3 Okanagan Wineries to Watch
Harvest has started in the Okanagan, and we couldn’t be more excited. This time of the year feels like Christmas to us!
There’s a new type of buzz around wineries, while winemaking and cellar teams anxiously await the arrival of grapes to make their way into production.
Since it’s still early September, most wineries are bringing in varieties that will go into their sparkling wines. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier – just to name a few. At this point, the acid levels in these grapes are still high and the sugar levels are low, which makes for the perfect time to take these grapes off the vines and be fermented a couple of times. In a few more weeks, other grapes will be ready to be picked, and this process will continue well into October.
Part of the reason why harvest is exciting to us is that we have our eyes on a few wineries as we’re always interested in their new vintages. Yes, we do have to wait until spring to try the new releases, but we love following them on social media to see what information they’re sharing. Here are a few wineries you should keep your eye on.
Niche Wine Company
We were very excited the first time we discovered wines from this virtual winery. Their 7 acre vineyard is tucked way up in West Kelowna, and since they currently don’t have a tasting room, wines have to be purchased via their website and liquor stores. Their motto is Small Batch, Big Love and boy do they ever rock that. Pinot Noir is the winemaker, James, favourite varietal and to be able to showcase how amazing it is, he makes it in three different styles – red, rose, and sparkling. Aside from their regular portfolio label Farm Fresh, they also expanded into doing a few special labels called Plot Twist Project. If their production level was considered small, these special wines are even smaller. Take the Riesling for example, only 47 cases were produced. Trust us, those wines were gone in the blink of an eye and we just barely had a chance to scoop up a bottle. And if those two collections weren’t enough to entice you to go buy a bottle, they’ve been advertising another new label called Extra Mile. To be released in October, it’s needless to say that we’re waiting with baited breath for it.
Any winery that grows varieties different than anyone else, immediately has our attention. Enter Terravista Vineyards. Original owners, Bob & Senka Tennant, started Terravista 24 years ago in Naramata as they were looking for a vineyard where they could grow Albariño and Verdejo, two Spanish grapes that have yet to be seen anywhere else in the Okanagan. In Spring 2019, the reigns were handed over to locals Eric & Dallas Thor while Bob & Senka eased their way into retirement. Small producers as well, their wines sell out quickly so buying multiple bottles on a frequent basis is the name of the game. This past summer they produced Verdejo as a single varietal (usually in their Fandango blend), and the 50 cases that were made were only available to wine club members. Nothing could have made us hand over our Visa number to them faster!
Located in East Kelowna, Kitsch Wines made a fast impression on everyone within weeks of them opening the doors. Owners Trent & Ria Kitsch not only come from an entrepreneurial family, but have deep roots in the community. What makes us most interested in these wines though, is Graham Pierce became head winemaker this past spring. If that name sounds familiar to you, you would have heard of him at Time Winery and before that was the winemaker at Black Hills Estate Winery for ten years. With a new winemaker usually comes a new style of wines that are being produced. We’ve been big fans of this winery since they opened, so it’s only natural to be excited to see where it’s going. With Graham’s culinary background, we can only assume these wines will be food friendly, and just as delicious.