I have been working my way through the Bottleneck Drive wine route in Summerland, BC and today I visit a new to me winery called Sage Hills Vineyard. Perched on a hill, covered in Sage, with a view of Okanagan Lake that is truly magnificent. The building blends into the landscape so as not to stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, it becomes an extension of the hill housing the winery and a Lakeview tasting room. Rick Thrussel, proprietor and the driving force behind Sage Hills Vineyard, is passionate about his vineyard. So much so that mirrors the organic farming regulations and goes “beyond”. In his words, Sage Hills Vineyard is “Beyond Organic” and Salmon Safe. He wants to craft great wines and leave the land in better shape than when he purchased it. Sounds like a winery worth checking out to me.
My visit to the vineyard happens to be during a very hazy day thanks to forest fire haze coming up from Washington State. It may cloud the view of the lake and the vines, but it does nothing to dampen my wine tasting experience. In fact, to shoot my interview and tasting with Rick, I had to wait for two other groups of wine tourists to finish their tasting before we could shoot.
As you approach the winery you’ll find the road is narrow with a few twists and turns, I did say it’s part of the Bottleneck Drive didn’t I? At the winery, you’ll be able to park your car and walk to the tasting room. Views are everywhere.
Once you make it inside the Lakeview tasting room, you can either sit at the tasting bar or sit at the cozy corner window. Again more amazing views. Unfortunately, it’s all smoke today but no matter I am here for the wine, the view is a nice bonus.
Rick’s tasting is simple; he pours you a taste of all the wines they make. If you purchase one or more then the tasting fee is waived. I highly doubt you won’t pick up a few bottles, I did. My personal favourite was the 2013 Syrah. All of the wines are considered small lot production and during your tasting Rick can tell you how many tons of grapes were harvested per acre to produce the wine. You will also find out what Sage Hills Vineyard does to make the claim they are beyond organic. Organic wines have come a long wine since I first tasted them over 15 years ago. They have improved with age in my opinion.
You never know what or who you will run into at a wine tasting. I’ve been attacked by chickens, swarmed by bees and here at Sage Hills I ran into a classmate from high school that I have seen since I graduated in 1987. There is always something new to enjoy and experience when you wine tour. Add Sage Hills Vineyard to your route and you won’t be disappointed.
- Is the wine tasting free? There is a $5 tasting fee that is waived when you purchase wine.
- Can you eat on site? Not at this time.
- Where can I buy these wines? Right now you can buy the wine directly from the wine shop, at any of these fine private stores or online
- Are they have a Facebook and Twitter? Yes you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter