Canada 150

Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary of confederation. As a Canadian, you can't help but feel pride for how far our country has come. In the last 150 years, our Canada has done some incredible things and we want to celebrate them.
    In 1885, Canada has successfully hammered down its last spike on a railroad that would span the entire country. During the World War One Canadian's fought at Vimy Ridge and proved their worth as a nation. In 1942 during the Second World War, Canada stormed Juno beach on D-Day playing a tremendous role in aiding Europe. Since then we have created our own unique flag, watched Terry Fox run 143 days across Canada, hosted multiple Olympic games, legalized gay marriage country wide, and enacted a Charter of Rights and Freedoms to truly create a country that is called home proudly by so many different cultures.

Rockycreekwinery/bottles/gumboots

Rocky Creek Winery is proud to be authentically Canadian focused on the region we live in and are so proud to call it our home. Our winery was created in Ladysmith in the basement of our suburban home on Vancouver Island and has since moved to bigger operations in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island. In our basement, we could have bought from all over the world and just imported grapes; but we chose to be Vancouver Island and all Canadian.
    Our winery is all about family and our story comes from working in oil in gas in Calgary, Alberta to our own local winery on Vancouver Island, or as we like to say; "from corporate suits to gumboots". Vancouver Island is a fantastic region for wine and has a vast amount of wineries, particularly in the Cowichan Valley. Our winery is local and sustainable growing grapes only from the Cowichan Valley region. We are focused on our terroir and turning our own soil and grapes that we are surrounded by, into our end product of delicious and local wine. Our region in particular is a truly cool climate similar to the old world wines of France and Germany but with our own Canadian twist. We have 87 medals internationally to prove this for our winery.

grapes/vineyard/cowichanvalley/rockycreekwienry

 It was as early as the 1800's that people had discovered Canada has a region for grapes, and therefore, wine. Ever since then Canada has been continuously discovering new regions for grapes and wine to be made. Even with wine being made for so long here in Canada we are still considered a "new emerging wine region," in comparison with majority of the famous wine regions throughout the globe. However the Canadian regions are rich and diverse and create unique and delicious wine varieties for everyone to enjoy. The regions we have across this country are: Lake Erie North Shore, Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward County, Nova Scotia, Okanagan, Similkameen, Naramata Bench, Vancouver Island, and the Fraser Valley. Each and every one filled with so many unique wineries with completely different climates and varieties of grapes in
each one.
    Canada may still be considered new in the way of wines but so is our country in
comparison with a many of the countries around the world; and like our country, our regions are incredible and one of a kind. We should not be forgotten about but celebrated as a truly spectacular and diverse. Cheers and Happy Birthday Canada.
 

The big storm

Well the weatherman is projecting some serious rain over the next few days.

Luckily most of our grapes are now safely fermenting away in the winery and what's left should weather pretty much anything. 

Well... except the Pinot Noir.  Despite our best efforts there's a smidge of pinot still hanging in one vineyard.  We made a strategic decision to pick our massive crop of Tempranillo before finishing the last of the pinot.  The tempranillo looks amazing so it is definitely worth it.

 

.  

one bunch of tempranillo can be more than enough for a bottle

one bunch of tempranillo can be more than enough for a bottle

So far the pinot us holding on but we now have to wait almost a week before we can finish up.  Why?  Weĺl because a) the weather is predicted to be awful b) I dont have any empty fermenters left until I ferment and press what we've already picked and c) even if I had fermenters and good weather I dont have empty space to put another fermenter.  Yes we're full to the rafters right now.  Not a square inch free anywhere.

 

the pinot noir with a little frost damage on the leaves

the pinot noir with a little frost damage on the leaves

So we're in a holding pattern with just a few picking days left before we're done.

So far it's looking like a record harvest may be in the works - or at least on par with our amazing 2015 crop. 

Harvest Continues

So we're right in the thick of it.

All our whites are picked and we're right in the middle of picking our reds.  Pinot Noir is a little over half picked and Tempranillo is on deck followed by Cab-Foch to finish off. 

