B.C. Wine Culture

Photo courtesy of Corcelettes Estate Winery.

It’s no surprise that Corcelettes has emerged as a flagship in the Similkameen Valley. Owners Charlie and Jesce Baessler barely finish one project before moving on to the next!

Recently the couple purchased the neighbouring 132 acres as part of a major expansion. Phase one, already planted to Bordeaux varieties, is the Sunshot Vineyard: seven acres of Stemwinder soils on the alluvial fan. Phases two and three are on steeper south facing slopes, whose highest ridge ranges between 520 and 625 metres—a perfect high altitude, well earthed site.

Up there the vineyards (which have chalkier quartz) will be terraced—”But we won’t bulldoze too much. And we will have wildlife corridors,” says Charlie. The plan there is for cooler climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with plantings scheduled for 2021.

New plantings in the Sunshot vineyard. Photo courtesy of Corcelettes Estate Winery

Sunshot’s centrepiece is a gorgeous ranch style home, which has been renovated to include two B&B guest suites, with workers quarters below.

Next up is a cellar expansion. “It’s all part of our desire to enhance the winery experience,” says Jesce, who feels the B&B is an important part of Corcelette’s evolution.

Focused on sustainable practices, Corcelettes has sheep that keep ground cover in check, and uses organic sprays where possible. Also just completed was a lighting upgrade to maintain low energy consumption.

Corcelettes uses many sustainable practices, including using sheep to keep ground cover in check. Photo courtesy of Corcelettes Estate Winery

“These are all items that just make sense as a business. My first degree was in Environmental Science, which I studied for five years before Enology, so it’s the normal thing to do,” he adds.

Ultimately, though, it’s what’s in the bottle that counts.

Corcelettes’ structured and elegant Merlot is the backbone that supports other programs—like Meritage.

“It’s such an exciting wine to craft, blending and cherry picking in many cases the best of all the individual parts. We put our best effort into the meritage production. It’s a wine honest to its terroir but also generous in texture and flavour,” says the winemaker.

Also on a roll is the “very focused, Provence inspired rosé” (made with Pinot Noir and about 18 percent whole clustered Syrah). “It’s delicate, pale and creamy—and a big part of our program,” says Baessler, who’s equally excited by the new Santé frizzante style blend of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay

Says the self professed Similkameen cheerleader: “I don’t like to pretend there’s a lot of magic happening in our cellar. Our process is accurate. It’s natural but clean—they’re both critical. But ultimately we really want our wines to scream that Similkameen terroir.”

And that they do, in spades!

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