Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards south of Peachland will begin welcoming wine enthusiasts this April. The winery was operated from 2003 until the spring of 2014 as Greata Ranch Vineyards by Gordon Fitzpatrick and his father, Senator Ross Fitzpatrick.
The estate vineyard features 40 acres of vines separated into 12 smaller, carefully-tended blocks. There are seven varietals: Chardonnay, Ehrenfelser, Gewürztraminer, Meunier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. The Fitzpatrick family focuses on sparkling wine, crisp whites, and elegant, focused reds. The location is ideal for sparkling wines. The early morning sun that lasts throughout the day combines with a critical, early evening shadow cast by the mountain to the west. That gift of shade reduces acid metabolism in the grapes and retains the acidity so key to great sparkling.
Sarah Bain began her path in the wine industry working on the vineyards in Central Otago, New Zealand. At that stage, it was just a summer job after returning from snow adventures in the northern hemisphere. After her first vintage in 2005, it sealed the deal that growing and making wine was what she wanted to do full time. Her career thus far has been mainly based in Central Otago New Zealand, at two leading organic & biodynamic producers. Firstly, with Burn Cottage making premium quality Pinot Noir and then with Quartz Reef one of New Zealand’s leading producers of Methode Traditionelle. During this time Sarah also travelling abroad to do vintages in California, Germany and Canada.
Sarah’s passion, aside from making terroir inspired wines, is anything involving mountains – mountain biking, snowboarding, mountaineering, climbing, etc.
Gordon Fitzpatrick provided the following comment on Vintage 2016. The 2016 season kicked off with a warmer than usual spring initiating an early budburst. This lead into a fairly cool summer with a notably wet June. Autumn brought moderate temperatures leading to prolonged ripening and harvest.
For the sparkling base, the grapes showed great natural acidity and sugar balance with good flavour development without over maturity.
Generally speaking there were long hang times for the aromatics and reds. The whites came in all with great acidity and aromatics. The Bordeaux reds took some time to reach maturity but very happy with the quality and flavour once pick day arrived and luckily right before the rain set in.
The plan for the future is to be one of the best sparkling houses in Canada. Annually we will make a house Brut and as the seasons permit, reserve cuvee’s of Rose and Blanc de Blanc. New to the portfolio this vintage is a Cremant. A lighter “creamier” style sparkling made from estate grown Pinot Blanc grapes.
To compliment the sparkling wines there will be a range of aromatic whites. The goal is to make still and sparkling wines that are site, soil & season expressive. Terroir driven wines made with minimal intervention. Greata Ranch is such an exciting site with huge potential. My vision is be as much as possible a self-sustaining property with the possibility of organics in the future.
The Sparkling Wines
FITZ BRUT is the signature Cuvée, which is a French term for a blend. Fitz Brut is made with a combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and starting in 2015 a hint of Meunier. A vintage approach is used like the Grower Champagnes of France where the blend percentages are adjusted from vintage to vintage. Fitz Brut spends no less than 24 months ageing on lees.
FITZ RESERVES There are two Fitz Reserve Sparklings: a Blanc de Blancs and a Sparkling Rosé. The Blanc de Blancs is made with 100% estate grown Chardonnay, and the Sparkling Rosé is comprised of 100% Pinot Noir.
Each is made with the same vintage-specific philosophy as the Brut where showcasing the style of the year will prevail over the French approach of blending for uniformity. The Reserve Sparkling spends no less than 36 months ageing on lees.
Please visit the winery website for the complete portfolio of Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards BC wines.
Source: Background, photos, and BC Wine tasting notes provided by Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards.