Monte Creek Ranch sits at the frontier of cool climate viticulture. Our ultimate focus is to produce premium wines that are representative of our unique terroir.
Lion’s Head Vineyard
The Lion’s Head vineyard is a 300-acre property with twenty acres currently planted to grapes. Predominant varieties are Riesling, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Chardonnay and Marquette on this Southwest facing slope. Lion’s Head bluff rears above the vineyard and reflects heat back onto the property.
Monte Creek Ranch Vineyard
Monte Creek Ranch vineyard is a 900-acre property, with 300 acres of valley land. Fifty-five acres are currently planted to grapes, with more space dedicated to Haskap berries, our beehives, our grass fed cattle, and hay.
Due to the relatively flat aspect of MCR vineyard, the difference in daylight hours between it and Lion’s Head is minimal, though you will notice the presence of windmills here to aid in air movement for frost protection. This vineyard is planted to a range of varieties such as Marquette, Foch, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and La Crescent.
Our South Thompson Climate
The South Thompson valley is a semi-arid climate, with hot, dry days and cool nights. Our growing season extends from bud break, which is generally at the beginning of May, to harvest, which begins in September and extends into October.
Thanks to the lack of humidity and the natural resistance of our unique varieties, our vineyards have a low susceptibility to disease, resulting in healthy and flavourful fruit. This also allows us to have a very limited spray program, which is particularly important as the vineyards transition towards organic status.
The silty and uniform soil found in our vineyards is the result of the last ice age. A glacier crept down the North Thompson valley and blocked the South Thompson River, creating a huge glacial lake in the South Thompson valley. As the glacier eroded the rock beneath it, glacial silt was gradually deposited in the lakebed. Eventually, the glacial ice dam burst, draining the lake. The result is the deep, silty soil found in our vineyards.
The tops of the cliffs visible on both sides of the South Thompson valley represent the floor of the ancient lake. The river has since carved through the silt to give the valley the geography you see today. These soils are free draining, and do not have a large amount of water holding capacity. As such, our vineyards must be irrigated – though grapevines require very little water, and are more sustainable in a dry region than most other crops, our climate would still prove to be far too dry even for them.
Farming for Flavour
Within the vineyards, we are farming for flavour. Every decision made in the vineyard reflects this maxim, whether it is pruning, shoot thinning, leaf removal, cluster thinning, harvesting, or any of the other myriad tasks that take place throughout the year.
Grapes are harvested at their peak of flavour, though oftentimes the flavour profile of the fruit will change throughout the ripening process. Judging the profile and the depth of flavour is the job of the winemaker, who ultimately determines picking decisions.
Our Viticulture and Winemaking Philosophy
Our winemaking philosophy is to showcase our terroir – we have vineyards in an extraordinary place and we want to showcase what makes our site unique by letting the wines speak for themselves. What this means is that the winemaking is intended to be a guiding tool in letting the fruit express itself, rather than a more heavy handed approach which might hide the terroir.
The result is more fruit forward and approachable wines, with subtle oak in the reds, and natural acidity in the whites.