Desert Hills Cactus Red Blend

desert-hills-estate-wineryThe boutique winery is ideally located on the Black Sage Bench which is known for premium BC wine.  It is situated on 24-acres of some of the finest vineyards in the South Okanagan and is located between Black Hills Estate and Burrowing Owl wineries.  The Toor family owns Desert Hills Estate Winery.

The winery, which opened in 2003, has won many awards for outstanding BC Wine.  The awards include a two-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for excellence in winemaking and the winner of Canada’s Best Red Wine.

The Vineyards

Three Boys Vineyard

Desert hills 3 Boys vineyard
Photo credit – Desert Hills Estate Winery

The vineyard was planted in 1994 and now makes up the 25-acre home vineyard site for Desert Hills Estate Winery.  The east-west orientation and famous sandy soil provide for maximum sun exposure and great drainage.

Eagle’s Nest Vineyard

Eagle’s Nest was established in 2006 and acquired by the Toor brothers a year later. The 15 acres are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

Sage Brush Vineyard

Sage Brush Vineyard was planted in 2007 with 19 acres of Bordeaux varietals.

Sira’s Vineyard

The vineyard was planted in 1994 and is located just north of Osoyoos.

The Winemaker

Anthony BuchananAnthony Buchanan‘s love of wine began early in life.  He joined the Opimian Society member at 26. He completed the oenology program at Washington State University and moved to the Okanagan. One of his first cellar jobs was at Blue Mountain Vineyards, one of the most celebrated Pinot Noir producers in BC.

His first job as winemaker in 2012 was at Eau Vivre Winery, where Pinot Noir has a celebrated history and Anthony’s pinots took many top honours. In 2016 he joined Desert Hills Estate Winery as their winemaker.

Desert Hills
Desert Hills Merlot Crush

The BC Wine

Desert Hills Viognier 2016 The fruit for this wine is grown at Sira’s Vineyard on the banks of Lake Osoyoos. Peach blossom, apricots and mandarin orange bring a full complement to the nose.  The mid-palate displays honeysuckle, ripe fruit salad with a touch grilled pineapple, extending to a long well-balanced finish.

Desert Hills Syrah 2012 The wine was bottled in March 2015 at 14.1% Alcohol.  The grapes were hand harvested and hand sorted followed by the stemmed whole berries and free run juice being transferred to fermenting tanks for a five-day cold soak, twice daily pump over. Fermentation was maintained at a consistent 26 degrees.

A robust wine, with an intense dark berry flavour. Jammy, spicy mid-palate with a long vanilla and black chocolate finish.

Desert Hills Cactus Red 2013  A blend of 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 20% Gamay from the Black Sage Bench. Grapes were hand harvested and transferred to fermenting tanks for a five-day cold soak, twice daily pump over to extract colour and flavour. Fermentation was maintained at a consistent 26 degrees, and a light membrane press yields the juice used for the Cactus Red blend. A delicious, velvety blend with flavours of ripe berry.

For the complete portfolio of BC wine please visit the Desert Hills Estate Winery site here.


  1. Winery and Vineyard information and tasting notes courtesy of Desert Hills Estate Winery.
  2. Anthony Buchanan biography courtesy of Anthony Buchanan Wines.