New South Okanagan Winery Introduces Private Tours and Tastings for 2019; Winery to Fully Open to the Public in 2020.
(Okanagan, British Columbia) April 23, 2019—Led by a winemaking team that includes Olivier Humbrecht MW (Domaine Zind-Humbrecht), Cameron Vawter (Napa’s Dana Estates) and Anne Vawter (Oakville Ranch, Red Mare), and designed by John Taft of Backen & Gillam Architects (Harlan Estate, Dana Estates, Ovid), Phantom Creek Estates today announced that the new South Okanagan winery will open late summer 2019 for private tours and tastings by-appointment-only and will fully open to the public in 2020. Visitors will discover a stunning winery designed for both world-class winemaking and immersive visitor experiences, including private tastings and experiential tours that conclude in a circular barrel cellar underneath an original Chihuly chandelier. Founded by the Bai family in 2016, Phantom Creek focuses on single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alsatian whites and the Okanagan’s benchmark varieties of Viognier and Syrah from storied vineyard sites.
Olivier Humbrecht, France’s first Master of Wine, proprietor of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, and the president of Biodyvin (Europe’s prestigious biodynamic certifying body) will be overseeing the transformation of the vineyards to organic and biodynamic farming, and will also be leading the white winemaking. Humbrecht will work in close coordination with the winemaking and viticultural team, a formidable assembly of some of the industry’s most respected names, including founding and consulting red winemaker Anne Vawter, and founding viticulturist and consulting red winemaker Cameron Vawter. Together, the team’s collective winemaking experience spans both the New and Old Worlds, with experience at marquee name wineries that have defined the craft from the 17th century all the way up to today. At the heart of this team is Phantom Creek Estates’ founder and proprietor, Richter Bai, a self-made entrepreneur who first found success in China’s natural resource industry and whose new focus is creating a legacy winery in the South Okanagan, in his adopted Canada.
Exceptional Vineyards Farmed Organically and Biodynamically
Phantom Creek combines historic vineyard sites farmed in transition to organic and biodynamic certification, an internationally renowned winemaking team and a world-class winery. After an intensive two-year search of the area, two pioneering sites—Phantom Creek and Becker Vineyard—were purchased in 2016 for their historic significance and established pedigree. Established in 1996 by leading viticulturist Richard Cleave, Phantom Creek Vineyard has been consistently recognized for producing some of the best red wines in Canada. Becker Vineyard was originally planted in 1977 as part of the Becker Project, which demonstrated that traditional European white grape varieties could thrive in B.C. However, by 1993, Becker Vineyard’s potential for late-ripening red varieties was realized, and the vineyard was replanted predominantly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Phantom Creek Estates produces, through minimal intervention and wild fermentations, elegant Bordeaux-style reds and textural Alsatian-style whites that showcase a strong sense of place. Fruit from Phantom Creek and Becker Vineyards’ combined 59 acres is handpicked and hand-sorted, with some blocks passed through six or more times during harvest, resulting in concentrated reds like the flagship 2016 Phantom Creek Vineyards Cuvée ($100) and the 2016 Phantom Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($80), blended from three different clones to achieve complexity and depth. The 2016 Phantom Creek Vineyards Syrah ($75) is sourced from 1.2 planted acres of the variety, which helped to firmly establish Syrah as a benchmark in the Okanagan with savoury old-world complexity. While on the upper terrace of the Black Sage Bench, Becker Vineyard’s higher elevation results in a more gradual growing season, producing wines of finesse and elegance, like the 2016 Becker Vineyard Cuvée ($60). The rich, textural 2017 Riesling ($30) and 2017 Pinot Gris ($30) are created by means of 12-hour press cycles and long aging in Austrian foudres from cult barrel producer Stockinger.
From the very beginning, Phantom Creek Estates was conceived as a site-specific winery that embraced the stunning Okanagan landscape with an elegant symmetry evident to all who visit. Designed by noted winery architect John Taft, principal of Backen & Gillam Architects, the 45,000 square foot winery seamlessly blends its functional purpose with an elevated, but not exclusionary, hospitality experience. Located on the edge of a plane formed by glacial sands, deposited by “phantom” creeks created as the ice melted, the winery is designed to follow the natural paths of these long-forgotten waterways. Production areas are housed underground to diminish the overall scale and to take advantage of cooling temperatures and three levels of gravity flow. Above them sits two levels of hospitality space, including a tasting room, restaurant, and private upper floors, accessible via a spiraling staircase that rises from the barrel aging cellar to the roof.
Visiting Phantom Creek Estates
Welcoming guests by-appointment-only in 2019 (fully opening to the public in 2020), Phantom Creek Estates is designed to be a world-class wine destination offering a range of tasting experiences. Visitors can marvel at artist Wu Ching Ju’s soaring “Pro Terra et Natura” as they approach the winery’s courtyard before embarking on an in-depth tour that begins in the History Room. From there, they’ll be led into the vineyards to learn about organic and biodynamic farming techniques before returning back to the winery and entering the crush pad. After seeing the crush pad in operation, visitors follow the gravity flow of wine to the Alsace cask room, red oak fermentation and barrel fermentation rooms. They then descend a grand staircase that corkscrews through the center of the space to the barrel aging rooms and the historic cellar, before taking an elevator up to the top floor for a private tasting with sweeping views of the vineyards and South Okanagan Valley.
When the winery fully opens to the public in 2020, Phantom Creek Estates will have its own onsite, indoor/outdoor restaurant, as well as a 526-seat amphitheater, providing guests even more ways to sip, savor, and soak in the full Okanagan experience.
ABOUT PHANTOM CREEK ESTATES
Farming single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alsatian whites and the Okanagan’s benchmark varieties of Viognier and Syrah from storied vineyard sites, Phantom Creek Estates is set to open late summer 2019. Located at 4315 Black Sage Road, Oliver, British Columbia, Phantom Creek Estates will only be open by prior appointment in 2019, but in 2020 will offer an expanded array of experiences, from casual drop in tastings at the bar or on the patio to immersive tours with food and wine pairings. For more information, please contact the winery at 250.498.8367 or visit phantomcreekestates.com.