Castoro de Oro Estate Winery

Castoro de Oro

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery started in 2006.  The winery is located right beside Highway 97 in Oliver, at the south end of the Golden Mile.  Castoro de Oro Estate Winery produces approximately 3000 cases annually, with a fine selection of wine styles: unoaked and oaked, pure varieties and blends. For a small winery, Castoro de Oro Estate has a big reach and has developed strong partnerships with large retailers and hotels in the Western Provinces and Ontario.

Vineyard

The Class 1 rated vineyard was planted in 1980-1981, which makes it one of the oldest in the area.  The vineyard’s location in the famed “Golden Mile” (not the bench).  The alluvial soil deposit and southeast aspect with excellent exposure to sunshine results in full flavour and aroma development. The vineyard slope and the little lake (Mirror Lake) at the foot, keeps the vines safe from late spring or early fall frost problems and lengthens the growing season, allowing the grapes to ripen fully.

The vines are planted to the foot of a mountain, which provides evening shade, resulting in a rapid cool-off during summer, which prevents the grape acids from dropping and results in a fine balance between ripe, sweet fruit and firm, clean acidity. White and red grapes grow equally well in the terroir so they are able to produce terrific wines of both types and in a range of styles.

Grape varieties include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Vidal, and Siegfried.  All of the grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted for the best quality.

The Winemakers

CASTORO DE OROBruno Kelle, proprietor and winemaker was born in Tillsonburg, Ontario and was raised on a tobacco farm.  He grew up farming ‘driving a tractor’ but he started a career in high tech sales and ended up living in Calgary.  Bruno is an amateur guitar player and can sometimes be heard around the winery playing classic rock n’ roll.  If you want to coax him into playing for you, the best way is to volunteer to sing along or ask Bruno for one of the assorted percussion instruments or guitars to accompany him.  He is most often found out in the winery or the vineyard; often driving one of our beautiful, fully restored tractors, 1978 MF 245 and 1962 MF 35, similar to what he drove when he was young.

Stella Schmidt, proprietor and assistant winemaker was born in Calgary.   She was raised on land, which included a dog kennel.  Her father bred, trained, field trial campaigned, showed and boarded dogs. She spent the majority of her life in and around Calgary and was in the bookkeeping business before the winery.  Stella is often found in the wine shop telling jokes, happily answering winemaking questions or being ‘the music audience’ for Bruno. She is the personality behind the winery Social Media accounts.  Stella also handles most of the business and marketing.  If you bring a dog, and the wine shop isn’t insanely busy, don’t be surprised to find that she will want some snuggle time with your 4-legged, best friend.

2017 Highlights

2017 was an eventful year for Castoro de Oro Estate Winery.  Stella provided the following highlights:

  • Lieutenant Governor Award, Crimson Rhapsody 2014
  • Granted the license to be “The Canada Sesquicentennial (Canada 150) still wines”!  We launched three and they were all very well received, we were so very proud to celebrate our great country!  There was an Ontario winery granted the license for a sparkling wine, cheers to them.  We haven’t attempted a sparkling, commercially, as of yet.
  • Winefest Alberta:   swept both cities as Best Red, Crimson Rhapsody 2014 and took a runner-up best white with Radiant Rhapsody
  • Rocky Mountain Food & Wine Festival (AB) our newest Merlot once again took a people’s choice in The Great Big Taste Awards.  We have won people’s choice awards in Alberta at these crazy large events several years in a row with our Merlot.
  • Selected to be part of Co-op “The Social Collection” and released three Bin Numbers (107, 108 & 109) with them.
  • Our partnership with Sobeys Safeway Thrifty liquor stores also something we are very thankful for.
  • Our partnership with Fairmont Hotels continues to be a huge source of pride.
  • Wine Align National Wine Awards, for Radiant Rhapsody & Pinot Noir.

For a small batch handcrafted winery, we are accomplishing big things… and it happens because of our true passion for winemaking, local products, our Golden Mile Terroir and Canada.

Vintage 2017

Bruno provided the following comments. “The 2017 growing season started out slower than most previous years, with a very, very rainy spring. We started to get worried as it was “behind previous years” and we started thinking we were going to need to drop some crop.  Then BOOM we had so much sunshine and beautiful heat and no rain from May 16th until Oct!

The fires didn’t really affect us.  We did overhead irrigate a couple of times just to drag down some of the smoke and to clear the grapes and vines of any potential ash coating.  Suddenly, we had our best crop ever.  We believe the 2017 vintages will be our very best so far.  We picked the grapes at the “exact numbers” and flavours were very impressive, and our yield was fabulous too.

The Wines

Castoro de Oro

Castoro de Oro Canada 150 Chardonnay Unoaked 2015  A bouquet of pear, peach and tropical fruits and a hint of citrus. It’s clean, fresh and generous on the palate with pure orchard fruit flavours and a zesty citrus finish. Available in ON, SK, AB & BC.

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery Radiant Rhapsody 2015  Off-dry white Bordeaux-style blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc shows a range of apple, tropical fruits, herbs and exotic spice on the nose. It’s rich and medium-bodied on the palate with generous orchard fruits, citrus, apricot and wild honey. A different take on a classic blend.” Available in AB & BC.

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery Crimson Rhapsody 2014 A Bordeaux style red with a kick from Syrah, this full-bodied red offers flavours of plum, currant and blackberry, and notes pepper and coffee. The blend is finished in French oak for 18 months, adding to its sumptuous richness. Available in AB & BC.

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery Merlot 2015 Beautiful rich colour, the Merlot has notes of plum, boysenberry, raspberry, black cherry, clove, nutmeg and vanilla. This complexity leads to the wine’s ability to age extremely well. Available in SK, AB & BC.

You can visit the Winery website for their complete portfolio of BC wines here.

Future Plans

Stella provided the following information. “We don’t plan to grow larger, we constantly strive for better, but bigger is not in our plans. Bruno and I try to produce the very best small batch taste to price ratio wines. We are always bench-testing ‘something’ and if we find something that ‘stands out’ we will release it a year or so later.   We love to blend, we think that’s where the art of winemaking comes in, we are so much more than just science… for us, it’s about the passion for great local products and local farming.

2017 was the launch of a new wine for us, we named it Radiant Rhapsody.   It’s an unusual expression of an age-old Bordeaux white blend and it performed well.   Radiant Rhapsody took a bronze at the Nationals but went on to be scored 90 and 91 points by very respected wine judges/critics. Radiant Rhapsody also won a big people’s choice award in Alberta up against both domestic and international white wines.

Source: Castoro de Oro Estate Winery provided the Winery and Vineyard information and the tasting notes.