Each year, the Vancouver International Wine Festival focuses on a different country, and this year- just in time to kick off 150 year birthday celebrations- it’s all about CANADA, with 76 wineries from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. We have so much to celebrate within our very own BC Wine Industry, from being one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, to growing unique varietals, to offering premium tasting room experiences, and producing award-winning wines, we have so much to be proud of!
One winery in Kelowna, Summerland Pyramid Winery, has done an exceptional job to help put BC Wine on the world map of wine and we have Stephen Cipes to thank for that!
Stephen Cipes, Founder/Proprietor of Summerhill Pyramid Winery, first visited the Okanagan back in 1986 and purchased some land. He was immediately told to then suit up and start spraying pesticides, a practice not many would question, even to this day. But Stephen did, knowing how important the Okanagan Lake was to future generations and instantly chose to never use them in his vineyards as they are toxic chemicals that don’t belong in the wine making process. Today, Summerhill Pyramid Winery is proud to be BC’s first certified organic winery, with organically and biodynamically, 100% BC grown grapes in ever bottle.
As you drive up to visit the winery, which is located in Kelowna overlooking Okanagan Lake (a breathtaking viewpoint!), you will notice a very rare site for Canada- a Pyramid. That’s right, a real Pyramid similar to those you would see scattered throughout Egypt. This sacred Pyramid was built specifically with precision Sacred Geometry, with one main goal: to create stillness and harmony. Steven got the idea to build the pyramid following a trip to France. In France, he learned that there is a marriage period 30 days before sparkling wine is added to the shelf for purchase. While walking thru cellars in France, he noticed the roman arch cellars made with sacred geometry, which left him with a tingling feeling throughout his body. He wanted to recreate that exact feeling and has done so with the Winery Pyramid, which is second to the Great Pyramid of Egypt for alignment and precision- the only of its kind in north America. A trip to the Okanagan wouldn’t be complete without touring this unique space (*the most talked about experience at a BC winery!), which has daily tours, running at 12, 2, 4 and 6pm.
The Pyramid also has a very important role for the winery and its wine- it cellars every single bottle of award-winning Cipes Brut, a traditional-method sparkling wine- which is a perfect blend of organic Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. It is believed that the effect of sacred geometry on liquids is significant, proven with some of the world’s highest honours in wine, including gold medals from England, France, Japan, California, just to name a few. It was also recently awarded a double Gold Medal in the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Steven started making Sparkling Wine back in 1989 with his first bottle of Cipes. He believes the Okanagan is one of the most ideal places to make bubbles as our weather (hot days, cool evenings) allow grapes to mature just right, resulting in highly flavourable grapes perfect for bubbles. I always have a bottle of Cipes Brut in my cellar, it is the perfect bubbles for any occasion!
Steven is particularly excited about coming to the Vancouver for the International Wine Festival this year. He knows that BC Wine is one of the best kept secrets and is excited for what’s to come in our industry, especially with our ability to grow more varietals then ever imagined. After a conversation with him, you will be left feeling so inspired- he is one of the most passionate people in the industry! If you have time during the festival, be sure to visit the Tasting Room floor to meet Stephen Cipes and his team from Summerhill Pyramid Winery. You can even have a chance to taste Canada’s most awarded wine, the Cipes Sparkling Wine!
Summerhill Pyramid Winery- fun facts!
- It’s the most visited winery in Canada
- Has an average of 1,000-3,000 visitors per day
- Is home to north America’s ONLY pyramid
- 1st certified organic winery in BC
- Most awarded wine in Canada- the Cipes Sparkling Wine
- Sunset Bistro Restaurant offering farm to table dishes
There are still tickets available to the following International Tasting Room Events, where you can taste Summerhill Pyramid Winery wines (and Cipes!) along with over 800 wines from 15 countries around the world. You won’t want to miss it, Vancouver!
Be sure to follow along #VIWF