Hi Sperling friends,
Winery ownership is a complex business. It’s about agriculture and manufacturing, marketing and retailing. It involves diverse activities such from tourism to distribution logistics in a highly regulated and highly taxed environment. Now add to that - climate uncertainty. Talk about living and working with a lot of balls in the air.
We hear a lot of terms around the wine world that may be familiar, but do we know their true significance or intention? Organic, Biodynamics, and Regenerative Farming are three terms we’d like to shed light on. We are very familiar with all three at Sperling - our vineyard and winery are certified organic, we use biodynamic practices, and are proud members of Regeneration Canada.
There is overlap between these practices and a few differences, all shown in the image below. Of course, a diagram doesn't cover every detail but it’s a good starting point and overview of how these practices are interrelated and subtly different.
Regenerative Farming is likely the aspect the wine-loving public knows the least about, whereas terms like organic and biodynamic have become more familiar in recent years. Regeneration Canada is a reliable source for good information about these climate-friendly farming practices, where consumers can support and buy products made by regenerative farmers and offers peer-to-peer learning between farmers.
“Regeneration Canada helps get the word out about farmers who are committed to grasslands, permanent cover crops, biodiversity, and farming that benefits the environment instead of degrading it. Our treed perimeters, native bushes, and permanent cover crops support habitat, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere, unlike conventional agriculture with tillage that releases CO2.” -Ann Sperling, Winemaker
Our family has been farming this land for 135 years. We have immense respect for the land our great-grandparents chose for us, and a strong sense of responsibility to work in ways that allow nature’s forces to develop even better conditions for future generations. Regenerative farming focuses on improving and rehabilitating the land, going beyond the status quo. By keeping it covered in green/growing plants year-round and leaving the roots there even under cover of winter, we can optimize photosynthesis using plant power to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and hold it in the soil while increasing soil fertility.
In addition to preventing erosion, undisturbed roots function to permit water to percolate into the soil, allowing more rainfall to be absorbed and held, making it more drought-proof. Those roots form intricate relationships with fungi to transfer minerals and nutrients to our grapevines, reducing or eliminating the need for soil amendments. And super important for our cool climate grape varieties, such as Riesling, and sparkling wines – green, growing cover crops keep the vineyard environment as much as 15C cooler in the middle of hot summer days.
Visiting the Winery
We'd love to see you at the winery for a tasting or bring a picnic, grab a bottle, and wander the Labyrinth Vineyard path. Be sure to book in early as the tasting slots go quick! We’re now open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, reservations are required.
If you’re local, book a tasting before tourist season, or when you pick up your online order. If you live further away, our online store is always open! Check out our Wine Club for exclusive wines and savings. If you're looking to stock up for the weekend or try some new wines, see our latest wine bundles. Check them out here. We hope to see, or hear, from you soon!
Hi Sperling friends,
Spring Equinox has come and gone, the vines have been pruned and prepped for budburst, and the growth of the season ahead. The vines are waking up from their winter dormancy, the next step is budburst followed by shoot and leaf growth. To reach budburst, the vines need the air and soil temperatures to average above 10 degrees Celsius. Some varieties, like Chardonnay are the first to bud out, with others a few days later. Our biggest concern during budburst is frost - tender new buds can be easily damaged by temperatures below zero. We are forever at the mercy of Mother Nature.
We recently welcomed back our vineyard and winery team from Mexico. Marcos and Pedro are both back for their 3rd season and Alexis joins us for his first. As pictured below, this week they were busy hand bottling (en Tirage) our Brut sparkling wine with the help of Tessa (puddle jumping supervisor) and Dexter (protector of the vines).
Jill's Spring Family Fun Tips
After a long winter and COVID restrictions, this Spring feels like a great time to get outside and around town for some family fun! I've put together a few ideas to make it easy (as easy as it is to get the family out the door) to hop in the car and go this weekend.
- This is the best time of year for Spring skiing - blue bird days and fresh tracks without freezing! Our local hill, Big White, is open until April 10.
- Our family loves a good beach walk any time of the year! It's always a bit windier beside the water, so be sure to bring a coat or blanket. We like to bring a charcuterie picnic with us and stop by a favrouite winery or brewery on the way home.
