’s soccer games!


Jeff Burns

EXECUTIVE CHEF

His passion for cooking began as early as 7 years old, spending time with his Grandmother in her kitchen learning all the great family recipes.

A graduate from SAIT’s Professional Cooking Program where he perfected his skills, participating in Provincial and National competitions with the Canadian Chef Association. A native Calgarian, he began his professional career at the Newport Grill in Calgary and quickly moved up the ranks.

Honing his skills at some of Calgary’s top Restaurants such as Divino’s, Flatiron, Sky 360 at the Calgary Tower and the award winning private Bow Valley Club. Jeff was an integral part of opening the new Hys Steak House and the Last Best Brewpub.

He is excited to be a part of the PLAY ESTATE WINERY Management team and is thoroughly enjoying his new life in the Okanagan.


Marina Zarrillo

CELLAR MANAGER

Marina has been in love with the Okanagan Valley for a long time. Starting 30 years ago, her family has been migrating to the valley and she had been waiting for the right opportunity to finally call it home.

Like Jeff, Marina grew up spending time with her grandfather, either tending to his garden or making wine in his basement. These are some of her fondest memories. She believes that wine tells the story of who we are, where we come from, the land we live on and the grapes we love. She is in full agreement with Bobby, good wine starts in the vineyard. She and her husband have a three acre property with one acre of recently planted vines and can’t wait for their vines to start producing.

Marina started pursuing her interest in growing and making good wine with the International Sommelier Guild. Next, after leaving a successful career as an IT Professional and relocating to the Okanagan, she obtained the Viticulture Certificate from Okanagan College, then worked in the industry in a variety of capacities before obtaining the Winemaking Certificate from the University of California, Davis Extension. Marina is grateful for the opportunity at Play and to work with Mohamed as they share the same passion for winemaking.