Award Winning BC Fruit Wines

With all the Orchards and Berry farms in British Columbia, you just know there have to be some outstanding local fruit wines.  Only one percent of the BC wines consumed are made from fruits other than grapes, but there is a great selection of BC fruit wines available. The fruit based wineries lack access to the VQA sales channels because the BCWI VQA program does not extend to fruit wines. The fruit wineries are directly promoting and raising the profile of their wines, so here are some award-winning fruit wines for you to consider trying.

Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery

Nestled amongst 200 acres in the beautiful Fraser Valley, Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery has been serving the community and visitors from across the globe since 1974.  Starting out with one small patch of strawberries, they have steadily grown into an agricultural destination offering a full-scale bakery, winery, market, restaurants and u-pick berry fields.  This family-friendly farm makes over 100 products from the food they grow in their fields and produces twenty-two varieties of fruit wine.
Krause Berry Farms & Winery 2016 Cassis won the trophy for the All Canadian Wine Championships “Fruit Wine of the Year”.   Cassis is made from black currants and has a deep regal red colour and rich full body.  Opening with a crisp acidity and delivering a long lingering finish.  The winemaker Sandra Lee Kiechle began her career in 1984.  After only three years producing wine for Krause Berry Farms Estate Winery, her passion and skill are bringing home top accolades. 

Monte Creek Ranch Winery

I have written about Monte Creek Ranch’s grape-based wines in a previous post here and their new releases here.  The winery introduced two berry wines in 2016 with the production of  3,400 cases.

Monte Creek Ranch Blueberry wine. 12% alcohol, 18 RS, pH 3.2 TA 8.  The Reka blueberries for this wine are grown on MCR farms and are given the same care and attention that all of the Monte Creek Ranch artisan products receive. This 100% Blueberry wine is excellent with food thanks to its bright, natural acidity and dry palate. It has a bright fuchsia colour. You will notice notes of blueberry, lilac, and white peach on the nose and big fruit and floral flavours on the palate

Monte Creek Ranch Haskap Berry wine. 11.5 % alcohol, 170 RS, pH 3.3 TA 18. Native to northern parts of Asia and Europe, Haskap berries have long been prized for their unique taste and natural health properties. Monte Creek grows and blends together three different varieties for the perfect balance of sweet flavour and acidity.  Aromas of blueberry, strawberry, rhubarb, vanilla, and pastry.  It has a perfect balance of sweet flavour and acidity. This dessert wine pairs beautifully with just about anything chocolate.

Northern Lights Estate Winery

Northern Lights Estate Winery opened its doors in 2015 after 2 years of construction. The Most Northern Winery in BC, this purpose built fruit winery chose its location on the banks of the Nechako River in Prince George to take advantage of the beautiful landscapes and fertile soils of the river only 15 meters from the winery. The Orchard on its property hosts a variety of native fruits as well as fruits that are new to the region. These include Blueberries, rhubarb, strawberries, pumpkins, apples, apricots, josta berry, haskaps, elder berries and more. This winery has quickly grown to become one of the larger wineries in BC with a projected 5,000 cases of sales in 2017. It is also getting recognition across Canada with recent awards such as the “Best in Category” Seduction wine at the 2017 BC Best of Varietal Competition, Gold medals for the Seduction and 2015 Heritage Haskap wines at the 2017 All Canadian Wine Championships, and another Bronze medal for the 2015 Heritage Haskap at the 2017 Wine Align Canadian Wine Championships. Wine maker/consultant Christine Leroux has a proven track record of producing consistent, high-quality fruit wines that leverage the fruit flavours while creating dry complexity very similar to grape varieties. The horticulturist Noemie Touchette is managing 12 acres of Northern Orchards for the winery providing the highest quality fruits for the wines and Sales and Services Manager Wendy Giannisis brings the style of the famed Okanogan wineries from her time with Quails Gate with the wonderful Northern Hospitality that visitors love. The winery is the brain child of local Entrepreneurs Pat and Doug Bell who built the winery as part of their families business legacy in Prince George. They have recently won recognition for their work at the 2016 Business Excellence Awards by taking home Business of the year, tourism business of the year, business person of the year and entrepreneur of the year.

