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Abbotsford

Singletree Winery Captures Tourism Excellence Award

Abbotsford winery heads into winter with recognition for its quality and service

[Abbotsford, BC] Singletree Winery is proud to share they have captured a Business Excellence Award for Best Tourism Experience.

Presented by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and The Abbotsford News, the 23rd Annual Awards ceremony took place November 23, to recognize outstanding organizations and individuals in Abbotsford that strive for excellence in the community. Thirteen awards were handed out, with Singletree earning the trophy for Tourism Excellence.

Sponsored by Tourism Abbotsford, the Tourism Excellence award demonstrates that Singletree Winery is a leader in its industry, with a commitment to customer service, a concern for the community, and a passion for innovation.

Singletree Winery is owned by the Etsell family, who has been farming in the Fraser Valley for over two decades. Under their Singletree banner, and with careful attention to the land, the Etsell Family is committed to showing the world what the Fraser Valley is capable of.

The Singletree Winery team: L-R: Laura Preckel, Andrew, Debbie and Garnet Etsell.

The Singletree Winery team: L-R: Laura Preckel, Andrew, Debbie and Garnet Etsell.

"Our family is thrilled and honored to receive this award of excellence from the business community," remarks winery owner Debbie Etsell. "Family and staff work diligently to make each guest's experience and time at Singletree Winery enjoyable and memorable," she continues. "To be recognized as a leader in this field is truly monumental."

Since establishing their winery in 2015, the family has aimed to provide both a hospitable experience and quality wines, as they forge their place in the British Columbia wine industry. The Abbotsford vineyard and tasting room is located on a 67-acre operating farm in Mt. Lehman, only 45-minutes from Vancouver. 14 acres of estate vineyard contribute to award-winning BC VQA wines. Their tasting room is open year-round to present these cool climate varietals, including their extremely popular Siegerrebe and Grüner Veltliner wines. Visitors love the friendly vibe and the picnic area where they can enjoy locally-smoked meats, cheese and other seasonal selections. Special events held at the winery throughout the year always draw a crowd. The winery's special events area in the heart of the vineyard adds a special touch to weddings, corporate events, birthdays or the winery's own experiences.

In last Summer 2018 the Etsell family purchased a second winery location in the Okanagan on the Naramata Bench. Closed for the winter, the Naramata tasting room will officially open in spring 2019.

The Abbotsford winery is open year-round, and the team invites the public to join them in Abbotsford this winter. On December 8 from 12 to 5:30pm Singletree Winery in Abbotsford will devote the day to "Entertaining with local wine this Christmas". Admission is by donation with proceeds to the Mt. Lehman Community Hall, to assist with renovations. Attendees will enjoy appetizers made with their house-made wine jellies, white mulled wine, recipes for sparkling cocktails. and recipes for entrees with wine.

Check out Singletree on social media @singletreewine to keep up with the latest.

About Singletree Winery:

Singletree Winery Fraser Valley is in the Mt. Lehman area of Abbotsford, and Singletree Naramata Bench opened in 2018. The Etsell family has deep roots in the agricultural community.

With careful attention to their land, they are committed to showcasing the best of British Columbia: the Fraser Valley, which provides a lineup of aromatic, crisp, and juicy wines that highlight this unique terroir; and Naramata Bench in the Okanagan, where the glacial soils and warm climate produce luscious red wines.

Their portfolio includes Siegerrebe, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Late Harvest Kerner, Pinot Noir Rosé, Wild Ferment Siegerrebe, a white blend called Homestead, Harness, a Bordeaux-style red blend, and a traditional-method sparkling wine called Victory. The wines are made by second generation family member Andrew Etsell.

The Fraser Valley winery is open for visitors Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 noon to 5:30pm. Naramata is open only by appointment.

Visit singletreewinery.com to join the wine club and for more information on picnics, events, weddings and much more.

2016 BC Grape Harvest In Full Swing

  Would you like images, an interview, or to learn more? Contact Sujinder Juneja for assistance.

According to the BC Wine Institute (BCWI), BC’s cool-climate grape crop is on track for another excellent vintage this year. Hot and dry conditions in the spring led to the earliest bud break on record and the earliest harvest ever for some wineries in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. The low average temperatures and high rainfall allowed BC grapes to have more time to ripen on the vine and to accumulate flavour and aromatic compounds. This contributes to wines that are fresh, complex and balanced with higher acidity that make them versatile food pairings.

On Vancouver Island

Bailey Williamson, winemaker for Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan on Vancouver Island, is expecting another excellent harvest at the Cowichan Valley estate. A strong growing season in April and May, followed by a cooler June and July than the previous year, led to an elongated flowering and fruit set cycle and allowed the grapes to mature and ripen to classic levels. The Blue Grouse harvest started on September 10, beginning with the popular Siegerrebe, an aromatic white varietal which tends to ripen earliest. After that, there will be a break in harvest until the end of September, when the rest of the grapes will be harvested in earnest. Compared to all the vintages since 2012, this year’s harvest started within a week of normal.

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In the Fraser Valley

Conditions on the mainland were similar to Vancouver Island. Andrew Etsell, GM and viticulturist of Singletree Winery in Abbotsford notes that with the warm and dry August, the grapes developed beautiful flavours with balanced acids and sugars. Singletree began its harvest on August 25 – one full week earlier than 2015, and the winery’s earliest harvest on record. “We started with our Siegerrebe, which is evolving into one of our most popular wines,” Andrew shares. “We’re also keeping a close eye on our estate Pinot Noir, which we have just harvested for our first-ever estate sparkling wine. Other estate varietals, such as our Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc, will follow after that. This year’s harvest will not yield as much fruit as 2015, yet the fruit will be clean and very high quality."

It's harvest time at Abbotsford's Singletree Winery.

In the Okanagan - Naramata Bench

After an unseasonably warm spring, followed by an early summer, Serendipity Winery’s Katie O’Kell was concerned that the harvest would take place much earlier than normal at her estate Naramata vineyard. However, the cooler, wetter weather moved in, which allowed the grapes to mature a more moderate pace.

Serendipity’s harvest started on August 29 with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and continued on August 31 with Viognier. With a dry and cool climate, the phenolics (flavour and aromatic compounds) will eventually catch up to the brix (a measure of potential alcohol) that is currently sitting in the low 20s.

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Okanagan – South

Likewise, Lawrence Buhler, director of winemaking for ENCORE Vineyards, which produces wines under the TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection labels, is also in the middle of an active harvest. Compared to last year, Buhler and his winemaking team saw a two-day early start to the season on August 17. Harvest has almost been completed for the still whites, with additional harvests to take place in the next two to four weeks for red varietals.

Regarding the balance of the 2016 harvest, Lawrence says the reds are maturing well and the cooler weather is excellent for proper fruit development and sugar accumulation in the berries.

Harry McWatters, president and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards said recently to Global Television, “we had record-breaking temperatures in April and the earliest bud break that I’ve seen in my history in British Columbia. This is my 49th vintage in the wine business and I’ve never seen a harvest this early. What it does is even in the fringe areas, where the grower may be pushing their limit as far as what they’re growing or the amount of crop they’ve got, it gives them a bit bigger window to mature that fruit to its optimum level. It’s a good thing.”

Indeed it is, Harry. And although the wineries – from Vancouver Island to the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan – are right in the middle of an exciting harvest, we already can’t wait to taste the finished wines starting next spring.

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