- Okanagan Lifestyle & Gneiss Climbing have collaborated with a climbing wall in their shop for people to try out for free!
Ready for Riesling?
It was International Riesling Day earlier in March. We love Riesling and make two styles, from the vines our grandfather, Bert Sperling planted in 1978. Our Old Vines Riesling and our Dry Riesling are both grown on fine mineralogical clay, high in calcium -- the ideal soil type for fine Riesling. When soil is paired with moderate Kelowna days and cool nights, Riesling grapes are balanced with freshness and complexity. Both styles we offer are delicious and age-worthy. Our vineyard has been continuously owned, loved, and farmed by our family for decades. The original Clone 21 Riesling vines in our vineyard came from the Weiss Family in Mosel, Germany.
These wines are fun to explore, compare, and play with food pairings. We've put together this 6 bottle bundle (3 of each Riesling style) so you can explore these wines and enjoy. These Rieslings age wonderfully, we encourage you to lay some bottles of each one down for another year or two and then enjoy how they've continued to evolve. Note that next time you visit in person, we’re offering a vertical of Old Vines Riesling. Look for it when you book your visit.
Save $21 on this bundle
Club Price: $189
Regular Price: $210
Visiting the Winery
We’re quickly booking up for April & May. We'd love to see as many of your smiling faces as we can accommodate! Be sure to book in early. We’re open Thursday through Monday from 11 am to 5 pm, reservations are required. Stay tuned for a schedule of our summer events. The best way to stay up to date is to keep your eye on your inbox or join our Wine Club. Be sure to share our newsletters with your fellow Sperling fans.
If you’re local, we’d love to see you for a tasting soon, or when you pick up your order from our website. If you live further away, our online store is always open! We hope to see, or hear from you, soon.
A vineyard in winter can be stunning, ours was covered with a beautiful blanket of snow for what seemed like months this winter. Thankfully there were many blue-sky days when we caught the snow crystals sparkling like a blanket of calm over the vines. With the snow now melting, we dream of warmer days and the lush rows of summer to come. But in the meantime, there’s winter work to do like pruning and bottling. The first photo below shows a glimpse of the pre-bottling filter prep and the second photo shows the bottling line.
We bottled a handful of wines in mid-February, with the help of student volunteers from the Vinica Education Society.Sending a big shout-out to María José and Sara for helping us out.
Before heading out to the vineyard to prune with our returning vineyard team, we check the health and survival of the fruiting buds and canes. We experienced a significant cold snap in December and are certain that some of the primary fruiting buds were killed. Rickard & Ann have been working through the strategy to keep vines healthy and manage the vineyard with a smaller than normal crop. Below is a simple sketch over a Foch vine. We use images like this to communicate best practices with the team. It doesn't have to be high tech to work.
We recently bottled our natural, organic Amber Pinot Gris, as pictured above. It’s available for pre-order now with a 3-bottle minimum requirement. Shipment is planned for April. Pinot Gris whole clusters and stemmed grapes ferment together with wild yeast in vat, similar to red winemaking. It undergoes wild malolactic conversion, taking sugars and malic acid to complete dryness. We press the must and settle, rather than fining or filtering, and do not use additives, such as sulpites to give you a pure expression of the complete Pinot Gris grape adapted over 20 years to our site. You can read more about orange wines in this Vitis Magazine article.
This past weekend was exciting for a couple of reasons! We are now open on Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm - 5 pm. It was wonderful to welcome guests back to the winery and pour wine for them. This weekend was also Open That Bottle Night. This happens annually on the last Saturday of February. It’s a chance to dig into the depths of the cellar while providing a reason to open a special bottle - not that we ever need a reason! Rickard and I (Jill) opened up a bottle of our 2010 Old Vines Foch Reserve for movie night and it was so good! It has held up beautifully. We also enjoyed a bottle of our 2013 Old Vines Riesling which was stunning. We paired it with baked steelhead trout. We are inspired by the ageability of BC wines. We love to explore our aged wines and have back vintages laid down for our Wine Club members and special offers. We’ll tell you more in future newsletters.
