Orofino Vineyards – A Jewel in the Similkameen Valley

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I finally had an opportunity to visit Orofino Vineyards in the beautiful Similkameen Valley of British Columbia.

A former registered nurse and high school teacher, owners of Orofino Vineyards, Virginia and John Webber, came to British Columbia from Saskatchewan hoping for something new in their future. They had a vision of working together in farming and being outside. When the Webbers happened upon their current location, it was a vineyard originally planted in 1989 with 6 acres of grapes.

Within a weekend that involved an all-night drive out to Cawston to view the property, they put in an offer. It was accepted, and within four months, the couple changed the direction of their lives even though they didn’t have any experience with grape growing specifically. They had both spent time in France and witnessed wine culture, which was a basis for their decision to make a change.

Other than their exceptional wine portfolio to keep their loyal and growing client base returning time and time again, Orofino Vineyards has the first strawbale winery constructed in Canada. Strawbale design has been around for over 200 years and provides a consistent winery temperature year-round.

Please watch Virginia and John Webber describe the inspiration behind their decision:

Orofino Vineyards Tasting Highlights:

  • Pozza Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019 – Hints of fresh jalapeno pepper on the finish, loaded with new cherry notes and a dash of oregano.
  • Chardonnay 2018 – Bright acidity and great length, this Chardonnay has flavours of pineapple, white grapefruit and lemon zest.
  • Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling 2018 Clone 239 – Mineral-driven and finessed, loaded with lemon, lime and apple flavours.
  • Riesling 2010 – Wow, just wow. Gorgeous developing notes of dried pineapple and mango with hints of petrol – this Riesling is swoon-worthy.
  • Riesling 2011 – I am not sure how I was in the right place at the right time, but the Webbers were pouring vintage Rieslings. This 2011 cool vintage Riesling is alive and searing with bright, lifted flavours. The finish is exceptional.
  • Gamay 2019 – This stunner was released the Friday before my Sunday visit. Light, flirty and delicious – Gamay is my ‘new boyfriend’ grape, and this one is a keeper.
  • Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 – Crafted with five different Pinot Noir clones, this wine undergoes wild fermentation. It is zesty, seductive and holds a beautiful secret. Unfined and unfiltered.
  • Syrah 2018 – Aged in French oak barrels, this is a blend of two vineyard sites. Dashing and meaty – this is James Bond of B.C. Syrah. Wild fermented. Unfined. Unfiltered. Damn!

Be sure to make a reservation at Orofino Vineyards the next time you are visiting the Similkameen Valley.