Graydon and Maureen Ratzlaff couldn’t be happier with the way their wines have been received by customers that make their way out to their wine shop in Tappen. “These are different wines,” Graydon concurs when comparing them to what some customers might expect from a BC winery. Germanic varieties like Kerner, Bacchus, Siegerrebe, Zweigelt, and Blaufrankisch do very well here and deliver extremely consistent quality fruit with each vintage. If visitors are unaware of their collection of grape varieties, he is more than happy to show them every wine in his portfolio. “It’s a unique climate that does wonderful things.” The focus here is on grape varieties that work well in the cooler, shorter growing season there. These vines have to be able to survive the winters but must also bud later to protect themselves from spring frosts. Stylistically, the whites are beautifully fragrant and fresh while the reds trend towards soft, fruity, and character-driven rather than weighty and tannic.
Winemaker Jaime Flemke, graduate of Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology program, has been immersed in the whole process from vineyard to glass. Her direct involvement in all aspects beginning with pruning gives her direct control over the quality of the fruit from well before the buds burst in the spring. It is a hands-on approach that works to maintain a serious attention to quality that can only be done in an artisanal winery.
~ Luke Whittall