Roche Winery Opening later this year

Dylan and Pénélope Roche bought an eight-acre block on Upper Bench Road in Penticton in 2014. French tradition nourishes their shared passion for soils, vines and wine. They are both winemakers and viticulturists.  Dedicated to natural, artisanal farming and winemaking, they strive to reveal the intimate relation of wine and terroir. I first met Dylan Roche at the Garagiste North event in Kelowna in 2015 and fell in love with the Pinot Noir and Rosé he was pouring.  This was right around the time that the BCWineTrends blog was launched.

Vineyard

The Roche vineyard has about 4-acres planted, 3-acres of Schönburger (which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Muscat) and 1-acre of Zweigelt. These are two grapes they had not work with before but they learnt from them and now really enjoy them.   They purchase 2-acres of Pinot Gris, 2-acres of Pinot Noir and 2-acres of Merlot from Kozier organic vineyard on the bench, 1-acre of Chardonnay from Oliver, .5 acre of Cabernet Franc and .5 Cabernet Sauvignon from Oliver as well. The Roches are very involved in the viticulture at the purchased grape vineyards.

The Wine Makers

Dylan left North Vancouver in 2000 to work as a bicycle mechanic in Burgundy and suffered a conversion experience; a diploma in viticulture and winemaking in Beaune led to apprenticeships in the Côte d’Or, Chablis, and New Zealand. Five years in Bordeaux included teaching oenology and sensory evaluation classes at château Lynch-Bages in Pauillac, and managing a small estate in Margaux.
Pénélope was born in France, with five generations of winemaking and viticulture behind her in the family estate, Château Les Carmes in Haut-Brion. She also has formal winemaking and experience in Spain, New Zealand and Australia.

Our strength and what we really spend the most time is very detailed and thorough work at the vineyard.  Good wines are made on the vines; later in the cellar it’s just cooking!

Vintage 2016

Pénélope provided the following insight on the current vintage. “Coming from Bordeaux I’m getting used to the Okanagan valley climate. In 5 years here I’ve seen changes every vintage which makes our job even more interesting. The 2016 vintage is so far the longest one in term of growing season time. Many of us were pretty impressed to see such high temperatures so early, but nature decided to change that for cool and rainy weather. I think our hard work at the vineyard to ensure a clean canopy and balanced yields really helped grapes to reach good maturity. We noticed a big difference between the North and South of the valley as well, but sometimes not exactly what people were expecting. Our wines this year are balanced, focusing on fresh and fruity aromas. It’s a vintage where everyone can find a wine to his taste I guess”.

The Wines

Please go to the Roche website for information on these excellent BC wines.

Future Plans

Pénélope and Dylan also provided these comments on their future plans. “We are building our winery right now on Upper Bench Road. Being in the business for more than 15 years and having been raised on a vineyard, we are realizing our own dream. We farm organically and buy fruit from a certified organic vineyard. We are big believers in organic, sustainable growing methods and really think here with the dry weather, that is way easier than in Bordeaux.

We will jump to 2600 cases this year with some new wines. Single varietal Schönburger, unoaked Pinot Gris, a second Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Bordeaux reds. Of course, some of them will be released at the end of 2017 and after.

We are very excited to be part of this dynamic wine region and can’t wait open our winery to the public, hopefully by May this year.