This past June, the All Canadian Wine Championships gave a serious nod to Naramata Bench’s Moraine Estate Winery; their Gewürztraminer 2015 achieved Double Gold (making it the best Gewürz in the competition) while their Riesling 2015 and Red Mountain 2013 achieved Silver. This past July, Wine Align’s 2016 National Wine Awards followed suit by awarding Silver to five of Moraine’s wines: Cliffhanger Red 2014, Malbec 2014, Pinot Noir 2014, Syrah 2014 and Pink Mountain Rosé 2015.
These accolades will come as no surprise to wine aficionados, as Moraine is no stranger to awards. The Riesling 2015 is one of Moraine’s flagship wines, winning Gold at International Fingers Lake Wine Competition 2016 and the Okanagan Life Best of BC Wine Awards 2015, as is the Pinot Noir 2013, which won Double Gold, International Pinot Noir Challenge 2015.
This success is partly down to Jacq (Jacqueline) Kemp, Moraine’s in-house winemaker. Kemp is a former research nutritional scientist who left the lab to pursue her passion for award winning winemaking in Western Australia and her native New Zealand. Now on her fifth harvest with Moraine, Jacq came to the Okanagan eight years ago. “I could see the potential for Pinot Noir here, and wanted to develop it.”
Kemp identifies the soils of the Okanagan Valley as one of the things that makes the wines what they are. “The Okanagan has pretty cool soil characteristics, glacial, with lots of minerals,” she explains. At Moraine, Jacq has also been focusing on getting the fruit weight coming through in the wines, developing a mineral palette with the use of fruit rather than oak. “We do use oak barrels, but this is part of our technical rather than flavor process.”
“My focus is getting wines at a certain level internationally,” says Kemp, “because otherwise why are you doing it?” This approach is certainly paying off for Moraine.
pictured, Jacq Kemp
~ Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie