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This rose by any other name would smell as sweet, thanks to Vern

KELOWNA - The House of Rose's legacy began with Vern Rose, who many remember as a jovial character in a Tilly hat with a passion for winemaking.

Vern’s love for wine began as a hobby, making his own wine in his spare time as a teacher in Edmonton, Alta.

When he moved to Kelowna in 1983, he decided to make his dream of growing his own grapes a reality. That same year, Vern purchased the 6.7 acres where House of Rose winery stands today. Over the next 10 years, Vern grew grapes and sold them to Calona Wines.

He decided to take his dream a step further and dedicated himself to studying winemaking. In 1993 he applied for a winery license and House of Rose became one of the first 17 wineries in the Okanagan valley.

Over the years, Vern made a wide variety of wines ranging from dry whites to very sweet icewines.

House of Rose wines have won many prizes, notably the 2006 Vintage Okanagan Port won gold in 2011, the 2011 Winter Wine won double gold in 2013 and the 2013 Rose won gold at the All Canadian Wine Competition. Most recently, their 2016 HotFlash won gold at the British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Awards in the Red Blends under $26 category.

Vern never shied away from a hard days work, putting in 10 to14 hour days until he was 75 years old. He took a step back from the vineyard to decrease his workload, but still worked at the winery until he suffered a stroke shortly before his 80th birthday. Due to his health, Vern was unable to run the winery, and prepared to pass on the torch.

In 2009 his daughter Aura Rose and her husband Wouter van Der Hall bought the winery, continuing Vern’s legacy.

The winery celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2013 with the unveiling of the 20 foot tall metal rose, crafted by Roland Derks.

Although Vern was able to celebrate this momentous occasion, at the end of the year his dementia took its toll and for the first time in 30 years, Vern left the property to live with his son nearby.

A year and a half ago, Vern Rose passed away in his home at age 90. Although his presence at the winery is missed, his dream of having a family-run winery was realized and continues to thrive.

One of the most popular events held at the winery is the annual fall Grape Stomp. Members of the community are invited to come out to the winery, stomp on some grapes and donate to the Kelowna Food Bank. House of Rose collects around 600 pounds of food and several hundred dollars every year.

There’s always live music happening at House of Rose, featuring local talent and well-known favourites. On Aug. 15 the Ten Gallon Cats will be performing a mix of Country, Roots and Canadiana music at 6:30 p.m. On Aug. 22 the Blue City Trio will perform their eclectic repertoire featuring interpretations of the classics at 6:30 p.m.

This fall, House of Rose will be hosting a Vegan Market on Sept. 15 with Earth to Table. The market brings together local vendors with food, cosmetics, and personal care products. Admission will be free, with donations to a local charity to be announced.

Stay tuned for the Grape Stomps, taking place this year Oct. 5 and 12, also free with donations to the Food Bank.

Wine tasting is complimentary, and wine tours are self-guided. If you’re looking for a peaceful, casual wine experience at one of Kelowna’s oldest wineries, House of Rose is a great place to visit.

Located at 2270 Garner Road, East Kelowna.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 801-9235 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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