High above Skaha Lake, on Penticton’s southern edge, Crescent Hill can rightly lay claim to being one of the Okanagan’s longest-planted vineyards. It was in 1975 that owner Teresa Murray-Wiseman’s father, Glennallyn, purchased the five-acre property.
Glennallyn Murray (who had a background in wine production in Port Moody) decided the time was ripe to establish his own vineyard. In those early days it was Penticton’s first. And he planted what he loved, including Gewürztraminer (which he’d discovered in Germany) and Pearl of Csaba (with rootstock from a friend’s garden in Hungary). The original cuttings (including Chardonnay, Riesling and Muscat) all came to the Okanagan, as was the norm for the time, in his suitcase. The ever-inventive Glennallyn was also among the first to bring in his own machinery, flying in his own filters and press, part of a plan to eventually open a winery.
Over the years the vines flourished and Glennallyn supplied grapes to several neophyte vineyards as well as cuttings to several startup farm gate wineries. Teresa took over the vineyard after her father passed away in 1999.
In 2009, Teresa and her husband (and now trained winemaker) Russell Wiseman decided it was time to bring her father’s vision to fruition.
Glennallyn’s stamp remains very much in evidence at Crescent Hill, as much of his original equipment is still in use.
“We have a Belgian press, an Italian Pasquali tractor, and a slightly leaky 80-year old filter named Cristal, who now needs Depends!” says Teresa, adding, “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Perseverance—and deep roots—have truly paid off, as the now long-established varieties consistently win medals in major competitions such as Los Angeles International Wine Awards, Wine Align National Wine Awards and Sip’s Best of the Northwest Wine Awards. The winery’s inaugural label, the fittingly named Glennallyn Private Reserve Gewürztraminer 2015, won Double Gold and Best White Wine at the 2017 All Canadian Wine Championships.
Crescent Hill’s distinctive labels (designed by Naramata artist Janis Blyth) convey Teresa’s lighthearted approach to wine, as in Consensual Chaos, an easy-drinking rosé. Teresa says the unlikely blend of Zweigelt and Gewürztraminer proves that opposites really do attract—as the label, featuring her good friend Jennifer and beloved Boston Terrier Rico, suggests.
“It’s just fun and summery—an easy quaffer, juicy and yummy, that you can drink chilled or not,” she says, but cautions: “Drink enough and, for sure, Consensual Chaos will ensue!”
Crescent Hill Winery
205 Spruce Rd, Penticton
For more information, visit CrescentHillWinery.com
@ Vitis Magazine