Saturday, February 6, 2016

Haynes Barn and its friends from Mission Hill

Photo: Haynes Barn in 2015

Over the many years in which I have travelled the South Okanagan, I have stopped numerous times to photograph the Haynes Barn at the south end of Black Sage Road.

Every year, it sags a bit more. The photo on this column was taken last summer. One of these years, I expect to find just a pile of old wood.

I don’t understand why no effort has been made to preserve the barn. At least, it might lives on the label of a red wine from Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery. This is one of the wineries in the Artisan Wine Co. stable of Anthony von Mandl of Mission Hill Family Estate Winery fame.

All of the wines in the Prospect range, which are made at Mission Hill, have labels celebrating the Okanagan’s rich history.

Few histories are richer than Judge John Carmichael Haynes, the rancher (among other occupations) who once ran cattle on the range here. The barn, one assumes, is a remainder of his finger prints, along with Haynes Point in Osoyoos. And Hester Creek on the Golden Mile, named for his daughter.

The Osoyoos & District Museum and Archives has posted a biography on line.

John Carmichael Haynes was born in Ireland on July 6, 1831. At 27 years of age, Haynes made up his mind to head for the colony of British Columbia and work for the newly established British Columbia Police.

After receiving a number of letters from relatives who had travelled to British Columbia and struck it rich, Haynes turned to his uncle, James Carmichael, who had a lot of pull in the Irish Constabulary. Chartres Brew, a long-time friend of James, had been appointed Inspector of Police for the British Columbia colony. A glowing recommendation from Brew would certainly get Haynes a position with the B.C. Police. With nepotism clearly on his side, Haynes made way for the new world.

At a time when every fifth man was an outlaw, Haynes was the law. The epitome of a gentleman, Haynes was notorious for his Irish frieze jacket, polished English riding boots and pith helmet that he donned in favour of a Stetson.

His extensive legal authority and responsibility in the Okanagan, even over the Native peoples of the area, would eventually influence and set the standard relationship between First Nations and the pioneering families in the future.

Haynes arrived in Victoria in 1858. Upon his arrival, Haynes made contact with Brew and was able to arrange a meeting with Governor James Douglas. Almost immediately following his application, Haynes accompanied Brew to the mainland in January of 1859, now a constable in the B.C. Police.

Travelling up the Fraser River, Brew and Haynes reached Fort Yale. Haynes and William George Cox worked together for a time collecting license fees from miners between Yale and Hope. However, with gold discoveries near the Similkameen River and Rock Creek area, Cox was reassigned by Governor Douglas as Justice of the Peace and Gold Commissioner for the entire Rock-Creek Similkameen region.

On his way back to the coast, Governor Douglas wrote Cox and informed him that his colleague Haynes would soon join him as Deputy Collector of Customs for the area.

Haynes was reunited with Cox at Rock Creek on October 15, 1860. Haynes was limited to just the one post until April 1861 when his jurisdiction was expanded to include all the trails leading up to Okanagan Lake.

Later that same year, with the depopulation of the Rock Creek area due to the riches found to the north in the Cariboo, Cox was transferred. Haynes became the head Customs Collector for the entire Okanagan-Similkameen district in November of 1861.

By 1862 Rock Creek had turned into a ghost town. There were four constables for the Similkameen district which Haynes had to reduce to two. By May 1862, however, trails were opening up to the Cariboo region and a continuous flow of traffic was passing through the customs port at Osoyoos.

Upon completion of the new customs house in 1865, Haynes looked upon Osoyoos as his home. He and his colleague W.H. Lowe acquired 22,000 acres of land from the International Boundary to the northern edge of Osoyoos Lake. Purchasing cattle from the many drovers that came through the valley, it wasn't long before Haynes had herds of cattle, horses, and sheep grazing his land.

On a return trip from Victoria in 1888, Haynes fell ill at the Allison Ranch near Princeton. He died on his 57th birthday, July 6, 1888.

It is stated that Haynes' body was taken down the Similkameen River to Cawston by canoe. From there it was transported by wagon to his home in Osoyoos. Later, his body was transferred to its current resting place in the Pioneer Section of the Osoyoos Cemetery.

The Prospect wines are not the only wines from Mission Hill that celebrate either the history or the flora and fauna of the Okanagan.

A few years ago, the winery also introduced its Terroir Collection of wines which showcase “the Okanagan Valley’s unique microclimates and diversity.”  While the Prospect Wines are budget-priced, the Terroir Collection wines are premium-priced. These wines are made from the top three percent of the fruit in the estate vineyards.

In between these ranges, Mission Hill produces several other tiers of wine, reflecting its ability to do so because the winery has vineyards throughout the Okanagan.

Here are notes on a cross section of wines from the Mission Hill family.

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 16 Southern Cross Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($30; 19 barrels produced). This wine from Mission Hill’s vineyard at Osoyoos border begins with aromas of citrus, leading to flavours of lime and guava and an herbal finish. There is good weight on the palate, with a rich texture. A third of this was fermented and aged in French oak. 91.

Mission Hill Terroir Collection, No.29 Bluebird Passage 2013 Viognier ($30 for 423 cases). This wine begins with aromas of pineapple, apples and orange zest. On the palate, there are flavours of apricot, white nectarine and tangerine, with a hint of white pepper on the lingering finish. 91.

Mission Hill Terroir Collection, Sunset Ranch 2012 Chardonnay ($40 for 76 cases). Think of this unoaked Chardonnay as a cerebral wine: you need to think about it because the charm is not obvious. It has aromas of baked apples, pear and citrus which are echoed on the palate. The mineral-driven texture is rich but the fruit only begins to open after the wine breathes. 88.

Mission Hill Terroir Collection, No.23 Crosswinds 2011 Syrah ($65.00; 38 barrels produced). This is a classic gamy and earthy Syrah, with aromas and flavours of black cherry and blackberry. On the finish, there are notes of sage and espresso. The texture is firm (typical of the 2011 vintage) and the wine benefits from decanting. 88-90.
Mission Hill Terroir Collection, No.21 Splitrail 2012 Merlot ($65.00; 18 barrels produced). This is a superbly concentrated wine with aromas and flavours of black cherry, cassis and blueberry and with chocolate and leather on the finish. The long, polished and silky tannins give the wine great elegance. 92.

Mission Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Reserve ($25.99 for 4,471 cases). The blend here is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. This wine begins with aromas of blueberry and cassis, leading to a cascade of flavours on the palate, including cassis, blackberry and blueberry. The long ripe tannins give the wine a generous texture. There is a touch of eucalyptus on the finish. 92.
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2013 ($15.99). Grapes for this tier are selected for multiple vineyards. This is a blend of 41% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. It was aged 13 months in French and American oak. This is an easy-drinking red with spicy aromas and flavours of cassis, with a hint of liquorice on the finish. 88.

Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Merlot Cabernet 2012 ($13.29).  This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This is a generous and delicious red, with aromas of cassis and blueberry and with lush flavours of black cherry. There is a hint of liquorice on the finish. 88.

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