Written by Katya Irwin
Meet Catherine Scott-Taggart
Catherine Scott-Taggart could tell you a thing or two about wine. It’s not just about tastings – although, that’s certainly part of it. She’s one of those deeply knowledgeable types who studied horticulture and plant physiology, received intense winemaking training in Australia and has since been working in the industry.
Today, she works out of Cowork Penticton, helming the Canadian customer support office for software company Process2Wine, which specializes in – you guessed it – vineyard and winery production management. Process2Wine is based in Bordeaux, France, and is used by companies worldwide.
Catherine grew up near Montreal and is thankful now for her bilingual education, which has proved essential for this job. After leaving Australia, she worked in Ontario for a while before moving to Penticton with her husband Jason James, a winemaker, in 2005.
When they arrived, they found a rental house downtown, which suited the couple and their dog – a Border Collie cross, now 16 years old – just fine. But that year, right during the middle of harvest, the owners decided to sell the home. To make a long story short, the couple purchased the house and have lived there happily ever since.
“I adore Penticton,” says Catherine. “It’s stunningly beautiful and I like the size of the town. It’s really walkable and I like the feel of it, with the cute WW2 buildings, and the Farmer’s Market is wonderful.”
While wine is (fabulous) work, music is passion. Catherine is humble about her musical skills, although she’s clearly highly skilled.
She plays clarinet and saxophone, and plays in three community bands: clarinet in the Penticton Concert Band & Valley Winds Woodwind Quintet and alto sax in the South Okanagan Big Band.
In fact, Catherine studied music at McGill University, but a highly competitive atmosphere zapped the joy out of pursuing music as a profession.
Catherine was born in Wimbledon, U.K., and immigrated to Canada in 1967, her family settling in Montreal. After her musical stint McGill, she earned degrees in horticulture & plant physiology, followed by a post-graduate winemaking program at the University of South Australia in Adelaide.
“That was intense winemaking. The educational standards are really high. We worked hard but had a lot of fun,” she recalls.
She and her husband moved to Penticton in 2005, both working at wineries, before she shifted gears to her latest position in 2014.
These days, when not out walking the dog or playing instruments, she enjoys cooking and trying different meals from local restaurants.
“The food here is amazing. The restaurants are just great, unfortunately,” she jokes. “With all the makers, the Farmers Market, the active music and arts scene, and the friendly community, I feel very lucky to have ended up in this fantastic town.”
Written by Katya Irwin
Meet Diane Jones
She works odd hours, hunches closely over her laptop, taking occasional short, quiet, shuffling walks around the office or the block to un-cramp her body – and, perhaps, her imagination.
At 81, Diane Jones is so far the oldest member at Cowork Penticton. A mother of five, grandmother of 11, and great grandmother of nine, she’s been tapping away at her computer as a resident desker for more than three years. A retired ESL teacher, she taught at Vancouver Community College for 30 years before retiring in 2001. But since, she’s been pursuing a dream – and perhaps getting printed revenge on her mother – by writing books.
“There’s been a buried writer in me for years,” says Diane, identifying herself as a hardcore grammarian. “My mother was a writer. She’d keep me home from school just to tell me a story she was working on.”
In addition to writing, Diane can speak four languages, including Russian, French and Spanish, and has studied many others, including Hebrew, Latin, Welsh, Spanish and – ahem – German (you might want to ask her about that one!). Fun facts: She can also read braille by eye (upside down and backwards) and count to 100 in Cantonese.
She honed her Russian-speaking skills in the 1970s while living in Vancouver. She and her family would simply walk up the gangplank of visiting Russian cargo ships at the harbour, striking up conversations with the crew. Before long, sailors would call her house when they were in town, often requesting a high-skilled match of chess with her son.
Diane and her husband, Frank, moved to Penticton in 2016, and almost immediately, she discovered Cowork Penticton, thanks to her daughter, Catherine, an editor, who was dropping in for hotdesking.
Diane started by writing a book titled The House of Secrets. She completed the novel and received encouraging feedback from an editor, but a corrupt USB file has temporarily sidelined the project.
Diane has also published numerous articles, including one short story, Fire, in an anthology titled Pilgrim’s Proof in the 2014 edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul – Touched by an Angel. She’s now writing her autobiography for her children and grandchildren, which she is writing in decades rather than chapters (now progressing into her 7th decade). She also has a ghost story in the works.
When asked what she considers her greatest success so far, Diane paused, smiled and replied: “I’ve got a terrific family, married 64 years, same guy.” She’s proud of her three decades spent teaching ESL to immigrants. She not only taught them English, but she helped them write their resumes and practice for interviews – essential steps for transitioning into their new lives in Canada.
As for Cowork, it’s a place where Diane can focus on her writing.
“If you write at home, you don’t get any writing done.” There are too many distractions, she says, like a retired husband. ”I work here so I won’t kill my husband,” she says with a laugh… proving coworking memberships can save lives.