Located on Naramata Bench Road in the Southern Okanagan, Red Rooster Winery offers spectacular views that make you feel like you’re on a European getaway.
An Okanagan Landmark
Matching the freshly fallen snow, the white painted estate is as much of a landmark due to its longstanding presence, as it is a hallmark of the winemaking industry.
Established in 1990 by a European couple who settled in the area, the estate was built with salvaged wood from the original Naramata train dock. Seven years later, Red Rooster’s first vintage was released, and ever since, the winery has been representing the Okanagan on a national level.
In August 2019, Elaine Vickers joined as the head winemaker at Red Rooster. With a master’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Victoria, and a graduate degree in Oenology from the University of Adelaide in Australia, Vickers is a force to be reckoned with. Her extensive viniculture knowledge, particularly in the Okanagan region, translates to producing exceptional and innovative wines.
To ring in the winter season, Vickers is releasing a portfolio of new and exciting wines that showcase some of the new winemaking styles she’s been trying.
“We are working to be more sustainable in our fruit growing and winemaking,” says Vickers. “We’re experimenting more with natural fermentation, and creating some new, really bold wines.”
“One of the new releases is their reimagined Chardonnay, a Sur Lie – which in French translates to “on the lees”. Wines that are aged “sur lie” are kept in contact with the “dead” yeast cells. This process creates a greater sensation of roundness, and a smoother mouthfeel.”
Vickers is also releasing a Pinot blend that she’s calling P3. The wine is aptly named for the three pinot varietals that it’s comprised of: Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and a Pinot Gris, partially fermented and aged in concrete tanks. The three varietals can sometimes be seen on the same vine growing together. The P3 is bright and citrusy, with a creamy mouthfeel and structure.
“You can actually see clusters of different colour grapes representing each of the varietals on the vine,” says Vickers. “The grapes are more related than people realize, so why not make a wine with all three of them? It makes sense that they would taste great together.”
Another addition to the Red Rooster portfolio is their Carbonic Merlot-Malbec. Carbonic maceration is most often applied to light to medium bodied red wines to soften their tannins. Instead of fermenting the wine with added yeast, carbonic maceration ferments the wine from the inside of the grapes to the outside. To do this, Vickers added whole cluster Malbec grapes to the bottom of the tank and placed the Merlot grapes on top. The Merlot in-turn protects the Malbec grapes from the oxygen, and when the Merlot is finished fermenting it is pressed off leaving the Malbec grapes purely carbonically fermented. The finished product is a velvety wine, with notes of dark berries and spice.
Also, released earlier this year were a partially oak fermented and aged Gewürztraminer, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Viognier that was in part fermented naturally and aged on skins. Also in the works for Vickers is a pure varietal Petit Verdot. Look for it late next summer.
Wine Club and Tastings
“To stay up to date on all Red Rooster’s latest releases, and have first access to newly released varietals, join Red Rooster’s Wine Club. In addition to being the first to know about releases, wine club members receive complimentary in-house tastings for yourself and three guests at Red Roster, Tinhorn Creek, Black Hills, Gray Monk and Sandhill, and 15 per cent discount on Red Rooster wines and merchandise.”
Stop by the winery to enjoy Red Rooster’s signature wine flight, where you can taste the carefully curated wines that make up Red Rooster’s collection.
Red Rooster Winery is open noon until five, seven days a week. For more information about the wine club, the signature tastings, or the winery, please visit redroosterwinery.com or call 250-492-2424.