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Happy days are here again for curious wine lovers.
If the development of the Okanagan wine industry seems to move in waves, then this year we’re seeing a bumper crop of new, interesting and ambitious wineries that have popped up. Some have tasting rooms, some are virtual but theses five all stand apart in their desire to enter to game at the highest level.
Location No physical winery
People Ryan McKibbon, Geoffrey Moss, MW
What’s the Deal McKibbon and Moss met at when both worked at the ambitious Phantom Creek, with McKibbon making wine and Moss, a MW with a renowned palate, handling marketing. Both moved on but rejoined forces when the opportunity to purchase some high quality Viognier from friend and fellow winemaker Mike Anderson. The result is Headlong Rout, a single vineyard expression of the fragrant and complicated grape. It’s the only wine they make and there’s only 500 litres but it marks the beginning of a trend especially present in California where talented winemakers source high-quality fruit and build a brand without having to go to the expense of purchasing vineyards. Definitely a duo to keep you eyes on.
Location No physical winery but can taste/purchase at Winemaker’s Cut Tasting Room in the District Wine Village in Oliver
People Michal Mosny, Jason Priestly, Terry David Mulligan
What’s the Deal Priestly and Mulligan have been an oenophile odd couple for years, starting with their show Hollywood & Vines…which, very weirdly was seen by then young winemaker Mosny in Slovakia. It literally was one of the reasons he wanted to move and make wine in the Okanagan and he’s been doing it very well at his winery Winemaker’s Cut for the past few years. This new venture has as its focus a benchmark red—a 2020 Bordeaux blend, that’s really showing well at this early stage (as well it should at $50). There’s also a texture heavy white made of Rousanne, Marsanne and Viognier that shows an impressive desire to take some chances in the terms of expanding past the usual, safe Pinot Gris.
Location Naramata Bench
People Bert Evertt, Pascal Madevon (consulting winemaker)
What’s the Deal High Note marks the third winery (Gadzook and Uppercase being the other two) that Evertt has opened in a short period of time, no small feat in these inflationary times. High Note just opened it’s doors on August 10th, and the website is still not operational but we do know that the theme is Italian as expressed through 5 wines: a Pinot Grigio, a Riesling, a Rosé, a Syrah and a red blend that uses Sangiovese (a rarity in these parts). Equally important is the presence of Madevon, who cut his teeth at Osoyoos Larose, helping steer the winemaking ship.
Location Garnet Valley, Summerland
People Sartor Family, Alison Moyes (winemaker)
What’s the Deal The Garnet Valley sits high above Summerland and may prove to be the next big thing in Okanagan wine. Haywire pioneered the area but now others like Solvero are catching on to the potential in the high elevation (at 600m this are some of the highest vineyards in the province), slightly cool climate. The goal here is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Moyes, who spent the previous 6 years at Liquidity, has really nailed it. The Pinot is light and savoury with a nice earthy tone; the Chardonnay has great balance between freshness but some texture and body. They also make Pinot Gris (better than most) and Rosé (made from 100% Pinot Noir and a solid deal at $25).
Location West Kelowna
People Minglian Holdings, Marcus Ansems MW, Geoffrey Moss MW
What’s the Deal This is a new, very well financed venture by residential developer Minglian who operates in Vancouver and Kelowna. They recruited Marcus Ansems of Daydreamer to consult as well as Geoff Moss (see Soren, above) and Jacquline Kemp (Tantalus, Therapy) was just appointed the new head winemaker. They’re currently farming 120 acres and a new rumoured $30 million dollar winery is slated to open next year (see rendering above) to showcase their broad offering of wines—Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Chardonnay et al. There’s some vague hope that they may be able to open something this year, but the big deal will be next year (and years to come if they continue at this pace).
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