by David Wylie

Larch Hills Winery is on top of the world — at least it feels like it.

Located in Salmon Arm, it’s the highest elevation winery in BC at 800 metres. Despite having a shorter growing season due to its northern location, the south-facing slope manages to soak up the sunshine.

Larch Hills specializes in Ortega, taking advantage of European varietals that thrive in the Shuswap region. They also grow Siegerrebe, Madeline Angevine and Agria.

Those who visit the family-run winery are treated to a cosy family experience, said winery manager, Roman Manser.

“Any time somebody comes up here, they’ll be dealing with somebody tied in family-wise. There’s always that one-on-one with people who are involved from start to finish.”

Former Alberta dairy farmer Jack Manser bought the winery in 2005, and his sons — Roman and Wayne — soon followed him to the Okanagan to help.

“This year we’re going to release a Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time, so that’s something to look forward to,” he said, adding the grapes were sourced from the Similkameen.

“This will be our first crack at it. So far the wine is coming along really nicely.” It’s expected to be released in late summer.