If you’re looking for wines to enjoy now and want to explore our portfolio a bit, you’ll want to check out this 6 bottle mixed-pack that we currently have on offer for $145. These wines are great to enjoy with friends at the ski hill for your weekend away, or alongside your pizza take-out or charcuterie platter. Have a look and order the bundle here.
If you're looking to get your hands on our newly bottled wines, joining our wine club is the best way to ensure you will see those bottles delivered right to your door before they sell out. We hope to welcome you to the winery soon!
Hi Sperling friends,
With a blanket of snow covering the vineyard, January is a good time to reflect and plan. Each new year brings a refreshed vision along with new challenges and opportunities. Before getting absorbed in the “new”, we like to review our established principles and restate our intentions.
- With care, dedication, and work, we aim is to produce wines that reflect where they’re grown (terroir) and the year in which they were grown (vintage variation). Our family has been farming this land for 135 years, so we know our terroir, and know that we play a role in the terroir. We have immense respect for the land our great-grandparents chose for us, and a strong sense of responsibility to work in ways that allow nature’s forces to develop even better conditions for future generations. Organic and regenerative farming practices focus on improving and rehabilitating the land beyond the status quo.
- Allowing terroir and vintage variation to shine through in the bottle is an important part of our winegrowing and winemaking. This means adapting to the growing conditions and unpredictability of Mother Nature. Upon reflection of past vintages and thinking about the 2022 harvest, winemaker, Ann Sperling, jokingly states that this year will be the best ever! In all seriousness though, Canadian winemakers are adaptive. At the 50th parallel and a desert-like climate, we're on the edge of vinifera grape growing. There's no other wine region like ours...in the universe! We have gained all our winegrowing experience through vintage variation, so we constantly think about how we can do things better, how we’ve succeeded and how we may be called upon to adapt.
Looking to Spring – Something new to add to your summer wine list – Orange Vidal! From the Labyrinth, we’ve made a new orange wine, to be called “Flint”. Why FLINT? Joining our line-up of gemstone-named natural wines: Amber, Ruby, Perle… Flint promotes strength and courage (good qualities in these difficult times), inner peace, and restful sleep. FLINT was used in early times to make tools, knives, and other useful things that helped homo sapiens succeed. The characteristic to create sparks (for lighting fire) is unique. Flint is also a type of quartz. We use quartz crystals in biodynamic Prep 501 (horn silica) to bring light and lightness to the farm and balance earthly forces. And finally, a fun fact: Clear wine bottles are known as "flint" - we love to use light weight flint bottles for our natural wines since they support our values (lower carbon foot-print and recyclable) and support our wish to be "transparent" in all that we do. Watch for more info to come on this wine.
Celebrate life's little moments...
With that, we'd like to leave you with a couple of Sperling wine recommendations to celebrate making it through what often feels like the longest month of the year. Whether you're excited to welcome a new calendar page, survived another round of COVID restrictions, or are looking for something to sip on as you end dry January, we've got you covered.
Crack open a bottle of Speritz Pet Nat – any day of the week or for a more reflective celebration, the very fine Brut Reserve. Ann says, "These wines are subtle but complex; refreshing while lingering; bright and clean and soulful." Until March 15, the tasting room is open by luck or by appointment made on our website. You can order these wines for yourself or for a gift online for direct delivery in Canada or for pick-up at the winery. We hope to see you soon!
Hi Sperling friends,
The holiday season is upon us, and although the vines are happily slumbering in the vineyard, activity in the winery and tasting room has been bustling.
We appreciate you sending in your holiday orders, buying gifts for your family and friends, and stopping in to share a tasting with your loved ones. Our guests, the twinkling holiday lights, and gentle snowfall have us feeling all the love from this wonderful season.
If you’ve visited the tasting room, you’ve likely seen at least one member of our family on site (pictured above). Jill (that's me) is the General Manager at Sperling, Rickard manages our vineyards and oversees Winemaking, along with Ann Sperling (my aunt.) We have 4 kids ranging in age from 21 years to 3.5 years that are routinely involved in a variety of tasks in retail, production and the vineyard. Jackson, Sophia and Magnus have grown up on this incredible site we are fortunate to farm; little Tessa is living her best life, and we can’t forget Dexter, the 3 year old black Labahoula, who’s at Rickard’s side every step of the way. We are a family winery, in every sense of the word. Every sale and visit results in celebration, cheer & a little happy dance. Thank you, we are so grateful for your support.
