Wine Culture Magazine

Winery’s respect for terroir rewarded with medals and titles

Hester Creek Estate Winery photo

If you’re looking for the oldest vines in the Pacific Northwest, look no further than Hester Creek Estate Winery on the Golden Mile Bench. In 1968, long before British Columbia even had a wine industry, an Italian immigrant named Joe Busnardo famously planted some of the region’s very first vitis vinifera on the property. It still bears fruit 50 years later.

Today the fruit it bears includes barrels of gold and platinum medals, as well as the recognition of being named Great Northwest Wine magazine’s first ever B.C. Winery of the Year.

The magazine hosts numerous wine competitions each year, including the Cascadia International Wine Competition and Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, where Hester Creek won multiple gold and double gold awards, before entering the Platinum Awards, where three of its wines took home platinum medals: 2019 Old Vine Brut, 2021 Old Vine Pinot Blanc and 2021 Sémillon.

Winemaker Mark Hopley credits the terroir—and the legacy of Busnardo’s vines—for the award-winning wines. “Some of these vines are pretty gnarly,” Hopley tells Great Northwest Wine magazine founder Eric Degerman in the most recent issue. “They are real tree trunks, and they don’t crop that heavy, so they make my life easy. I just try to respect the vineyards.”

That recognition is only the recent in a run of awards for the winery, which was purchased by businessman Curt Garland in 2004. Among them: The 2021 Pinot Gris Viognier won gold with 97 points from Australia’s Global Fine Wine Challenge, and the 2021 Viognier and 2019 Old Vine Brut won gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, where the 2021 Old Vine Pinot Blanc won double gold.

Three to try

Hester Creek Estate Winery Sémillon 2022
(Golden Mile Bench, B.C., $24) Crisp, lemony citrus, fresh herbs, minerality.

Hester Creek Estate Winery Old Vine Brut 2019
(Golden Mile Bench, B.C., $35) Honey, lemon, brioche, ginger, delicate bubbles.

Hester Creek Estate Winery Old Vine Pinot Blanc 2022
(Golden Mile Bench, B.C., $20) Stone fruit, melon, honeysuckle, green apple.

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