Those are almond trees”, says Virginia, “we have 5 on the property.” That’s Virginia Weber of Orofino Vineyards in the Similkameen Valley, wife and partner of John Weber. Together they are Orofino. Aside from having a winery that produces some of the most consistently well-crafted wines in the province, the couple (she a nurse, he a former school teacher) has two kids, one dog, a cat, and several nut trees.

Orofino has earned a solid reputation for making small lot wines with a focus on what they grow on site or acquire locally. In a breakout role is the 2011 Moscato Frizzante ($25), Orofino’s first bubble is predominantly a blend of Muscats. Don’t wait; pop this cork and be happy. Pinot Gris (honeysuckle and melon) and Riesling (green apple with mineral goodness) both over-deliver at $20 each.

A brightly fruited 2011 Gamay ($25) and a sumptuously structured 2010 Red Bridge Merlot ($25, cellar it) are part of the red wine lineup, as is the 2009 Beleza ($34, a big blend). My favourite is the 2010 Scout Vineyard Syrah ($29). Enjoy it now or later. It’s beautifully balanced with a subtle palate.

Chatting with John and Virginia under the shade of those almond trees, I got caught up in the moment and volunteered to help bottle the 2011 Chardonnay. I promise I’ll leave some for the rest of you.

Photo: (L-R) Orofino Proprietors John & Virginia Weber with Joy Road Catering's Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith at their recent Annual 1.6 Mile Dinner.


~ Jeannette Montgomery