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Hester Creek Winery in Oliver named B.C. winery of the year

Hester Creek winemaker gives away secret to creating the perfect sparkling too
Hester Creek Estate Winery in Oliver has won the B.C. Winery of the Year for 2023 from Great Northwest Wine Magazine. (Hester Creek)

Coming off numerous gold medal wins for their various wines, Hester Creek Estate Winery has been named the British Columbia Winery of the Year for 2023 by Great Northwest Wine Magazine.

Great Northwest Wine, which celebrates wines of the Pacific Northwest, chose Hester Creek for all their wines that have taken home golds and double golds recently.

The Cascadia International Wine Competition, Hester Creek earned gold for their 2021 Pinot Gris Viognier and 2021 Sémillon, is one of many hosted by Great Northwest Wine. The Oliver winery also took home double gold for the 2021 Viognier, and for two estate wines, our 2021 vintages of the Old Vine Pinot Blanc and Old Vine Trebbiano. They also medalled in many other vintages.

With some of the oldest vines in the South Okanagan, Hester Creek is located on the Golden Mile. The estate winery has their Tuscan-style restaurant Terrafina on site, while offering cooking classes and winemaker dinners. It also has the Villa, a six-suite luxury bed & breakfast beside the vines located on Road 8.

In early January, Great Northwest Wine Magazine founder Eric Degerman reached out to let Hester Creek know that due to these achievements, the magazine would be naming Hester Creek the 2023 B.C. Winery of the Year. In his interview with Hester Creek winemaker Mark Hopley, Degerman comments on the platinum achievement of their second vintage of the Old Vine Brut which impressed the panel of judges.

Along with many other factors, including their old vines, terroir and east-facing slopes, Hopley gives away his secret to creating the perfect sparkling – allowing the wine to rest for two years en tirage, the period of time that a sparkling wine rests in contact with the yeast sediment from secondary fermentation.

“If you don’t go two years en tirage, you don’t get those biscuity, doughy characteristics that you come to love in sparkling.”

Talk of the terroir leads to what gives Golden Mile Bench wines such great balance, especially in Hester Creek’s ever-famous, Old Vine Trebbiano.

“It’s a true Mediterranean variety,” said Hopley about the Trebbiano. “We lose the sun fairly early on this side [of the valley], so we hang onto those acids which is very important in our winemaking.”

Hester Creek is also one of the only wineries in the Okanagan offering the Trebbiano white wine.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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