Hillside Winery is leading the way in the Okanagan wine industry by making it’s own set of rules. Winemaker Kathy Malone’s commitment to using only 100% Naramata Bench grapes in Hillside’s wine is stirring things up while making lovely complex wines that showcase the terroir.
Some would expect a straightforward portfolio when sourcing fruit only from a relatively small region, but to Kathy’s mind, that makes for an exciting challenge and leads to some great things like a new and exciting Port-style white. This is Hillside’s (and quite possibly the Okanagan’s) first, fortified white wine in the style of white Port.
“A tiny yield from a new planting of Muscat Ottonel produced beautiful aromas and flavours that cried out to be preserved,” says Kathy. She made a single barrel of Soirée en Blanc (32 cases) bottled this summer and due for release in mid-September.
Like traditional Port, this fortified (18.5% alcohol) white wine was produced from Muscat Ottonel grapes grown on the Naramata Bench. The wine produced is fortified by the addition of a barrel-aged spirit distilled from Hillside wine. The addition of the spirit stops the fermentation process, leaving residual sugar in the wine, while boosting the alcohol content. The wine was then stored and aged, in older French barrels before being bottled.
Wine club members get first dibs on this limited production white Port that will be unveiled at the end of summer Soirée en Blanc Release Party. Guests are invited to thumb their nose at convention, don their whites and sip. Check out the event page at www.hillsidewinery.ca for details and tickets for the party.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, you’ll find Hillside Soirée en Blanc to be a fun and flexible wine. Drink it on its own – served chilled it makes for a great aperitif or dessert wine.


Pictured; winemaker Kathy at the sorter with some muscat grapes… which is the varietal that makes the Soirée en Blanc