As Barrel Top Grill wound down from a busy spring, summer and fall season, Chef Trevor Mayhew was gearing up. When he isn’t busy managing and cooking for the 30-seat Bistro, with its 30-seat patio, he heads down into the cellar to assume his assistant winemaker duties.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m grateful for the chance to learn by working with Peter,” he says.
Peter, as in Peter Slamka, is one of three brothers who founded the winery way back when. Little Straw is one of the oldest, and smallest, of BC’s wineries and the Slamka family wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a hands-on family affair, right down to the wooden 50ml labeller Peter’s dad built for the winery’s tiny bottles of oh-so-good (and “airline friendly!”) Lemberger Icewine.
There’s something especially satisfying about a visit to a small winery. Personal attention, lots of laughter and wines that are pride and joy, not just products—all a familiar part of the Little Straw experience for visitors who return year after year.
With only 4,000 cases made annually, customers need to snap the wines up while they can—like the 2012 Old Vines Auxerrois, a limited edition that celebrates founders Joe and Freya Slamka, who started farming the property in 1969. Or the 2010 Marechal Foch, only a small quantity of which was made.
Check the website at for a full listing of what is currently available. The wine shop is open daily through the winter, 12-4 p.m.
~ Lorne Eckersley