As I sit in the winery this evening and look at the hodgepodge of ferments, some of them still bubbling away 2 months after picking, I’m at a loss as to how to start this email.
I’ll take you back to the picking in September, when everything fell into place.
The longer cool season matched our demands for fruit at lean ripeness.
Our asks of our farmers the Cacholas - cropload management, clean fruit, and small 3 ton picks spaced days apart - were already agreed upon. At this point in our relationship, we agree on the quality emphasis.
The harvest team, including my niece, took care of the heavy labour that we require to make wines by hand.
The vintage ended up being our smallest since 2013, meaning the wines received every attention. As the years pass, I embrace the soundbite that every vintage is our one chance to put our hands on the farmer’s work and turn it into something pure and honest that tells the story of the land.
The difference this year was that I knew during picking that this was going to be our last vintage.
The past couple of years I have felt the pull of some other work in food and farming, which has been out of reach owing to the work at the winery. I’ve taken risks to build skills that afford me amazing opportunities, and it’s time to put those skills to work on a new project, as yet determined. I’m proud that we’ve pushed BC Wine in a positive direction, and we’re honoured to be featured in this month’s Bon Appétit Magazine.
Many on this list know me personally, and for those who do the transition won’t come as a shock. I grew up on a family farm in Saskatchewan, and whatever runs in the blood of prairie farmers starts early. Since I was old enough to climb onto the tractor and grab the wheel, I’ve had farming and the land on my mind. It feels natural for me to move on. Work lies ahead.
Wineries are typically transitioned via a PR announcement when the deal is already done, but here that hasn’t happened. You’re seeing the raw process of detachment from something very personal. It’s hard to walk away from an opportunity and the honing of a craft, but I’m looking forward to the next path.
The exciting news for our supporters (other than the November end sale) is that we’ll be making a 2019 Rose and releasing some grape varietals that had been reserved for the club. On that note, we're releasing 5 cases of the Roussanne 2018.
The 2019 vintage label will re-adapt my sister’s original canvas which gave us our start in 2011. It makes sense to me that her daughter was here to pick the 2019 grapes and close the chapter.
For now my focus will remain on the winery, and operating the tasting room next season. At some point in the new year I’ll think about what will come next; I hope to pass on the Carstentown space if the right set of hands comes along.
I’ll close by saying thanks for your support. We have been proud to operate as a small independent local business in the food world, and without customer support we wouldn’t have been able to live the magic of winemaking.
Tyler and Vicky
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