There are many reasons to love living in this great province of ours. The mountains, the ocean, the beautiful scenery…. all reasons why BC is one of the best places on Earth.
If your interests, like mine, include wine, fresh produce, and seasonal, farm-to-table dining, then get ready to start appreciating our home even more!
We have some of Canada’s best vineyards and wine production happening just a short 4-hour drive away in the Okanagan Valley.
Naramata, Oliver, Kelowna, and Okanangan Falls are all producing some excellent wines these days, and visiting those areas is a snap.
However, there’s a new food and wine destination that’s much closer, and it’s beginning to make its mark on the local scene.
That area is the Fraser Valley.
Home to farms producing everything from agriculture to fruit to dairy to livestock, the Fraser Valley has long been an important food source for us city dwellers. But now it’s starting to become a wine destination as well.
Add in the ability to create meals with, and pair locally-grown produce and meat with the wine, and you have an in-your-backyard winner.
Meet Singletree Winery
I was recently introduced to the Valley’s newest wine label, Singletree Winery at a paired lunch at Forage in Vancouver.
Singletree had its first grape planting in 2010, but the farm itself has been active since the 1870’s.
The owner, Garnet Etsell, decided he wanted to have a winery before he turned 45 and two months before his birthday, Singletree was opened.
The name comes from a piece of farming equipment, a tribute to the farm’s past. Singletrees were part of the horse’s harness, a curved wooden yoke, curved so that it wouldn’t catch on the vines as the horses went down the rows.
The Singletree has now become the symbol for the winery, and you’ll find this icon on the bottle’s labels.
While still very new (2014 only marks its second year of production), Singletree is producing four varietals: a sauvignon blanc, a siegerrebe, a white field blend, and a pinot noir.
The whites are all grown on site, but the Etsells source the pinot from the Okanagan, since our summers aren’t hot enough for that grape.
Singletree 2014 Seigerrebe was probably my favourite of the 4. This isn’t a very common grape, but, as an early ripener, it’s perfectly suited to the Fraser Valley. Seigerrebe is a sweet grape, so the resulting wine makes a perfect summer patio sipper, with notes of peaches, pears, and lychee.
The 2013 Farmhand Blend is Singletree’s white blend. Simply put, it was wine borne out of necessity, but the gamble paid off. There wasn’t enough pinot gris to make a full batch of just that, so they blended them (in the field) with sauvignon blanc, and then oaked it for 16 months.
The Farmhand Blend was a small batch—only 95 cases, and probably half are already gone. It’s a crisp, drinkable wine, with a rich mouthfeel, notes of tangerine, and nice acidity.
Finally, Singletree’s Pinot Noir, the only red wine, is juicy with a long cherry finish.
It’s worth noting that sourcing local ingredients can save you money. Each of these wines costs less than $20, although they aren’t readily available in the Lower Mainland just yet. You’ll have to take a drive to Abbotsford if you want to visit the farm and pick up a bottle or two.
Which pretty much sounds like the definition of a perfect afternoon to me.
Singletree’s Grand Opening Weekend
Singletree Winery is having an Official Grand Opening this weekend – Friday, June 26, Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 – from 12:00 PM – 5:30 PM.
This special weekend will include:
- Complimentary wine tastings
- 15% discount on all purchases
- Complimentary wine carriers with a four bottle purchase
- Wines that you can ONLY get at the winery!