“When life gives you bad grapes, what do you make? After British Columbia’s disastrous 2018 wildfires left vineyards tainted with smoke, some wineries managed to get creative so they didn’t waste the fruits of their labour. Robin Gill explains how.”
We are excited to share that our 2016 Syrah received the BC Lieutenant Governor Silver Medal. It is a true honour to be recognized by the best in the industry and we are so proud of our entire team led by Master Winemaker Howard Soon, who with years of experience, continues to create some of the most beautiful wines. To enjoy this award-winning wine, visit our shop.
To view all medal recipients, click here.
“Vanessa Vineyards aims to donate a total of 200 meals over the next 90 days to the Meals on Wheels Program at the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society, which delivers food to seniors every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The winery is starting with a donation of 100 meals; then, for every six bottles purchased of its minerally driven powerhouse wines, Vanessa Vineyards will donate an additional two meals in support of its neighbours.
To purchase wine online, visit vanessavineyard.com. Shipping is free within B.C. for purchases of 12 bottles or more.”
by Joanne Sasvari, Vitis
Howard Timothy Lee Soon, C.M.
Kelowna, British Columbia
For his leading role in shaping, expanding and elevating British Columbia’s wine industry.
Read the official press release here:
In the words of John Schreiner, Canada’s most prolific author of wine books:
“The Order of Canada is the highest honour that Canada can give to a citizen. No one is more deserving of such an honour than Howard Soon. He will do his 40th vintage this year at Vanessa Vineyard, which he joined in 2017 on retiring from Sandhill Wines. Throughout his illustrious career, his wines have won more than 100 major awards. He has mentored numerous other winemakers. He was a pioneer in championing single vineyard wines and in elucidating the concept of terroir. Becoming the first BC winemaker to receive the Order of Canada crowns a remarkable, and continuing, career.”
Three competitions award BC winery with Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze
Cawston, BC — June 27, 2018: Acclaimed British Columbia winery Vanessa Vineyard has brought home a combined nine honours from three prestigious international competitions — an exceptional feat for a winery of such relative youth.
The 2018 edition of the All Canadian Wine Championships (Canada’s oldest wine competition), held June 12 – 14 in Prince Edward County, Ontario, awarded three medals to Vanessa Vineyard. They are:
• Double Gold (Best in Category): Cabernet Franc 2015 (Category: Cabernet Franc – over $30)
• Gold: Right Bank 2014 (Category: Bordeaux Blends, Older Vintages)
• Silver: Rosé 2017 (Category: Rosé, Blush Style)
In its 79th year, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition bestowed five medals upon Vanessa Vineyard following its blind tastings from May 23 – 24. They are:
• Silver: Syrah 2014
• Silver: Merlot 2014
• Silver: Right Bank 2014
• Bronze: Meritage 2014
• Bronze: Cabernet Franc 2015
Syrah du Monde is a judging of the world’s best Syrah and Shiraz wines. Held in northern Rhône Valley, France, it took place this year from May 16 – 18, and awarded Vanessa Vineyard’s 2014 Syrah a Bronze title.
Planted in 2006 under the guidance of renowned viticulturists Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, Vanessa Vineyard is situated on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley, comprising 75 acres of extremely rocky terrain. The quantity of rocks on the site initially made vineyard development exceedingly challenging; however, the rocks are a key asset to the property’s unique terroir, allowing day heat to be harnessed and imparted throughout the cooler nights, thus enabling the fruit to produce flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive.
Since 2012, Vanessa Vineyard has produced small quantities of premium red wines using only estate-grown fruit — its long-term goal is to become one of the best red sites in Canada. In late 2017, the winery marked two milestones: it opened an elegant tasting room on its grounds, and legendary vintner Howard Soon was appointed Master Winemaker. “Each of Vanessa’s wines are distinctive and attractive,” says Soon. “Their common thread of minerality and structure makes me proud to know that they offer something a little extra from our single vineyard in the Lower Similkameen.”
Wine bottle images are available here.
About Vanessa Vineyard
Vanessa Vineyard is dedicated to producing wine that is true to the heritage of its terroir — one of the finest vineyard regions of Canada. Situated on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley, Vanessa grows its grapes on 75 acres of sloping, well-drained rocky terrain. Its tasting room is located 1090 Highway 3, Cawston, BC. Daily summer hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Father to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, 3rd wine of Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc has arrived!
Centered in one of the hottest vineyards in British Columbia, Vanessa Vineyard Cabernet Franc vines are ideally located to make the most of all that sun.
Growing Cabernet Franc is not easy. Most viticulturists will tell you it is one of the harder varietals to grow successfully. It’s an extremely vigorous grape that wants to run away on you if you are not paying attention.
Rocky soil is the perfect balance for an energetic vine. To produce high quality grapes, the vines must first be tamed. Vanessa Vineyard’s location offers some unique advantages in this regard. The rocky soil helps to control the vines natural instincts to grow and strikes a perfect balance that creates a more concentrated grape.
Mature vines + lots of heat = Opportunity!
