Small Okanagan winery’s 2017 Syrah wins 2019 B.C. wine of the year

A small winery in the South Okanagan, Deep Roots Winery, won B.C.’s wine of the year for 2019 with its 2017 Syrah. Global News

Bryan Hardman doesn’t know what business will be like for the next couple of weeks, but it’s safe to say it’ll be booming.

That’s what happens when your wine is named B.C.’s best.

This week, Deep Roots Winery’s 2017 Syrah was named wine of the year at the 2019 B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards in Kelowna.

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Hardman, who owns Deep Roots with his wife, Deb, and son, Will, called it a big win. Will, who is the winemaker, was in Kelowna to accept the award, along with a platinum medal for the winery’s 2016 Parentage Red, a gold medal for its 2017 Malbec plus a bronze medal for its 2017 Cabernet Franc and 2018 Parentage White.

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The benefit of winning a big award is increased attention. Canadian wine lovers are always looking for new flavours, new brands to try, and Deep Roots will likely now be top of mind for many.

“We’ve got a fair amount of Syrah left,” said Hardman, who has experienced an upswing in sales, including eight cases overnight. Those eight cases overnight, “that’s unheard of for us.”

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“We’re so small; we only do about 3,500 cases a year. We’re just a little family-run winery.”

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The Okanagan winery is located in Naramata, and is small, with just 20 acres. But size means nothing in the wine business; what matters is taste.

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And by that account, Deep Roots is becoming a notable player on the ever-growing provincial wine scene.

The winery has won awards before, such as silver medals at the national Wine Align Awards in 2016 for its 2014 Syrah and 2017 for its 2016 Gamay. That 2014 Syrah was also named the best red wine of the year at the 2016 All Canadian Wine Championships.

Hardman’s family has been farming the same plot of land for approximately 100 years. His grandfather bought the property just after the First World War.

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Notably, Hardman said they used to provide grapes for other wineries, but those contracts were cancelled six years ago. The winery produced its first vintage in 2012, with the business opening its tasting-room doors in 2014.

“We’re in our sixth selling year going into our eighth vintage,” said Hardman. “But I’ve been growing grapes for almost 25 years.”

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So, really, having those contracts being cancelled has turned out to be a boon for Deep Roots.

“A very good decision, yes,” said Hardman. “And who was to know that my son was going to turn out to be such a good winemaker?

“Right out of the gate, he’s done a wonderful job for us, and we’ve been picking up awards since the day we’ve opened. But nothing as major as this (win).”

For more about the B.C. wine awards, click here.

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