British Columbia’s Movers and Shakers for 2022

Here is my list of what I consider to be British Columbia’s most noteworthy wineries for 2022.  My opinions are based on several factors: the winery’s performance at both the National Wine Awards and the All Canadian Wine Championships, environmental and sustainability practices of each winery and my own personal impressions.

However, there are many more great wineries in the province.  These are just the ones that I paid particular attention to this year.

I have listed my choices in alphabetical order and have included several of each winery’s 2022 award winning wines. 

Black Hills Estate Winery

Black Hills Estate Winery vineyards have some of the most favourable grape growing conditions in the country, located in the middle of Canada’s only official desert. The resulting microclimate provides one of the hottest, driest and sunniest sites in the country.

Black Hills irrigation techniques and viticulture practices provide ideal growing conditions for the Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.

Black Hills grows four clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, two clones of Cabernet Franc and four clones of Merlot. Each clone has a unique flavour profile. When they are blended together, this Clonal diversity gives multi-faceted depth and complexity to the wine.

Black Hills is committed to sustainable, environmentally friendly farming and winemaking practices. All the vines are hand picked, hand pruned and manually maintained. They have been awarded Environmental Farm Plan Status by the British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan, which is administered by the Federal and Provincial Departments of Agriculture, as well as the BC Agriculture Council and the Investment Agriculture Foundation.

Black Hill’s 2022 award winning wines include:

  • Black Hills 2020 Addendum
  • Black Hills 2020 Chardonnay
  • Black Hills 2020 Ipso Facto
  • Black Hills 2020 Per Se
  • Black Hills 2020 Roussanne
  • Black Hills 2021 Alibi

CedarCreek Estate Winery (Ranked 1st at The National Wine Awards)

CedarCreek was named Winery of the Year at the 2022 National Wine Awards. The award was earned based on the number of wines receiving awards as well as for their approach to growing grapes and producing their wine.

CedarCreek works to build a healthy ecosystem, utilizing animals and plants to naturally combat disease or pests. Cover crops, like alfalfa and crimson, keep the soil healthy while animals bring a diversity and balance to the land.

Bees pollinate cover crops and wildflowers contributing to the diversity of the vineyard and helping eliminate the need for synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Chickens eat many unwanted pests and help scratch and aerate the soil and their eggs are served in the winery’s restaurant.

There are three Scottish Highland cows that wander the vineyard rows breaking up the soil.  Also, their manure is good for compost and attracting beneficial bugs and birds. Their Scottish roots make them a hearty stock, comfortable in the cool Okanagan winters and known for their friendly temperament.

CedarCreek’s 2022 award winning wines include:

  • CedarCreek 2019 Aspect Collection Block 5 Chardonnay
  • CedarCreek 2020 Aspect Collection Block 3 Riesling
  • CedarCreek 2020 Platinum Jagged Rock Chardonnay
  • CedarCreek 2020 Platinum Jagged Rock Syrah
  • CedarCreek 2021 Pinot Noir Rosé
  • CedarCreek 2021 Platinum Home Block Riesling

La Frenz Estate Winery (5th at The National Wine Awards)

La Frenz was the Small Winery of the Year at the 2017 National Wine Awards. They are located on the Naramata Bench in the heart of the Okanagan Valley.  Over time the winery has grown to encompass 17 hectares across four different vineyard sites, each with its own distinctive soils and aspects.

Their 2022 award winning wines include:

  • La Frenz 2018 Aster Brut
  • La Frenz 2019 Cabernets Rockyfeller Vineyard
  • La Frenz 2019 Grand Total Reserve
  • La Frenz 2019 Malbec Rockyfeller Vineyard
  • La Frenz 2019 Syrah Rockyfeller Vineyard
  • La Frenz 2020 Pinot Noir Desperation Hill Vineyard
  • La Frenz 2020 Reserve Vivant
  • La Frenz 2021 Riesling Cl. 49 Rockyfeller Vineyard
  • La Frenz 2021 Semillon Knorr Vineyard
  • La Frenz Liqueur Muscat

Mission Hill Family Estate (4th at The National Wine Awards)

Mission Hill is the only winery to appear on both my 2020 and 2021 Movers and Shakers list.

Mission Hill follows organic farming practices.  Bees, falcon, and chickens replace pesticides and insecticides. Cover crops, earthworms and compost are used in place of chemical fertilizers.

Their practices are fundamentally rooted in Old World techniques supported with modern technology.  The winemaking team continuously innovates, combining fermentation and maturation vessel traditions with future trends.

The 2022 award winning wines includes:

  • Mission Hill 2020 Perpetua Chardonnay
  • Mission Hill 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Mission Hill 2020 Reserve Merlot
  • Mission Hill 2020 Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Syrah
  • Mission Hill 2021 Reserve Riesling

SpearHead Winery (3rd at The National Wine Awards)

SpearHead was named Best Performing Small Winery at this year’s National Wine Awards.  Their focus is on premium quality wine produced from grapes grown on their estate vineyard and from selected Okanagan Valley vineyards. The hand harvested grapes are sorted at the winery and fermented in small lots.

Approximately 80% of the 15 acres of vines is comprised of Pinot Noir, including four different Dijon clones, 2 California heritage clones and Pommard.  This combination of plantings enables their wine maker to select from the different characteristics exhibited by the clones in order to create a harmonious, complex Pinot Noir from the home vineyard.  They also draw from several other vineyards in the Okanagan including Golden Retreat in Summerland and Coyote Vineyard in West Kelowna.

They have extended their wine making methods to other varietals including Chardonnay, which is made from a single clone. 

Spearhead’s 2022 award winning wines include:

  • SpearHead 2019 Botrytis Affected Late Harvest Riesling
  • SpearHead 2019 Coyote Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • SpearHead 2019 Golden Retreat Pinot Noir
  • SpearHead 2019 Pinot Noir Cuvée
  • SpearHead 2020 Clone 95 Chardonnay
  • SpearHead 2020 Club Consensus Pinot Noir
  • SpearHead 2020 Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyard
  • SpearHead 2020 Riesling
  • SpearHead 2020 Saddle Block Chardonnay

Sláinte mhaith

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