Photo: Bill Eggert
Fans of Bill Eggert and Fairview Cellars will be surprised, and probably delighted, to hear that in the 2008 vintage, he purchased enough Pinot Noir grapes to make “a couple of barrels of Pinot Noir as an experiment.”
Since opening Fairview Cellars in 2000, Bill has made his reputation primarily with the Bordeaux reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot – with a little bit of Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.
There was a very simple reason why he made those wines. “I am only a Cab man because that is what grows well on the property I have,” he says. His 2.4-hectare vineyard is on a sunny promontory at the start of The Golden Mile, not far from Oliver.
Why Pinot Noir? Bill recently has purchased two blocks of land, totaling 2.6 hectares, on the plateau south of Vaseux Lake. Here he intends to plant Pinot Noir, a variety already growing successfully in a nearby vineyard. It is, he says, “one of my recommendations to anyone planting grapes is to see what the neighbours are doing.”
He will begin by planting next year perhaps half a hectare as he feels out the property, which he describes as “very difficult terrain with all the large boulders, so I don't want to go overboard until I have it figured out.”
This is quite a different site from his current vineyard, likely more appropriate for Pinot Noir. “There are bluffs blocking the early and late sun, and reducing the heat units,” Bill says. “I have always believed one should plant the grape that is suited to the terroir.”
“I figured I better get some experience with the grape,” he adds, explaining why he made his first Pinot Noir this vintage. “I don't know if I will release this wine, or hold it until I have some from my own grapes.
If he does release this wine, look for it in about 18 months.