So far everything has been impeccably clean.  Almost no signs of rot mildew or mould.  Our harvest tends to be drawn out.  We rely on volunteers from wwoof and workaway as our picking crew.  This year I've also been busier consulting and have been away for a week after the whites were finished. 

But the end is in sight.  Pinot should be all off in a couple more days and the remaining reds are thick skinned tough grapes that can stand up the inclement weather quite well

 .

It's hard work chasings Robins from the nets.

and from a couple of weeks ago... pinot gris dark enough to masquerade as a red

Harvest has started

So fall is almost here and we've begun to pick our grapes already.  Siegerrebe is done and we're starting on our sparkling blend for Katherine's Sparkle.  This includes a field blend from one of our leased vineyards of pinot gris, ortega, siegerrebe, kerner, and chardonnay blended with four experimental whites from our estate vineyard.

despite the early colour from the pinot gris this blend wont have much colour when its finished.

Looks like more good news on it's way

Well, we are still a bit overwhelmed by the great result at the All Canadian Wine Championships.  A double gold was the absolute best result we could ever have hoped for.  The other competition we have traditionally done very well at is the Northwest wine summit.  Results haven't been posted online yet, but the organizer, Parks Redwine, emailed me our results today.  I'm waiting for clarification on one item, but there is definitely more good news.

I'll use a true Canadianism...  I think I'm getting a double-double... :)

more to follow.....

Double gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships!

Well, our Wild Blackberry has always been a great wine, but the latest vintage is definitely our best.  We just found out it won Double Gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships and is the Best Soft Fruit Dessert Wine in Canada this year.

Full results of the competition can be found here: http://allcanadianwinechampionships.com/acwc-2016-results/

Congrats to the other Vancouver Island wineries who are also bringing home medals - Blue Grouse, Silverside, Enrico, Unsworth and Beaufort Winery.

Our Double Gold Award Winning Wild Blackberry

Great start to the growing season

Well, last year was surprisingly early and this year has been even hotter, and our vines are ahead of last year even.

Bud break was about the same time as last year, but April was very warm (warmest that even veteran grape growers on the island can remember) so our vines have been growing like crazy and are already getting ready to bloom in some cases.

I've almost caught up on vineyard work after our struggles in the early parts of this year - looks like everything is progressing nicely.  

 

Spring Releases for Mother's Day

Well, winter is over, and spring is here in full force.  We've bottled our whites and rose's, and will be releasing them over the next couple of weeks.

In honour of Mother's Day, we are releasing our newest wine - TLC.  TLC is a white blend  of Viognier, Albarino, Ortega, Kerner, Siegerrebe, and Pinot Gris.

TLC is named after Linda, whose name means "tender and caring".

I'll be pouring both TLC and our latest vintage of Siegerrebe at the Duncan Farmer's Market this Saturday!  

 

And now presenting....

Well, this is cool.

After 2 years of struggling with our old website, trying to keep it fresh and up to date (and sometimes even struggling just keeping it working) we decided to go in a different direction and completely update our site.

What is surprising?  Well Linda has always been the one wanting to drive the creative content, but has had a hard time getting the programmers to turn her vision into bytes... 

This time we've found an option where Linda did all the design work / programming herself, so the website is totally under her control and we can change *anything* we want about it on the fly.

Super cool.  

I'm so proud of the job she did on this, I think it's a huge step up from the sites we paid for, and it looks way more professional.

Linda, busy programming at her desk

Abbotsford Christmas Show

This weekend we had a good opportunity to be a family team and spend time with each other.  We attended the Christmas show and what a busy weekend.  We met so many people and want to take the time to say how great it was to meet everyone.  We also had a good time with all our neighbors and fellow wineries and distilleries.  It was a long day but the spirit was there and we are very happy to be a part of the artisan section.  The venues of farmer's markets and craft shows fits into the local flavour and sustainability of our wines.  We are so thankful that it is well received by the people attending.  We took the time to really make it festive and our daughter Katherine did a great display of our theme of silver and white.  Cheers to the season and this weekend really put us in the mood.  Time to keep decorating.