Uppercase Winery

History

Bert Evertt has had his sights on the BC wine industry for decades. In his youth, as an accomplished opera singer, Bert was afforded the opportunity to travel across Europe, where he developed an appreciation for fine wine. Over the last 40 years, his focus has been on providing the highest level of care at retirement homes throughout British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

‍During summer vacations in Osoyoos with his wife and three children, Bert slowly began to search for vineyards that represented the best of the Okanagan Valley. After extensively evaluating vineyards with consulting winemaker and viticulturist Pascal Madevon, Bert purchased 20 acres on the Black Sage Bench. Uppercase was born. In spring of 2023, Uppercase moved from the District Wine Village to its permanent home at 19 Eastside Road, formerly Matheson Creek Farm.

Liquidity

History

The Liquidity vineyard shares the same road as Blue Mountain and a fence line with Noble Ridge and the Nature Trust of British Columbia. The tasting room features sweeping views over rolling vineyards to Vaseux Lake and the mountains beyond. Growing grapes since the 1970s, the property sits on the 20 acre Allendale vineyard. In 2005, Gordon Pekrul, an Okanagan-born developer of housing in Arizona, bought the vineyard with a winery in mind. Those plans were abandoned after the collapse of the real estate market in the United States three years later. In 2008, the property was acquired by a group of businessmen and wine enthusiasts led by Ian Macdonald, a Vancouver businessman. The group completely renovated the house to add a tasting room and bistro, which opened in May of 2014. They also built a functional and well-equipped winery in time for the 2012 vintage to be made there. In previous vintages, Liquidity made small volumes of wine at another winery while selling most of its grapes. In April 2020 Liquidity Wines was acquired by new owner, Anthony Von Mandl, and is a proud member of the Iconic Wineries of British Columbia. The vineyard has four hectares of mature vines, notably Pinot Noir, that Rolland Heller had planted. Another four hectares on the prime south-facing slope has been replanted. The vineyard was converted to efficient drip irrigation with moisture sensors and a weather station. Soil analysis has revealed that the vineyard has good soils for growing quality grapes. As of the 2020 vintage, Liquidity Wines and vineyards are certified organic. The Iconic Wineries of British Columbia make up the largest percentage of organically farmed vineyards in North America. At the end of 2014, a second vineyard (formerly Lusitano Winery) located a couple properties to the south of the winery was acquired in order to have the ability to increase production with estate grown fruit, bringing the total vineyard area to 12 hectares. This vineyard was originally planted in 2008 and contains Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Meyer Family Vineyards

History

Under our original business plan, Meyer Family Vineyards began as a boutique producer of just premium Chardonnay wines, coming to market in early 2008 with just 600 cases from a 1.6-hectare vineyard in Naramata. Not long after, we realized that a viable winery needed to be larger. By the end of 2008, we purchased a larger second vineyard near Okanagan Falls. This property had 14.5 acres planted in 1995 including more Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a block of Gewürztraminer, rounding out our portfolio. In order to focus and specialize on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, a natural partner to Chardonnay, we ripped out 6 acres and replaced all with Pinot Noir as well as a couple more acres available. We believe this focus has enabled us to make some of the best wines in Canada. We have twice received the honour of best Chardonnay in Canada in the National Wine Awards which is Canada’s largest and most prestigious wine competition. Recently, we have been nominated by UK’s Decanter Magazine as one of the top Pinot Noirs in the world outside of Burgundy. Not only were we thrilled to be nominated, but we were one of the 30 out of 80 wines nominated to receive a highly recommended designation. We now produce over 8,000 cases, predominantly Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, along with a Pinot Noir Rosé, and a Chardonnay Sparkling. Our philosophy of a hands off natural approach to winemaking, and meticulously looking after the vineyard by hand, along with small lot wines expressive of the terroir they were grown in, has given us reason for huge excitement. Our wines are sold in 7 countries outside of Canada including a full corporate listing at 169 Marks and Spencer’s stores in the UK. We hope you enjoy our wines as much as we enjoy making them! –  JAK & Janice Meyer

Nighthawk Vineyards

chef inserting pizza into pizza oven

History

Nighthawk Vineyards was planted in 1999 by the Rasmussen family (who were also custom log home builders) and caught the eye of Daniel and Christy Bibby in 2012. After several years of planning, farm experience and financing they were able to purchase the property in 2014. The first season was about growing grapes for other wineries and some small lot wine production, while they built their modest tasting room and launched the brand and first estate vintages in 2015.

Bursting out of the gates, the Nighthawk Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir won Gold at the Best of BC Wine Awards, Silver at the BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards, and Best Red Wine in British Columbia by Okanagan Life magazine. Their Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer from that vintage also picked up some hardware…and the rest is history. Today their award-winning wines are found in high end restaurants and private liquor stores as far away as Norway! Nighthawk Vineyards is a boutique family run farmgate winery, focused on sustainable farming practices and high-quality small lot wine production. Their 60 acre parcel above Okanagan Falls is overlooking the panoramic Green Lake valley, and has 10 acres planted with Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They now also lease and manage a 3.5 acre vineyard in Osoyoos which supplies Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne…with Merlot and Cabernet Franc rounding out their portfolio.

