Introducing Harper’s Trail
Harper’s Trail, named for the cattle drive trail of pioneer rancher Thaddeus Harper, is the first estate winery from Kamloops. Tucked into the city outskirts on the bank of the South Thompson River, Ed and Vicki Collett’s vineyard sits among rolling hills of sage and grass, home to bighorn sheep, bears, and myriad birds. The backdrop of limestone, hoodoos, and a natural spring in the vineyard contribute to the biodiversity of this rare place.
The wines are grown and tended to by our own Caleb Hanaghan with our consulting winemaker, Michael Bartier. The flavours reflect this emerging region with minerality and crisp acidity. Enjoy our focused lineup: Riesling wines, made in three different styles, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Rosé, Cabernet Franc, and a Field Blend White. Taste the flavours that exemplify the Kamloops region.
The Harper’s Trail Story
Well-known and respected in the Kamloops business community, Ed and Vicki Collett are taking Kamloops one step further as they pioneer the next wine territory in British Columbia’s landscape.
Wine entered Ed and Vicki’s lives gradually. Throughout his career, Ed visited wine regions in other parts of the world, particularly Australia and Chile, and was struck by the similarity in climate to the Thompson River Valley. The possibility of starting a vineyard crept into the couple’s minds and a weekend getaway overlooking the vines in the Okanagan cemented the desire to create their own vineyard.
With firm hold on a dream, but no vineyard or wine-making experience, the couple sought consultation and advice from several industry veterans to help set them on the right path. Along the way, the Colletts came to recognize that the land they had chosen for their vineyard had so much more under the surface than just ideal limestone-veined grape growing soil.
Thousands of years ago, when the South Thompson River ran a different course, the land that now holds the Thadd Springs Vineyard was the nomadic riverside home to 30 bands of Secwepemc (or Shuswap) whose people camped along the river. Fast forward to what, in contrast, are more recent times, and you can hear the echoing hoofs and lowing of cattle in the rolling hills that now proudly host vinifera vines. Renowned BC pioneer and rancher Thaddeus Harper used the grounds as a camp and staging area, as cattle were driven from the U.S. to the Chilcotin to Harper’s Gang Ranch.
Today, the 24-acre vineyard shows the promise for wine growing in the Thompson Valley. With careful attention to the land, the Colletts are committed to presenting Kamloops to the world as place in BC where one can craft fresh, fruit-driven, quality wines.
Where to Find Us and the Wines We Will be Pouring
Tasting Room Public/Consumer:
2015 Chardonnay Sparkling – Made using the classic method, in the brut de brut style, with no dosage. The nose offers bread dough, lime, peach and apple, which follow through on the palate. A dry and balanced texture with fresh fruit characters; brisk, refreshing acidity, and a crisp, apple-lime finish.
2014 Pioneer Block Dry Riesling – Leafy, rainwater fresh aromas of apple & lime, this wine is bracing, yet absolutely appropriate acidity in balance. Fresh fruit flavours and a stoney finish make this eminently age-able. This wine is incredibly versatile to pair with sushi, soups, stews and cheese.
2014 Silver Mane Block Riesling – Flavours of ripe apple, Bartlett pear and honeydew melon, this wine is slightly off-dry and absolutely balanced. Fantastic with poached or grilled white fish or with a fruit salad.
2015 Cabernet Franc – Earthy, complex, and elegant with notes of capsicum, black cherry, plum, and cigar box. Firm tannins make it a perfect accompaniment to roasted meat, especially lamb. A great match for any classic Pinot Noir pairing (yes, Pinot Noir) like duck or mushrooms.
2015 Pinot Noir – Well balanced with soft tannins and notes of stewed cherry and black plum complemented by hints of sweet tobacco and spice to round out this true expression of the Thompson Valley terroir. Aged in neutral French Oak barrels. A great match for butter and cream sauces with pasta or lobster.
Other Events During The Festival:
There are other events as well. Watch for us on the vanwinefest.ca website.