When visiting Desert Hills Estate Winery, you may see one of the Toor brothers pouring wine in the tasting room or riding a tractor in the vineyard. The three brothers — Randy, Jessie and Dave — take the term “family-owned and operated” to another level.
The 24-acre home property is located just outside of Oliver, BC, on the Black Sage Bench, with upwards of 100 acres of vineyards in the south Okanagan. The Toor brothers have established Desert Hills Estate Winery as a must-try winery in the Okanagan. They were the first to plant Syrah in the Okanagan, and the first in Canada to do a five varietal Bordeaux blend with their first vintage of Mirage in 2000.
With over 500 wine awards to their name over the past 18 years, the Toor brothers have every reason to hold their heads high. Nonetheless, you won’t find an ego anywhere on the property.
The two family dogs — an English Bullmastiff named Ali and, new to the winery, Laila, a German Shepard — help set the estate’s laid-back tone.
“We’re a very friendly, very welcoming winery,” says marketing manager Trish Hahn. “We’re constantly told how our guests feel right at home and familiar as soon as they walk in.”
Perhaps the most exciting addition to the Desert Hills Estate this year is the new bistro, opening this spring.
Overlooking the southwest side of the valley, the East Indian influenced bistro will be led by Patrick Khatri, a young chef from Toronto.
“Patrick’s creative nature really fits with our team,” says Hahn. “We’re excited to have him onboard.”
The bistro will have a compact, fixed menu, so the team can be creative and experiment with daily features. Each dish focusses on fresh, local produce, and will be paired with a Desert Hills wine.
The bistro is set to open by June 1.