New winery and tasting room set to open in Summerland, B.C.

Over a decade in the making, a brand-new winery and tasting room is set to officially open this weekend in the South Okanagan.

Solvero Wines is now one of two wineries in the Garnet Valley region along Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive.

“We’re excited to introduce our brand-new tasting space out here in Garnet Valley. We are introducing people to this region sometimes for the first time,” said Solvero’s Winemaker and General Manager Alison Moyes.

“It was just a dense forested mountainside, very steep slopes, very challenging terrain to farm. But over the course of two years, a 16-acre vineyard was planted in 2016. And then we started building the winery in 2020 to be able to produce the wines. And then finally, we’ve just finished this beautiful new tasting room and watch we’re ready to launch this year.”

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The new tasting room providing some optimism for the industry amidst troubling times.

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Wineries are still dealing with the impact of two severe cold snaps, that resulted in major crop loses across the Okanagan.

“We’re really excited about [Solvero’s opening], we’re seeing a number of things happening like this new winery opening but Red Rooster reopened over on the Naramata Bench, which is really exciting,” said Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association CEO Ellen Walker-Matthews.

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“(Red Rooster) were closed for the winter and they’re going to be open for the summer. They have a lot of products so we’re just thrilled to start to see some of this percolating along and coming back.”

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Although the full extent of the damage won’t be known until the spring, most wineries in the region are predicting a more than 90 % crop loss.

In the meantime, Walker-Matthews says wineries are adjusting and have become more innovative and creative in finding ways to bring people to their properties.

“I always maintain that this is an agricultural industry. It’s romantic because it’s the wine industry, but it’s the AG industry and so it goes through highs and lows like any agricultural business does,” said Walker-Matthews.

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“They will plant different varietals in the future for sure. But they’ll also in the interim create events and activities, education, culinary events, that will attract people for all kinds of reasons.”

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The tourism association emphasizes that although some wineries are experiencing devastating losses, there is still wine and lots of it available now for consumers.

“Vineyards that have had challenges with the cold weather, those grapes would be growing in the fall. So right now, we have the grapes in the bottle from the last year or two or three years ago,” added Walker-Matthews.

“There’s great product at the cellar door and we really want people to come out and visit.”

Solvero winery has an intentionally focused portfolio – which includes two varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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“This is the definition of cold climate. We have very high elevation, and the site was selected specifically for those two grape varieties,” said Moyes. “That being said, we do also grow a little bit of Pinot Gris and we just planted a block of Gamay as well.”

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The tasting room will be open full-time next week.

Reservations are recommended for a seated tasting; however walk-ins are welcome.

“We have four wines on offer for our seated portfolio tasting. We have our Pinot Gris, which is made in stainless steel and neutral barrel. We have a Rose, a brand-new release of Rose, which is made from 100% Pinot Noir, just a bit of skin contact,” said Moyes.

“We have a Chardonnay which just won a silver medal at the International Wine and Spirits competition, very excited about that, and we have our flagship wine, which is our Pinot Noir.”

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