Hester Creek Estate Winery is proud to announce the 50th anniversary of their estate vineyard. The historic vineyard was first planted with classic European Vitis vinifera varietals in 1968 with select blocks of Pinot Blanc, Trebbiano, “Italian Merlot” and Cabernet Franc now a half century old. Hester Creek’s 50th anniversary festivities are starting later this week at the Vancouver International Wine Festival where their unique old vines Trebbiano will be available for tasting. In honour of the occasion, Hester Creek will also be issuing special bottlings of its wines, and holding a series of commemorative events throughout the year.
Fifty years ago, Hester Creek’s grapevines were first planted on the property by Italian immigrant Joe Busnardo with varietals that he had grown up with in northern Italy. The perfect location for European vinifera grapes, the site just south of Oliver was on a sun drenched, east-facing bench with sloping hills that facilitate a longer growing season. Virtually unheard of at the time for British Columbia, over 80 classic European vinfera grapes were planted on the then 76 acre property. A half century ago, there were only a small handful of vineyards in BC growing vinifera, with the overwhelming majority of the 2232 acres / 1714 tons produced at the end of the decade in hybrids and vitis labrusca “fox grapes” for the half dozen BC wineries in existence.(i) Today, Joe’s Pinot Blanc, Trebbiano, Merlot and Cabernet Franc thrive on Hester Creek’s 95 acre estate. These unique old vines have an intensity and certain elegance about them, that cannot be reproduced and bring a sense of old world to the vineyard.
“The British Columbia wine community has accomplished a remarkable feat in the past five decades. Growing from an unproven, nascent industry with a small handful of experimental premium vinifera vineyards to today over 900 vineyards in a business that contributes $2.8 billion in provincial economic growth annually,” said Miles Prodan, CEO/President, BC Wine Institute. “Congratulations to Hester Creek Estate Winery in their historic contribution to helping make BC wine internationally renowned.”
“We are honoured to be a steward of these rare old vines,” said Hester Creek Estate Winery President Mark Sheridan. “The risk taking spirit of the early BC wine pioneers is something we are proud to be a part of and are appreciative of the incredible successes that we and the BC wine community have achieved. We believe the best is yet to come and invite the community to join us in our year-long celebration.”
A sampling of Hester Creek’s 50th anniversary highlights this year include:
- April 17 – Our Roots Run Deep winemaker dinner at Laurel Point Inn with winemaker Rob Summers and Chef Takashi Ito of Aura in Victoria
- April 28 – Live taping of the Best of Food and Wine Show with Anthony Gismondi and Kasey Wilson
- May 4 & 11 – Spring Okanagan Wine Festival at Hester Creek: Old Vines Seminar & Tasting with Winemaker Rob Summers
- May 12 – Commemorative Garland wine release at Hester Creek
- June 15 & 16 – Summer kick off weekend at Hester Creek: beginning on Friday afternoon with 50th Anniversary Tuscan BBQ lunch hosted by Winemaker Rob Summers and acclaimed Chef Rod Butters; on Saturday afternoon retro live music performance by Joshua Smith
- Late Summer – 50th Anniversary revival weekend celebration at Hester Creek: with a long table dinner in the vineyard with Chef Rod Butters; followed by an outdoor festival featuring music, food and wine; and grand finale brunch at Terrafina by RauDZ
- September 28 & October 5th – Fall Okanagan Wine Festival at Hester Creek: Old Vines Seminar & Tasting with Winemaker Mark Hopley
- November – Cornucopia: Our Roots Run Deep winery dinner with Mark Sheridan at Caramba! Restaurant in Whistler
- November – Our Roots Run Deep winemaker dinner with Mark Hopley in Prince George
Additional details and ticket information coming soon!