It is Canada’s 150th birthday, so what better time than now to celebrate with some of the great red and white wines produced across this country?
The founder of TH Wines in the Okanagan proves to be quite the terroirist.
A Saskatchewan farm kid plays college hockey and gets drafted to the NHL by the St. Louis Blues, then trains as a sommelier while going to law school in Montreal, and eventually works in New York on Wall Street. Fortunately for Canadian wine fans, the next spin of Tyler Harlton’s wheel of life landed on a career making some of the most interesting handcrafted wines in B.C. under his eponymous TH Wines label.
The changing landscape of Canada’s wine regions.
Just 30 minutes down Highway 97, in Summerland, Tyler Harlton has staked out a different sort of empire. He makes his TH Wines in an industrial park, occupying two bays that used to house a fabricator of skis for snowmobiles. “I don’t own my land, I don’t own my machinery,” says Harlton, who grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. He calls it the négociant model, referencing Burgundian producers in France who buy grapes exclusively from growers. But visiting his space, I’m reminded more of the Steve Jobs-esque, build-it-in-your-garage spirit that pervades California.
Tour Guide: Tyler Harlton, owner, TH Wines
In an industrial zone in Summerland, tucked behind the manufacturer Ripley Stainless and next to a vintage car storage lot, you may (or may not) find Tyler Harlton's snappy new tasting room. He's a bona fide garagiste; the adjoining winemaking facilities are housed in a converted garage, complete with two Ripley steel tanks for fermenting his handmade wines. Harlton is a new face in the Okanagan, yet TH Wines are already garnering a fetish-like following as word-of-mouth endorsements spread down the valley.
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