Team Picks & Gift Guides
My favourite Sperling wine and food pairing for the holiday’s is the Ruby Pet Nat alongside a Neapolitan pizza with gluten free crust. Whereas Rickard prefers to pour the Blanc de Blanc with any kind of sushi - bento box with sashimi, tempura, maki, nigiri…you name it! You can find both of these wines online and in the wine shop, along with other holiday gifting goodies.
If you are local and have last minute gifts to check off the list, we have you covered! We have two guides on our Instagram page to help you find exactly what you need:
In addition to the guides above, we have added a new page to our Online Wine Shop called Bundles. These are perfect to carry you through the holidays season. If you are local, you can order these online for pick-up in the wine shop by selecting pick-up at check out. You can learn more about them below.
- Snacks & Starters Trio - $139.00 (Wine Club: $125) It's the time of year when we live on snacks and appetizers. Surprise holiday drop-ins, get-togethers, parties, cocktail hours, and hanging on the couch with a charcuterie platter are all happening regularly. Be sure you have quality wine on hand for those enjoyable and easy holiday food and drink pairings. Included: Speritz Pet Nat, Blanc de Blanc, and Old Vines Riesling.
- The Rest & Relaxation Trio - $124.00 (Wine Club: $112) A little rest and relaxation does us all good! It's also the best time to sip on really great wines. You can slow down and appreciate them even more at this time of the year. This bundle was designed for those quiet moments paired with a good book or show, a comfy couch with a cozy blanket in front of the fire. Included in this trio is one bottle each of Pinot Noir Rose, Pinot Noir Reserve, and Old Vines Foch Reserve.
- Dinner Party Favourites 6 pack - $249.00 (Wine Club: $224) Dinner parties with friends and family create many memories of the season! Make your dinner table even more memorable with this 6 pack of mixed wines designed to pair with a variety of dishes and good times. Let us take the guesswork out of your plans. Included in this pack is one bottle each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Old Vines Foch Reserve, Pinot Gris, Brut Reserve, and a sweet finish with our Late Harvest Vidal.
- The Crowd Pleaser 6 pack - $117 (Wine Club: $105) This Crowd Pleaser bundle features 3 bottles each of Market White and Market Red. This is the perfect bundle for those hard to shop for folks. The Market White and Market Red wines are delightful crowd pleasers that are affordable and enjoyable for all.
If you’re further afield, our courier elves may not deliver your order before Christmas but you can still enjoy free shipping until the end of the month. We promise the wines will still taste great after Christmas! Use the code LOVESPERLING when shopping our online store to save on shipping.
Visiting the Winery
We continue to be open Thursday - Monday between 10 am and 6 pm for shopping and tastings. Our holiday and winter winery hours are as follows:
- December 24: 10 am - 4 pm
- December 25: Closed
- December 26 - December 31: 10 am - 6 pm
- January 1: 10 am - 5 pm
- January 2: 10 am - 6 pm
- January 3 - March 15 open by luck or advanced appointment made on our website.
If you’re local, we’d love to see you for a tasting soon, or when you pick up your order from our website. If you live further away, our online store is always open, don’t forget about free shipping until the end of December!
From our family to yours, may the season be as merry and bright as you can handle, filled with many special memories, and well wishes for next year. Happy holidays!
We are super proud to announce that our Winemaker, Ann Sperling has been named Winemaker of the Year 2021 by the prestigious Cambridge Food & Wine Society and is the recipient of the coveted RIEDEL Award. In addition to our Sperling wines, Ann’s wines include Southbrook Vineyards’ Poetica and Estate series in Ontario, and those of her iconic Versado Malbec in Mendoza, Argentina. Ann’s wines are considered by international wine writers to be among the finest in their respective regions and are widely acknowledged on the world stage. Ann has consistently been one of the most enthusiastic promoters of Canada’s wine industry. She is a pioneer of organic and biodynamic wine production and has helped achieve international recognition for our country around the world.
