Wine Culture Magazine

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. Lionel Trudel photo

Few wineries have influenced BC’s blossoming wine culture as Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. The Oliver winery, founded some 25 years ago, has been instrumental in shaping much of the Okanagan’s progress and many of its successes. Established by the Shaunessy and Oldfield families, it was soon among the most hospitality oriented wineries in the south valley, with savvy tasting room staff and a focus on wine education. Early on, Tinhorn planted a demonstration vineyard to introduce visitors to different grape varieties, as well as instituting a self guided tour with views of the winemaking process.

The fast growing winery also grasped the importance of sustainability and respect for biodiversity. With a series of environmental initiatives, it soon became Canada’s first carbon neutral winery, also implementing measures such as a snake fence to deter rattlesnakes from the vineyards, often their chosen hangout. Tinhorn also opened a hiking trail to neighbouring wineries, as well as access to its namesake stamp mill ruins, leading eventually to trails on the Mount Kobau Range.

Over the years the winery has adopted many cutting edge programs, including being the first in Canada to implement twist-top Stelvin closures, in lieu of corks, across its full range. This switch took place well in advance of the current widespread acceptance of screw caps.

Along the way, Tinhorn started using ‘South Okanagan’ as an unofficial regional indicator on the label. It was a first step to more specific regional identity, which eventually led to the proposal and ultimate approval for Golden Mile Bench, the Okanagan’s very first Sub Geographic Indicator, or sub-appellation.

Tinhorn’s Cabernet Franc. Nora Hamade photo

In the glass Tinhorn has been instrumental in helping to establish a string of varieties now popular with BC wine consumers, from Merlot and Gewürztraminer to Pinot Noir. The winery was also among the first in the south to plant Cabernet Franc, which has fast become a Tinhorn mainstay, thanks in great part to its propensity for early ripening and winter hardiness. Others took note and ‘Cab. Franc’ has now become a popular BC single variety.

Miradoro Restaurant. Chris Pouget photo

With its popular Canadian Concert Series, the appeal of award-winning Miradoro restaurant and one of the most active wine clubs in the valley, Tinhorn Creek has cemented its reputation as a South Okanagan destination.

Summer concert series at Tinhorn Creek. Lionel Trudel photo

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