The GOODS from Tinhorn Creek
Oliver, BC | Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is raising a glass to the end of its earliest ever harvest, which began on August 28 with Pinot Gris and ended October 16 with Cabernet Sauvignon.
A mild winter saw bud break happen in April this year, a month earlier than expected. “We held this head-start until July, when the heat stunted some varieties, especially Cabernet Franc and Gewurztraminer,” says Sandra Oldfield, CEO of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. “With the cooler weather in September the two stunted varieties took off and everything came in at the same time. It’s unheard of to be bringing in Syrah, Viognier and Malbec a month early on October 1.”
Consistent hot, dry weather brought a harvest of average length that took place two weeks earlier than historical harvests. “The vineyards were in superb condition with great fruit quality,” says Andrew Moon, viticulturist/vineyard manager at Tinhorn Creek. “The season was warm and dry, which is great for viticulture. Highlights in tasting the fruit this season were definitely the Chardonnay and the Cabernets.”
“I’m also liking the Chardonnay at this point,” agrees Winemaker Andrew Windsor. “We have some of the most concentrated Merlot I’ve ever seen starting to finish up fermenting now, so that too will be good. Although it’s still early days, I’m also very excited about the Cabernet varieties as well.”
Now in his second harvest at Tinhorn Creek, Andrew Windsor and his team were prepared for a lot of different grape varieties ripening at the same time and were able to get everything in at optimal ripeness. “So far the overall quality is very high,” says Andrew. “The natural ferments have been very strong and are fermenting much quicker this year compared to last, which makes it less stressful for me.”
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has long been committed to a sustainable approach to viticulture and this year they saw a 35% reduction in the amount of water used across the vineyards after a switch from overhead to drip irrigation. Since 2008 Tinhorn has been tracking and offsetting their carbon footprint, reducing the total by 35% during this time. This year a contribution for carbon offsetting has been made to the Checkamus Forrest Community Project in Whistler. For more information about Tinhorn’s approach to sustainability, please visit www.tinhorn.com/Our-Winery/Sustainability.
The People Who Make It Happen
Sandra Oldfield – Winemaker & Owner
Kenn Oldfield – Chairman & Owner
Andrew Moon – Viticulturist/Vineyard Manager
Korol Kuklo – Assistant Winemaker
Shaun Everest – General Manager
About Tinhorn Creek
On a hillside overlooking vineyards, sagebrush, and the old gold mining creek that is its namesake, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has been owned and operated by the Shaunessy and Oldfield families since1993. The winery is located south of Oliver, BC, at the junction of Highway 97 and Road 7 in the famed Golden Mile wine-growing district. This area, named for its rich history of farming that dates back to the early 1900s, is home to several quality wine producers. Tinhorn Creek sources fruit exclusively from its own vineyards: 150 acres of prime land on two very distinct benches. This land lends to the creation of terroir-driven wines that are classic illustrations of the place they are grown. The 100-acre Diamondback Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench is planted with a mix of red and white varieties, primarily Pinot Gris, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The 50-acre Tinhorn Creek Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench is also planted with a mix of red and white grapes, but primarily features Gewürztraminer.
Farming their own vineyards using sustainable practices allows Tinhorn Creek full control over the quality of fruit delivered to the crush pad for each vintage. The winery produces wines in two tiers under one dynamic and compelling label. The single-varietal series includes a Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Only worthy wines are selected each year for the winery’s top tier, winemaker Sandra Oldfield’s signature wines, named the Oldfield Series. This tier provides Oldfield with a playground for experimentation and is a creative showcase for the best wines from each vintage. All Tinhorn Creek wines evoke the unique terroir of the region: the sage-covered desert terrain.
Tinhorn Creek was the first winery in Canada to bottle its entire portfolio with Stelvin screw-cap closures ensuring consistent aging and a guarantee that the wine will be enjoyed as it was intended.