After living in British Columbia for many years, there are still special places to be discovered and in the small Kootenay town of Creston on a first time visit we discovered Skimmerhorn Winery with a bistro called what else but The Vineyards. The view from the bistro deck is quite spectacular and as advertised the lunch was “scrumptious”. Did I mention they also have wine tasting for those who may be interested to try the winery's award winning Pinot Noir, Ortega or several other wines. After lunch we just had to take the winery tour.
Skimmerhorn - Meet the Owners
This is a small (17 acres) estate vineyard and from the beginning we were impressed by the friendliness of the staff, the delicious meal and pleasant surroundings of the estate. This is a “mom and pop” family business run by Al and Marleen Hoag, with the aid of skilled New Zealand vintner Mark Rattray. We were also impressed by the owners knowledge and enthusiasm for his winery and his obvious overriding desire for producing a quality wine (over quantity).
The vines are grown along the gentle slopes following the Goat River for a quarter of a mile allowing maximum sunshine for the grapes during the growing season. The vine pruning is done manually taking several thousands of man hours each season and all the grapes are handpicked. The wine produced at Skimmerhorn is produced from grapes grown on the estate.
The grass clippings cut from between the grape rows are blown back onto the ground around the grape vines and all the residue from the wine production such as seeds, stems and the fall leaves are all recycled as mulch.
Take the Tour
As often said on CAP, we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet the growers of our food to ask firsthand how it is grown and produced. So buying "local" is a big bonus.
- Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course,
you happen to be a bottle of wine.
We are glad we toured the winery as we learned so much more about grape growing and wine making than can be included here. A pleasant surprise to find such a gem in the Creston Valley. So plan to add a visit to Skimmerhorn on your “bucket list” ~ if for no other reason to find out about the winery name ~ you won't be disappointed.
- The busy Skimmerhorn parking lot had vehicles from Alberta to New Brunswick so as suggested, if you are planning to dine at the bistro it's a good idea to make a reservation.
- Closest international airport is located at Cranbrook (just over an hours drive from Creston).
Bob - the entertaining Assistant tour guide
Links and References :
- Skimmerhorn Winery and Vineyards
- While in the area there is lots to see and do in the Creston Valley
- Grape growing has been around for thousands of years.