Family owned Moraine Estate Winery – named for the glacial terrain and dramatic white clay bluffs of the Naramata – is garnering rave reviews and awards in its debut year. “We focus on elegant, handcrafted wines,” says owner Oleg Aristarkhov, “the kind of wines that I loved to enjoy in Europe.” Winemaker Jacqueline Kemp brings a wealth of experience and international awards to the team. “I’ve been dying to work with this property; I knew it would produce excellent wines.” Moraine has acquired the Euroselect destemmer (one of the few in Canada) because of its unique process and gentle handling of the fruit. “We want to handle the fruit with respect and care,” says Jacqueline, “We ferment in small batches to allow the full expression.” There’s a friendly dialogue regarding the future direction of the vineyard. Jacqueline points to an area she thinks will be prime for Pinot Noir (her main love). “We shall see,” nods Oleg. He suggests Russian Adygea oak barrels. “We’ll talk,” says Jacq with a grin.
Oleg and his wife Svetlana began this new adventure—he calls it his mad obsession– when vacationing in the Okanagan and saw the vineyard for sale. Their busy first season and strong sales are a testament to the quality of Moraine wines as word of mouth has spread. Visit the tasting room by appointment in the winter, or check out their wines online. It will be fun to see whether the Pinot Noir is planted, or the Russian barrels are brought in, but whatever decisions are made, it will be about producing the most beautiful wines.
2008 Meritage $23.00
A classic blend of Bordeaux varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Aromas of leather and black fruits with smoke and cherry on the palate and a long finish. Yummy!
~ Terry Meyer-Stone