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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards and 19 Bistro

Image provided by Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is located on the historic Greata Ranch in Peachland. This is the second winery the Fitzpatrick family have established in the Okanagan Valley, the other is CedarCreek.

Gordon Fitzpatrick is the president of the winery, and his father, Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, acquired this lakeside property south of Peachland in 1994.

The vineyard and property were originally developed to supply the Senator’s CedarCreek Estate Winery across the lake in Kelowna.

From 2003 until 2014, the Fitzpatrick’s opened Greata Ranch Vineyards and operated that winery until the sale of CedarCreek in 2014.

In 2014, the Fitzpatrick’s sold CedarCreek to Anthony von Mandl (who owns Mission Hill), including all the land holdings further south in the Okanagan Valley.

The condition was that they wouldn’t sell off Greata Ranch as it’s part of the Senator’s childhood. This allowed the Fitzpatrick’s to focus entirely on this sentimental property and begin their journey crafting traditional method sparkling wine.

Originally, the land was purchased off the Crown in 1895 by George Greata for a price of $525 for over 50 acres.

He had the sense that this would be a perfect spot to grow fruit, and he was right, but being on a bench above the lake was a problem. It’s hard to make water flow uphill.

To supply the property with irrigation, George did something remarkable and built a five-mile wooden flume for water from Summerland to Greata Ranch.

This was no small undertaking in those days. Due to George’s determination and foresight, the flume made a working orchard possible and in 1901, he planted 50 acres of apples. Greata Ranch was then born.

George Greata owned the orchard until around 1910 when he sold it to a group of investors from Vancouver, BC – the Westminster Trust Company. The man hired to manage the orchard, John Long, became the next owner in 1923.

The Long family planted peaches and cherries, and owned Greata Ranch until 1965.

During their ownership, the land became synonymous with the highest quality fruit, and well regarded as a leading Okanagan Valley orchard.

It was during the 1940s that Senator Ross Fitzpatrick first visited and tasted that fruit, the memory of which would lead to where the winery is today.

Image provided by Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards

Before the Fitzpatrick’s purchased the property in 1994, Gordon and his father had been picking fruit from the land for two generations.

The restoration project began in 1994, and it took two years to get the land ready to plant. The project included hauling truckload after truckload of old buildings, tires, and garbage away from the land.

After those two years (in 1996), a man by the name of Merle Lawrence dug all 42,000 holes and planted all the grapes by himself.

The property has been planted with cool climate varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Ehrenfelser, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Blanc.

After discussion about what Greata Ranch is best suited for, it was unanimous that sparkling would be the focus.

Their property is in a perfect location to produce sparkling wine due to the cooler temperatures, and early evening shade that helps to retain high acidity needed for a quality bottle of sparkling.

Since they are situated on the west side of the lake with Mt. Eneas behind the property, Greata Ranch receives about two hours less sunlight during the day.

The Fitz Brut and Reserve tiers of sparkling are both made in the traditional method and use a similar philosophy to Champagne winemakers in France, where the sparkling wines only use estate grown fruit from a single vintage.

At Fitzpatrick, wine lovers can find bottles that rival Champagne for a fraction of the price (such as their Fitzpatrick Brut). This wine spends no less than 24 months aging on its lees, and their Reserve wines are aged for a minimum of 36 months.

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards was built for sparkling wine, and it is evident when you see the bottles maturing in vaulted underground cellars.

Image provided by Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards

Underneath the restaurant and tasting room is the capacity for over 150,000 bottles in the cellar. This was the first time I have seen thousands of bottles of sparkling wine aging in a cave cellar, along with a gyropalette to automate the riddling process needed to remove the yeast sediment in the bottle.

Fitzpatrick has a wide range of biodiversity on Greata Ranch including a bat project to manage insects, a bear that lives onsite, bobcats, coyotes, snakes, osprey, and hummingbirds.

Due to Fitzpatrick having the space, capital, and time, they can produce accessible, high-quality sparkling wine that does not break the bank. I appreciate their effort to encourage wine lovers to enjoy bubbles any day and remind us how well sparkling wine pairs with many food options.

I suggest planning extra time for your visit here and finish off the tasting with a meal at 19 Bistro.

You will be amazed by the view while sitting on the spacious outdoor patio. It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy some delicious food after a day touring around the Okanagan Valley.

My recommendation is either the Lemongrass Fettuccine or their wood fire pizza paired with a bottle of Brut or the Crémant.

“The Elusive” is one of the best pizzas I have had in a while. It has wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, goat cheese, local micro greens, and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Each time I have visited Fitzpatrick Winery, I am amazed with the quality of the sparkling wine and find myself wanting to stay longer and savour the moment.

I highly recommend a visit here as you are travelling along the highway to stretch your legs and enjoy the picture-perfect view with a chilled glass of delicious sparkling wine.

Their Fitz Crémant retails for $24.50 and the Brut for $33.50. Both offer excellent value and are sparkling wines that I frequently enjoy.

Image provided by Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards


Javen - Poured By Jay

Hi, I'm Poured by Jay.

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