We will be open for Retail sales Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12-4. Contactless pick up on the crush pad.
So here’s the thing…it has been a looooong, cold winter but seriously, aren’t all winters long and cold? I have to admit, though, that this one seemed worse. I think it was because December and January were nothing out of the ordinary and were quite manageable. Then, February hit! With a vengence!
The picture below was taken January 23rd and as you can see, it was a spectacular day in the south Okanagan. I had to hustle to take this picture as the snow was so beautiful but was melting right before my eyes. The next week, I would not have wanted to be outdoors without at least three layers of warmth and at least two hats on and that carried on for the entire month. For this coastal girl, it was torture…rain, yes…snow, wind and cold? No thank you.
But as you all know, the work has to get done and the weather doesn’t care if you are too cold. Happily, we got the vineyard pruned and finished tying down several weeks ago. We have mulched and have spread a layer of compost over the entire vineyard. We are now waiting patiently for bud break which should happen in the next two weeks. This is exciting because it signals the start of the next vintage. What will it bring? Something epic? Hope so. Something just ordinary? Hope not. Will we have smoke coverage most of August like we did last year? Definitely hope not. Only time will tell and we will deal with it all as best we can.
But the most exciting news is that we are opening next week! On Good Friday, April 19th we open for Season Two in our tasting room. I can barely contain myself. We have made a few changes with our staff this year. We have hired Noah, a young man we met last year during his time working at a neighbouring winery. He will be helping Jamie in the vineyard all summer long and will help us bring our harvest in before he leaves us again to go to his winter job – heliskiing guide! What a life young Noah has. He won’t spend much time in the tasting room as he is really quite shy but no doubt we will see him around working between the vines.
Gwen, who worked with me in the tasting room last year, is making a return! I am thrilled as she was terrific with our guests and has become a friend. Looking forward to seeing her more again over the season.
We have also hired Tracy. I met Tracy last year when she was working at another winery. She is very accomplished – great in the tasting room, of course, but she will also help me with social media, planning any events and helping me roll out our wine club. I cannot wait to get going!
A brief bit about the upcoming wine club…we are working very hard to put this together so that it fits seamlessly into our website and point of sale system. We wanted something totally controlled by our wine club members so while we will suggest wines and shipping dates for your wines, all of those decisions will be up to the member – select whatever wines you want and select when you want to receive these wines. Freedom and flexibility are key. And the name of our “wine club”? Here’s The Deal…no, really, that’s the name which follows our theme of “let’s not be so serious”.
I will send another (short) newsletter dedicated to detailing the wine club as we get closer to rolling it out.
Below is a group shot of the wines we will have on offer this season. We bottled five wines on March 23rd this year – just over 1,000 cases in just under 7 hours. Whew! Among the five, three were returning wines – Viognier, Syrah and Cabernet Merlot. We also bottled two new wines – Orange Muscat and Cabernet Franc. These two are in very limited supply but we wanted to start somewhere with these varieties and see how they go. The Orange Muscat is hugely aromatic and carries a bit of sweetness which is just how we wanted it. The Cabernet Franc is medium weight with lovely mouthfeel and a long berry, cedar finish. Can’t wait to share these and all of our wines with guests this year.
We have not yet bottled our Roussanne – she is being lazy and is all together too comfortable in her cozy tank. She may not be aware but she is coming out of there and into the bottle in early May. Tasting from the tank, though, she is delicious! Perhaps a bit more dry than last year? And just like last year, we are hoping to bottle our Gamay in late June but we have not made a final determination yet. Very, very exciting!
We are making a slight change in the tasting room this year. We are continuing with no charge sampling but we will ask you to choose the four wines that appeal to you most. We hope this will keep things moving more smoothly in the tasting room especially when we are busy. If you are in a group of eight or more, please consider phoning or emailing ahead for an appointment. We will set aside the table and chairs for you and will be able to give you the attention you deserve.
However you arrive at our door, I guarantee we will be thrilled to see you.
Easter is a happy time in our house and just like birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Easter means a big family meal, lots of laughs and perhaps a splash or two of wine. We are thrilled that our son and some of his friends will be visiting us in Oliver for the Easter weekend. Our daughter has other plans and she will be missed but she will be visiting us with some friends for the crazy Half Corked Marathon weekend in May.
We wish you all a very Happy Easter weekend – we hope you take the time to celebrate with family and friends. We hope you can relax, enjoy some nice food and delicious BC wine and anticipate with pleasure the rest of the upcoming year.
And on Good Friday at 11 a.m. we will be open for our Second Season. Just like last year, I am excited and nervous in equal measure. Hope to see you all in the tasting room at some point in the next six months.
