Season’s Greetings

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.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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.

 
After Thanksgiving Day, we will be open only on Saturdays from 11 am – 5 pm through to October 27th while we finish our harvest.
 
We will also be able to ship wines until Friday, December 7th…more on that later.
 

 

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.
 
While on the subject of next year, we are also adding a single varietal Cabernet Franc. We tasted this several weeks ago with the winemaker and are delighted with the results. To be honest, I sneak over to the barrel room every couple of days to taste again…all in the interest of quality control, right?
 
So, next year, we will have eight wines to offer our guests. We are considering developing a wine club but haven’t made a final decision yet. Maybe with another year’s experience in the tasting room, we will have a good feel for whether to move forward or not. So much to learn!
 


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.
 
To help in that effort, we are offering free shipping for wine orders of 12 bottles or more to a business address anywhere in B.C. For our friends in Alberta, a flat rate of $25 for shipping, again, 12 bottle minimum and to a business address, please. For anywhere else in Canada, we can customize a great rate for you!
 
Please visit our website or please feel free to call the winery (I will have the phone with me after the winery closes) or send me an email – I’m always happy to answer questions.
 
In the meantime, have a very Happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you have much to be grateful for. We certainly do!

Gamay Noir Release – July 28, 2018

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!

Holy Smokes – We did it!

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.

 
Our Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association puts on the Half Corked Marathon each year in May. People dress in costume, run a half marathon winding through vineyards and drinking wine all the way! It was insane! In the space of 3 short hours, 1,350 runners came through our winery – we had never seen the likes of it! I had to include some pictures for those of you who have never seen this spectacle before.
 
Each participating winery was invited to put something in each runner’s swag bag so we chose to put in a card for people to enter into our draw for two free tickets to next year’s event. Our very happy winner is Zerlina T. from Burnaby. We look forward to seeing you again next year, Zerlina.
 
And the next day, many of the runners returned to our little place to taste and purchase wine – it was a great weekend, so much fun to see so many people having such a zany good time (us included!)
 
So, that is what we have been up to for the last few months. The vines are growing like crazy, at least four to six feet straight up in the last six weeks. It’s all we can do to keep up with the progress, tucking the tender vines into the wires so they don’t snap off in our very windy conditions. The picture on the left was taken on April 27th and the one on the right June 11th. The growth is amazing to watch!
 
And one last thing, we are releasing another wine at the end of July – July 28th to be exact. We think this is a pretty special wine – our Gamay Noir that we have lovingly called “Gorgeous”. I wanted our newsletter people to have the first chance to have a bottle or two put away as we only produced 110 cases. And, as newsletter people, you are entitled to a 10% discount on all purchases whether you are here in the tasting room or if we ship your wines to you.
 
We will not have an online store as such but if you would like to have some wine shipped, please do give us a call or send us an email. – we would love to hear from you! And we do hope that you will be able to visit us in person.
 
I hope you are having a happy Spring – Summer is right around the corner, along with the South Okanagan heat. That will make our grapes very happy indeed.
 

Spring Happenings

So here’s the thing…we have been very busy since the last message we sent. Like all vineyards all over B.C. we have been hard at work pruning which is now complete and we have moved on to “tying down” the canes to the cordon wire which Jamie is doing in this picture. From these tied down canes, buds will form and vines will grow (rather quickly!) and eventually become our 2018 vintage.

We have also been busy finishing the interiors and exteriors of our buildings. This picture was taken Tuesday morning and shows the trim colour on. Sadly, it is the wrong colour and is being redone even as I type these words. Construction never goes exactly according to plan! I do have to say, though, that we love the look of our buildings and we have had lovely comments on the design from our neighbours.

We are waiting for it to warm up a bit before we finish levelling the driveway, roadways and walkways then gravel them. We are also in the process of deciding on landscape which is the fun part! I think it is like decorating interior spaces – just outdoors. Next time we write we hope to show you a completed landscape as well as pics of the interiors.
 
We have also bottled our first wines!!! Well, we have one more to go later this year, our Gamay Noir, and all of you on our newsletter list will be the first to know about the release of this very special wine. More about that later in the summer…
 
 
We ended up with 1,050 cases in total. Whew! Bottling was done at Bartier Bros. winery just two doors down from us so we were close to home. Michael Bartier is our consultant, our winemaker and he also generally keeps me in check when I get frantic (often). We have chosen names for our wines as if they are our children and we hope you like them as much as we do. Our goal at our winery is to deliver our wines to the public in a relaxed, almost carefree manner but to also convey how serious we are about making really good wine. I think this picture shows just how thrilled I was to get this very first bottle off the line.
 
 
Seven weeks from today, we will open our winery to the public and we can hardly wait! Jamie is very hard at work in the vineyard and my brother, Kelly, has agreed to join us in Oliver to help us with this very big job. I am turning my attention to finishing the decorating and buying and all of the things we will need to open the winery.
 
We thank you so much for signing up for our newsletter and watching us as we develop our winery. We thank you for all of your encouragement! It means so much to us. Don’t forget, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram. I am new to social media and was terrified of it but I am muddling along. And of course, we hope to see you in the tasting room sometime between May 17 and Thanksgiving.
 
We hope your spring is going well so far and we wish you a happy, healthy, safe Easter weekend.