Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 Olympics – Day 8

Probably one of the most unique winery names during the course of our 17 day series here and the second fruit winery to be included, Elephant Island Orchard Wines is definitely not to be missed. Now, as crazy as that name sounds – and, no it is not located on an island – there is a rational story behind its name.

“Grandmother Catherine acquired the orchard as a retirement investment. Grandfather Paul, or Poppy as we called him, was convinced that the investment would prove a ‘white elephant’.
In 1972 Grandma Catherine’s free spirit won … she purchased the property in Naramata and convinced Poppy this was ‘the’ location for their dream home. Grandma is an architect (one of the first women in Canada) and Poppy an engineer. Collectively they proceeded to battle their respective professional impartiality and collaborated on their coup de grace, the house at Elephant Island. Out of this clash of professional wills (Grandma’s visual versus Grandfather’s logical) emerged Poppy’s name for the property … the architects ‘EYE-land’ – testament to his perception of Grandma’s obsession with the aesthetic.


Elephant Island … Grandma’s way of getting back at Poppy for all of his mockery … your adventure into a whole new world of wine.”

The winery itself was formed in 1999 with the help of Catherine’s granddaughter Miranda and Miranda’s husband Del. Having no experience in winemaking, Miranda and Del hired Christine Leroux who had been educated and worked in some of the big wineries of Bordeaux, France. Christine, with the help of Grandpa Paul’s (Poppy’s) recipes, has refined and expanded the winemaking process at Elephant Island Orchard Wines in order to ensure that only the highest quality wines are being made for the winery.

The wines that Christine has helped them perfect are definitely interesting. They have Dessert wines, they have Table wines, they have a section of “specialty” wines and then they have a Methode Champenoise (traditional method) Sparkling wine made from apples and raspberries. The proceeds of the sales of their Sparkling wine, which they have named “The Little King” are in memory of the life and spirit of their young son Rex and go towards an ongoing education fund at the BC Children’s Hospital. So far $17,000 has been donated and the inspiring story makes this a wine that I would want to have in my own personal cellar.

Tasting Room open daily from May 1st to October 11th. Will open by appointment during the off season – just call ahead first.
Elephant Island Orchard Wines
2730 Aikins Loop
RR#1 S5 C18
Naramata , BC
V0H 1N0
Phone: (250) 496-5522
Fax: (250) 496-5521
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