In 2020 they opened their outdoor “Vineyard Kitchen and Patio” with a distinctive menu developed using locally sourced, grown or foraged menu ingredients, and a wood fire oven from Portugal. The Vineyard Kitchen and Patio at Nighthawk Vineyards has been named “Best Outdoor Dining Experience in British Columbia” by LuxLife Magazine for two consecutive years. After years of planning, Nighthawk Vineyards opened up their luxury tenthouse accommodations in 2023, completing the long-term vision of a winery eco-resort and truly authentic experience in “the Heart of Wine Country™.

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery

Be Noble … in wine and life.

History

This winery took root in 1998 in Europe where Jim and Leslie D’Andrea visited numerous wineries during a three-month family sabbatical. Jim was already a wine enthusiast with a growing library of viticulture books and cellar of fine wines. They looked at vineyard properties in France and Ontario before focusing on the Okanagan, a region they believed held the tremendous promise for producing great wines. In 2001 they purchased a hilltop property on Oliver Ranch Road in Okanagan Falls, with a small vineyard and room for more vines. The original planting in 1986 included Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. The winery’s name is inspired by the ridge at the top of the property and by the noble varieties that they intended to plant. The vineyard is an example of Gravel Hills Terroir, has favourable sun exposure, and heat units comparable to Bordeaux. This has proved to be a vineyard with immense possibilities. Upon taking ownership, the D’Andreas planted for the first 5 years. The southern exposure has the heat to mature their Bordeaux reds while the northern exposure suits the Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Sparkling production. The wine shop is perched at the top of the ridge, with views both of Peach Cliff to the north and Vaseux Lake and McIntyre Bluff to the south. A consulting winemaker assisted Jim and Leslie in the creation of Noble Ridge’s first vintages. They expanded in 2006 by purchasing the neighbouring property on the east side of Oliver Ranch Road. “Being able to obtain some land in our area is of great importance to us,” Jim says. “We are strongly of the view that the Okanagan Falls ‘appellation’ is a premiere wine-growing region.” The new property included Merlot and Chardonnay vines planted in 1998. It also had a sturdy building which they converted into a 3 story, gravity-fed winery. Okanagan Falls was designated as the second sub-Geographical Indication (sub-GI) in British Columbia, in 2018. Noble Ridge is Noble Ridge is an estate producer, relying primarily on its own grapes. Ultimately, they plan to cap annual production at approximately 10,000 cases. “Our goal is to make premium quality wine,” Jim says. “After travelling the world and tasting various wines, I am convinced that Canada can and is producing excellent, world-class wines.”

Play Estate Winery

History

A passion project for Stagewest Hospitality and the Pechet family since 2013, Play Estate Winery is the culmination of decades of experience in making guests feel welcome. With a renewed vision for 2023, the team invites visitors to drink, eat, and experience Play.

See Ya Later Ranch

History

This winery has as rich and colourful a history as any in the Okanagan. In the early 1900s, brothers Sam and George Hawthorne carved a homestead and a ranch on this slope above Okanagan Falls, giving their name to the mountain here. In 1919 the ranch was purchased by Major Hugh Fraser, a former Montréal accountant. While serving in France during World War I, he was captured and spent two years as a war prisoner prior to the armistice. Shortly after the war, he came to the Okanagan to visit a playwright friend and liked the wide-open spaces so much that he stayed. Here, near the town of Okanagan Falls, he planted vines and seeded a legend. The ranch was his home for more than 45 years. The Major oversaw the planting of the first vines in 1961. The varieties were primarily Maréchal Foch, Chelois, Buffalo and Bath, the hybrid and labrusca varieties in general use in Canadian vineyards at the time. The grapes were sold to Andres Wines Ltd. by the Major. When he retired to Penticton in 1966, dying four years later, Bill Worth took over for several years before selling to a foreign buyer. Albert LeComte, a Saskatchewan-born sign company owner from Vancouver, bought the ranch in 1983. He converted the old dairy barn on the property for wine production and opened LeComte Estate Winery in 1986. One of his initial labels was a red blend called Count Bergerac. It was common then for Canadian wineries to devise labels that gave a French patina to a Canadian wine. LeComte’s most successful wines were made from newly planted Gewürztraminer. These caught the attention of Sumac Ridge founder Harry McWatters who needed more Gewürztraminer to supply one of his top brands. He recognized that the ranch was one of the Okanagan’s best sites for the variety. In 1995, he bought the winery and renamed it Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards. Both this winery and Sumac Ridge were acquired in 2000 by Vincor. In 2003, Hawthorne Mountain created the See Ya Later label for its reserve wines. The wines were so well received that Major Fraser’s favourite phrase became the winery’s third and current name.

