BC Wildfire Service and crews are on scene at the 55-acre riparian area owned by Forbidden Fruit Winery in Similkameen Valley. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. (Black Press Media)

From fire to awards: wild week for Similkameen winery

Roller coaster of a week for the owners at Forbidden Fruit Winery in Cawston

It has been a roller coaster of a week for the owners of Forbidden Fruit Winery in Cawston.

After finding out they won a handful of prestigious awards at the All-Canadian Wine Championship, they found themselves jumping into action last Friday afternoon to ensure spot fires didn’t get out of control near their property.

Steve Venables, owner of Forbidden Fruit Winery, said the fire was just below them with a road dividing the spot fires from their fields and the forest edge.

“It started moving along and down the edge of the bank, so we built a little guard while BC Wildfire hooked up to the water in the river. It is just that time of year and it is so dry,” said Venables. “We mowed a nice strip and had the excavator out to build a little berm. That also cleared a nice path for the forestry service to get in there.”

Venables said his wife stretched out the hoses of their irrigation line to water the edge that is closer to their home while other employees pulled out rakes, shovels and even stomped out small spot fires.

“We were working the ground and stomping it out where we could, any way we could think of to stop it. However, fire doesn’t listen like a dog can and doesn’t stay or sit when you tell it to. It was right at a spot where there are lots of pine needles but, fortunately, we only lost a couple of really old apple bins,” he said.

While it luckily only left a “little scorch” near their property, Venables was taking it all in stride as just more excitement to their week. The winery received a phone call just days earlier telling them that their 2018 Pomme Desiree Iced Apple wine took the trophy for Best Fruit Wine of the Year and the 2018 Earth Series Sauvignon Blanc won double gold in the Sauvignon Blanc category.

“Being the first time that we have won Best Fruit Wine at the All-Canadian’s, it is really exciting. We have won a lot of medals from them but hadn’t quite made that pinnacle. We even had a phone call directly from them to let us know about it,” said Venables. “Personally, also winning for the Sauvignon Blanc is really important too. We have a unique style for that particular wine and people have really embraced it which is validation for what my son, Nathan Venables, our winemaker, does with his style and hard work.”

As well, the winery’s 2018 Speechless won double gold in Tree Fruit Dry category, gold in Tree Fruit Off Dry for their 2018 Cherysh Cherry Rose, Silver for their 2018 Plumiscuous Plum Mistelle in the Best Fruit Wine category and Silver in the Fruit Sparkling category with their 2018 Flaunt Sparkling Plum.

Venables said that in total Forbidden Fruit Wineries has won 275 medals in the 13 years they have been in existence.

“These awards are all celebrated but we have never won Best Fruit Wine in this competition. We have been really fortunate that all of our wines have been so well-received by all the judges,” he said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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