Winemaking Couples – Birch Block and 2House
Block Party with Sarah and Murray Bancroft (a series)
This whole show is about new school and old school winemaking.
Ian Sutherland and Valeria Tait have been a couple for years in the Okanagan but now have decided to make wine together. Finally. After all those years. That’s the second half of TRR.
We start with one of the newest, coolest couples to ever become winemakers and farmers.
Just a couple of years ago Sarah and Murray Bancroft were living the life in Paris.
Murray is a trained chef but works in food and menu design/styling.
Sarah is an editor and is skilled at crafting digital sites and campaigns.
Now they’re farmers in Kaleden, just south of Penticton. Their winery is called Birch Block
What we have in common is a love for a documentary called The Biggest Little Farm
“The Biggest Little Farm is about a young couple who decide to leave their old lives behind and buy a farm. The movie especially points out how hard it is to keep a farm running and all of the hardships, sadness and anger they face, but also the happy, beautiful moments and the relationships they build.”
I like these two and their story so much, we’re going to do a series of interviews..chronicling their growing season and the up and downs of being a new school winemaking team.
Sarah says the series is called Block Party.
Birch Block has released a Rose and a small lot chardonnay. The future sounds like Pinot Noir is in the plans. They have a guest house with French linen, Moroccan plates and Spanish hats.
If the wines are as stylish as these two..you’ll want to get your hands on some.
Valeria Tait and Ian Sutherland – Old School
When Meg and I first moved to the Naramata Bench in 2007, the very first winemaking locals we became friends with were Ian Sutherland and Val Tait.
Ian had founded Poplar Grove. A small vineyard with huge potential. Ian was a really good winemaker and always fun to be around.
Val was a viticulturist. Basically hired to design vineyards and consult in the planting and growing. Painted Rock, Poplar Grove, Bench 1775.
Years went by.
Ian sold Poplar Grove and headed for Panama. Valeria became GM and winemaker at Bench 1775 and joined Ian in the off season. They built a beautiful home in Panama.
Now. FINALLY. They have decided to make wines together but not the same wine.
For example, they’ll both make a Cab Franc but one will be Ian’s take and the other Val’s.
The wines will be called 2House..with a second label called Charisma.
They have a Tempranillo coming. Plus Bubble and Semillon/Sauvignon.
Val has agreed to become the winemaker at Gold Hill, the label that the farming Gill family has built. Her partner is those wines is the not yet 30 year old Navi Gill. Definitely new school.
Navi joins us in the last segment.
STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON
Row 14 at Klippers Organics