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Vernon vineyard project above Bella Vista in the works

It appears that the social media rumours are true: Vernon is getting a new vineyard.

While details surrounding the project remain foggy, Markus Frind, CEO of Frind Properties and founder of the online dating site PlentyOfFish, said in August that he expanded his Vernon ranch to 820 acres.

In the post, Frind said the land, which rests in the hills above Vernon’s Bella Vista Road, will be used for vineyards.

Christy Poirier, manager of communications and grants with the City of Vernon, confirmed the development.

"There is a property above Bella Vista that is currently moving some earth for an orchard, with the potential for a future vineyard. However, I do not have details as to who owns the land," Poirier said. "At this point, the City does not have an application in regards to a winery."

Little further information is available about the size, scope and timeline of the project. Frind said he has no comment at this time.

While the Central and South Okanagan regions are well-known for their wines, Jennifer Schell, an award-winning food and wine author and host of iNwine, said the North Okanagan climate is well-suited to a myriad of grape varietals.

"It's amazing what can grow in northern conditions. Cooler climate white varietals like riesling, siegerrebe, madeleine angevine, ortega, (even) chardonnay and pinot noir also do well and these are on trend," Schell said. "These delicious varieties are popular in Europe and are now becoming better known here as our climate changes and wine regions expand north."

Earlier this summer, Frind opened Frind Estate Winery on the West Kelowna waterfront with renowned local winemaker Eric von Krosigk.

Frind is known for his work on the popular dating website PlentyOfFish, which sold to The Match Group for US$575 million in 2015.

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