“It’s an honour to receive this important award,” said Ann. “In our relentless pursuit of great winemaking, we have learned the high value and relevance of organic and biodynamic viticulture, and this has instilled in us a deep respect for the soil, water and ecosystems upon which great wine, and our planet, relies. I am delighted to be recognized for these efforts.”
The Society recognizes achievements made in the global wine industry and the creation of fine wines around the world. In the past, they have recognized such luminaries as Robert Mondavi, Miguel Torres, Lamberto Frescobaldi, Eduardo Chadwick, and Sandro Bottega, among others.
At the Winery
As the thermometer drops and snow blankets the valley, it’s time for quiet, calmness and dormancy in the vineyard. After their hard work through the summer and a tough harvest, our dedicated vineyard team went home to Mexico early in November. That leaves Vineyard Manager Rickard Branby to put the vines to bed. Hey… we’re a small but mighty team. The focus now shifts to the cellar, following each wine’s progress slowly towards blending and bottling. The first wine style to bottle is Pet Nat -- it actually finishes fermenting in bottle. We bottled two versions again this year: the juicy Ruby Pet Nat and the fresh Speritz Pet Nat - see the photos below. Aren’t they gorgeous sitting there in the sunshine? They’re just as tasty too!
Watch the Labyrinth...Sleep
We have enjoyed watching our Labyrinth Vineyard grow this year with you. Each monthly blog post we’ve shared the development and stages of vines and grapes, from budburst through to harvest. It’s been a journey. We can now report that its quiet in the vineyard and our work is done until pruning starts in February.
The vines continue to work distributing energetic resources like nutrients and minerals from the soil through plant tissues. While there were green leaves, photosynthesis helped built carbohydrate reserves that are stored in the woody structures of the vine - trunk and roots. The carbohydrate stores are important to protect next year’s fruiting buds during cold weather and they will fuel new growth in the spring. None of this is overly visual however the canes have changed from green and lush to lignified red and woody. Watch with us as the Labyrinth Vineyard rests for the winter in peaceful slumber.
Due to gaining popularity of our Amber Pinot Gris, and orange wines in general, we decided to make and new skin fermented wine. The Labyrinth Vidal will be introduced as “Orange Vidal”. This varietal has become Canada’s reference for orange wine, so we’re ready to throw our hat in the ring.
Holidays Special Offers
As we head into the festive season, we have two holiday wine bundles that will soon be available online, the Snacks + Starters Trio for $139 and the Dinner Party Favrouites 6 pack for $249. Watch for an email soon with more details on how to order these bundles. Both will offer free shipping!
Shipping is incredibly unpredictable right now, more so than ever to the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast. We unfortunately, cannot guarantee that all orders will arrive before the holidays, but we’ll work closely with our couriers and stay in touch with you. We encourage you to order as soon as possible to receive delivery in time for your gifting and festivities.
If you’re looking for recommendations on what to pair with your special dinner or for that perfect gift for the hard to shop for person on your list, please reach out via email or phone. We are more than happy to help you!
Stay tuned to our Instagram account, we will soon be releasing a local gift guide. It is more important than ever to support our local artisans, stores, creators, and businesses. We are so excited to bring you this guide with local shopping options.
Visiting the Winery
We continue to be open Thursday - Monday between 10 am and 6 pm for shopping and tastings.
Our holiday winery hours are as follows:
December 24: 10 am - 4 pm
December 25: Closed
December 26 - December 31: 10 am - 6 pm
January 1: 10 am - 5 pm
January 2: 10 am - 6 pm
January 3 - March 15 open by luck or advanced appointment made on our website.
If you’re local, we’d love to see you for a tasting soon, or when you pick up your order from our website. If you live further away, our online store is always open! And if you’re looking for that perfect gift for the wine lover in your life, our Wine Club is the answer.
Hi Sperling friends,
The afternoon sunshine creates a picturesque golden glow in the vineyards at this time of year. It’s truly stunning to take a walk through the vines. The leaves are putting on a show, the mornings and nights are cool with the threat of frost. We have been carefully harvesting each variety on the dry days. Earlier pickings for Pet Nat are nearing the end of fermentation and will be bottled next week. These go to bottle while fermenting to capture the natural CO2 bubbles along with the purity and freshness of the vintage. All other wines are actively fermenting and will make their way to barrels and vats for aging. Each wine is tasted daily to gain an understanding of the unique properties of this growing year, and decisions to stir or cool or allow malolactic fermentation to begin are taken. We want our wines to tell the story of their place and the year.
