The story of Crescent Hill Winery began with Teresa Murray’s father, Glennallyn, and his passion for winemaking. Roughly 40 years ago, he was inspired to sell his real estate holdings in Port Moody, BC, and buy land to establish one of Penticton’s earliest vineyards. He did so when his close friend, the winemaker Tom Hoenisch, moved to Penticton’s first urban winery, the former Casabello Wines.
Teresa fulfilled her father’s 1999 deathbed wish to take the vineyard business to the next level by licensing the winery. Glennallyn’s family had always helped in farmgate duties and the vineyards, so establishing the winery was a natural progression. To Teresa, “tomorrow’s heirloom is today’s treasure.”
Teresa’s sister, Teena Murray-Christiansen, also worked hard in the family business.
“In the early days before Teena had children,” says Teresa, “she helped plant, weed and pick rocks in both vineyards as we created, bought and planted the now Meyer’s family farm as well as Crescent Hill. These days, Teena enjoys drinking the family’s award-winning wines and dreams about the day she retires from her full-time job in Vernon to come aboard in a more active role.”
While the growth and success of the Crescent Hill Winery business and Teresa’s health limit the hours she can spend in the vineyard, Teresa explains how time seems to slow down and become all about balance when you’re working with the vines.
“To me it’s a nice way to live, and the prospect of passing it along to my daughter, Tysha, and son-in-law, Carson, is a pleasure,” she says.
For her, the words of the Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle” comes to mind along with the wish to make such days last forever so she can spend time with her family. Of course, the wine that goes into the bottles at Crescent Hill represents a lot of work and perseverance.
Award Winning Wines
Teresa clutches her flying pig pendant necklace, a personal reminder that her father was told by a Summerland Research Station staff that “pigs would fly before Gewürztraminer would grow in the Okanagan.” Now, with her family and her winemaking husband, Russell Wiseman, she smiles all the way up to the podium to collect awards, thanks to the foresight of her father and his plantings. The Gewürztraminer, named “Glennallyn” in his honour, was awarded Double Gold and Best White Wine in Canada at the All Canadian Wine Championships, plus Double Gold at Sip Northwest.
At the 2018 Cascadia Wine Competition, Gold was awarded to Curvy Gurl Chardonnay 2015; Silver to Dry Gewürztraminer 2015 and Glennallyn Private Reserve Gewürztraminer 2016; and Bronze to Cristal’s Fault Riesling 2015 – or as Teresa notes, four wines submitted, four medals received.
Results were also rewarding at the Great American International Wine Competition, which attracted 1,400 entries from 200-plus wineries representing 19 countries, 36 states and four provinces. In it, Glennallyn Private Reserve Gewürztraminer 2016 and The Olde Orchard Pearl of Csaba Muscat 2016 took Gold; Hissy Fit Semi Dry Rosé 2016 took Silver; and Cristal’s Fault Riesling 2016 took Bronze.
New Wines with Playful Names
Today, Tysha and Carson are engaged in representing the wine. They’re involved in learning how to finish the wine, bottle it and take it on the road to get new customers, whether that means attending events to pour it or stopping into restaurants and liquor stores to introduce Crescent Hill wines.
New labels are being introduced this season featuring the work of local artist Janis Blyth. Teresa says the idea is to create a classier presentation that better represents the quality of the wine inside the bottles. The first reveals will be on Hissy Fit, Consensual Chaos, Cristal’s Fault and Glennallyn Private Reserve.
Of course, each of the provocative names has its own story and speaks to the sense of humour required to face some of the challenges Teresa encountered as a woman opening a winery. Watch for Vendetta to be released later in July — it’s a blend with Viognier and Verdelet that speaks to the “big pull out of the hybrid Verdelet” in the Okanagan’s past.
A small tasting room debuted last year on the property and it’s open from 11 am to 7 pm, Monday to Saturday; and 1 to 8 pm, Sunday, through the high season. Visit to enjoy the spectacular views, taste the award-winning wines, and to learn more about the stories behind the playful naming of those wines.