“Behind the Wine” is a new summer series taking you behind the scenes of the South Okanagan’s iconic wine industry.
Conveniently located south out of Penticton, just off of Highway 97, Farm Gate Winery is a fantastic one stop shop for all types of unique fruit wines and traditional grape wines.
“Across the street from the winery, there used to be a game farm with all kinds of exotic animals on display that you could visit,” explains Chris Batt, Assistant Winemaker for Farm Gate Winery. “The gate is still there, right across the highway from us, so they decided to name the winery after that.”
This is now Farm Gate’s third season of production and they have quite an impressive line up of fruit and grape wines to sample, and a fun and well stocked fruit stand to pop in and shop.
Batt is a new addition to the Farm Gate production crew, having joined the team last August. “I have known Peter Smits, the Owner and Winemaker for 17 years now,” Batt explains. “Pieter came to me one day and asked me to help out. He said there was plenty of work to do and he needed a hand. I came out from Edmonton, where I was living at the time to help out, and I just never went back.”
Now with almost a full year under his belt, Batt is excited to have experienced the majority of the wine making process.
“It’s been fabulous. Just a really great journey. I’ve gotten to see the whole process from crush to bottling, and now I’m loving getting to see people enjoy it. We’re still bottling the 2020 season wines but the first ones have been really exciting,” says Batt.
Farm Gate specializes in fruit wines, but also explores grape wines and has just recently launched a line of hybrid wines. Varieties include a mix of Pinot Gris grapes and either peaches, apricots or pears and then the grapes and fruit are fermented together.
“We use a lot of fruit that is grown in our own orchards right here,” Batt explains. “A favourite is our cherry wines, which we have all kinds of variations of.”
“I really enjoy making the hybrid wine. I enjoy the challenge of finding the perfect mix of the grapes and fruit while ensuring it is balanced well. We like a nice wine flavour with a hint of fruit to compliment it.”
One of Batt’s favourites is the Rainier Cherry Wine, which is similar to a white wine, ‘but with a great hint of cherry.’
What sets Farm Gate Wines apart is the abundance of fruit wine varieties, and their unique execution.
“Our fruit wines aren’t overly sweet or syrupy,” explains Batt. “We make them to be quite similar to traditional wines and try to please as many palates as possible.”
They also have a unique aesthetic, featuring an array of elephants in honour of the owner and winemaker, Pieter Smits mother, who loves elephants. Farm Gate wines also showcase a fun collection of labels which are decorated with exotic animals, like tigers, zebras and giraffes, that used to live at the game farm across the highway, and the customer’s favourite, cow labels.
Located in Kaleden, Farm Gate Winery, which is just five minutes south of Penticton, has a convenient roadside location that makes stopping in for a tasting nice and easy.
In addition, their exceptional deals on case lots make stocking up a great and tasty idea.
“We sell affordable $88 mixed cases. Each case comes with 12 different full sized bottles of wine, so you can try one of *mostly* everything,” Batt says.
Farm Gate is open seven days a week and has a fruit stand to buy some fresh, local fruit and snacks during your visit. If visiting isn’t an option, Farm Gate offers shipping across all of Canada.
With new 2020 wines still being bottled, ensure to follow Farm Gate Winery on Facebook and Instagram or check out their website for new and exciting offerings that are sure to please all palates!