Our Distinction Collection offers enthusiasts handcrafted, experimental wines that fine-tune combinations of varieties, clones, rootstocks and winemaking techniques. Like the pattern of a quail’s egg of which no two are alike, each batch of wine is unique and bottled in small lots. We are thrilled to be included the Behind The Label series by John Schreiner in collaboration with Wine Growers British Columbia.
John Schreiner is Canada’s most prolific writer of books on wine. Since his first book in 1984, The World of Canadian Wine, he has written 15, including multiple editions of The Wineries of British Columba, British Columbia Wine Country and John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide.
“When the Stewart family opened this winery in 1989, they named it after the most ubiquitous wild bird in the Okanagan. The California Quail thrived in the Okanagan after being introduced in 1912 as a game bird. Fifty years later, just as the Stewarts were establishing their Upper Boucherie Bench vineyard, the population of quail in the valley was estimated at 250,000. Visitors strolling the winery’s vineyards today frequently flush a covey of quail among the vines.
The winery’s recent Distinction Collection of small lot, experimental wines continues the homage to quails. The speckled pattern on each label is inspired by quails’ eggs, each of which appears to have a unique speckled pattern. The labels mirror the individuality of each of the four wines in the current Distinction portfolio.
The wines push the stylistic boundaries of new micro-climates. They refine blends of varietals, clones, vineyard blocks, rootstocks and winemaking techniques. The 2019 Queue is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grown in one of the rare Upper Boucherie sites where those grapes can be matured. The 2019 Dijon Clone Pinot Noir is a legacy of the Stewart family pioneering Burgundian Pinot Noir clones in the Okanagan. The 2020 Clone 220 Chenin Blanc showcases a Loire varietal grown on some of the winery’s best sites in West Kelowna. The Clone 49 Riesling shows the success of an Alsace clone in an emerging micro-climate in South Kelowna.
Quails’ Gate is now a third-generation business by a family that continues to innovate and to improve its wines. “Each wine in the Distinction Collection,” the winery says, “begins life as a singular batch of promise, a unique fingerprint of soil, variety and winemaking. The aim is simple: to elevate our wines, make them distinctive, and bottle them in small lots to share with friends.”