Please welcome and come visit Lake Country’s O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars at VanWineFest 2022. Here is info from the winery for you.
Owned by local entrepreneur Dennis O’Rourke. Dennis is long-time resident of the Okanagan Valley, having bought property on Juniper Cove Road in Lake Country in 1979. Before building a home on this land, Dennis spent many years living part-time between West Kelowna and Edmonton from 1984 until the late 1990’s, when he built his home on Juniper Cove Road.
As chairman of Sureway Construction Group Ltd., Dennis founded his construction company in Edmonton in 1973, and has facilitated its growth from modest beginnings in water and sewer construction into one of Western Canada’s leading construction contractors. After the recession in 2008-2009, Dennis began to purchase farm-based land and other properties in Lake Country. He first purchased Rainbow Gardens on Goldie Road in 2011, which is now home to Peak Cellars Winery & Garden Bistro, and then began purchasing small parcels along both sides of Carr’s Landing Road, eventually accumulating nearly 300 acres and several homes. Some of these parcels had been farmed as orchards but most of the land was undeveloped native pine forest, much of which had been affected by pine beetle.
The land required a lot of preparation before being able to plant any grapevines. The entire vineyard area was EM conductivity scanned prior to planting, resulting in a well-designed block and irrigation layout based around the soils. The site was deep ripped in a “flat x” design, rather than following row or vine lines, to encourage the vine roots to explore more than just where the drip irrigation is watering.
In 2013, vine planting began at both the Goldie Road site and the main Carr’s Landing Road site and the majority of the vineyard was planted by 2015. There are many aspects about the vineyard site that make it so special for growing grapes: it lies parallel along Okanagan Lake with a general west / southwest facing steep slope which allows for maximum sun exposure, encourages frost drainage and creates air flow through the vineyard which helps moderate the temperatures during the summer and winter. The soils are primarily granitic with mixed glacial till and thus very well drained, yielding smaller clusters with great concentration and complexity. The large diurnal temperature variation helps the fruit retain more natural acidity, giving the wines vibrancy, lift and freshness.
The first vines planted in 2013 started to produce a small yield of fruit in 2015 and the wines were made in an old apple shack at the Carr’s Landing vineyard. In the spring of 2016, winery construction began at the Goldie Road site and the first wines were made at Peak Cellars in September 2016. Over the course of 2016-2018, planting continued and we now have just over 104 acres under vine between the two vineyard sites (around 4 acres at Peak Cellars and nearly 100 acres on Carr’s Landing Road). Roughly half of the vineyard is dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with the other half planted to Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner and Gamay Noir, with each varietal and clonal mix carefully selected to match the soil properties. We are dedicated to being 100% Estate grown and 100% Lake Country.
Peak Cellars winemaker, Stephanie Stanley, a graduate of Brock University’s CCOVI program, is born and raised in Kelowna and has 20 years (and 25 vintages) of winemaking experience, including over 11 years with Sandhill, Wayne Gretzky Okanagan and Peller Estates. She worked harvest at Peak Cellars in 2017 and 2018 and moved into the lead winemaking role in 2019.
The Wines We Will Feature at the International Festival Tasting Room
2020 PINOT GRIS
Mainly fermented in stainless steel, about 20% was barrel fermented in neutral oak for a round, soft and silky texture. The wine is vibrant and alive with aromas of golden apple, canned pears, lemon and white grapefruit, with a subtle nuance of jasmine and a light savoury herbaceousness. The palate is lively and crisp, like biting into a crunchy nectarine laced with lemon and lime. The mid-palate is rich and round, with delicate flavours of ginger and apple pie, leading into a soft, smooth yet lingering finish. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser and versatile food-pairing wine.
2020 GRÜNER VELTLINER
This Austrian variety is quite unique in BC, with only about a dozen wineries producing it. Peak Cellars has the largest planting of it in BC to date, tipping their hat to their Austrian neighbours to the north at Sparkling Hill Resort. The winemaker fermented three different lots in a combination of neutral French oak barrels, a French oak tank and some stainless steel. There was extended lees contact and stirring for several months post-fermentation before the wines were removed from their lees and blended for bottling. The resulting wine is textural and rich through the palate, with delicate notes of white peach and pineapple and underlying tones of thyme, tarragon and white pepper. Best enjoyed slightly warmer, around 12C,
Being the winemaker’s favourite variety, there are now four different expressions of Riesling at Peak Cellars, this being the original. These Riesling blocks are planted in mainly granite-based soils which promote high acidity retention in the wines. The roots also grow deep, producing wines with very complex and layered aromas and flavours that can develop for years. To retain a touch of natural sweetness to balance the lively acidity, the fermentation was arrested once the desired balance was reached. We also experimented with some neutral oak barrel and concrete tank fermentations, for added textural complexity.
If you’re a fan of this wine, you should try their other variations of Riesling, which include a traditional method Sparkling Riesling, the Terraces Dry Riesling and the Block 11 Riesling (off-dry).
2021 GOLDIE RED
‘Hot off the presses’!! This young vibrant juicy red wine is just recently bottled, with our fans of yesteryear chomping at the bit to get their hands on some cases! This is a fun co-fermented blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir, aged in neutral French oak barrels and tank for about 5 months. Its personality shouts out with a youthful candy-like sensation of ripe strawberry, raspberry and young cherry, with gamey, earthy and savoury scents of pepper, cedar, tobacco and leather. The medium-weight palate is both rustic and smooth with a nice acidity that carries through the finish. Serve it slightly chilled for the summer!