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It’s harvest season at The View Winery and Wards Cider

Winemaker Kristy French with assistant winemaker Cody Latino at The View Winery.
Winemaker Kristy French with assistant winemaker Cody Latino at The View Winery.

A visit to The View Winery and Wards Cider tasting room during harvest is a truly authentic experience. On any given day you will likely see wine and cider being made in the adjoining cellar, and if you are lucky, you just might be able to meet the wine and cider makers, Kristy French and Cody Latino.

Winemaker Kristy French and assistant winemaker Cody Latino are passionate about their wine and cider making.

For Latino, his favourite part of the experience is the connection to the land.

“Every year we spend a lot of time out here in the vineyard and orchard. It’s exciting to see something go from a tiny cluster of green fruit through to veraison and then final ripening and harvest. Then with crush time, the grapes come into the winery for fermentation, barrel-aging, and finally, bottling. It’s all very cyclical. I find it rewarding to see what comes from the land and ultimately ends up in our glass,” he said.

French loves the way wine captures a moment in time. Every year the weather is different, the fruit is different, and even the people harvesting are different. Each vintage is a reflection of those differences and the decisions that she makes as a winemaker.

"For me I love that,” she said. “I love the experimental phases, I love experimenting with different yeast strains and seeing the outcomes of the blending… it’s artful really, almost like cooking without a recipe.”

The View’s Rhino label came to French after she was casually referring to the blanc de noir as the “rhino” wine in the cellar because it is primarily made from Pinotage, which is a South African grape that, like the rhino, is fairly rare (in the Okanagan Valley). They eventually decided that all the wine made from Pinotage should be named after the rhino due to its rarity and now, partial proceeds from every bottle sold go toward the World Wildlife Fund’s Adopt a Rhino campaign.

The three wines in the series include the White Rhino, which is a blanc de noir made from Pinot Noir and Pinotage, the Pink Rhino, which is a Pinotage Rosé and the Black Rhino, which is a rich, silky red made from 100% Pinotage.

Around a kilogram of grapes go into a bottle of wine, French said.

There are also five different heirloom cider apples on-site that go into making Wards Cider, and the process is similar to white winemaking, Latino said.

The winery features orchard picnics under the boughs of their old growth apple trees and is dog friendly.

Wine and Wags happens every Sunday at 1 p.m. where guests are welcome to bring their dogs for a walk in the orchard and vineyard followed by a wine and cider tasting with the final walk taking place Oct. 3. The View is open daily year round at 2287 Ward Road in Kelowna from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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