Wine Culture Magazine

Hester Creek Estate Winery’s oldest vines were planted 50 years ago, in 1968. Lionel Trudel photo

The old vines of Hester Creek Estate Winery

Fifty-year-old vines. This is the reason for a lively 2018, full of revelries and libations from Okanagan Valley’s Hester Creek Winery. And indeed, it is an exceptional feat worth celebrating. In the deeply historic world of wine, B.C. is still just a bourgeoning baby, and very few B.C. wineries can boast of grapevines planted in the 60s, which is exactly what Italian immigrant Joe Busnardo did in 1968 when he discovered a promising piece of land in Oliver, B.C. (now Hester Creek Estate Winery). The sun-drenched bench with sloping hills, appropriately designated the Golden Mile Bench, was perfect for planting the grapevine cuttings he had brought back from his homeland in Northern Italy. Fast-forward to 2018 and we are enthusiastically savouring the consequences of these choice plantings thanks to Hester Creek’s commitment to longevity in the B.C. wine industry, and their devotion to innovative winemaking practices, that result in quality wines that express true Okanagan terroir.

So why should you be impressed with old vines? Because just like people, vines get smarter with age. They grow deep roots, and become highly adaptable to changing climate conditions each year. Their grapes also become less abundant, and the grapes that are nurtured, become concentrated and highly complex. Old vines have the capacity to make wines that are not just sophisticated, but downright majestic.

The old vines of Hester Creek are used in a variety of wines, from the single varietal Reserve Cabernet Franc, to The Judge (a red blend), or even in dessert style wines such as their Late Harvest Pinot Blanc. But most distinguishably, is the unique Old Vines Trebbiano. This is the only Trebbiano grown in all the Okanagan, and it expresses such a unique profile of the Golden Mile Bench’s ripe stone fruit and astounding acidity, while maintaining the clean, citrus driven disposition of Trebbiano…it wouldn’t be so daring to suggest this wine is better than most Trebbiano’s in Italy. Being a big year for this wine, it is sold out in the winery, so keep an eye out in restaurants, or for the 2018 spring release!

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