Wild Goose Winery

History

It all began in early 1983 when founder Adolf Kruger purchased a promising piece of land east of Okanagan Falls. Upon his return to his newly-purchased property he discovered a large flock of Canada geese feeding amongst the local flora on the rocky terrain. As he approached, the flock of geese took flight. This vision inspired Adolf to call the property Wild Goose Vineyards. Adolf first planted Riesling and Gewürztraminer with the intention of selling the grapes grown. Over the next few years, outstanding wines were produced by purchasers of these aromatic grapes. In the late eighties Adolf and two other parties formed a plan that would allow smaller wineries to make wine using grapes grown on site that could be sold through the “farm gate”. After much lobbying and persistence, the farm gate winery was born in British Columbia. Wild Goose Winery became the seventeenth winery in BC and was established in June 1990. The winery started producing Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Maréchal Foch. Over time Wild Goose would establish itself as a premium small producer of VQA wines. In July of 2021, the Wyse family of Burrowing Owl Vineyards proudly announced their acquisition of the tremendously popular Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery’s knowledge and experience in producing ultra-premium wines provide a solid platform for Wild Goose products to continue delivering excellence for years to come.

Crescent Hill Winery

History

Our story begins with Teresa’s father, Glennallyn and his hobby that created a vision for the first vineyard in Penticton. Using 100% pure clones from the old country, his vision became a reality, resulting in beautiful high-quality grapes for a burgeoning Okanagan wine culture. His winery vision was unable to come to fruition during his lifetime, but his passion was taken up by his daughter, Teresa Wiseman-Murray, and now almost 36 years later the family-owned obsession continues on. It was in his memory that Crescent Hill Winery came to be and it is why our first wine produced was named Glennallyn, to honor him and the amazing man he was. The rich histories of both vine root and family have created a stand-alone Okanagan wine experience where you can enjoy award-winning wines right from the Okanagan Valley.

Blasted Church

History

Situated on a bench overlooking Skaha Lake, Black Market Wine Co. crafts distinctive small lot wines. In addition to our organically-farmed Conviction Ridge vineyard in picturesque Kaleden, other vineyards from which we source our grapes are responsibly and sustainably farmed by growers who care as much about quality as we do. Our journey began as Garagistes, producing just 100 cases of the 2012 vintage of our signature red blend The Syndicate. Working out of another winery has provided us the opportunity to grow and develop our craft. 2020 marks the start of a new chapter as we open our own winery and tasting room in Kaleden.The vines at Blasted Church grow on sloping plateau above the eastern shore of Skaha Lake. From the windswept hilltop where the wineshop is situated, there are picture postcard views across the lake to the village of Kaleden on the western shore. The vines grow on sandy loam; the good mix of sand and clay give the soils good water-holding capacity. The winery makes its own compost, adding it to give the vineyard more organic matter. Vines were first planted here in the 1970s by Croatian-born Dragan (Dan) Prpich who came to the Okanagan in 1973 after working as a millwright in a Hamilton steel mill. Having grown up in a winemaking culture, Prpich decided in 1995 to add a winery to the vineyard. He opened the winery in 2000 but, as a consequence of family tragedies, sold it in 2002. Evelyn Campbell, the new and current owner, was a certified general accountant who had an independent practice in Vancouver. Wanting to run a business of her own, Evelyn investigated seven wineries during two and a half years before buying Prpich Vineyards. Putting her own stamp on the winery, the name was ultimately changed in consultation with Brandever Strategy Inc., a Vancouver company specializing in branding wineries. The name, Blasted Church, was inspired by a colourful chapter in the history of Okanagan Falls. In 1929 an Okanagan Falls congregation sent a crew under foreman Harley Hatfield to dismantle and move a Presbyterian church from Fairview, the mining ghost town near modern-day Oliver. Hatfield used a small dynamite charge inside the building to loosen the nails. The steeple fell down but the rest of the church was dismantled successfully and rebuilt in Okanagan Falls. It came to be referred to as “the blasted church,” and served Presbyterian, Anglican and United congregations well into the current century. The stained glass windows in the church were a gift of Major Hugh Fraser, who owned the property that became See Ya Later Ranch Vineyards. The story of the church, along with other vignettes of Okanagan Falls history, has been memorialized through the colourful caricature figures that populate the Blasted Church labels. Original art was commissioned for the initial family of labels and again in 2010 when the labels were refreshed. The labels have won numerous international design awards. More to the point, the labels powered a more than 10-fold growth in the sales of Blasted Church wines over the first decade after the Campbells acquired the winery. In 2018, the winery introduced new labels where figures from classical paintings are plucked from their holy surroundings and placed into modern-day scenarios. Inspired by Renaissance era masterworks, these creative labels depict an artistic rebirth at a time of increased innovation in the Blasted Church wine program spearheaded by winemaker, Evan Saunders. In the last year Evan has expanded the wine offering with a new selection of revered wines called the Small Blessings series, named for their small lot production and made with minimal intervention in the cellar using techniques that are often labour intensive, but which allow the fruit to shine. The winery also introduced wines made in a clay amphora and a clay egg, and even bottled the 2016 Sacrosanct Cabernet Franc in handmade terracotta – all produced by the same craftsman using the same clay in the town of Impruneta, Italy. Blasted Church is the first winery in Canada and among the first in the world to source terracotta bottles.