Naramata, British Columbia
Naramata is a small village of approximately 2000 people on the southeast shore of Okanagan Lake. Developed in the early 1900’s by John Moore Robinson, the community occupies a narrow stip of flat land around the Naramata Creek delta.
BELLA ESTATE VINEYARD
With steep clay banks rising up from Okanagan Lake, Bella’s estate vineyard settles on a terrace of rolling fruit orchards looking directly west across the lake to Giant’s Head Mountain. We are honored to put down roots on our four acre homestead and are dedicated to respecting the long term sustainability of our land.
Naramata Village climate is moderated by the Monashee Mountains forming a rampart to the east and Okanagan Lake helping to counteract warm air flowing up from the Great Basin in summer and cold air flowing down from the Arctic in winter. Typically summers here are long and hot. Humidity is very low. Winters are short and mild with little snow. Spring comes early with our apricot trees being the first to blossom and the show continues through May with our three types of cherry trees, peach, pear, four types of plums and finally our two spartan apple trees providing fruit well into fall.
On June 15th, 2014, a good day according to the bio-dynamic calendar, we planted two and half acres with Chardonnay and Gamay Noir. The vineyard site is below the exposed rock bed and is deep with pure silty clay loam. The soil is high in ph with a rich organic topsoil and we use various ground cover crops to manage nitrogen and maintain an organic ecosystem. We hand pull weeds around the base of the vines and alternate mowing the vineyard rows to create corridors for bugs and small birds. We irrigate at a bare minimum to encourage our vines to send their roots deep down and intensify flavor in the fruit. Although not certified organic, we practice organic and bio-dynamic farming techniques.
The geological dividing line of Naramata lies along Naramata Road. Above Naramata Road (“the hillside”), the geology is predominately bed rock with rocky glacial till (unsorted various sediment deposits carried by glaciers) while below Naramata Road (“the lakeside”), where Bella Estate Vineyard is located, is more fine glacial lake and stream bed sediment (sand, silt, clay and the occasional gravel seam). At an elevation of 1600 feet, Cavada Vineyards is located directly above the Bella Estate Vineyard on the hillside of Naramata Road. This unique site allows Bella Wines to showcase a direct contrast in soil composition in an area with very similar weather patterns. We are honored to secure Gamay fruit from this site that is currently in the process of converting to organic farming practices.
We are delighted to work with Lorna Fraser and Phil Mariani to source organically farmed Gamay grapes on the lakeside of Naramata Road. Inspired by their love of Beaujolais, Lorna and Phil decided to plant not one, but TWO, clones of Gamay on their three acre site: clone 787 (a unique varietal for BC) and clone 509 (the more well known varietal here). With two clones being farmed identically on the same site this allows us to play with single clonal expressions for a better understanding of this sometimes overlooked grape. Go. Gamay. Go.