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Naramata winery closes its doors

Red Rooster said December freeze significantly damaged vineyards, prompting closure
Red Rooster Winery announced it is closing the winery and putting its wines online only after winter freeze devastated vineyards. (Red Rooster Facebook)

It’s an end of an era, said Red Rooster as they raise a final glass and close the doors to their Naramata winery for good on Sunday, Oct. 8.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share this news. On Oct. 8th, we will be closing onsite operations at Red Rooster Winery,” the winery owners announced on social media.

This decision was prompted by an unprecedented winter event that caused significant damage to their vineyards. “It wasn’t easy, but it is necessary to ensure the future of our cherished wines,” they said.

The December 2022 deep freeze had a devastating impact on vines and grape production this year, damaging upwards of 50 per cent of crops in the Okanagan and Similkameen.

In turn the Okanagan wine industry is facing a huge downturn, said Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie, a vineyard owner in a recent presentation to Kelowna Chamber.

READ MORE: Climate change devastating grape growers

“Our industry has taken several devastating hits over the past several years and this freeze event has really compounded the situation,” said Christa-Lee McWatters, chair of Wine Growers BC and co-founder of Time Wines.

“The provincial support programs provided relief for some, however, with the widespread impact of climate change we require concerted government efforts in order to sustain the livelihoods of these important local businesses.”

The hardest hits grape growing areas, are the South Okanagan, Kelowna and Similkameen Valley, each showing potential losses of 60 per cent or more.

Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon suffered the most with projected losses of more than 65 per cent.

Even though the winery is closed, the Red Rooster spirit lives on however, they said. Their wines that you know and love will continue to be available for purchase online and at local retailers and restaurants.

The original Red Rooster Winery was founded in 1990 by a European couple who settled in the Okanagan Valley. The winery’s first vintage was released in 1997.

The large landscape of the Red Rooster winery has hosted major wine events, weddings, a restaurant and hundreds of thousands of tastings.

Earlier this year, one of the Okanagan’s founding wineries announced they were closing.

Sumac Ridge Winery in Summerland closed in April 2023 after more than three decades.

READ MORE: Sumac Ridge Winery closes

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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