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Val Tait
May 22, 2020 | Val Tait

Next Chapter

Spring has always been a time of new beginnings and fresh starts and this Spring has certainly delivered!

Earlier this May, I made the difficult decision to step down as GM and Winemaker of Bench 1775, and begin my own fresh start at Gold Hill Winery in Osoyoos. For me, it is a chance to reconnect with the winemaking I love best and a journey back to fundamentals, hands-on viticulture and single block winemaking. And although my time with the team at “Bench” will always bring me fond memories and pride in our success, for some time now I have felt the need to take off my various managerial hats and get back to farming and barrel work.

Enter Gold Hill Vineyards and Winery, owned by the Gill brothers, Gurbachan and Sant, who for almost 20 years, have supplied fruit to various projects I have been involved in. And during those 2 decades it became apparent that the fruit grown on their vineyards is arguably the best in British Columbia.

In fact, the majority of the premium tier program at Bench 1775 was based on fruit from the home farm. The same is true of many of the well-recognized Okanagan wineries. The Gill Brothers have earned their reputation as exceptional growers and trusted business associates in the wine industry, so it was hugely flattering to be invited to join them for the 2020 vintage. Their decision to keep most of the grapes from Gold Hill Vineyard and expand the Winery was too exciting to miss. I had to follow the fruit!

This Spring, the Gill family is also expanding their vineyard holdings, with a new vineyard in the prestigious Black Sage area, surrounded by some of the most iconic wineries in BC; Phantom Creek, Bartier Brothers, and Burrowing Owl.

Additionally, this spring, in the West Kelowna area, an older vineyard was completely replanted with new clones and rootstocks, to anticipate the demands of premium grape buyers and wine clientele.

More about these vineyard plantings in future diary posts.

In the cellar, new beginnings with the bottling and release of bright, and fresh 2019 whites.

We are very excited to be moving Gold Hill Winery into this new phase. Expect the wine program to become more focused on single vineyards, as we make changes to develop the wines to be purest and vivid expressions of each block. Among the changes coming to the vineyards will be focused viticultural practices, increased sustainability and regenerative agriculture methods with an eye to maximizing harmonious, balanced growth.

Keep checking back as we update you on our vineyard and cellar operations!





Time Posted: May 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM Permalink to Next Chapter Permalink