You’ll have to follow me,” Bill Eggert calls to a visitor as he jumps out of his truck and hops onto a tractor. No time to slow down, let alone stop, when the grapes are picked and workers wait in the new addition to the gravity fed winery below. After a season that the Fairview Cellars owner/winemaker refers to as The Grapes of Wrath (in which his vines grapes have endured wasps, fruit flies, spotted wing drosophilus, deer, bears and hail), Bill can hardly wait to see what the results of this harvest bring. He’s dealt with challenges before—he’s a farmer.
With a newly enlarged winery under construction he was looking forward to the added space. But early ripening meant picking started a full month earlier than last year, leaving Bill and his crew to scramble and adapt. He needs the space though—this vintage will feature two labels: Golden Mile (which he hopes will get its own sub-appellation soon) and Collaborators, made with grapes from other vineyards.
Released this fall were The Bear, a Bordeaux blend (my note: “Wow!”), The Madcap, 2011 Bucket of Blood (named for a historic saloon in Fairview), and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon which, for those who know Bill as BC’s “Cab Man”, is an exciting prospect.
A visit to this out-of-the-way treasure near Oliver often offers tastes of library wines, but the line-up of recent releases is truly exceptional on its own. And where else do you find red wines whose labels include a “Best After” date?
~ Lorne Eckersley