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Carved from stone, fuelled by sun, a vineyard like no other. Vanessa Vineyard is situated high on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley, with grapes grown on 75 acres of sloping and extremely rocky terrain. With a focus on producing small quantities of premium red wines using only estate-grown fruit, they have made some of Canada’s most exciting reds.  While the rocky terrain makes for a uniquely challenging terroir, those very same rocks absorb the day’s heat and warmth, enabling the vines to produce intensely flavoured complex fruit, with rich smooth tannins, and subtle minerality which is the Vanessa Vineyard wines trademark. 

In 2006 the land was purchased from Clarence Schneider, a second-generation Similkameen farmer. The 220-acre site was previously a grazing pasture, partially planted with alfalfa.

Upon visiting the property for the first time, our co-owner Suki Sekhon, discovered the pasture was covered in beautiful butterflies. As a symbolic gesture to the enchanting flutter, it was decided to name the vineyard Vanessa, which is Greek for butterfly.

The quantity of rocks on site initially made vineyard development exceedingly challenging. However, under the guidance of our renowned viticulturists, the late Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, and with Howard Soon overseeing the planting, the vines were planted in rows of rocks, and became a key asset to our property’s unique terroir. The rocks absorb the days heat, imparting the warmth throughout the cooler nights, which enables the fruit to produce complex flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive.

Exclusively grape growers for the first five years, we sold our high-quality fruit to a select few British Columbia wineries before transitioning to vintners! In 2012, owners Suki Sekhon and John Welson aspired to produce the best red wines in the country, making the decision to begin crafting small quantities of premium red wine.

Although Howard Soon played a key role in our vineyard from the very beginning, it was in 2017 that we officially welcomed Howard to our team as Master Winemaker of Vanessa Vineyard. In doing so, we’ve been able to produce some of the most profound reds in Canada. A true pioneer in the BC wine industry, Howard has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation for over three decades, one of the first people to be named to the Order of Canada for everything he’s accomplished and contributed to the wine industry, and continues to create the most precise flavour profiles that reflect our unique vineyard.

2017 also saw the opening of the much-anticipated tasting room. Just a 19-minute drive from Osoyoos, it’s elegant and simplistic design was inspired by the region’s natural grandeur, incorporating the mosaic of the land, and celebrates the rocky terrain.

The terroir of the site, along with our extraordinary viticulture team, and our award-winning Master Winemaker, creates the perfect blend for making truly distinctive wines.

We hope you enjoy!

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