Watch the Labyrinth Grow
Our organic Labyrinth Vineyard was harvested this week under the stunning moody skies of fall. This vineyard is planted with Vidal grapes and grown organically. Developed in the late 1930’s, Vidal (aka Vidal Blanc) is a white hybrid grape produced from a crossing of the vitis vinifera variety Ugni Blanc and Rayon d'Or. It was brought to Canada in the late 1940s because it is winter-hardy and disease tolerant. Combined with a tough outer skin, this grape is ideal for Late Harvest and Icewines; and more recently for skin fermented/orange wines and Pet Nats. As a result, you’ll find Vidal becoming the trendy darling grape.
Starting in 1986, winemaker Ann Sperling has had a fascination with Late Harvest and botrytis affected wines. The concentration and texture of late harvested wine sets an exciting challenge to make a harmonious and refreshing wine in spite of the obvious intensity. Ideally, mature grapes are harvested at ~30 brix. Acidity is key to balance in sweet wines, so harvest parameters include target acidity of 10 g/L.
Check out our current offering of Organic 2018 Late Harvest Vidal. This wine pairs deliciously with nuts, dried fruit, firm aged cheeses, and creme brulée. We also offer limited bottles of past vintages of Late Harvest and Icewines. Contact the tasting room for availability.
Amber Pinot Gris Pre-Order Now Open
It’s here! The Natural Amber Pinot Gris pre-sale is now open. A minimum purchase of 3 bottles/pre-order is required. We have 75 cases set aside for the pre-sale and they are selling very fast already! The price is $32/bottle and will ship in April 2022.
If you’re interested in learning more about Orange wines, like our Amber Pinot Gris, have a listen to the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast with our Winemaker, Ann Sperling.
We keep the fun going all year long! On the weekend we hosted our first Silk Scarf SIP & DIP workshop. If you missed it, don’t worry, there are two more dates to choose from on November 21 and December 18. We invite you to make your own water marbled silk scarf. Each artist chooses their colours and floats the paint one drop at a time on the surface of the water, then uses marbling combs, rakes, or stylus to create the design of their liking. Tickets are $49 and include all supplies to make your 14” x 72” silk scarf and wine tasting. Tickets are booked by 2 hour time slots, with 3 time slots offered per event: 10:30am-2:30pm, 1pm - 3pm, and 3:30pm-5:30pm. During the workshop, you will see a demonstration, and then you will create your masterpiece! Up to 8 tickets per time slot available. All current COVID-19 safe rules apply for each workshop. Book your tickets now by visiting our Sperling Facebook page and checking out our events.
With fall comes new tasting room hours. We are currently open for tastings from Thursday to Monday from 10am to 6pm. Reservations are required, book your tasting now. We'd love to see you all dressed up in your Halloween cosumtes this weekend.
Hi Sperling friends,
Since our last newsletter, we’ve been busy harvesting each vineyard block at our heritage vineyard on Casorso Road, on the East-Kelowna-Slopes. Harvesting is done by hand which means that each cluster is cut from the vine with harvest shears and then placed whole in a picking pail. When the pails are full, they are gently tipped to bins and moved out of the vine-rows to the “crush pad”. After weighing, the grapes are tipped to the sorting table where they are graded before moving to the destemmer. We prefer the gentlest handling possible so we don’t actually “crush” our grapes but move them to the fermenter or press by gravity. Gently handling early in the winemaking process means less intervention later in the wines’ evolution.
Watch the Labyrinth Grow
In early September and regularly throughout the fall, the Vidal grapes in our Labyrinth vineyard were serenaded, along with our guests, by the Major Mambo Latin Quartet. We love hosting events under the tent, in the middle of the vines. There’s something about the energy of the Labyrinth, combined with music and laughter, that makes it such a welcoming, calming space.
