A winery born on a double dare and driven by the passion and unstoppable strength of owner Teresa Murray Wiseman, Crescent Hill Winery officially arrived onto the wine scene four years ago, a mere 36 years after its vines were planted.
Teresa is a force. Daughter of the award winning wine’s namesake, Glennallyn Murray, she has fought tooth and nail for these three acres of old vines on the hills of Penticton, and her tenacity has paid off. There are many women involved in the Okanagan wine industry now, but not when Teresa took the reigns. She says it was “A real fight to stand up as woman in this industry and a struggle to be taken seriously.” Against all odds, the vineyard remains in her hands, and it is thriving, with a new tasting room on the property and a big win medal proudly hanging on the neck for the 2016 Best White Wine in Canada from the All-Canadian Wine Awards. This winning Gewürztraminer comes from their tiny estate vineyard where the vines are old and rich. “This old vine Gewürztraminer boasts over fifteen foot roots and pulls all the water and nutrients from the dirt that most other Gewürztraminer’s cannot, this is why we believe this wine has unmatchable flavour.”
Glennallyn Murray is an unknown pioneer in our wine industry. This vineyard was one of the very first vineyards planted in Penticton area in the 1970’s. The vines are 100% pure German rootstock that he brought over from Europe in his suitcase. These prized three acres include Gewürztraminer, Pearl of Csaba (a rare Hungarian Orange Muscat), Verdelet, Riesling, Chardonnay and Muscat and together produce 1000 cases. Murray replicated the vineyard style that he saw in Europe, since there were basically no vines growing in the Penticton area–there was no precedent for planting!
These vines are survivors just like their owner. Teresa says, “Our vines have been in the ground 25 years longer than any other grower in this region!” As soon as it began producing, this tiny vineyard was selling its grapes to many local iconic wineries. Each seemed to win awards using these precious vines, so the family decided it was high time to make their own wine. On his deathbed Glennallyn, who did not have time to fulfill his dream of building a winery said to his daughter, “Let’s see what you can do.” This, says Teresa, was “a direct double dog dare” and she was in.
So the winery project began in 1999, with the first vintage created by her husband Russell Wiseman (former Montana cowboy turned winemaker and vineyard manager) in 2010. With history playing a role in each vintage, the wine is made using the original old equipment purchased by Glennallyn, (their pride and joy is Cristal, the ancient filter that is still going strong).
The winery is currently producing eight different wines. Dad would be proud.
pictured: Hissy Fit Blush