Privato Winery – Quietly Making a Name in Kamloops BC

Privato Winery is one of the newest wineries in BC, and the second winery in Kamloops, along side Harper’s Trail winery.  Privato opened their doors in August this year with the release of their Pinot Noir and opening of their Tasting Room in Kamloops. In the latest WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2013, their Privato Chardonnay 2011 won a Silver Medal.  A very good result for a first release!

Recently I was able to meet with one of the owners, Debbie Woodward, here in Vancouver.  I had a wonderful discussion about their winery and was given a bottle of their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to try.

Talking with Debbie Woodward

Debbie Woodward from Privato Vineyards and Winery
Debbie Woodward from Privato Vineyards and Winery

MyWinePal: Pinot Noir is one of the hardest grapes to master.  Why did you decide to start with this grape?

Debbie: The choice of grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, was based on what would grow well in the Kamloops area.  We have also experimented with a little bit of Riesling and may carry on with it.

MyWinePal: When do you expect the first vintage from your Kamloops vineyard (FYI, they are currently sourcing grapes from the Okanagan)?

Debbie: Our vines are 4 years old, which are too young to produce the quality of wines we want to release.  We would like our vines to be 7-8 years.  We are doing some experimentation with our grapes now, to get a feel for their characteristics so we are prepared for our first vintage from these grapes. <MyWinePal: currently the grapes are being sourced from the Okanagan.>

MyWinePal: Are you working with an outside wine maker?

Debbie: My husband John is our wine maker, but we are getting mentoring from other wine makers.  We had Gustav Allander from Foxtrot helping us.  He specializes in Pinot Noir.  Now we have Jacqueline Kemp from Moraine Winery working with us.  She is from New Zealand and trained there.  She also spent 3 years working in Burgundy.

MyWinePal: I see that you have a private customer list for people to purchase wines and that some restaurants carry your wine.  Where can we taste your wines in Vancouver?

Debbie: In Vancouver, La Pentola, the Vancouver Club, l’Abbatoir, Blue Water Cafe, Hy’s, and the Pour House all have our wines on their wine list.

MyWinePal: Harper’s Trail is the first winery in Kamloops.  How much have both wineries been able to talk together?

Debbie: We have talked a bit, but not too much yet.  Ed and Vicki from Harper’s Trail are very active in marketing their wines and growing their winery.  We are still moving quietly and have just started to let people in Kamloops know about us as we released our Pinot Noir and opened our Tasting Room in August.  We had a soft launch.

Ed and Vicki have visited our winery.  I’ve tried their Riesling and it is very good (I agree). Congratulations to them on their wines, hard work, and plans for growing their winery.  We are keeping our winery and Tasting Room small; no plans for expansion.  We like to keep things small and be hands-on.  Always have one of us in the Tasting Room.  Besides the winery, we have been farming here for 25 years, and have run a Christmas tree farm for 20 of those years.  It is exciting for us to add the wine experience to go along with the Christmas tree experience when people come to select their tree.

MyWinePal: Was there something unexpected to you about owning a winery?

Debbie: I didn’t know how much fun it would be actually.  The wine industry is so interesting and there is a lot to learn. I really enjoy working in the Tasting Room and meeting with people. The people from Kamloops are so happy for us and are embracing the wineries in the area.  I think having wineries in Kamloops will be good to help in promoting tourism in the area.

Closing thoughts by Debbie: We are producing smaller volumes because we are very intent on focusing on quality vs quantity.  We are marketing our wine primarily by “allocation” to the wine enthusiast through our private membership and to a very few higher end restaurants that appreciate a well crafted wine.

My Wine Notes

As I do with all wines that I sample from wineries, I will do an initial tasting of the wine after opening the bottle.  I will then re-taste the wine 1-2 days later and check to see how the wine has changed with exposure to air.  This again was my approach with Privato’s wines.  I did notice upon opening these 2 wines that they have a very long, very high quality cork, which to me shows how much they care about their wines.

  • Privato Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay 2011 ($30) – Only 147 cases of this wine were produced. It is medium lemon in colour.  A youthful, medium intensity nose with light lime, almond, vanilla, smoke and cinnamon.  The smokiness was more apparent on day too plus tropical fruit aromas were also evident. The wine is dry with great mouthfeel.  To me this wine feels very luxurious in your mouth and very enjoyable.  It has medium plus body and medium acidity. I picked up flavours of tropical fruit with lesser amounts of citrus, pear and almonds.  All the fruits balance each other and one does not really stick out above the others. I also picked up some smokiness, vanilla, lees and some blackcurrant leaf toward the finish.  There is a slight acidic prickle to the wine and it has mouth watering finish. On the second day of tasting, the black currant leaf flavour went away, and some apple flavour became more apparent. It has a medium plus length.  A very good wine that you can drink now, but could be aged for 1-3 years. Here in BC I may want to try this with a grilled halibut or sable fish topped with a sweet pea puree.

    Privato Chardonnay 2011
    Privato Chardonnay 2011
  • Privato Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir 2011 ($35) – 375 cases of this wine were produced. It was not released when I reviewed it.  Hopefully it is, or will be released soon. This is a lighter garnet coloured wine with a bit of bricking on the rim.  The wine is translucent from the core to the rim.  It has a youthful nose with violets, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon together with raspberries and red cherries.  It is dry with lower acidity and tannins and light mouth feel. More violets on the palate along with a lesser amount of roses.  Vanilla, red cherries and red fruit round out the flavours, along with a bit of the black currant leaf again.  It has a long length finishing with some sweet spices, oak and tannins.  A little hot on the finish.  On my second day of tasting, I detected some tea leaves on the palate and some black cherry on the finish.  The black currant leaf was also a bit more pronounced.  This is another very good quality wine.  You can enjoy it now, or cellar it for a few years.  I think I might want to try this wine with duck breast with cherries.

    Privato Pinot Noir 2011
    Privato Pinot Noir 2011
Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.