Kathy and Bruce Harker are visibly proud of the evolution of their multi-generational family farm and award winning winery. With the 5th generation branching out, word is spreading about Rustic Roots Wines and the Harker Family’s passion for Sustainable Organic Agriculture. This has been a year of Awards for the family on all fronts; winning Canada’s best fruit wine with their 2009 Santa Rosa at the 2011 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards, to Organic Farming Family of the Year from the BC Institute of Agrologists and EAT Magazine’s Exceptional Eats Award for Best Okanagan Farm.

Son Troy and wife Sara Harker are embracing and expanding the family’s passion for Sustainable Living. Troy runs and manages the Farm and Wholesale business in addition with wife Sara spearheading a Farm to Fork Program and Rustic Roots Winery in 2008. The two have jumped into the business and its daily operations head first and are very excited and humbled to have been nominated for the Outstanding Young Farmer’s Award for 2012.

Daughter Tyla Harker, the "Jill of all trades" is learning almost every aspect of the farming business literally from the ground up. From helping in the Cellar (a year-round task at a fruit winery), wholesale fruit business, sales, book keeping, and working in the field, Tyla does it all.

Youngest daughter Alysha Harker and fiancé Daniel Bergeron are now taking on the sales duties by representing Rustic Roots and other Okanagan wineries through their company, Unique Family Cellars. Based in White Rock, Unique Family Cellars is the face of Rustic Roots Winery and the Harker Family in telling their story throughout the province.

The trio of wines that will be grabbing attention this year are the 2011 Pippin, the 2011 Fameuse, and the 2011 Iced Orin Frizzante. These clean, crisp wines showcase a range of sweetness from the very crisp and refreshing Pippin, to the slightly off-dry and beautifully balanced Fameuse, to the amazingly rich yet clean Iced Orin Frizzante.

The 2010 Vintage of Mulberry Pear was released this spring with a buzz of excitement. Winemaker Sara Harker made an “Amarone, Port Style Wine” by drying out a portion of the berries, fortifying it like a traditional port, and then aging in 3-year-old French Oak for 18 months. The outcome is an amazingly rich, smooth wine that displays the aromas and flavours of baked figs and spice.

~ Luke Whittall