Facebook photo                                Charlie Baessler, managing partner of Corcelettes Estate Winery, with his two little helpers during crush.

Facebook photo Charlie Baessler, managing partner of Corcelettes Estate Winery, with his two little helpers during crush.

Popular Similkameen winery grows

Corcelettes winery outside Keremeos has bought more land and is expanding

Corcelettes Estate Winery has recently acquired a large parcel of land on the Keremeos Upper Bench in the Similkameen Valley.

The current estate is nestled against the black rocks east of the Village of Keremeos. The new property wraps around the estate from the north, and adds higher elevation, south facing, desert plateau vineyards.

“This was a rare opportunity to purchase such a charismatic site,” said Charlie Baessler, winemaker and managing partner of Corcelettes Estate Winery, “and there are many reasons to be excited about this property.”

Having never been farmed, the land is in its natural state and is in the shape of an alluvial fan, boasting sought after stemwinder soils. Along with top quality soils and south facing aspects, the elevation and topography of the site allows Corcelette to expand its 100 per cent Similkameen Valley production of red wine varietals.

Related: Similkameen Valley home of Best Cider of the Year

“With demand increasing for quality Similkameen wine, securing more of this premium land is part of the short and long-term growth and sustainability strategy for the winery,” said Baessler. “Very few sites remain of this calibre.”

Expansion began last year with the purchase of a six-acre orchard on the west side of the estate. The land is now a new vineyard and will be planted with Malbec and Syrah in spring 2019.

Approximately 30 acres of the newly acquired bench land will be developed in phases over the next five years. Phase one work has begun with vineyard shaping and preparation of approximately nine acres for planting in the following year. Syrah and Bordeaux varietals will occupy this defined alluvial fan. Phase two will be interesting for the Corcelettes team with one-and-a-half acres planted in higher altitude bush vines, more common in other areas in the world, using low density, low disturbance organic techniques.

Related: Wine ban hasn’t got our winegrowers worried

“This well sloped south facing higher altitude vineyard will lend itself perfectly to our small lot programs that express more than varietals,” said Baessler.

“We are excited to use low intervention planting and vineyard management.”

Using these higher desert cactus and sage plateaus to capture the terroir, heat, and length of season, the aim is to produce some of BC’s most interesting wines.

Phase three vineyards will likely include more Pinot Noir, but the team at Corcelettes is still contemplating how much land will be converted to vines and how much will remain in its natural state. This purchase brings the total land area of Corcelettes to 159 acres, with a plan of over 50 acres in vineyards.

The new property also includes a beautiful large 5-bedroom home which will be converted into quality accommodations for cellar and vineyard employees and possibly a Guest B&B following vineyard developments.

Corcelettes was named Top 10 Small Wineries and Top 25 Wineries at the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada.

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@TaraBowieBC
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