The entrance to the vineyards.
A recent discovery for us was Yellowhawk Resort & Sparkling Winery located in Walla Walla in southeastern Washington State. We had a terrific visit on their beautiful property and loved hearing their fascinating story.
Yellowhawk was brought into existence by the creativity and drive of chef and hospitality business owner Dan Thiessen. Dan got his initial training at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park (NYC), graduating in 1992. After stints in Switzerland and Aspen Colorado, he returned to his roots in the Pacific Northwest and took a job as executive chef at the restaurant in the Space Needle, Seattle’s highest volume restaurant. That’s when fate intervened in the form of a telephone call from a successful entrepreneur who had sold his cell phone business and was creating some new restaurants.
Some people are born into the world of wine, some people are drawn to it later in life, and in Ashley Trout’s case, some are simply destined for it. Ashley established her two brands Brook & Bull Cellars and Vital Wines in 2016, 10 years after founding her first winery. The former is staking its place among Washington’s elite, and the latter is a non-profit winery in which 100% of its proceeds are donated toward improving access to healthcare for local vineyard workers.
4 new BC wineries worth visiting.
BC’s wine industry is going through a tremendous growth spurt and as of March 2023, there are now 341 licensed wineries in the province. With all that competition and the quality level being pushed to new heights, it takes a lot to decide to start a new winery in BC. Our latest article for the Daily Hive takes a look at 4 of BC’s newest wineries: Garnet Valley Ranch, Solvero Wines, Red Barn & Frind Estate Winery. Click HERE for the full story.
Red Barn Winery [source: Red Barn]
Red Barn is the newest winery in the Iconic Wineries of British Columbia (IWBC) umbrella that also includes Mission Hill, CheckMate, Martin’s Lane, Cedarcreek, Road 13 and Liquidity Wines. It stands in stark contrast to the group’s flagship winery Mission Hill. Where Mission Hill is grand in every sense of the word, Red Barn quietly produces just under 1,000 cases and is very much on the other end of the spectrum; very small production using fruit solely from Jagged Rock Vineyard.
Caprio’s Hospitality Center.
Washington State is home to some of our favourite wines anywhere in the world. It remains shockingly under the radar given the level of quality it produces year after year. For close to a decade, Washington wines have averaged the highest percentage of 90+ point rated wines versus every major wine producing region in the world. While we have several tried and true favourites that we regularly visit, our most recent trip south uncovered a genuine hidden treasure. Caprio Cellars is a winery not only crafting excellent wines, but they’re also using their exceptional hospitality to elevate the wine and food experience, all while helping to transform lives.
The view from the Restaurant at Phantom Creek.
British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is going through a tremendous growth spurt, not just in the number of wineries there but in the quality of the entire experience. Vignerons have now got “old” vines in their vineyards, many 20 or more years old, and they are providing wineries with ever-better raw materials. Wineries in turn have upgraded equipment and are hiring experienced talent from across the globe to make or consult on the making of their wines. Tasting rooms are catering to luxury travelers’ wants and desires. And now the restaurant scene has joined the act providing some really terrific dining experiences. The Restaurant at Phantom Creek is leading the way.
One of the best views in the Valley.
Climate change continues to be a growing concern worldwide and conscious consumerism has forced business industries to shift their view on sustainability from an optional nice to have to a minimum requirement. The wine industry is no different and one of the wineries helping lead the movement in BC is Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP). For more than a decade, sustainability, both in the vineyards and in the winery, has been at the heart of what they do. Their newest project, Garnet Valley Ranch not only embodies this spirit in the winery, but also demonstrates it beautifully through a truly memorable personal experience at the property itself.
Winemaker Ross Wise.
Climate change is a topic that comes up often in our wine interviews because the agricultural industry seems much more attune to it than most. Within the wine industry itself, British Columbia wine producers have been facing extreme climate events earlier, and seemingly more often, than many other regions worldwide. It’s certainly been our experience that regardless of how difficult a vintage is, in the hands of the right winemaker, excellent wines will still be produced. Black Hills Estate Winery can rest assured knowing that they have Ross Wise leading their winemaking team, who continues to improve the winery’s offerings despite the now annual challenges.