Owned and operated by Jerry and Charlene Wowchuk since 2007, and sitting on the ridge between the villages of Okanagan Centre and Winfield in Lake Country, Blind Tiger Vineyards first planted the 3.5 acres of vines in 2010. This winery takes its name from one of the terms (blind pig is another) for illegal bars operated in the United States during Prohibition. The vineyards contains mature blocks of Riesling and Gewürztraminer, a block of Pinot Noir entering its third season, and planned additional blocks of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery also purchases grapes from Southern Okanagan for their Speakeasy Red Bordeaux blend. The farming operation received its Organic Certification from the North Okanagan Organic Association in 2013 and the vineyard’s growing philosophy attempts to raise quality produce with as little chemical intervention as possible. Natural compost fertilizers are used to maintain ideal soil nutrient profiles, sulfur is used to control fungus on developing berries, and a flock of heritage chickens roams the rows performing pest control duties.
Jerry relied on Karnail Singh Sidhu, the owner of Kalala Organic Estate Winery, for advice and Dr Alan Marks as winemakers, starting with the 2013 vintage, when they produced about 1,000 cases of wine. In the 2015 vintage, Blind Tiger produced about 2,000 cases, a level at which they intend to keep the winery at for a while.
Laura served us the following wine in the finest Riedel stemware.
- Blind Tiger Riesling 2013 ($19.95). This is a bracing wine, with aromas and flavours of lime and green granny smith apple. The racy acidity balances the residual sugar, giving the wine a crisp, tangy finish. An extremely dry Riesling, just how I like ‘em! 87.
- Blind Tiger Pinot Noir 2013 ($22.95). This wine has an awesome nose. Full face violets, strawberry and vanilla. On the palate red cherries and strawberries. Given the 12% alcohol percentage and higher than average acidity, I would suggest ageing but still great with pizza right now 87.
- Blind Tiger Pinot Noir 2014($24.95). The wine has aromas of subtle violets, strawberry and raspberry with a touch of pepper on the finish. A medium body texture that has just begun to evolve toward the classic silkiness. 88. A unanimous selection for our favourite Blind Tiger wine.
- Blind Tiger Speakeasy Red 2011($23.95). This wine, which was aged one year in American oak, is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with a touch of Syrah. The wine has aromas and flavours of vanilla, black cherry and blackberry with a hint of chocolate on the finish. The tannins are long and supple. It is a wine for current consumption. 87
The smoke from the wood-fired pizza oven on the food truck was irresistible. We selected a bottle of the 2014 Pinot Noir to accompany the pizzas: a Margherita – Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and an Arugula Flatbread – Olive Oil, Cranberries, Goat Cheese, Carmelized onions, Arugula, that we enjoyed on the patio overlooking Wood Lake.
The next time you are in Lake Country make sure you check out Blind Tiger Vineyards.