The owner of Lake Country’s newest winery is continuing to expand his reach.
Dennis O’Rourke, owner of The Chase Wines, is moving forward with plans for a new winery in Carr’s Landing.
In June, the district approved O’Rourke’s new winery development, which will be nestled next to a granite mountain along Carr’s Landing Road and Commonage Road.
Adrian Baker, general manager and winemaker with The Chase Wines, said they started planting the vineyard in 2013, and have since planted about 105 acres of grapes at both the Chase location on Goldie Road and at the new O’Rourke Family Vineyards.
He said with the spot in Lake Country, the main vineyard is on a lovely spot because it’s a warmer place in a cooler region.
“If you drive past the site (in Carr’s Landing) the snow melts first on that (south point), it’s terrific.”
The new winery will specialize in Chardonnay and pinot noir and The Chase Wines will continue to have all the aromatic wines: riesling, gewurztraminer, pinot gris, gruner veltliner, as well as its own Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Baker said.
Barrels will be also be stored in a unique way in 300 metre long caves in the side of a mountain.
“We had all sorts of plans of digging holes and building a concrete storage and filling it over but the owner Dennis didn’t want to do, he would say to me ‘anyone can build a hole and build a building. I want to build something that nobody else can do,’’ Baker said.
The 300-metre long caves have since been completed and the concrete foundation is set, Baker said. The next step will be to build a winemaking site.
The new winery attaches to the cave and the new winery will have one wall which is going to be pure granite,” he said.
O’Rourke wants everything built in three years, which puts us at 2022 at the earliest, Baker said, and the whole O’Rourke family is involved, with Dennis’ two sons Tom as the head of the construction and excavation at the site, and his other son Chris involved with the stacking of the rock walls.
A restaurant will also be located on site.
O’Rourke is based out of Edmonton, and has owned land in Carr’s Landing since the ‘70s, Baker said. The idea for the second winery’s location came to him as he drove past the lands three or four times a day.
“I looked at it with him and said this is perfect, because it faces south down the lake, it’s all fractured granite. It looks terrific, he said, adding the Chase winery’s location also benefits on the commercial side, with Intrigue Wines across the street.
Lake Country is also perfect for growing grapes that will make a nice pinot noir, Chardonnay or riesling successfully, as the southern part of the Okanagan is too hot, he said.
Mark Koch, director of community support services with the district, said Lake Country encourages investment into the agricultural sector, as it presents many benefits to the district including employment and the advancement in tourism.
This winery is one of the biggest projects that has been unfolding over the last few years, and he said, it’s nice to see wineries in the district on a variety of scales, from mom and pop shops to the bigger industries.