Co-Owners and Co-Winemakers: Bob Ferguson and Tim Watts
Co-Owners and Co-Winemakers Bob Ferguson and Tim Watts comment jointly, “Wow, has it really been that long?”
Brothers-in- law, Bob Ferguson and Tim Watts, thought they were going to grow grapes as a hobby when the two buddies started to make wine in an apartment. Then in 1986 they expanded and bought a small piece of land on the Naramata Bench to grow their own grapes, and that grew into Kettle Valley Winery which has become a distinguished winery business gaining a cult-status following. Despite this status, the family owned and operated business still remains down-to- earth and committed to farming full flavoured grapes and creating distinguished wines.
Bob, a chartered professional accountant, and Tim, a geologist, obtained the third winery licence granted on the Naramata Bench and accumulated more than 4.5 hectares by 1991. Their first vintage was in 1992 with 44 cases of Pinot Noir. When they started planting their first vineyard there were no wineries open on the Bench.
By the time they opened their tasting room doors, they were the 4th winery on the Bench and only the 23rd in BC. This year, 2016, marks their 25th harvest, making it the oldest single-owner winery on the Naramata Bench.
Bob and Tim are proud of their years of making wine at their family farm winery. Over these years they have been most appreciative of the long standing relationships they have had with wine consumers, restaurants, and wine shops, all of whom have been their customers and have become their friends.
It has always been about making the wine for Bob and Tim which has been a passionate and memorable ride, and they continue to look forward to more years of farming the grapes and sharing their wines. “Every year we learn something new,” Bob comments. “Tim has a tremendous understanding of earth science which helps in deciding which grapes should be planted in specific areas.” In 2013 Kettle Valley launched their Great Northern Vineyard series of wines. Tim’s son Andrew came back to the winery after stints in New Zealand, Chile, France, and Nova Scotia and took on the responsibility for the winemaking of the Great Northern Wines in 2013 and assumed responsibility for all Great Northern vineyard operations in 2014.
Kettle Valley takes environmental sustainability very seriously and to that end has developed a water management system that reduces their net water usage in the winery to about 20% of what is used in an average residence, and they are continuing to create more solutions for even better water management. As well,
Kettle Valley installed its own weather station in 2014, as another step to work the best way they can with Mother Nature. Each year Kettle Valley Winery help sponsor some very interesting events including the POCO Grand Prix cycling event, BMO Vancouver Marathon and hosts Landscape Photography workshops at the winery with internationally recognized photographer Scott Forsyth.
Kettle Valley Winery is on the Naramata Bench and a founding member of the Naramata Bench Wineries Association. They now produce 9,000 cases a year from 28 acres on the Naramata Bench and 14 acres in the Cawston / Keremeos area. Currently Kettle Valley has a portfolio of 29 wines. To join KVW in celebrating 25 years, watch for special events and tastings. To start, KVW is offering anyone who joins their mail list/Boxcar Club an opportunity to indulge in celebration pricing on a variety of their wines for a 25% discount (1% for each year of operations). Wines at anniversary discount will be made available during the year. Contact email@example.com to join.
Visit Kettle Valley Winery’s home-based Tasting Room in person or visit the website for information on wine releases and events.