Howard Soon, acclaimed Master Winemaker at Vanessa Vineyard, remembers 2015 well. “[It was] the kind of summer where you could just snap your fingers and the grapes were killer ripe.” He knew this would be an important year for their winery’s Cabernet Franc. “Heat makes wine rich,” he explains.

The vines grow on sloping, well-drained, rocky terrain and bask in the sun from west to southwest exposure. The result: Cabernet Franc 2015, winner of Double Gold, Best in Category, at the All Canadian Wine Championships 2018. This year alone, Vanessa has received nine medals from three prestigious competitions.

This Cabernet Franc is enticing. Think aromas of black, brambly blackberry combined with freshly ground coffee beans, Okanagan cherry and toasty oak, loaded with dark tantalizing flavours of North African dates, framed by Madagascar vanilla and heady spice on the palate. It is a wine with fortitude, bearing and a lingering finish.

The second red wine of note is the Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for Vanessa’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 are grown on the highest point of the estate. Howard says they look as if they’re tortured — bombarded by sunlight, struggling to survive. The fact these vines are fighting to live is good news for the winemaker. In their struggle, the vines pour all their energy into production, and as a result, the small-yield grapes are bursting with rich flavour and juice.

The outcome is an iconic wine, beautifully esoteric, that opens with elegant mint and black currant aromas. On the palate, it’s mature, with flavours of freshly picked blackcurrants, wild tart blackberries, rich espresso and dark Belgian chocolate on the finish. It’s a powerful wine with a poised, lasting finish. Drink it with friends who love wine and good conversation.

These two iconic reds are available by allocation, due to the limited production. See info online at for release dates, availability and reviews, or visit the wine shop, open daily from 10am to 6pm pm from April to October for a guided tasting experience.