Our Vineyard

1 vineyard: Our estate sits atop a 56 acre bench. Currently 25 acres are planted.
52,500 plants: The majority were planted in 2005, with small infill plantings done in 2006, 2009 and an additional Chardonnay block planted in 2017. High density plantings with 2,100 plants per acre at 7’x3’ spacing.
15 clones + 3 Rootstocks: Our clones and rootstock were sourced and propagated from a Bordeaux nursery. Each variety has at least two clones planted to offer blending opportunities and complexity.

Unique Site Influences

  • West sloping bench
  • Surrounding amphitheatre of rock
  • Lake reflection
  • East-west planting strategy
  • Natural pest eliminators

Land composition

  • Top soil
  • Layers of glacial silt, clay, sand and volcanic ash deposits
  • Underlying gravels

Intentional farming

  • No pesticides used
  • Root training used to reduce irrigation
  • Labour intensive vigor pruning strategy implemented

 

VINEYARD STORY

Our wines are produced exclusively from fruit grown on our single estate vineyard located on the Eastern bench of Skaha Lake in Penticton, British Columbia. The Skinner’s spent three years searching for the right property in the Okanagan Valley that had the potential to create world class wines. When John Skinner came across the property known as “the Blackhawk” at the time, he knew this was what he had been patiently waiting for. Once the largest apricot orchard in the British Commonwealth, the property had lain fallow since the late 1980’s. With its unique west sloping bench, surrounded by an amphitheatre of rock, offering long hot summer days in conjunction with ideal air flow and soil structures, the potential was limitless.

In 2004, the Skinner’s purchased the property and began the process of removing tree stumps and contouring to maximize airflow and remove potential frost pockets. Once complete, soil structure analysis was done and weather stations were placed to measure heat units and airflow across the site. Armed with this wealth of information, a team of consultant’s completed a thorough planting strategy. Each block was planted with a clone that would thrive due to the specific influences. The vines were then planted east west, instead the traditional north south orientation, to maximize airflow down the sloped site. The vineyard is now planted with 52,500 plants. The majority were planted in 2005, with small infill plantings done in 2006, 2009 and an additional Chardonnay block planted in 2017. Our clones and rootstock were sourced and propagated from a Bordeaux nursery. Each variety has two clones planted to offer blending opportunities and complexity. We work with a local partner who collects budwood from our estate clones and propagates it on the rootstock initially chosen for each block. This ensures that our infill and replacement planting is perfectly consistent and there is no homogenization of any of our planting blocks with different clones.

The land is a covered in a layer of top soil, followed by a layer of glacial silt, clay, sand and volcanic ash deposits which varies throughout the property atop the underlying gravel. Through soil analysis and the digging of trenches in 2013, we discovered that the roots of our vines had begun to permeate the gravels in certain areas of the vineyard.

Our vineyard has been sustainably farmed since the end of 2010. No pesticides are used to control for weed or pests. We consider ourselves lucky that the bluffs behind our vineyard are home to predator birds including hawks, owls and turkey vultures which control rodent and small bird populations. To dissuade the bears from visiting, we electrified our perimeter in 2011 after loosing 1/3 of our 2010 harvest to a family of black bears. The power needed is now derived from our solar panels installed on our winery.

PLANTING MAP

Vineyard Map L4

CHARDONNAY : L4

2005
clone: 76
rootstock: 3309
planted: 1000

2006
new: 0
replaced: 0

L3

CHARDONNAY : L3

2006
clone: 76
rootstock: 3309
planted: 475

L2

CHARDONNAY : L2

2005
clone: 548
rootstock: 3309
planted: 2000

2006
new: 0
replaced: 0

L1

CHARDONNAY : L1

2006
clone: 548
rootstock: 3309
planted: 1575

K2

CABERNET SAUVIGNON : K2

2005
clone: 191
rootstock: Riparia
planted: 2000

2006
new: 75
replaced: 25

K1

CABERNET SAUVIGNON : K1

2005
clone: 169
rootstock: 3309
planted: 2000

2006
new: 75
replaced: 25

J4

SYRAH : J4

2006
clone: 174
rootstock: 101-14
planted: 208

J3

SYRAH : J3

2006
clone: 174
rootstock: 101-14
planted: 127

J2

SYRAH : J2

2006
clone: 99
rootstock: 101-14
planted: 500

J1

SYRAH : J1

2005
clone: 100
rootstock: 3309
planted: 6000

2006
clone: 174
new: 0
replaced: 65

M

SYRAH : M

2005
clone: 99
rootstock: 101-14
planted: 6000

2006
new: 500
replaced: 50

E3

MALBEC : E3

2005
clone: 589
rootstock: 3309
planted: 2000

2006
new: 225
replaced: 0

E2

MERLOT : E2

2006
clone: 181
rootstock: 3309
planted: 925

E1

PETITE VERDOT : E1

2005
clone: 400
rootstock: Riparia
planted: 2000

C2

CABERNET FRANC : C2

2005
clone: 214
rootstock: 3309
planted: 3000

2006
new: 0
replaced: 50

C1

CABERNET FRANC : C1

2005
clone: 327
rootstock: Riparia
planted: 3000

2006
new: 0
replaced: 50

D2

MERLOT : D2

2006
clone: 181
rootstock: 3309
planted: 500

D1

MERLOT : D1

2005
clone: 347
rootstock: Riparia
planted: 6000

2006
new: 0
replaced: 0

A

MERLOT : A

2005
clone: 181
rootstock: 3309
planted: 3843

2006
new: 26
replaced: 22

B

MERLOT : B

2005
clone: 181
rootstock: Riparia
planted: 2157

2006
new: 14
replaced: 13

 

OUR HISTORY

Painted Rock was once the centre of the largest apricot orchard in the British Commonwealth. Braeside Farms harvested apricots here from the early 1900s until the orchard was felled in response to the gypsy moth infestation of the late 1980s. The property, known locally as "The Blackhawk" laid fallow while under the ownership of another winery until we acquired and contoured it in 2004 and planted in 2005.

 

PRUNING STRATEGY

We have used the cane pruning method since the vineyard was planted. In 2011 we implemented a radical pruning strategy to ensure the highest quality fruit production. Each spring, every individual plant has its trunk and cane measured using a specially designed tool. From there a matrix is used to decide the specific number of buds the plant will carry for the season. This strategy was created to ensure every plant is expending the ideal amount of energy for quality fruit production. Thus creating balance and even ripening throughout the vineyard. This technique has nearly eliminated the need for green harvest.