Veteran winemaker Barclay Robinson had just accepted the job and signed the papers at Road 13 one week before the COVID-19 lockdown occurred. While the new safety protocols didn’t impact production, they have affected the way wine is sold, paving the way for more intimate tasting experiences as well as more direct-to-consumer purchasing avenues.
Road 13 is in the process of achieving organic certification and will be fully certified by the end of 2021. “It’s a formality,” Robinson said. “They have been farming organically here for years.”
Already known for big, bold reds, Robinson is excited to talk about Road 13’s Syrah, which is exceptionally well suited to the South Okanagan soil and climate. “The Black Sage block on the east side grows southwest into the sun which yields jammy dark fruit flavours,” he explained, “while the evening shade from the mountain provides savoury and spicy notes.” With seven Syrah blocks, the region is well represented.
“2018 was an interesting growing year and has created a more elegant complexity than in previous years. It got off to a warm start, it was a dry year and there were fires in the Pacific Northwest,” Robinson said. “The fires didn’t affect the flavour, but they did block out the sun a fair bit, which yielded a beautiful acidity without as much alcohol.”
When asked about 2020, Robinson was excited. “The tonnage is lighter by 15 per cent, but the quality is outstanding. The growing season was warm and dry with a tricky mid-summer heatwave. But the wines are promising to be incredible!
“The block tells you what it wants to be,” he mused. “Winemaking is an artistic interpretation of science and nature that gives you a product that is more than the sum of its parts.”