Evolve Cellars Lawrence Buhler
Now in its
second year, Evolve Cellars has given veteran Summerland wine grower Harry
McWatters a place to hang his hat while his other winery, Time Estate,
completes converting a movie theatre in downtown Penticton into a winery.
his daughter, Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, leased the former Bonitas Winery last
year, turning it into Evolve Cellars. The tasting room is at 20623 McDougald Road, Summerland.
opened in 2008, based on a lakeside vineyard north of Summerland – and coincidentally,
not far north of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Harry’s original Okanagan winery.
Sumac Ridge is now owned by Constellation Brands while Harry continues to have
his finger prints are all over the BC wine industry.
around Bonitas is so picturesque that Lawrence Hopper, the former owner, once
arranged to have a helicopter based there, offering sightseeing tours.
But when the
Bonitas wines did not achieve the same altitude as the helicopter, the winery
was put on the market. Harry took the opportunity to lease it as an outlet for
wines more modestly priced than those of his other brands, Time and McWatters
Last month, Encore
Vineyards, the holding company for Time and Harry’s other brands, took over a
former theatre and is now creating an urban winery in Penticton. That move was
triggered when Harry sold the Sundial Vineyard – with its half-completed winery
– to a Chinese consortium.
Cellars wines have the benefit of winemaker Lawrence Buhler, the veteran winemaker
who had been recruited by Encore in 2015.
who has been involved in the wine industry since 1999, was previously the chief
winemaker at Colio Estate Winery, a major Ontario winery based in Harrow.
Previously, he has worked with Peller Estates and Angels Gate in Ontario, as
well as Cape Mentelle in Australia.
who has extensive family in the Okanagan, was attracted by the opportunity to
work with Okanagan grapes. "It's
going to be very exciting to make wines in the Okanagan and be close to family
at the same time," he said last year.
2015 wines provide the first glimpse of his winemaking hand with Okanagan grapes.
Here are notes on four wines just being released.
Evolve Riesling 2015 ($16.99 This wine has aromas of
citrus with floral notes and a hint of honey. On the palate, there are flavours
of citrus, apple and peach. The flavours and the aromas are lifted by the
surprising amount of residual sugar, 23 grams. But winemaker Lawrence Buhler
has balanced the wine very nicely: there also are 11 grams of acidity. Asa
result, the finish is tangy and seems almost dry. 88.
Evolve Pinot Gris 2015 ($15.99). The wine has a clean “fresh
air” aroma of spring blossoms with hints of white peach. On the palate, there
are flavours of nectarine and pear with a hint of spice on the finish. 90.
Evolve Gewürztraminer 2015 ($15.99). This has an appealing aroma
of spice, lychee and grapefruit. On the palate, there are flavours of lychee,
ripe nectarine, honeydew melon, all punctuated with spice and an off-dry
Evolve Rosé 2015 ($16.99). The wine has a light salmon
pink hue with aromas of watermelon and wild strawberry. It delivers juicy
flavours of strawberry, cherry and watermelon. The slightly off-dry finish
lifts the fruity aromas and flavours. 90.