Trevor Miller and his family put their heart and soul into resurrecting a Waneta winery left untended.
Today, Mountain Soul Wine is like a breath of fresh air, its story invigorating and inspiring, and its wine one of life’s happy necessities for many.
With Mountain Soul Wine inviting the public to their grand opening on Saturday, the Trail Times (TT) had the pleasure of visiting the vineyard ahead of time and speaking with owner, Miller, an agricultural wizard turned wine maker.
TT: Can you give a brief history of when you took it over, and what it has taken to get to where you are now, on the verge of opening to the public?
Miller: My wife Lora and I were always interested in this type of lifestyle and the Kootenay area has been a place we loved to go before we had an opportunity to move here.
We acquired the vineyard in spring of 2020 and it has been a whirlwind ever since.
The place was essentially abandoned for several years before that and I had to really lean into my previous agricultural experience, background and education to revive the vines. There was so much disease, vine mortality, and lack of nutrition it took two years to get the vines healthy again.
We also had so much family and community support. From removing all the over growth and disease, to planting new vines and just plain garbage cleanup to help get us to this point; it has been a really special experience.
TT: I understand the types of grape are limited by the climate, but what varietals do best in the area, and what wines do you offer?
Miller: We are colder in the Kootenays than the Okanagan, which does limit the vines that can make good wine.
We have pinot noir and gamay as our red varietals — they do love the cooler nights in this valley. They are on the upper plateau of the vineyard so that cool breeze can flow through the vines.
For whites, riesling and chardonnay do well on the vineyard. We also have a small amount of siegerrebe that we add to our piquette to help balance the flavours.
The Columbia Valley has some excellent mineralization which makes for some great tasting and unique wines. From these four grapes we make pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, still rosé, a couple of sparkling blend rosés and a piquette blend (vintner’s blend).
TT: What can people expect when they visit Mountain Soul Wine?
Miller: A beautiful mountain vista of the place when you enter the vineyard. We have a serving bar that is a unique oversized oak barrel we had made to offer a whimsical wine tasting experience.
There is also a tasting deck, where people can relax beside the small orchard flowing into a wonderful view of the vines rising into the back drop of Blizzard Mountain.
Our aim is to give every visitor a true wine tasting experience where they can come to relax and enjoy the views and learn about our wines, vineyard and story.
TT: How excited are you to be opening to the public?
Miller: Very! But also, nervous.
I have had so much help and support from the community I hope now I can give back a little by providing a really enjoyable and consistent wine tasting experience, so people can be proud to show off a little boutique vineyard to family and friends when they come to visit.
The Mountain Soul Wine family invites the public to their grand opening on Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online at moutainsoulwine.ca, click on “wine shop” and it will take you to “wine tasting reservation.”
For the remainder of the season, wine tastings will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday at 392 Columbia Gardens Road.
For more information or to purchase wine online go to mountainsoulwine.ca.