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Quails Gate

The winery with the nicest “feel” to it in the Okanagan is Quails Gate. I think it stems from the people.

I met Ben Stewart about 8 years ago when I was exploring a custom crush venture in the Okanagan. As we tasted through various casks of Merlot I stopped and told him some it was better than Bordeaux Right Bank (where I worked at the time). Some of the barrels put St Emilion to shame.

Of course, winery owners get so involved in their business that they can’t see it – but Ben had a quiet smile and a sense of humility. Bottom line – great guy.

I’ve watched Quails Gate go from strength to strength. Ashley Hooper made some lovely wines, and after he went back to Oz his big shoes were filled by Grant Stanley. His experience in NZ has made him a perfect Pinot and Chard focused w/maker.

The Stewarts have built the best resturant in the northern Okanagan, in fact, probably in the Okanagan full stop. It has style, elegance, great service, and excellent food.

In the wine business, it takes very smart and hard working owners to create a profitable business. There is tremendous capital involved, huge agricultural risks, and it’s a competitive market to say the least. Quails Gate is a model for others to follow.

Their Chardonnay 2008 slips down with a combination of peach and citrus, vanilla and toast. It’s elegant, with subtle notes. The palate is dry, with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, smooth yet refreshing, and a pleasant finish.

What’s the future for Quails Gate? Maybe create another label for the less expensive wines and only put the top wines under the QG label – which is destined to become an icon. Whatever they decide, I’m confident it will be one of the top wineries of the Okanagan for many years to come.