So here’s the thing…we have been very lucky with the weather since we finished harvest. Not much in the way of snow just yet but it is getting colder at night and, of course, we always have the wind! I went back to our Lower Mainland house for a few weeks at the end of October. When I left, there were still leaves on our vines but when I got back, this is what I saw! Yes, the wind did its job and stripped every last leaf off. The vineyard can now take its long winter’s nap. The vines did a great job for us this year and in spite of a challenging last half of the growing season, we are pleased with our 2018 wine so far.
Our crop was slightly heavier than anticipated so we had to scramble and buy more barrels for the 2018 red wines. They are finally all slumbering, aging nicely in their cozy little vessels. Getting the grapes from the field, crushed, fermented, pressed and into barrel is a staggering amount of work for the winemaker and we thank him for his hard work and dedication. We ended the season with 83 barrels of red wine that will be ready to sell when we open the tasting room in the spring of 2020. Just to give you some perspective, that is almost 25,000 bottles! Oh my!!
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be our last days in the tasting room for this season. We had intended to close the shop on the 27th of October but so many wineries were still open, we couldn’t resist the chance to continue the fun. We are almost sold out of our Gamay Noir, Roussanne and Cabernet Merlot – if you are in the Oliver area, come and see us! We are offering discounts on all purchases for our final 2018 weekend in the tasting room. I couldn’t resist throwing a few Christmas decorations around just to add a little festive spirit to the place. And, of course, I am playing Christmas music…
Even though our tasting room is closing, we are still able to ship wines. I mentioned in our last newsletter that shipping on a 12 bottle order to a business address in B.C. is free, the same shipment to Alberta is $25. Anywhere else in Canada is TBD. Our last day to ship will be December 12th. And you never know, if you have a Lower Mainland address, you may just find me on your doorstep handing over your 12 bottles just in time for the holidays! That would be fun for me!!
Truly, we have had a really great first sales season here at the winery, exceeding even our most outrageous expectations. We have met people from all over Canada, the U.S. and even Europe. We will take the next few months to make plans for the upcoming season which will most likely include a wine club. We hope you will consider joining. And if you have visited us in Oliver, we thank you very much and hope you will visit again next year.
Jamie and I wish you all the very best over the festive season. We wish you happy times with family and friends, we wish you peace and quiet at this hectic time and we wish you safe travels whether across town or across the globe. Enjoy yourselves! And enjoy a bottle of B.C. wine or two.
So here’s the thing…our first sales season is coming to an end and we could not be more pleased with our progress to date. We sold out of our Viognier weeks ago and do not have much stock left on any of our other wines. We are so thankful to all the people that turned in to our driveway and made the somewhat scary trek down it! We have had visits from family and friends, visitors from other wineries, visitors from other parts of Canada and even visitors from Europe, Australia and Asia! It has been exciting to be in the tasting room every day. And once again, we cannot say thank you enough to our neighbouring wineries that send guests to us every day.
Here is a photo of our Viognier that I took last week. We are impatiently waiting for our winemaker to tell us to harvest these little beauties. It may be as early as Friday (fingers crossed) as the sugars have reached the desired level but we are still waiting for the acids to drop a pinch more. We are thrilled as the crop this year is heavier than last and so we will have more of this beautiful wine to sell in 2019.
This is a shot of our Syrah, again, a photo from last week. They have looked this ripe for weeks now but we can’t be fooled – they are not ready for their date with the pruning shears just yet. We think we have at least 10 – 14 days until we harvest these and our Cabernet Franc. We are holding our breath a bit as the nights are getting cold and we don’t want the frost to get to the leaves before we are ready to harvest. We are not completely experienced farmers yet so I suspect we are more nervous than our neighbours! It has been quite a steep learning curve for us but we are trying to take things in stride and one step at a time.This is a shot of our Syrah, again, a photo from last week. They have looked this ripe for weeks now but we can’t be fooled – they are not ready for their date with the pruning shears just yet. We think we have at least 10 – 14 days until we harvest these and our Cabernet Franc. We are holding our breath a bit as the nights are getting cold and we don’t want the frost to get to the leaves before we are ready to harvest. We are not completely experienced farmers yet so I suspect we are more nervous than our neighbours! It has been quite a steep learning curve for us but we are trying to take things in stride and one step at a time.
Yesterday was an absolutely miserable day here. I took this shot out the tasting room window looking at our crush pad. I had plenty of time to take pictures as very few people were braving the weather to go wine tasting! At the same time as this photo was taken, Jamie was driving south from Penticton and drove through the most hellish hail storm. This is very worrying for grape growers that still have fruit hanging as hail can do a lot of damage in a very short time. We got lucky and I hope everyone else was just as lucky.Yesterday was an absolutely miserable day here. I took this shot out the tasting room window looking at our crush pad. I had plenty of time to take pictures as very few people were braving the weather to go wine tasting! At the same time as this photo was taken, Jamie was driving south from Penticton and drove through the most hellish hail storm. This is very worrying for grape growers that still have fruit hanging as hail can do a lot of damage in a very short time. We got lucky and I hope everyone else was just as lucky.
