• Team Spotlight – Timothy Monaghan

    Team Spotlight | Timothy

    TEAM SPOTLIGHT

    Timothy Monaghan, Associate in The Tasting Room

    The next time you visit us in The Tasting Room, make sure to say hello to Timothy, our Associate in The Tasting Room. He has been with Vanessa Vineyard since 2018 and is a wealth of knowledge.

    Where did your love of wine come from?
    It came from my days as a waiter working at Bridges Restaurant on Granville Island. I worked there during the summers while going to BCIT. It was at Bridges wine bar that I became exposed to wines from across the globe and it was here that I began formulating my appreciation of wines.

    What is your favourite Vanessa Vineyard wine?
    My all-time favourite wine produced at Vanessa is one of the Bordeaux blends. My particular favourite is the 2014 Right Bank. I use that wine as my benchmark to measure against all other red wines in the valley. I still have a number of bottles in my wine cellar and they have all been tasting fantastic.

    Any pets?
    I have one dog here on my farm with me. His name is Radar. He’s a FrenchBo which is a hybrid cross of the French Bulldog and Boston Terrier. I love those two breeds so it was the perfect
    compromise.

    What do you like to do on the weekends?
    I work at Vanessa Vineyard a couple of days a week but the rest of my time I’m working on my commercial farm. I have a seven acre organic apple operation that more than takes up the other five
    days of the week that I have available. It’s my retirement project…something to keep me busy.

    Favourite quote?
    “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    What was the best advice you have received?
    It was given to me by my brother-in-law in 1983. His advice: “Look at building a career in communications. That’s where the opportunities will be”. This invaluable piece of wisdom led me to focus my post secondary education in the field of marketing & communications. This, plus my personal drive to excel resulted in my 30+ year career as VP Media Director at Cossette, Canada’s largest independent advertising agency at that time.

    Our team may be small but our expertise is vast. Thanks to our extraordinary people, we are able to craft profound wines that reflect this truly distinctive vineyard. Learn more about our team here.

    ~

  • Sip, Sip, Hooray! Howard Soon wins Winemaker of The Year

    Howard Soon, Master Winemaker

    Sip, Sip, Hooray! 

    Our very own Howard Soon, Master Winemaker was the recipient of The Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award, presented by the Wine Growers British Columbia and Wine Growers Canada at the Wine Growers British Columbia Industry Recognition Awards’ virtual ceremony on July 21, 2021.
    The Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award was created in 2018 to celebrate great Canadian winemakers, in honour of the legacy of the late Karl Kaiser, a Canadian wine industry pioneer and viticultural visionary.
    Since joining the wine industry in 1980, Howard Soon has earned innumerable awards and accolades. In 2017 Vanessa Vineyard welcomed Howard to the team as Master Winemaker. In doing so, we’ve been able to produce some of the most profound reds in Canada. A true pioneer in the BC wine industry, Howard has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation for over three decades, one of the first people to be named to the Order of Canada for everything he’s accomplished and contributed to the wine industry, and continues to create the most precise flavour profiles that reflect our unique vineyard.
    From the entire team at Vanessa Vineyard, Congratulations Howard!
    Read more about the award here.
  • Howard Soon honoured with The Order of Canada

    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:
    https://www.gg.ca/en/media/news/2019/governor-general-announces-83-new-appointments-order-canada

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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.”

  • Nine Times a Winner: Vanessa Vineyard Collects Honours at Home and Abroad

    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.

  • Month Of Awards

    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-crossariolBeppi 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.

     

     

    john-schreinerThe 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.

  • Master Winemaker Howard Soon Joins Vanessa Vineyard

    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.

  • Tasting Room Launch

    Industry Night – July 27, 2017

    Industry Night was a special invitation to friends in the wine industry and affiliated businesses. An opportunity for all of them to view our new facility, taste our wines and tour our spectacular property.

