We sit at the new Black Hills Estate Winery Wine Experience Center, gazing out at the 'water feature', surrounded by Cabanas, set against the hills of the Okanagan. The site, located just down the road from their old location, is breathtaking – and more accessible. Glenn Fawcett grins his infectious smile and regales me with stories of people getting stuck down the steep driveway of their previous tasting room. The modern and inviting building is much easier for visitors to enjoy (and to park). "We want our visitors to spend time with us, really taste the wine, soak in the terroir and have a memorable experience," says Glenn. Their Wine Evangelists are all Sommeliers or Level 3 WSET and are passionate about providing an in-depth wine experience.
Glenn's passion for wine and people launched this new wine experience center–and the highly successful Vino's (the Academy Awards of the wine industry). On an early trip to Napa he was mesmerized by the tasting room environment and felt he'd 'found his people.' So began the dream to create an innovative wine tasting facility in the Okanagan. Black Hills has built a strong following for its hand crafted, small production wines made from estate grapes on their vineyard on the Black Sage Bench. This includes their signature Bordeaux blend, called Nota Bene.
"When the vineyard was planted in 1996 it was just sheer luck that we turned out to have this block heated by the black hills, facing due south, and in a bowl that traps the heat, creating the best site in the country to grow Cabernet Sauvignon-the dominant component of the Note Bene."
This doesn't mean that there has not been a lot of hard work in the intervening years to put Black Hills on the winery map. What's been the most challenging part of creating Black Hills? "At the end of the day, it’s all about farming. There‘s lots of glamour and fun associated with the wine business, but it’s what takes place in the vineyard that really makes the difference."
Photo: Glenn Fawcett, President Black Hills Estate Winery.
2011 Viognier $25.00
Aromas of apricot and lemon, with complex flavors of peach, honeysuckle and tropical fruits with a nicely balanced acidity.
2010 Syrah $35.00
Complex aromas of dark fruit and smoky oak, flavours of dark rich blackberry, blueberry and black currant, with spice and smoke, smooth integrated tannins with a luscious mouth feel and long finish.
~ Terry Meyer-Stone