Sipping Your Way To Serenity: A Weekend In Canada's Wine Country
When you think about the great white north, you probably don’t think vineyards. But you might want to consider putting riesling and pinot on your list, just below maple syrup and smoked salmon.
Tucked into the interior of British Columbia is the Okanagan Valley, a region packed with little micro-climates that are responsible for growing some pretty fantastic grapes. Back in the 70’s and 80’s some savvy sommeliers and wine producers realized that these climate and terroir of the valley could potentially produce some stellar wines. And they were right.
Throughout the region now are dozens of estates and vineyards that are producing some world-class, award-winning bottles. One is Summerhill Pyramid Winery.
Using organic and biodynamic techniques this picturesque winery is the most visited in Canada for a reason.
After enjoying lunch and some bubbly in the winery's farm to table bistro, CEO Ezra Cipes led us down to the vines for an in depth chat about what it means to make natural, sustainable wine.
Harvest has just passed and the leaves are now a stunningly vibrant gold. We stroll through the forest, along the natural springs and back to the garden where Ezra’s brother Gabe is at work. Gabe is the vineyards is in charge of maintains the terroir’s health and balance as well as implements the biodynamic preparations. He executes it with complete ease and grace, and like everything at Summerhill, with a feeling of calm. After feeding us a variety of incredibly flavorful blossoms and petals (including a hot pink varietal that could have been mistaken for ouzo with your eyes closed) we went to take a peek at the fermentation and bottling happening inside. Massive oak barrels had just been shipped in from Italy and were waiting patiently to be assembled. We ambled along and talked of the ideas and sensibility behind their family’s approach to wine-making.
Lastly we took a look inside Summerhill’s namesake pyramid. Perched above the winery, seemingly over-seeing all the goings on, the structure is unlike anything in it’s surroundings. Built with fiberglass reinforced concrete, and without metal or electricity, the pyramid is aligned with true north. Inside is an overwhelming energy of stillness. The winery allows select vintages to rest and age inside, and occasionally hosts special events within.
We wrapped up the day with a hug - the only farewell that seemed appropriate here at Summerhill - and headed over to our guesthouse for some pre-dinner vino.
Sitting on the balcony, overlooking the vineyards, Kelowna, and Lake Okanagan, I was struck with how few people would even know about this stunning little piece of the planet. In a country as vast as Canada, there’s bound to be some hidden gems - and this is certainly one of the them.
Click the photo below to scroll through some more shots of beautiful Summerhill Pyramid Winery,
and the surrounding area!
Special thanks to Almira Spiller, Ezra & Gabe Cipes and everyone at Summerhill Pyramid Winery!