Upper Bench Winery and Creamery

Gavin and Shana Miller took over ownership of the Upper Bench Winery and Creamery in 2011. Located just outside of Penticton’s downtown core at the gateway to the Naramata Bench, Upper Bench Winery and Creamery offers a unique opportunity to experience two passions: wine and cheese.  Gavin crafts excellent wines while Shana hand-crafts her own line of special brie, blue, and washed-rind cheeses.   The winery Upper Bench produces award-winning big bold reds and crisp, dry whites that reflect the vintage and soil from the vineyards where they are grown.
Upper Bench Winery

The Vineyard

Upper Bench Winery produces approximately 4500 cases, a third of which comes from their estate vineyard.   The 7-acre home vineyard is organically farmed (though not certified)  behind the winery on Upper Bench Road in Penticton.  They also work closely with a number of small growers all on the Naramata Bench to source the remainder of their fruit.  They are proud to produce an Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zweigelt, purely from their own Upper Bench Vineyard.  The Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and a few blends are made from a combination of their own fruit and fruit from select Naramata Bench producers.

Winemaker

Upper Bench WineryGavin Miller’s passion for the vineyard and the terroir is expressed through his signature, hands-off, minimalist approach to winemaking. He is known in the industry for his big Bordeaux-style reds and has a distinct way of showcasing a wine’s varietal character.

He arrived in Canada from England in 1997. Gavin was inspired by the burgeoning wine industry in the Okanagan Valley to learn how to grow grapes and make wine. Like every great winemaker, his education started in the vineyards and moved into the cellar working for many of the established wineries in and around Penticton and the Naramata Bench, notably making award-winning wines for Poplar Grove and Painted Rock.

Upper Bench Wines

Upper Bench Chardonnay 2015 This wine was 50% fermented and aged three months in new French oak; and 50% fermented and aged in stainless steel. The minimal oak treatment imparted a creamy texture to this fruit forward wine.   On the nose, it displays pear, lemon, custard, creme brulé, honeysuckle, and butterscotch. On the palate are notes of lychee, guava, Asian pear, baked apple, and vanilla cream.  The excellent Chardonnay won the Lieutenant Governor’s 2017 wine award.  Unfortunately, this classic wine is now sold out.

Upper Bench Estate Merlot 2014  14.4% Alcohol. Gavin cropped the Merlot at only 3.2 tons per acre.  Aged for 20 months in 30% new French oak.  Aromas of dark fruit, milk chocolate, fruit leather and black cherry.  On the palate cassis, blueberry, cigar and sarsaparilla root.

For their complete portfolio of BC wine please visit the Upper Bench Winery site here.

Future Plans

Gavin provided the following comments.  “We have recently reached the maximum number of cases our little, yet very efficient winery can produce.   For the foreseeable future, we intend to concentrate on increasing the complexity and producing a true reflection of the varied terroir of the Naramata Bench. By concentrating on the quality of our fruit and constantly striving to increase our winemaking knowledge and adapt our practices accordingly.  We are and will continue to produce reliably great wines that showcase the incredible place we live and work.”

Source: Upper Bench Winery and Creamery provided the Winery and Vineyard information and tasting notes.