I was up in the Okanagan last week for my B.C. VQA wine panels. Over the past few years, I have often wanted to pull my car into the 8th Generation Vineyard and have a visit and taste their wines. Last week, I was on a mission and I am only too happy to report that I had nothing short of a great experience…
It was a spur of the moment idea to visit and I hadn’t made an appointment. This was not a problem at all for Stefanie Schales, co-owner and wife of winemaker, Bernd Schales. With ease and a big smile, she led me through the 8th Generation Vineyard’s flight of available wines.
The Schales family owns 22 acres of vineyard land across the Okanagan located in Okanagan Falls, Summerland and Naramata. They source grapes from two separate growers for their sparkling wines. Bernd Schales is an 8th generation winemaker and descendant of Christian Schales, who planted his first grapes in 1783 in the Rheinhessen Village of Germany.
The 8th Generation Vineyard wines are fruit-driven with a great acidity. Their approach to winemaking is to not interfere with the wine, they want to express the vintage – I like that.
- Riesling ‘Classic’ 2016 – everything I want in a Riesling with great acidity and a great finish. $20
- Riesling 2016 – this wine surprised me with 23 grams of residual sugar. It tastes off-dry and is incredibly balanced and delicious. Loved it. $20
- Integrity 2016 – this Frizzante style sparkling wine is make up of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Kerner and was the first Frizzante style wine produced in British Columbia in 2009. $21
- Confidence 2016 – this rosé Frizzante is a charming blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. $21
- Cabernet/Merlot 2015 – with excellent structure and mouthfeel, this wine is a sumptuous blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. $23
There was one wine that made me happy simply thinking about it as it wasn’t available for the tasting…their Pinot Meunier Rosé 2017. I will be getting my hands on this wine shortly! 8th Generation Vineyard is one of the only vineyards in the Okanagan to grow Pinot Meunier, to my knowledge. Pinot Meunier is one of the three main champagne grapes and I am thrilled that the Schales are championing this variety.
When you are wine touring through the Okanagan Valley, be sure to visit 8th Generation Vineyard, located off the highway in Summerland, and try these flavourful and food-friendly wines. There is an outdoor picnic area and they host cheese tastings on select Saturdays throughout the season. 8th Generation Vineyards are open Monday – Sunday from 11 AM – 4 or 5 PM.