Keeping true to their values of renewal and growth, Rust Wine Co. is taking a bold step forward. For the upcoming year, the winery is embarking on an ambitious project to reinvest and rejuvenate several vineyards and facilities as well as the heritage building on their estate.
The 126-year-old cabin on the property has been lovingly restored to serve as a guest house. Kane Morgan, hospitality manager, said, “While it might seem like a small job to fix the cabin, it was a huge undertaking to get the details right. On such a project, it’s amazing the discoveries you make in the process.”
Initially, the heritage house will be made available on a limited basis to guests of the winery and in special offers to Rust Wine Club members.
The winery building is the next construction focus. Over the winter, it will double in size to allow for expanded, fully on-site wine production and a renewal of guest services. The enhanced guest area will include an expanded deck with an outdoor tasting bar, allowing for a seamless integration with the natural beauty of the Golden Mile Bench.
Winemaker Ryan de Witte is elated that the production facility will be purpose-built to “craft small-lot wines with a strong sense of place.” De Witte recently joined the team, and the 2019 wines released this summer were created in his signature artisan style.
He works closely with winemaker Jeff Hundertmark at their sister winery, Mt. Boucherie, in West Kelowna. The collaborative winemaking team launched the single-vineyard program. Most recently, 2017 Merlot was released, and 2018 Zinfandel is on its way. Rust Wine’s Zinfandel-specific vineyard is unique in the valley, given Zinfandel is generally considered tough to grow in the Okanagan.
Nod to Viticulture
Morgan attributed much of Rust’s success to its organic farmer––Brett Thiessen, manager of viticulture. “Without such wonderful vines, the quality of our wines would not be possible.” Rust Wine’s ownership has been generous to resource operations, and viticulture also has been given the tools to ensure happy vines.
Thiessen manages the vineyards for Rust and Mt. Boucherie, including Mt. Boucherie Estate Vineyard (West Kelowna), South Rock Vineyard (Golden Mile Bench, where Rust is located), Lost Horn Vineyard (Okanagan Falls), Summer Breeze Vineyard (West Osoyoos), Ferreira Vineyard (Black Sage Bench) and Lazy River Vineyard (South Cawston, Similkameen Valley). While Thiessen’s plans to convert all the vineyards to organic practices may require a few years, ultimately the goal is “increasingly honest and pure wines” and long-term sustainability.
As work on renewal and growth continues, the Rust Wine team is ready to welcome you from 11 am to 7 pm daily. Expect a casual and comfortable setting where precautionary COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing, six-person maximums, and enhanced cleaning, are practiced.