    Food: Harker’s Organics Barn Door Bistro~Catering
    Flowers: Polka Dot Door
    Tours: Moxie Tours

    Media Launch – August 1, 2017

    The official Media opening of the Similkameen Valley’s newest tasting room was held on August 1st. Guests had the pleasure of meeting owner Suki Sekhon and the rest of our team and enjoyed a tour of our unique property aptly described by Howard Soon as “a vineyard unlike any other in Canada, it’s the best site for growing premium vinifera reds”.  That was followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony, and an afternoon where the guests enjoyed our exclusive wines.  It was wonderful to receive great feedback from the attendees on the Tasting Room design and the flavour profiles of the wines.

    Food: Harker’s Organics Barn Door Bistro~Catering
    Flowers: Polka Dot Door

    Grand Opening – August 11, 2017

    The grand opening party of Tasting Room was a friends and family event held on August 11th. The design of the Tasting Room is inspired by the region’s natural grandeur. Its elegance is in its simplicity, incorporating the natural mosaic of the land and integrating our distinct rocky terrain.

    The guests tasted our exclusive wines, along with delectable local cuisine, and enjoyed lively music.  Guests had the opportunity to meet the team and have the pleasure of having special bottles signed by owners Suki Sekhon and John Welson.

    Food: Harker’s Organics Barn Door Bistro~Catering
    Flowers: Polka Dot Door
    Musicians for the evening: Lucy Blu & The Blu Boys

  • Vanessa Vineyard Opens Highly Anticipated New Tasting Room in Similkameen Valley

    Vanessa Vineyard Opens Highly Anticipated New Tasting Room in Similkameen Valley
    350th Winery to Open in British Columbia

    CAWSTON, BC – AUGUST 1, 2017: Vanessa Vineyard is thrilled to announce the opening of their new tasting room in the ruggedly beautiful Similkameen Valley. Inspired by the region’s natural grandeur, Vanessa Vineyard’s tasting room is elegant in its simplicity, incorporating the unique local terrain. A burgeoning appellation, the Similkameen Valley is touted as “the next great Canadian wine region.”

    In celebration of Vanessa Vineyard’s opening, a ribbon cutting is scheduled from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm today with local dignitaries including MLA Linda Larson and MP Dan Albas; and a public grand opening party is planned for August 11th from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

    “Over one million tourists will visit British Columbia wineries this year with BC wine tourism generating $246 million in revenue for the economy,” said Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the BC Wine Institute. “What’s impressive about these numbers is that most BC wineries and grapegrowers are independent, family-owned farmers like Vanessa Vineyard,” adds Prodan. “It’s exciting to see these small businesses grow and expand to offer visitors a farm-to-glass experience that showcases the wines of the Similkameen Valley.”

    Vanessa Vineyard, comprising 75 acres of extremely rocky terrain, is situated on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley. Planted in 2006 under the guidance of renowned viticulturists Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, the quantity of rocks on the site initially made vineyard development exceedingly challenging. The rocks, however, are a key asset to the property’s unique terroir, allowing day heat to be harnessed and imparted throughout the cooler nights enabling the fruit to produce flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive. In 2012 the owners Suki Sekhon and John Welson transitioned from grape growers to vintners. After ensuring the fruit was of superior quality, they began crafting small quantities of fine red wine. The new tasting room is a short 19 minute drive from Osoyoos and is located at 1090 Highway 3, Cawston, BC. Daily summer hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

    “Despite our literal very rocky start a decade ago in planting the land, we’re thrilled with the reception our grapes and wines received right out of the gate. From the beginning Sandhill’s Vanessa Vineyard wines, followed by our own Vanessa Vineyard wines have shown remarkably well,” said Suki Sekhon, co-owner Vanessa Vineyard. “This critical acclaim from competitions and critics, gave us the confidence to proceed with building a tasting room inspired by our strikingly beautiful Valley”.

    John Welson co-owner, Vanessa Vineyard remarks, “to produce Vanessa Vineyard wines, we start with 100% estate grown grapes that reflect the unique terroir of our vineyard and then use traditional wine making techniques and blends to produce wines of original character.”

    Suggested tweet: New @VanessaVnyrd Opens ‘Modern Rustic’ Tasting Room in burgeoning #Similkameen Valley #wine region, 350th BC winery http://ow.ly/thZI30e1khT 

    High Resolution images available upon request.