2015 marks the first year that Vanessa Vineyard produced a single varietal Cabernet Franc. This is a creation that is the result of tremendous faith and passion. Just a couple of bins came from the first crop in 2008, but the potential was clear from the first barrel. The wine was sublime, and Master Winemaker Howard could not wait to share the results with Proprietors Suki and John.
We have reached the culmination of all of that work. Eight years have passed and the vines have settled down and matured. The sun and rocks have done their job well and surrendered their future to the winemaker’s skill.
After 20 months in the barrel, the results for this 2015 vintage are outstanding. Big fruit, big body and generous flavour characterize this premier vintage.
Cabernet Franc Quick Facts:
Vanessa Vineyard Firsts:
A single barrel of Cabernet Franc was one of the first single varietal wines made from Vanessa Vineyard grapes at Sandhill as a test of the vineyard’s grapes capabilities by Howard Soon. Now Vanessa Vineyard has released it’s inaugural 2015 vintage.
Distinctive Shaped Leaf:
The Cabernet Franc leaf has a distinctive sawed tooth edge which looks like Rod Stewart’s hair.
Cabernet Franc is a wine that benefits tremendously from decanting. After 30 minutes, its natural spiciness will mellow into something softer and richer.
First Batch Planted:
Vanessa Vineyard Cabernet Franc vines were planted in 2006 with the first crop coming in 2008.
Cabernet Franc pairs well with a variety of foods due to its higher acidity. Pair it with roasted pork, lamb, and well herbed BBQ meats. It also goes well with rich cheeses, vegetables and fresh herbs.
Cabernet Franc is grown in many regions around the world. France is the largest, followed by Italy and the United States. Canada, Chile, Hungary and South Africa are some of the newer regions bringing outstanding examples to the market.
With only 220 cases produced, we hope you’ll enjoy this inaugural gem with family and friends. Learn more about the Wine Club here, or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.604.689.3882.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, providing couples across the world with the opportunity to profess their love and showcase their affection. A lot of pressure can come along with the day of love, stressing out individuals as they try to come up with something that is both unique and special for their romantic night. Though we may find ourselves attracted to the everyday card or box of chocolates, Valentine’s Day provides us with a creative slate to do something even more special.
We’re here to tell you that you: don’t need to reinvent the wheel. A glass of red wine from your favorite vineyard can enhance an event as special as Valentine’s Day.
Here are 5 reasons why wine is a Valentine’s Day necessity:
- Presentation: If you’re trying to impress your Valentine, nothing looks more enchanting than a glass of red wine at the dinner table. Enjoyed over dinner for thousands of years, there’s a reason red wine is something we reach to consume when we’re celebrating or appreciating what we have. Presentation goes a long way on Valentine’s Day, and it all starts with a bottle of wine.
- Romanticism: Valentine’s Day is the day of love. It’s about being romantic. And what’s more romantic than sharing a glass of delicious red wine with your sweetheart? Rich, deep in flavor, yet mystical, red wine does something for the senses. It helps you to relax, unwind, and really take in that beautiful face looking back at you from across the table.
- Loving Infection: When you drink wine, your brain produces the “love hormone” oxytocin, which is a chemical compound that is prevalent in loving emotions and reproduction. So yes, drinking a glass of red wine will make you a more romantic partner this Valentine’s Day!
- Youthful Happiness: Wine has been shown to promote longevity of life, slowing down the process of aging in both men and women. Thanks to a special compound in red wine known as resveratrol, a chemical reaction activates proteins in our body that protect us from aging diseases. If you and your partner want to both look and feel younger this Valentine’s Day, wine can help.
- Pairing Perfection: If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll want everything about your Valentine’s Day to go perfectly. That means appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks that all complement one another. Luckily, red wine complements just about any kind of meal, with a variety of red wines that are custom tailored for any specific type of dinner. Many of us will be cooking dinner on Valentine’s Day, which means a well paired, delicious drink to wash it down with is critically important.
Vanessa Vineyard’s Valentine’s Day Salute
This Valentine’s Day, we want you to enjoy yourself, one captivating glass of red wine from our vineyard at a time. More than the generic wine brands collecting dust at liquor stores, our precisely crafted boutique red wine selections, will elevate your Valentine’s Day experience, one glass at a time.
Make your Valentine’s Day the most memorable and romantic one yet with a glass of Vanessa Vineyard red wine.
As a proud member of the Similkameen Independent Winegrowers, we are grateful to call the Similkameen Valley home to Vanessa Vineyard. By learning more about the valley we hope you’ll appreciate the region and its wine even more!
Similkameen Valley refers to the region in and around the basin of the Similkameen River, located in the Thompson-Okanagan region immediately north of the United States border. The valley is carved from the rugged, steep Cascade Mountains by the Similkameen River, which meanders through the heart of this almost 200 kilometer-long valley. The terroir is visible through the eroding rock of the mountainside and the ancient gravel beds, as well as the complex deposits of minerals and soils deposited by the glacial action.
