On the drive back from Calgary this week, we had the opportunity to drop in at the Baccata Ridge Winery located off the Grindrod-Enderby Road between the Shuswap River and the Enderby Cliffs just 20 minutes north of Vernon. Baccata Ridge is an organic winery sitting in the shadow of an extinct volcano, the winery has a number of Yew trees (botanical name taxus baccata) which prompted the owner, Sheldon Moore, to name the winery after the trees that dominate the landscape. The winery specializes in the production of premium cool weather wines and has a fine selection of Gamay Noir, Ortega, Siegerrebe, Gewürztraminer, Zweigelt and Maréchal Foch. It also uses Vidal grapes for its ice wine production.
A one-man operation, Sheldon grows, harvests, crushes and pours organically grown wine and produces around a 1,500 cases annually. The property is 160 acres, of which 12 acres are deer fenced and 7 acres of rolling hills are planted with premium European grape varieties. The vineyards are situated on steep, south-west facing slopes and the mineral rich soils ensure high quality fruit production. The property also has over 40 acres of hayfields which can produce 150 tonnes of hay annually and has 60 plus acres of cleared pastures. Sheldon mentioned that the biggest challenge for the organic winery was limiting the impact of wasps eating the maturing grapes. The wasp’s favorite grape is Zweigelt, but they also like Siegerrebe! Fortunately the Gamay Noir ripens later when the wasps are going dormant.
We were greeted by Sheldon’s friendly dogs Beni and Pema and made our way past the crowing rooster and into the tasting room where we had a chance to try the 2013 Northern Expressions which is a red blend of Foch and Zweigelt grapes and 2013 Marechal Foch. The Foch is an early ripening fruity red varietal that does well in the vineyard’s calcium rich soils. Fermented to dryness and lightly oaked, this wine has strong acidity, aromas of black fruits, toasted wheat, mocha, fresh coffee, bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, and musk.
Make sure you check out Baccata Ridge the next time you are driving in the North Okanagan.