Eric Savics – Owner
David Paterson – Winemaker/GM
Stu Reid – Vineyard Manager
Maya Boyd – Sales Manager
Stephanie Mosley – Marketing Manager
Tantalus was established in 2004 when Proprietor Eric Savics was presented with the opportunity to acquire one of the Okanagan Valley’s premier vineyard properties in South East Kelowna. Originally known as Pioneer Vineyards, the site was first planted to table grapes in 1927 by renowned, local horticulturist JW Hughes.
After tasting several vintages of wines made by the former owner, Eric felt this was indeed a very special vineyard. He, along with his team, established the site’s ultimate potential would be fully realized by focusing on a small, terroir-driven line of wines made from Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The old vine plantings – 1978 Riesling and 1985 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay became the backbone of the vineyard. Other varietals were removed and new plantings of the 3 flagship varietals commenced in 2005. The vineyard would not only have considerable vine age as its anchor, it would grow to have excellent clone variation as well.
Tantalus’ inaugural 2005 vintage immediately attracted the attention of national and international wine critics and Tantalus was quickly added to a short list of Canada’s very best Riesling producers. Today, in addition to Riesling, Tantalus is also recognized for consistently producing high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
With the success of the wines and the increase in production, came the need to build a new winery. Tantalus’ sleek new facility was completed in March 2010 and has the distinction of being British Columbia’s first LEED-certified winery. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Silver designation.)
The same year we broke ground on our new winery, winemaker David Paterson joined the team. David is a Kiwi with a Canadian connection, having been born in Vancouver but raised in NZ. David received his winemaking degree from Lincoln University in Christchurch and following time spent working in the local NZ industry he travelled the wine world gaining experience at premium wineries in Oregon, France and Australia.
Since his arrival at Tantalus, David has carved out a style that has garnered some impressive accolades. Not one to rest on any laurels, he has continued to push the envelope in both our vineyard and cellar practices in the pursuit of making world class wine and was recently named “One to Watch” in the Canadian Wine Industry by MACLEAN’S Magazine.
Winemaking | Tantalus’ winemaking philosophy is centered on the concept of terroir, or sense of place. Our wines are made from fruit sustainably grown on our estate in South East Kelowna.
Our winemaker David is in constant contact with the vines, which gives him a solid insight into the optimum vinification methods for any given growing season. His winemaking tends to favour a non-interventionist style.
The goal is for each wine to convey the unique characteristics of our vineyard and the best attributes from each season’s climatic conditions. Grapes are hand-harvested into 30-pound picking bins at optimal ripeness. These smaller bins ensure the fruit arrives at the winery in pristine condition. The fruit is then sorted by hand, allowing for only the very best quality grapes to make the cut. Fermentation takes place in small batches using inoculated and native yeasts. Our barrel program consists of a selection of high-quality French oak of varying ages and cooperages.
Sustainability | While the subject of sustainability can be complex, the links between good land stewardship, the health of our business and by extension, the health of our community, are obvious. Nothing trendy here, just our long-held commitment to making wines of the highest quality in the most responsible way we know how.
We continue to farm as sustainably as possible without the use of herbicides or pesticides and we’re amazed at the diversity of species that can be found on our estate, including all that dwells within our mature, 10-acre preserved forest at the centre of the vineyard.
We also play host to a small apiary and have partnered with our neighbours at Arlo’s Honey Farm to house over 50 hives in the vineyard. They encourage the natural ecosystem and forage on our cover crops and winery landscaping – and we benefit from their gorgeous nectar, using it at winemaker’s dinners whenever possible.
Our waste water treatment system, vineyard nesting box program (for Western Blue Birds and Sparrows) and our partnership with the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society to protect 10 acres of Ponderosa forest on the property – are just a few more examples of how good land stewardship can work symbiotically with quality grape growing and winemaking!
2013 Old Vines Riesling: 94 POINTS – “Here is a riesling of power, persistence and personality, made from very old 21B clone vines planted in 1978 on a bench in east Kelowna. Winemaker David Paterson says it’s the best he has made and its hard to disagree. The nose is terrific, bristling with citrus (tangerine/grapefruit), pear, herbs and spice. It’s big, firm and powerful (13%) with palate flesh yet riveting acidity and a finish that redolent of wet stone. The length is outstanding.” David Lawrason, Wine Align, February 2016
2015 Riesling: 91 POINTS – “The wine has intense aromas and flavours of citrus mingled with notes of spice and with lively acidity.” John Schreiner, John Schreiner on Wine, April 2016
2013 Old Vines Riesling Natural Brut: 90 POINTS – “A ‘Blanc’; in name only, this is pink sparkling wine, and very pretty at that, full of red berry fruit, bright floral notes, very engaging and inviting. The palate is virtually bone dry and crisp, refreshing, with very good length. All in all, this is succulent and lively bubbly, properly made, with integrity…” John Szabo – Master Sommelier, Wine Align, April 2016
2013 Chardonnay: 91 POINTS – “A great example of modern style BC Chardonnay. There is both great complexity and restraint. Peach, nut, lees and lemon on the nose. The palate has a beautiful texture being both crisp and fresh and with richness at the same time.. Top class Chard with seamless oak integration.” Rhys Pender, Master of Wine, Wine Align, October 2015
2013 Pinot Noir: 90 POINTS – “This is a very fine and firm, well-structured Pinot Noir from Tantalus, with a distinctive ‘northern’ feel, which is to say full of resinous pine and fresh wild berries, highly engaging and inviting…. Genuine length and depth. Solid wine.” John Szabo Master Sommelier, Wine Align, April 2016
2013 Traditional Method Blanc de Noir: 92 POINTS – “This wine’s appeal begins with the lovely and delicate pink hue in the glass, along with the lively display of bubbles. The aromas are fruity and the palate offers a rich medley of flavours ranging from apple to red licorice. This is a delicious and festive bubbly.” John Schreiner, April 2016, John Schreiner on Wine