As you can see in the Labyrinth images above, the full clusters are transformed from green hard berries to softening yellows and gold. The Vidal grapes in the Labyrinth vineyard will be harvested by the end of October. You’ll notice that for now, they are covered in protective netting to keep the grapes from hungry wildlife, mostly birds -- robins and starlings-- but may include deer, raccoons and even bears. Each grape variety requires a specific length of season to mature and ripen, however optimal harvest date is determined by tasting, as well as supporting lab tests for sugar content, and acidity.
Amber Pinot Gris Pre-sale
The music can be heard down the block, drawing the neighbours in to investigate. It’s an old fashioned barbecue, one of those spontaneous late-summer events with family and friends. Crowded on the table, fruit trays, jars of mustard and a big bowl of cranberry punch. I’m dancing with the old folks, swinging around to the blasting radio. You’re at the grill, taking orders, taking swigs, and flipping dogs.
That is the story of our natural, Amber Pinot Gris...like so many things in the past year, this wine has gone viral. We’re trying something new and offering the 2021 vintage for pre-sale - this means you order now before the wine is actually released to avoid missing out on this exciting wine. Please sign up to our newsletter now so you are notified when the presale goes live. Amber Pinot Gris is part of our Vision series of wines. This series is our winemaker’s playground, and Ann Sperling plays in the big leagues as a driving force in the establishment of serious skin fermented white wines in Canada. Our Instagram video shows the beauty of our 2021 Amber Pinot Gris - we keep it in contact with the skins and stems for 3-4 weeks, followed by pressing.
Sperling Wine Clubs
The best way to get your hands on wines that sell out quickly, like our Amber Pinot Gris, is to join one of our two wine clubs. Our clubs give you access to exclusive wines and library back vintage releases that may not be regularly available to all customers. You will also be invited to exclusive club events. Each shipment contains bonus gifts and insider information about the wines you receive. As a club member you receive 10% off of your purchases, online or instore. The greatest thing about the club is the chance to build an insider relationship with our team.
Our Vision Wine Club is inspired by learning, passion projects, small lots and library wines. This club is designed for wine geeks, collectors and new wine lovers alike. This is a 6 bottle club, shipped 3 times/year.
Our Labyrinth Wine Club focuses on the best of the Vision, Heritage, and Market series of wines. This is a 12 bottle club (plus a bonus bottle), shipped 2 times/year. These shipments include some wines for the cellar, some for celebrating, and some for today!
All of our wines are from our single estate vineyard and are certified organic - 100% British Columbia! Sign up today to enjoy our next shipment in the coming weeks.
Thanksgiving Explorer Pack
Enjoy this explorer pack of 6 wines, curated for the curious wine lover. Perfect for the Thanksgiving table, these wines will allow you to explore food and wine pairings while enjoying time with family and friends.
This offer Includes 6 bottles, one each of:
2016 OLV VINES RIESLING - amazing with turkey, or give it a try with a not-too-sweet dessert
2020 FAMILY ROSE - try it with everything, we love rosé for the pairing versatility
2018 PINOT NOIR - wonderful with turkey, be sure to try it with stuffing too
2017 OLD VINES FOCH - enjoy with grilled meats and veggies like portobellos
2010 LATE HARVEST PINOT GRIS - this is a 375ml bottle that continues to taste fresh and delicious over a decade later! Delicious alongside a cheese plate.
Club Price: $176.40 | Regular Price: $196.00
Make your order a 12 bottle case and enjoy free shipping in BC and a flat rate $20 shipping elsewhere in Canada.
We love welcoming visitors to the winery during the fall. It is a beautiful time of year and the pace is a little less frantic than in the high-tourist season of summer. Wander the Labyrinth, and enjoy the wines at your own pace. Soon the leaves will glow a golden hue.
Hi Sperling Friends,
Welcome to our August blog. Harvest is upon us. We are transitioning from a busy summer of guest visits and record sales to shifting our thoughts towards harvest and crush. We continue to safely welcome guests daily knowing that keen visitors continue to arrive to experience our passion with harvest in action!