Northern Lights Estate Heritage Haskap 2015  The red wine is made with fruit grown at Heritage Farms in Quesnel. This fruit provides the intense flavours of Cabernet and the colours of a Shiraz. Blending with their Blueberry wine and allowing the wine to benefit from Hungarian Oak brings balance and flavours of vanilla. Haskap should age well into its fifth year, or drink it fruit forward in the early years.  The wine was a gold medal winner at 2017 All Canadian Wine Championship.  Unfortunately, the wine is out of stock!

Northern Lights Estate Heritage Seduction 2016 The underrated rhubarb plant is often berated and tossed in the trash, yet when blended with strawberry makes a superb patio wine. With a portion of estate grown fruit, this intense red rhubarb blush wine presents with many of the same characteristics of the famed Okanagan Gewürztraminer. Intensely aromatic, “Seduction” is a favourite for those new to wine or those seasoned wine drinkers exploring fruit wines for the first time.  Gold medal 2017 All Canadian Wine Championship winner.

Forbidden Fruit Winery

Forbidden Fruit Winery is a family owned and operated boutique winery located on Ven’Amour Organic Farms, a certified organic tree fruit farm, vineyard and nature estate along the banks of the  Similkameen River in Cawston. The winery produces small lots of premium award winning tree fruit wines and grape wines from Similkameen and Okanagan fruit.

Forbidden Fruit Winery uses only certified organic and sustainably farmed fruit and production practices to handcraft the finest, purest and environmentally sensitive wines.  The winery’s name, Forbidden Fruit, is a reflection of both the Story of Creation and the new “Garden of Eden”.  The past status of organic products and fruit wines have both been categorised at times, as being only for the hobbyist. However, Like Eve in the garden once tasted, a new empowerment is realised.

Forbidden Fruit  Speachless 2016 An off dry white wine made from organic white fleshed peaches. The soft, smooth flavour of the wine is bursting with ripe peach, nectarine and citrus, complementing the flowery aromas of canned peaches and passion fruit. Pair with salmon, tempura, Thai food, pork, duck, gruyere, brie, and blue cheese.  Gold medal 2017 All Canadian Wine Championship winner.

Forbidden Fruit Pearsuasion 2016 A dry white wine made from 90% certified organic Asian pears and 10% certified organic Euro pears.  Aged briefly in French oak, this wine has aromas and flavours of ripe melting pears with citrus, vanilla and a hint of smokiness on the finish.  Wonderful with cheeses, coconut milk and curry dishes, light meats and salads.

Maan Farms Estate Winery

Maan Farms Estate Winery was started in 2012 on a farm near Abbotsford where the Maan family has been farming since 1977. Before diversifying to wine, the family was already operating a successful farmers market. Laurente Lafuente, a French-born consulting winemaker and distiller, makes their wines. 

The Winery Manager,  Gaurav Maan, also wanted to highlight the whole country experience at the farm which is not only wine lovers but families as well. We have a country kitchen where we make authentic foods. Everything from butter chicken and naan, burgers with fries to samosas.

” OurCountry Kitchen features delicious, hand crafted masterpieces created with fresh products from our farm fresh market and local vendors. From savory to sweet, hearty to light we offer a wide selection of mouthwatering meals and tasty treats.”
 
We also have a lot of family activities. “Let loose on the Giant Jumping Pillow, feeding the goats at the Goatel 6 or zipping down the Zip-Line. Its the funnest way to spend time at a winery!”

Maan Farms Estate Blueberry Table Wine 2016 Clean fresh aroma of blueberries, medium bodied, with big fruit and floral flavours on the palate.  Gold medal 2017 All Canadian Wine Championship winner.

Maan Farms Estate Jovin (oaked blueberry wine) Full-bodied and dry, the wine has rich blueberry flavours, effectively enhanced by ageing in French oak. One could take this for Merlot in a blind tasting.  John Schreiner rated the wine a 91.
 
Maan Farms Estate Strawberry Raspberry Blend The wine presents an appealing strawberry hue in the glass. Strawberry also dominates the aromas and flavours, with the raspberry adding complexity and restraint to the usual exuberant strawberry notes. The finish is long, with a touch of fruit sweetness. John Schreiner rated the wine a 90. The wine also won a gold medal at the Great American International Wine Competition this year.

Source: Background, photos and BC Wine tasting notes provided by the winery websites.