We are picking at Switchback Vineyard today!
The beautiful grapes that won "Best Bunch" at the Summerland Fall Fair four years running (!) are now ripe and will be coming to a wine glass near you in the future as the Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris.
Here, Stacy and Harry are seen carefully hand-harvesting these delicious grapes.
Switchback Vineyard, now in sixth leaf, yielded a tiny first crop in 2009, an impressive 17 tons in the challenging 2010 growing year, and 19.6 tons in 2011. We will update you when we have finished with 2012.
Switchback is the vineyard located at the winery in Summerland. A ten-acre site located on a bench looking across Okanagan Lake to the Naramata Bench, Switchback has a long farming history: parts of the original irrigation flume that carried water to the area farms can still be found at the top of our site.
Over the years the site has been a mushroom farm, hosted ground crops, and later was an apple and apricot orchard, known by the locals as “The Old Baker Place”.
The site faces south-east and is bordered on one side by a rock cliff. The sun appears at an ungodly hour in the morning and disappears just as the Naramata Bench folks are thinking of getting up.
As such, it is a cool site and has been planted 100% with Clone 52 Pinot Gris.The soil is slightly varied throughout the site: sandy with a touch of clay, very conducive to managing plant vigour.
Each bit needs its own care and attention, and that’s where Theo Siemens comes into play. He hovers over the vines, lovingly applies aged cow manure, and inspects leaves and canes.
We’re literally going haywire as we switch to organic growing practices at this vineyard. Under Alberto Antonini’s wise tutelage, we’re changing the way we farm and stepping up our game to make better wine.
We’ve said goodbye to herbicides. Instead, we’re controlling weeds with mechanical tilling and a subsurface blade that is attached to the tractor. We’ve also stopped mowing the grass between rows. Instead when the plants get really tall, Theo cuts them back with a scythe, totally old school. While this makes the vineyards look less organized to the uninitiated, it lets ground cover—including pretty yellow mustard seed—grow and it reduces vigour on the vines.
We are striving for balance throughout the vineyard. Rather than dosing plants with antibiotics, we’re building up their immune systems so they can fight things off naturally. It will be a three-year process, but we’re well on our way to making better wine that is gentler on our hard-working land. And who wouldn’t drink to that?
You need to try this Chardonnay
After it was Raised in ConcreteTM, we are happy to share that Haywire’s first Chardonnay is now available.
It exudes flavour of elegant bright citrus, lime zest, and a crisp, chalky finish.
This Chardonnay is also a single vineyard wine from Canyonview Vineyard, producing the best of what the land can yield.
Does this sound nifty to you? Try it for yourself!
Here's what the critics are saying...
So, what does Raised in ConcreteTM mean?
In 2011, following research, we added concrete tanks to our winemaking program.
Our learning revealed that concrete fermenters are an old school tool that is currently back and making a big splash in the tech savvy new world. Concrete had been used for centuries in winemaking, but was more or less abandoned with the arrival of stainless steel.
Now, it is in its comeback, and we are proud to lead this comeback for Canada.
Six eight-foot-tall sleek black “eggs” arrived from Sonoma Cast Stone in time for crush 2011. These tanks take a forward-thinking approach by using temperature-control tubing engineered for use in concrete for radiant heating and cooling, and embedding it into the walls of the eggs. No parts used for temperature control directly contact the juice, and this provides even temperature throughout the tank.
• It’s Cool - Thick concrete walls ensure that fermentation doesn’t get too hot, and is cool and consistent. This has a very positive impact on the aromatics of the wine.
• It Breathes – Concrete is similar to a barrel in that it is porous and allows oxygen to move naturally through the walls and soften the wine. It’s a neutral vessel, giving only a hint of minerality.
• A Good Place to Age Wine – Wine can be aged in oak for several months and then placed in concrete for several more months to continue the aging process without imparting too much oak into the wine. The result is a more integrated, silky wine.
• Purity – Concrete does a very good job of showcasing a wine’s true terroir. Oak can mask those distinctions, but concrete doesn’t add, remove, or mask anything. It lets the fruit shine through to be a true statement of the place it was grown.
• Enhanced Taste Profile – Concrete enhances the seamlessness and integration of flavours of a wine and is more robust and velvety on the mid-palate.
For the 2011 vintage, we fermented three wines in concrete. You will recognize these wines as they bear the silver coloured labels, and each wine carries the Raised in Concrete™ designation on the front label.
We are firm believers that concrete can play a very important role in shaping the taste profile of a wine.
Taste, and let us know what you think.
Chefs in the City
If you live in Kamloops, there is an event you do NOT want to miss!
Monday November 5, 2012 6 PM
Thompson Rivers University
Campus Activity Centre • Kamloops
Tickets — $60/person
Limited tickets... get yours today!
Elevate your senses in a room full of smells, sights, sounds, and tastes that together create a memorable experience. Kamloops top chefs, restaurants, and local wineries come together in one event to showcase their gastronomic delights. Learn how to pair food and wine, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts as you mingle with professional chefs, restaurant owners, and friends. The evening features great jazz music, raffles, a silent auction, and social grazing.
Join THE Club @ Crush Pad – it’s not like the others…
Stay up to date on all Okanagan Crush Pad News! www.okanagancrushpad.com