    ABOUT US:
    Carved from stone, fuelled by sun, a vineyard like no other. Vanessa Vineyard is situated high on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley with grapes cultivated on sloping, well-drained 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. www.vanessavineyard.com

    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Lori Pike-Raffan
    Vanessa Vineyard
    920-475 West Georgia Street | Vancouver, BC | V6B 4M9
    C: +1 604-808- 6655
    Email: lori@vanessavineyard.com

  • Grape Grower & Vintner Success

    Howard Soon in barrel room

    Howard Soon in barrel room

    We’re honoured that our grapes are so well received by the critics. With 75 acres planted, we’re not able to use all the fruit for our own winery and sell some to a very select few local wineries. Their single vineyard Vanessa wines are achieving incredible acclaim.  This past spring, renowned British wine critic Jamie Goode visited BC for the Vancouver International Wine Festival and had the chance to taste a range of local wines and wrote of the Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard Syrah 2013,

    “Sweet and textured with ripe black cherry and berry fruits with some lovely olive and pepper notes. Some dried herbs and spice, with a savoury, mineral intensity to this wine. Warm but with some peppery notes of cool climate. Lovely stuff. 93/100”

    Similarly, renowned Canadian wine author John Schreiner recently wrote,

    “Sandhill now sources some premium reds from Vanessa Vineyards in the Similkameen. This 100-acre vineyard has relatively young vines but it holds the promise of high quality wines as well. Certainly, the flavour profile differs from Phantom Creek. That simply underlines the Sandhill philosophy of making single vineyard wines that display the terroir and individuality of each and every vineyard…

    Sandhill Small Lots One 2016 Vanessa Vineyard (barrel sample). This wine is a co-fermented blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Early in its aging process, this is a promising successor to the previous succession of Phantom Creek wines. The profile seems brighter, with minty and floral aromas and with brambly flavours. 90-92.”

    Kudos to Howard Soon, winemaker Sandhill Wines for his repeated honours with our fruit!

  • A Taste of Similkameen Elegance

    Jamie Goode - Cawston“It may be the best wine appellation you’ve driven through but have yet to visit…”  Anthony Gismondi the wine writer for the Vancouver Sun, commented earlier this month on the elegant wines of the Similkameen.  He along with many other prominent wine writers across the globe have recently had our pristine Valley in their sights.

    A similar perspective was reflected across the pond, “The Similkameen Valley is a peaceful yet dramatic place. Running parallel to the Okanagan, it lacks the lakes, but makes up scenery wise by being hemmed in moodily by mountains.  The valley has an almost alpine feel, and I reckon this is one of the most exciting viticultural areas in Canada. As yet, however, its potential is somewhat untapped…” Wow! Jamie Goode, renown British wine critic recently visited the Similkameen and wrote about it’s huge potential. Noting, the uniqueness of our region which due to the lack of a lake effect tends to have a more extreme climate than the Okanagan. The results are larger diurnal temperature swings and frequent strong winds. The benefits of this are low disease pressure and preservation of acidity.  He comments, “This is a huge advantage, because we have here a combination of what looks like quite a warm climate (in terms of growing degree days it’s the same as Australia’s Yarra Valley), with the ability to make wines that are fresh with good acidity.” Jamie concludes, “There aren’t a lot of vines here in the Similkameen – just 600 acres or so – but there’s a lot of potentially fine vineyard land here that’s not planted yet. A region to watch.”

    In La Belle Province, Montreal Gazette’s wine critic Bill Zacharkiw had a similar take on the Valley’s terroir, “Another really interesting region is the Similkameen. Just to the west of the Okanagan, it has a completely different feel to the Okanagan. The wines tend to be crisper, more European, and there is very much a “vigneron culture.” You can find nearly every grape there and it seems every winery does something really well. Orofino’s gamay, Little Farm’s riesling, Vanessa Vineyard’s syrah, Courcelette’s Chasselas-based blend, Clos du Soleil’s white Bordeaux-styled — the list is long. The Similkameen is beautiful and the wines are truly worth investigating.”

    We’re excited for what the future holds for our Valley.  Stay tuned for more exciting developments for Vanessa (and no doubt in the Valley as a whole) in the coming year!