These grapes peeking at us from the picking bins are orange muscat. We got the opportunity to purchase these grapes from a friend that has a vineyard just across the street from our house. He also helps us at our place with tractor work and all manner of great advice from pruning techniques to watering schedules. So, we are happy to say that we will be adding a single varietal orange muscat wine to our lineup next year. The wine has finished fermentation and the aromas are absolutely out of this world. We have left a touch of residual sugar and the wine also has lovely texture. We cannot wait to share it with everyone! And also, I will get to dream up another fun name for this new wine.
So, back to shipping wines…even though the tasting room will close, we will still be here looking after the fermenting red wines until they go into barrel sometime in early December and we want you to continue enjoying our wines all winter long.
So here’s the thing…the tasting room is getting busier and busier each week. This is due, in large part, to our neighbouring wineries who send guests to us every day. I would hazard a guess that at least 50% of our guests have been sent by another winery recommending us. We could never have envisioned such a welcoming community! We are very grateful to the other wineries but also to the many of you who have stopped by to taste our first five wines and, perhaps, purchase a bottle or two. Now, it is time to release our sixth and final wine for our first season – we call her Gorgeous Gamay. She is a Beaujolais-style wine, light garnet in colour but oh so flavourful on the palate. The wine only spent eight months in barrel so there is little “oakiness” – just bright cherry and humming acidity that is sure to make you smile. We have only produced 120 cases for the 2017 vintage. We have priced this wine at $30 (tax included). We hope you will take the opportunity to visit us in the Okanagan to taste our Gamay. We have been experimenting with chilling it slightly during this hot weather and it is really quite refreshing!
This is a photo of the Gamay Noir hanging for the 2018 vintage. Look how plentiful the bunches are! I must say that the vineyard as a whole is looking really good. The grapes seem to be ahead of last year at this point and we have even heard talk in the neighbourhood that this could be a spectacular vintage! Our warm, dry May helped us get a good start to the growing season. Let’s hope our weather stays nice and as we get closer to harvest, the rain holds off as days cool down.
Well, it was bound to happen…we are approaching our first sell out. No, not our entire stock but the first of our wines – Viognier. As I write this, we only have 10 cases left so if you have tried it and like it, please come by and grab a bottle or two. Or, if you are not in the Okanagan, we can ship you some. Just give me a call or shoot me an email and we can arrange that for you.
We have created some special pricing on our Rosé. As the summer continues in this heatwave pattern, a light, refreshing, dry Rosé is just what the doctor ordered. If you purchase six bottles, we will give you a 20% discount, taking the price of each bottle from $20 down to $16. I do love a good sale and with this weather, a Rosé sale is a very good thing. Again, if you are not near the winery, we can easily ship it to you.
So, I have mentioned several times already that we can ship anywhere in Canada – the furthest we have shipped so far is St. John’s NFLD. That took some time but our lovely guest Eli was very patient. We have not developed a wine club this year and so, if you cannot make it to Oliver, we will make the wine come to you. We use a shipping company that has temperature controlled trucks so your wine will arrive in great shape.
We hope you are having a great summer and we hope to see you in our tasting room!
So here’s the thing…sometimes, even the best of intentions get sidetracked! I really did mean to send out this newsletter on the day we opened – Thursday, May 17th but, well, that didn’t happen. So, here we are four weeks into our 2017 sales season and already, we see that our little yellow buildings are doing their jobs, attracting visitors to us from the busy Black Sage Road. Less than a year ago, we started construction and now, we’ve actually done it, we are open to the tasting public. To say we are pleased with the result would be an understatement.
We have been moderately busy so far. Not only have our buildings attracted tasters, many of the South Okanagan wineries send people to us! Some people are surprised by this generosity, thinking that all wineries are in competition. That is absolutely not the case and Jamie and I have experienced this over and over again during our time here. Many people have stopped by to offer assistance and advice and we couldn’t be more pleased to be part of this community.
Before we officially opened our doors, we threw a friends/family/construction crew party to say thank you to everyone who has helped us along our journey. We got lucky with the weather for our party but, as always, the wind was raging for most of the day. The highlight for me was the surprise visit from some members of Kwantlen First Nation – my siblings and I are members of Kwantlen – achieving our First Nations status through our Mother’s heritage. They arrived in a group and started singing and drumming their way into our party and I have to admit, it took my breath away! They blanketed Jamie and I (a huge honour) and did a few more songs for us. Then, Chief Marilyn Gabriel said a few words expressing Kwantlen’s happiness for us and their pride that one of their members had opened a winery. It was truly moving and Jamie and I will never forget this beautiful gesture.
So, the week after our party, we opened up the shop for the long weekend and not knowing what to expect, we were overwhelmed with the number of visitors we had! It was a lot of fun but really nothing compared to the following weekend.