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First B.C. estate winery located in Summerland closes its doors

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery was first estate winery in British Columbia
After 42 years, Sumac Ridge Estate Winery is closing its doors. The winery was the first estate winery in British Columbia. (Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Facebook page)

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, the first estate winery in British Columbia, is closing its doors.

On April 14, Arterra Wines Canada announced the decision to close retail and winemaking operations at the winery, effective immediately.

Sumac has served as a hub for the B.C. wine industry since it was opened as the first operating estate winery in the province by wine pioneers Harry McWatters and Lloyd Schmidt in 1980.

READ ALSO: B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

READ ALSO: McWatters celebrates fifty years of winemaking

The winery was the first to develop a commercially successful Okanagan sparkling wine, the first to have a winery restaurant, the first winery in Canada to begin using Meritage on its Bordeaux blends and the first Okanagan winery to release a $50 bottle of wine. The winery also helped to popularize Gewürztraminer.

In the spring of 2000, Vincor Canada (now Arterra Wines) purchased Sumac Ridge. At the time, the winery was the home of the Sumac Ridge Family Estate, Steller’s Jay sparkling and Black Sage brands.

Winery operations are being shifted to Arterra’s facility in Oliver, but the Sumac Ridge brands will continue. Josh Stewart of corporate affairs with Arterra Wines Canada said there will be no supply or service disruption to consumers or licensees.

“We are saddened to announce the closure of Sumac Ridge Winery,” a Facebook post from Sumac Ridge Estate Winery read. “Our legacy will live on as Sumac Ridge, Steller’s Jay and Black Sage wines will continue to be sold at liquor stores across Western Canada and online through the Great Estates Okanagan website.”

“We extend our gratitude to the hundreds of industry professionals, visitors, customers, and employees who have made Sumac Ridge so iconic for the last 42 years,” the Facebook post read.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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