For those who have been to Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery in Okanagan Falls, you know that, not only do they have outstanding wines but that it is very much a family affair. On any given day, you will find a member of the Kruger family warmly greeting guests in the tasting room – a delightful way to start your Wild Goose experience.

The Kruger family is truly one of the first families of the BC wine industry. Patriarch Adolf Kruger initially planted their estate vineyard in 1984, and then opened the winery in 1990. These days, brothers Roland and Hagen oversee operations at the winery, Roland as General Manager and Hagen as Winemaker.

Over the past 22 years, the Kruger family has truly established an outstanding reputation for their wines, as is evident in the countless awards they have won, including Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year in 2009 and an outstanding 7 Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in BC Wine. Despite the challenging growing season, the 2011 whites are exceptional. Both Roland and Hagen are extremely excited about the wine’s quality. Hagen noted that they were able to get the maturity they were looking for in the vineyards, and that the entire line of white wines, including their new Chardonnay, is showing great varietal characteristics. Even though the wines aren’t entirely finished yet, they are showing amazing fruit forward characteristics, great acid (a classic characteristic of Wild Goose wines) and, as it was their largest vintage ever, there will also be even more of it to go around!

The 2011 whites aren’t the only releases to get excited about. The 2009 reds were also recently released, including their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Merlot Reserve and Cabernet Sauvignon. As with all of the wines at Wild Goose, these wines are fruit forward, very well balanced and extremely reasonably priced. The 2009 Merlot in particular is stunning. At only $19.99, the wine is extremely complex showcasing flavours of cherries and blackberries with a touch of cassis. The finish is elegant with silky tannins and a sweet/smoky hint of tobacco.

If the promise of exceptional new releases isn’t enough to draw you to the winery, there is one more exciting change coming this spring, a new tasting room! Opening mid-may, the expanded tasting room will offer winery guests the complete winery experience. With a larger tasting bar, more retail space, a special event room, and a large (partially covered) patio, your visit to the winery will be as memorable as the wines themselves. Despite having more room to work with, rest assured that Wild Goose will not lose its family charm, complete with Mama Kruger (Susanna) making regular appearances behind the bar regaling guests with family stories and serving up her sons award-winning wines.

~ Lindsay Kelm