Although a relatively new winery, C.C. Jentsch Cellars’ winegrower Chris Jentsch and winemaker Amber Pratt (pictured) are now seeing their hard work recognized, not just by many happy customers, but also on the larger stage at awards competitions. Amber’s 2013 Syrah, her first vintage for Chris, was recently awarded a Platinum Medal by the Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada; one of only 14 platinum medals awarded, this wine scored in the top one percentile of all wines in the competition. National recognition on this scale for a new winery is rare, which makes this award particularly welcome for winery owner Chris Jentsch. “It is a great honour to have our hard work in the vineyard and winery recognized with such a prestigious award,” says Chris. “It is a true team effort that starts in the vineyard. Great terroir is coupled with hard work by Denis Morin, Jose Silva, David Strohmann and summer student, Raymond Thomson.”

Chris is also quick to point out Amber’s contribution to the portfolio, “Amber crafts the grapes into the best wines they can be.” Now going into her third harvest at C.C. Jentsch Cellars, Amber appreciates the recognition, but still strives to coax the best out of each individual variety. “I like purity,” says Amber, “I can taste the Okanagan in our wines now.”  Not content to just follow a recipe, Amber is not afraid to adapt to get the best out of what each vintage brings. However, she is careful not to overstep and possibly lose the essence of the terroir with too much handling.  “The more you manipulate the grapes and wine, the more you lose its true character,” says Amber.

~ Luke Whittall