THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 711
By Michael Welsh*
VOL. 75 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2017
Winemakers have to adapt to what they’re given by nature:
the vines, the fruit, the soil and the weather.
—Laura Anne Gilman (American author)
To know a wine it helps to know its maker. One of the best books
written about wine is a true tale of how, tasting a wine one winter
evening, a man was consumed by a need to know how and
by whom it was made; he tracked down the winemaker and
learned how, over the course of a year, that wine was made in the vineyard
and cellar.1 I have not written a column about winemakers for a while, but
here I correct that oversight.
Wine is now made in many locations in B.C. The Okanagan tends to be
the focus, but there are wineries in the Kootenays, the Thompson, the
Shuswap, the Fraser Canyon and Fraser Valley, the Similkameen, Vancouver
Island and the Gulf Islands. The three winemakers with whom I spoke
are based in the Fraser Valley and the Similkameen, two somewhat overlooked
wine appellations, and from one of the oldest estate wineries and
one of the newest.
I begin in the Fraser Valley, home to about 15 wineries, the oldest of which
is Chaberton Estate (formerly Domaine de Chaberton) in Langley, opened
in 1991. The 55-acre property includes varieties such as Bacchus, Siegerrebe,
Madeleine Sylvaner, Madeleine Angevine, Ortega and Gamay Noir, with
* Michael Welsh is the wine columnist for the Advocate and the president of the CBABC.