As one of the original areas of British Columbia to be prospected, farmed, and ranched in the mid 19th century, Similkameen is a special historical region in the province. In fact, the valley is regarded as one of the two foundations of the province’s orcharding industry, dating back to an original 30 acre lot of fruit trees being farmed and harvested in the 1860s.
Characterized by its rugged terrain and intense summers, Similkameen has evolved into BC’s largest designated viticultural area and the Organic Farming Capital and Fruit Stand Capital of Canada. The region’s topography, climate, and soil types provide the perfect foundation for producing unique wine and have led Similkameen to be touted as the next great Canadian wine region.
With over a dozen wineries spanning 691 acres, there is so much to experience as you travel through the rustic region. The top planted grapes in the Similkameen Valley are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.
As we move past Thanksgiving, our team continues to be thankful for the recent awards that our current vintages have received:
Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2013 and Syrah 2013 both won GOLD at the 2017 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. The 2017 Awards result page on their website states:
“The wines of British Columbia found an appreciative audience with the judging panel, which awarded 16 gold medals to Canadian entries, four of those being unanimous double golds. Perhaps even more impressive was that 11 of those gold medals went to work with red wines, including six focused on Bordeaux varieties. Howard Soon, one of Canada’s most respected winemakers, heads up Vannessa Vineyard Estate Winery in the cooler Similkameen Valley west of the Okanagan Valley. His 2013 Meritage and 2013 Syrah each merited a gold medal.”
In the wine industry, October is often referred to as “The Month of Merlot”.
We are also honoured that our 2014 Merlot continues to receive some stellar reviews:
Beppi Crosariol, lifestyle columnist for the Globe and Mail wrote: “The 2014 Merlot is a blend of 85 percent Merlot and 15 percent Cabernet Franc, with a smooth, luscious texture carrying flavours of ripe plum, currant jam, cocoa, tangy cedar and toasty oak. Well structured.” 90 points.
The Merlot accolades continued with John Schreiner: “This is the first single variety Merlot from Vanessa. The wine shows good concentration, with aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry and spice, all of which is echoed in the dried fruit flavours on the rich palate.” 92 points.
To view more of our awards and accolades, please visit our website here.
Vanessa Vineyard is proud to announce Howard Soon as our Master Winemaker. A pioneer in the BC wine industry, he has been awarded with innumerable accolades and established many firsts in the province, including the first to release a series of single vineyard designated wines.
“I’ve worked with Vanessa Vineyard grapes since its founding, and believe it is unlike any other vineyard due to the site’s unique topography, climatic conditions, and soil types – the perfect combination for making truly distinctive wine. When we first started getting fruit from Vanessa for Sandhill Wines we saw the potential, and when I tried our first vintage of Cabernet Franc I was blown away.” said Howard Soon, Master Winemaker. “I’m excited to go back to the workbench, it will be refreshing to be hands-on with these small productions. I believe this special terroir is the best site for growing premium reds in Canada.”
Vanessa Vineyard is situated high on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley with red grapes cultivated on sloping terrain. The vines grow in rows of rock, absorbing the day heat and imparting that warmth during the cooler nights, thus bestowing complex flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive. A burgeoning appellation, the Similkameen Valley is touted as “the next great Canadian wine region.”
Viticulturist Robert Goltz comments, “I’ve been planting vines in the Okanagan for over 40 years and in the Similkameen since the NAFTA grape pullout. From the start, we recognized the Vanessa site was ideal for premium reds, there is just so much sun exposure in the summer and the rocks were both a huge problem and an advantage.”
“Over the past decade we’ve worked closely with Howard. He helps growers and everyone else excel at their craft in the expertise he provides. He is unique among winemakers in giving us such incredibly detailed feedback on exactly what he’s looking for on the palate so that we can make changes in the vineyard to meet the precise flavour profile he’s trying to achieve in the fruit. Now that he’s with Vanessa, he will have even more freedom to continue this,” Goltz said.
“We aspire to produce the best red wines in the country and are proud to have a winemaker of Soon’s expertise on our journey. With this premier site and an extraordinary winemaking and viticulture team, we can craft profound wines that reflect this truly distinctive vineyard,” said Suki Sekhon, co-founder Vanessa Vineyard.
A living legend, for over three decades Howard Soon has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation. Originally a brewmaster, a taste for more creativity saw him join the fledgling BC wine industry in 1980. Amongst numerous other milestones, Howard was the first winemaker in the province to receive a Gold Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde in France; release a series of single vineyard designated wines; and sweep the Canadian Wine Awards receiving Red Wine of the Year, White Wine of the Year and Winery of the Year — the only winery to ever win all three. Most recently, Soon was recognized at the 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival Celebrating Excellence Awards with the highly coveted Spirited Industry Professional. His collaborative relationships with growers led him to Vanessa Vineyard in 2006, where working with their viticulture team, he oversaw the planting of their vineyard. He subsequently purchased the vast majority of their grapes for his highly-acclaimed Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard wines. In 2017 Howard “retired” after 37 years with one of Canada’s largest wine companies to focus on truly small lot winemaking as Master Winemaker for Vanessa Vineyard.