Watch Labyrinth Grow
It's been a continuum of hot dry weather throughout the summer so caring for the vineyard and our team’s wellbeing has been our focus. In August the grapes transitioned from green to veraison to ripening berries. Some grapes ripen early and quickly while others take a bit longer. It’s a critical time watching the grapes very closely, measuring brix (natural sugar content) and acidity levels, and most important - flavour development, awaiting the perfect moment to harvest each variety. Sparkling and Pet Nat wines are harvested for lower alcohol (less sugar), and higher acidity with brighter aromas. We have begun picking our ‘Coronation’ organic, seedless, table grapes, so you’ll soon find these flavourful black grapes at grocers throughout British Columbia and Alberta. The Vidal grapes in our Labyrinth Vineyard below are late ripening and aromatic, suitable for a range of styles from fresh and light to rich, late harvest wine.
August 26 marked the excitement of crush when we picked our Perle d’Csaba grapes (pictured below) - an important part of our Speritz Pet Nat. These are the oldest vinifera DNA on our farm…first planted in 1929! It will be all hands on deck until harvest wraps up further into Fall. We can’t wait for you to taste this year’s vintage after it has had time to ferment, age, and move to its life in bottled.
Sperling in the News
Our Winemaker, Ann Sperling, is often called upon by the media to chat about her wealth of knowledge and experience. Given her upbringing in the family vineyards, combined with her many years of experience and learning, she can speak authoritatively on many subjects as it relates to winegrowing, winemaking, and natural wine. Here is a round-up of articles published since our July blog post:
- Natural Wine and the Debate over “Healthy” Alcohol, Discover Magazine (August 10, 2021):
“Some critics simply dismissed natural wine and didn’t attempt to understand this changing style, says Ann Sperling, a proprietor and winemaker at Sperling Vineyards in British Columbia, Canada.
She became interested in natural wine after seeing an explosion in the use of oak alternatives, which are cheaper and more practical materials that can mimic the smoky, toasty taste that comes from oak barrel storage. Sperling worries that manufacturers use this technique as a crutch, and she prefers to focus on the flavors derived from the grapes themselves.” Read More...
- Interview with Winemaker, Radio Canada - this article is in French (July 27, 2021):
“Elle a beau avoir grandi en étant entourée de vignes, le métier de vigneronne est loin de lui être arrivé tout cuit dans le bec. Mes parents étaient des producteurs de raisins, c’est-à-dire qu’ils vendaient toute leur récolte à des vignerons locaux, souligne-t-elle. Pour faire du vin, il m’a donc fallu aller travailler ailleurs et gravir les échelons un à un.” Read More...
- Ruby Pet Nat Review, Quench Magazine (July 28, 2021) :
“Sperling Vineyards Ruby Pet Nat, 2020 ($30)
Based on red hybrid grape Maréchal Foch (with 15% Pinot Noir). The former was once widely planted in BC before vineyards were largely replaced with Vitis vinifera – post 1988. Some old plots remain, and Foch has a bit of a cult following. This Pét-Nat is a new take. With fermentation finishing in the bottle, some CO2 is trapped giving a light frothiness – somewhat reminiscent of a Lambrusco. It sports Foch’s signature tooth staining purple colour along with mouth filling, wild dark berries and grapy, bubble gum accents. Slight bitter twist piques the curiosity as well as the appetite. Simply a ton of fun. Adult pop?” Read More...
- Jill & Rickard Branby, General Manager and Winegrower/Winemaker, Tasting Room Radio with Terry David Mulligan, (Interviewed August 2021)
Pinot Noir Pack: August 18 was International Pinot Noir Day. We celebrated by launching our limited time offer - our Pinot Noir Pack. There’s still time to order this box before it’s gone. We have put together this organic and vegan Pinot Noir influenced pack from our Heritage Series of wines at a special price. It includes one bottle of our 2011 Brut Reserve Sparkling wine, one bottle of our 2020 Family Rose, and one bottle of our 2018 Pinot Noir.
Pinot Pack Special Offer Price: $132 | Club Price: $122.40 | Regular Price: $152
We continue to accept tasting reservations daily between 10:30 and 6:00pm. We encourage you to book in advance. When you are inside the winery, masks are required. If you’re not able to make it in person, we recommend joining our wine club and ordering online to have wine delivered right to your door!
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