Black Hills – a Unique Wine Experience

In 1996, Black Hills Estate began when the original 27-acres Sharp Rock Vineyard was planted on the famed sandy soil of Black Sage Bench.  The vines planted included Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnay.  The winery opened in 2001.

The vineyards enjoy longer sunlight hours than Napa Valley in the key growing months of June through August. The west-facing orientation combined with the deep desert sand gives an intense daytime heat followed by very cool nights. This exceptional diurnal temperature variation allows the grapes to fully ripen by day and then retain the acidity by night. The result is intensely flavorful grapes. Careful irrigation techniques and intensely focused viticulture practices provide ideal growing conditions for the Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.

Vinequest Wine Partners Limited Partnership, headed by Glenn Fawcett purchased the Winery in 2007.  Glenn grew up in Calgary and his primary focus is running the business and the Sales and Marketing of Black Hills Estate Wines.


Graham Pierce started at the winery in the spring of 2008, taking over the 2008 vintage from Senka Tennant. We have previously written about Senka’s Terravista winery here.  Graham lives right in the middle of the vineyard and literally eats, sleeps and breathes Black Hill grapes!  He completed a Winemaking and Viticulture course at OUC Penticton BC and previously worked at Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery and Summerhill.

Wine Experience Centre

Nick Bevanda designed the Wine Experience centre for guests to interact with Black Hills’ high-end wines. The $1 million wine shop right on Black Sage Road was opened in 2012. The sparse interiors are offset by dramatic, soaring rooflines, which lets you know this is not your everyday wine experience.

Black Hills Estates invites you to savour and enjoy their wines in a sit-down guided tasting using varietal-specific Riedel glassware. This educational and enticing wine tasting experience includes current releases along with some of the most sought after library wines served from the unique Enomatic® wine system.

Enomatic® systems dispense wine directly from the bottle using revolutionary inert gas preservation (nitrogen or argon). The flavours and characteristics of the wine remain intact for more than three weeks as if the bottle had just been opened.

The wines

According to John Schreiner, the most enduring cult wine from the Okanagan is Nota Bene, the flagship Bordeaux blend from Black Hills Estate Winery.

Black Hill Estates Nota Bene 2009: This is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, a fairly classic blend. Those who collect this wine will find this ripe, rich vintage reflects the house style that has been consistent throughout its history. There are dramatic aromas of vanilla, eucalyptus and cassis on the nose, with flavours of plum, black cherry, chocolate, black currant, coffee, mocha and cedar.

For the complete selection of Black Hills Estate wines, please go to the winery website.

Source: Background, photos and tasting notes from the winery website.


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