A great deal of consideration goes into buying a vineyard. Things like climate, soil, location and grape varietal are at the forefront. Deciding to follow your dreams when your dream is planted somewhere off the beaten path or growing varietals that are lesser known is not for the faint of heart. This month we are introducing wineries and grape varietals that are unique or emerging.
East of the Okanagan Valley near the Washington border you’ll find SOAHC Wines in Fruitvale, BC. The 19-acre biodynamic vineyard is situated on a series of benches in the Columbia Valley. For the past 15 years, owner Jamie Fochuk, has been working the land. With the help of Bordeaux consultant Alain Sutre, they have been focusing on Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes because he believes they are well suited for this particular microclimate.
Further east lays the town of Creston, home to Baillie Grohman Winery. The winery is situated between the Selkirk & Purcell Mountain Ranges where the unique microclimate is moderated by Kootenay Lake and the Goat River. Here, the sandy, loamy, clay soils and gentle slopes are ideal for cool climate grape growing.
Sea Star Farm & Winery on Pender Island is a 26-acre farm with 7 acres under vine that stretches from the terraced slopes of Mount Menzies to the ocean. Winemaker Ian Baker grows grape varietals like Sieggerebe, Schoenberger and Ortega, as they work well in the island’s terroir.
Just to the west, on a larger island, sits Emandare Vineyard. It is an 8.5-acre property overlooking Somenos Lake in the Cowichan Valley. Owners Mike & Robin Nierychlo dreamed of owning a winery on Vancouver Island and made it a reality in 2013. While growing a handful of cool climate grapes, they have the oldest plantings of Sauvignon Blanc on the Island. But don’t look for New Zealand or French similarities. Their style is uniquely Vancouver Island. Emandare is farmed sustainably with as little intervention as possible.
Across the channel past Whistler and Pemberton is Fort Berens Winery in Lillooet. The 20- acre vineyard sits in the Fraser Canyon at 50.6 degrees latitude north where a gap in the coastal mountain range gives the advantage of extra sunlight. They grow five traditional grape varietals.
And lastly, we have Harpers Trail, the very first winery in Kamloops. Named after the Cattle Drive Trail of BC Pioneer and Rancher Thadeus Harper, the 24-acre property is located near the South Thompson River. The crisp, fresh, mineral driven wines reflect the clay and limestone soil in the vineyard and sets the style of the region.
We hope you enjoy this trip off the beaten path and discover something delicious!
BC Wine Specialist