Credit: Working Horse Winery

Okanagan organic wine pioneer returns to the vines that he and his father planted 30 years ago

BC’s pioneer in organic wine is back in the game. Tilman Hainle, who sold the Hainle family winery in 2002, has released the first batch of wines from his new Working Horse Winery in Peachland.

With partner Sara Norman, Hainle returned three years ago to the vineyard that he and his father planted by hand 30 years ago. As the name suggests, the vineyard is tilled by a pair of Suffolk horses, a rare heritage breed. The five-acre vineyard is a small part of a varied-crop farm, including an acre of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs.

This inaugural vintage won’t carry official organic certification because Hainle let certification lapse while travelling the world. However, “We’re about as organic as organic can get,” asserts Norman, explaining that official certification is expected this year.

Review: Tilman Ice Riesling

“A seemingly never-ending firmament of  honeysuckle, butterscotch and almond splendour.”
Brian Storen, sommelier, Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, Victoria

The inaugural release includes what Hainle has designated “Rare Breed” red and white. These come from 30-year-old vines whose roots are so old and deep that they require no irrigation, even in the scorching Okanagan.

Quantities are very limited, and are available at a handful of restaurants, including Sooke Harbour House and Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub on Vancouver Island.

They’re also available at the Peachland winery, but don’t expect to line up at the tasting bar to knock back free wine shooters; visits are by appointment only and include a tour of the working farm.

Learn about doing a farm stay at the Working Horse Winery Inn!

Working Horse Winery

5266 Coldham Road, Peachland, BC