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Okanagan Valley Terroir

Over the last decades, producers in the Okanagan Valley have undertaken great efforts to establish this unique and breathtakingly beautiful valley as North America’s newest premium wine‐growing region. The diversity of vines that thrive in varied microclimates here provides winemakers with a multitude of options to express their creative talents and technical expertise. The region has attracted winemakers from around the world and is now home to vintners from France, Australia, California, New Zealand and South Africa.

The Okanagan Valley is a 124 mile‐long trough that extends north from the 49th parallel into the central southern interior of British Columbia. The valley is lined with multiple bedrocks, their floors and lower slopes overlaid with the rich silt, sand and gravel over 10,000‐year old glacial deposits.

The northern end of the Sonoran Desert eco-zone, which extends all the way south to Mexico, just barely reaches across the United States‐Canada border to British Columbia, up to the south Okanagan towns of Osoyoos and Oliver. Referred to as Canada’s only pocket desert, the arid climate of the southern British Columbia interior shapes the geographical landscape for viticulture.

The climate of the Okanagan Valley is governed by the region’s location in the lee of the Coast Mountain Range. These mountains, with peaks of over 8,000 feet, are effective weather blocks. While the weather west of the Coast Range in Vancouver is wet, a rain shadow effect is produced eastward in the Okanagan Valley. Rainfall is lowered to an annual average 16 inches in the north, near Kelowna, and eight inches in the south, around Osoyoos. Summer months are dry and warm with rainfall usually in the form of brief showers. June is the wettest month. Hot periods occur when dry continental air invades the area from the desert region to the southeast, in the United States. Temperatures can often reach 95° Fahrenheit or more. The average temperature during the warmest month in the south Okanagan is 71.6°F. By way of comparison, the average temperature during the warmest month in Bordeaux, France is 67.3° Fahrenheit, and annual precipitation is 31 inches. In the Napa Valley, California, the average temperature in the warmest month is 66.4° Fahrenheit, and the annual rainfall is 25.6 inches.

The Okanagan Valley falls in the Northern Hemisphere’s wine‐growing belt and shares the same
latitude as Northern German and French vineyards. While referred to as a cool‐climate wine
region, unique microclimates exist throughout the valley. The northern tip of the Okanagan
Valley is at 50°N, and the southern tip is at 49°.

A chain of pristine blue lakes, fed by several rivers, runs the length of the Valley, moderating both the intense summer heat and chilly winter air. Viticulturists throughout the Okanagan depend on the moisture moderated climate. Intense sunlight and minimal rainfall allow the grapes to ripen to their full maturity, while cool nights help them to retain high acidity.
 

Summerhill's Vineyards


Summerhill Vineyard


Heckmann Family Vineyard

Summerhill Vineyard
Location: Kelowna
Aspect: West
Soil: Sandy silt with patches of limestone and clay
Status: Certified organic/Demeter certified ‘Biodynamic’ as of 2012
Vineyard Manager: Willem Semmelink
Grapes Grown: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Ehrenfelser, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Zweigelt

Eidse Brothers’ Vineyards
Location: Kelowna
Aspect: west
Soil: sandy silt
Status: certified organic as of 2012 vintage
Vineyard Manager: Ebby
Grapes Grown: Baco Noir, Zweigelt

 

Heckmann Family Vineyard
Location: Summerland
Aspect: East
Soil: Silt covered in nitrogen fixing plants
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Alfred Heckmann
Grapes Grown: Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc

Esther Vineyard
Location: Kaleden
Aspect: South East
Soil: Silt with glacial rock and gravel
Grapes Grown: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Muscat
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Harold Gaudy

 

Pheasant Run Organics
Location: Kaleden
Aspect: south
Soil: Sandy silt loam
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Paul Kennedy
Grapes Grown: Merlot, Zweigelt, Gewurztraminer

Windy Ridge Vineyard
Location: Kaleden
Aspect: East
Soil: Silty sand
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Doyle family
Grapes Grown: Pinot Noir

 

Knollvine Farm
Location: Okanagan Falls
Aspect: South and West slopes
Soil: Silt with glacial rock and gravel
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Doris Tan
Grapes Grown: Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Viognier

Lilypond Acres
Location: Okanagan Falls
Aspect: South-west
Soil: Silt with glacial rock and gravel
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Elizabeth Harbeck
Grapes Grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer

 

Vispering Vines
Location: Okanagan Falls
Aspect: West
Soil: Silt with glacial rock and gravel
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Ed Clarke
Grapes Grown: Riesling, Pinot Gris

Old Carriage House Vineyard
Location: Oliver
Aspect: West
Soil: Sand
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Doris Tan
Grapes Grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer

 

Park Hill Vineyard
Location: Oliver
Aspect: Various
Soil: Silt with glacial rock and gravel
Status: Certified organic
Vineyard Manager: Hans Buchler
Grapes Grown: Marechal Foch, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Inkameep Vineyard
Location: Oliver
Aspect: West
Soil: Sand and rock
Status: Conventional
Vineyard Manager: Sam Baptiste
Grapes Grown: Ehrenfelser

 

Antares Vineyard
Location: Oliver
Aspect: South
Soil: Sand with deposits of rock and limestone
Status: Certified organic for 2012 vintage
Vineyard Manager: Ron Firman
Grapes Grown: Syrah, Sangiovese

Sehkon Family Vineyard
Location: Osoyoos
Aspect: South-East
Soil: Sand
Status: Certified organic for 2012 vintage
Vineyard Manager: Pritham Sehkon
Grapes Grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Chardonnay

 

Auhlak Family Vineyard
Location: Osoyoos
Aspect: South
Soil: Sand
Status: Certified organic for 2012 vintage
Vineyard Manager: Mr Auhlak
Grapes Grown: Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Gris