I recently stopped in to visit Ed and Vicki Collett from Harper’s Trail Estate Winery in Kamloops, BC. Yes Kamloops! I first met Ed and Vicki at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, and then at a recent Media Trip to Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, where Harper’s Trail wines are being vinified. I was excited to see their vineyard in Kamloops, as I had not seen any vineyard in Kamloops before.
Their winery is located at 2720 Shuswap Road, Kamloops. Here is a map from Bing to help you find it, but as of yet, there is no Tasting Room (Google Maps currently does not show the correct location).
This is the first year that they released their wines to the public, so the vines are still young, plus there are still more areas to plant. Ed and Vicki drove me through the current vineyard area (it was really hot that day and I was grateful to have an air-conditioned ride), stopping along the way to tell me about the vines. They currently have planted 4 white grape varieties: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay, and 1 red grape variety: Cabernet Franc. The current rose has Merlot, Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir grapes from their vineyard, but due to the lack of vigor of these 3 varieties at the current site in the vineyard, they have been pulled. Their current vineyard area can be seen in the above map. The northeast corner is currently planted, but the area directly to the west is all potential vineyard area. One interesting item to note about the vineyard is that all the vines are planted on their own rootstock. The phylloxera louse cannot survive in their soil. Some people say that own rooted (not grafted) stock gives you the true flavour of the grape, so it has always been a treat for me to taste wines from ungrafted vines. The arid conditions in Kamloops also helps keep other pests and diseases at bay, so less chemical intervention is needed, giving you a more “organic” product.
What to Expect in the Unplanted Area?
Walking in the open field area to the west of the currently planted vines, Ed laid out to me their plans. In part, there would be more vines planted. Pinot Noir would be replanted (a silent cheer from me, being a pinot lover). I would think that different clones would be tried until they see which ones can handle the winter climate the best. Maybe they will also plant other red varieties, and hopefully more Riesling, as I really enjoyed their Riesling. I think the terroir makes their Riesling taste different from grapes grown in the Okanagan. But there is more than just vineyard planned for this area.
A picnic area for people to enjoy food and wine, and overlook the South Thompson river. There will also be a Tasting Room set up. There is also a natural creek running through this part of the property, which will be enhanced so that visitors can enjoy the birds and natural vegetation around the creek.
Although Harper’s Trail Estate Winery is still very young, Ed and Vicki have their sights on the future, and I look forward to visiting their winery each year, to watch each piece of their puzzle come together. Enjoy the pictures of the vineyard and imagine it as it will be in the coming years. Cheers.