Rocky Creek Winery steps into the wine world with 2 double gold medals on a unique local island favourite. Rocky Creek began the Wild Blackberry so that they could manage their own locally grown vineyards into full production. After 10 years of perfecting his technique for making Wild Blackberry wine Mark Holford, winemaker at Rocky Creek Winery, has taken his signature wine to the top of the heap. At both the All Canadian Wine Championships and Northwest Wine Summit his Wild Blackberry has been awarded an extremely rare double gold medal, signifying the wine is the best in its category.
To remain locally sourced and sustainable, the blackberry is a wonderful wine that has complexity to it. “It has a richness and is so completely different than anything you’ve tasted, you just have to try it.” Linda Holford, owner says. “It is our “WOW” factor because that is what people say after they try it. It’s not just a dessert wine, very versatile.”
Rocky Creek won double gold for the Soft Fruit Dessert category with their Wild Blackberry at the All Canadian Wine Championships – pitting 219 wineries from coast to coast against each other. Just six days later they learned that it also won a rare double gold at the Northwest wine summit, wines from across the Pacific Northwest (including Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia)
“We would also like to give thanks to our first nations for this wonderful blackberry.” Mark Holford, winemaker, “They pick the local flavour for many of the wineries on the island and know how we like our wild fresh blackberries picked. Every year, we manage to have the consistent quality. The wine showcases local wild berries that grow wild all over the island, so truly a naturally grown native wine.”
The Wild Blackberry wine was the first medalist for Rocky Creek, winning silver at the Northwest Wine summit in 2006 for their inaugural 2005 vintage. Every year since, it has earned medals at a variety of National and International competitions including West Coast Wine, LA International, Finger Lakes, Northwest wine summit, and All Canadian Wine Championships. However for the longest time it felt like it was always going to be a bridesmaid, never the bride wining silver medals over and over again. Finally in 2013 Mark tweaked his technique and produced a gold medal winning version.
Now with the hot weather and amazing blackberry crop from 2015 he crafted a wine that beats all comers. “While we’ve always made an excellent Wild Blackberry wine, this year’s release was extra special and catapulted us to the top of the podium in these prestigious competitions.” Says Mark Holford, owner & winemaker at Cowichan Bay’s Rocky Creek Winery. “The hot summer of 2015 has paid off in spades yielding blackberries that were exceptionally ripe. The only downside was the hot weather also resulted in a shortened Blackberry season and we didn’t get as many blackberries as we would have liked resulting in a smaller batch than in previous years. With a lower supply and higher than normal demand we expect to sell out of this vintage a lot sooner then we’d like”.
“This represents the culmination of 11 years of extremely hard work and determination to produce wines of the highest quality. I’m so proud to represent the Cowichan Valley in these competitions and help raise the profile of our Cowichan Valley wineries across the country and around the world” say Linda Holford, President and Owner of Rocky Creek Winery.
These latest awards, along with 2 other silvers for TLC and Siegerrebe, a bronze for Pinot Gris and recent Silver and Bronze medals at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in New York State put Rocky Creek’s total at 80 medals garnered at National and International competitions since the first one they entered in 2006.