Fruits of Their Labour
Set amongst the breathtaking scenery of Dewdney, surrounded by blueberry fields, vineyards and mountains, a trip out to Kermode Wild Berry Wines quickly turns from retail therapy into a fully-fledged tourist experience.
As the name suggests the berries and fruits are wild and hand-picked both locally and across BC. With an abundance of native fruits available, wines on offer include blackberry, salmonberry, huckleberry, elderberry, cranberry, apple, strawberry and blueberry. Many of these are now award winners recognized for their taste, quality and price.
Beginning as a harvester of wild berries for commercial markets, brothers Fritz and Bob Sprieszl soon saw a gap in the market and became the first winery to make berry wine back in the mid 2000’s. There was considerable on-the-job learning as they needed to determine fermentation times for each berry, which can vary by weeks from fruit to fruit. There was also the issue of finding enough berry pickers, both locally and up north to ensure adequate stocks were harvested in the limited time they are available. Calling on family and friends in the early days, they have now developed a great working relationship with First Nation groups, who have the necessary skills and knowledge. The Elders at local band Leq’a:mel First Nations were happy to work with Kermode Wines, providing 90% of the salmon berry pickers, giving them the opportunity to bring back some of the traditional harvesting skills that were being lost.
Now word is spreading worldwide and Kermode’s list of exporting countries include China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Also snuggly sitting on the Scenic7BC tourist route, the tasting room sees daily visitors from around the world stopping for that authentic BC experience and a few souvenirs to take home.
Check them out at: www.kermodewildberry.com (website currently under maintenance)
Tasting Room & Wine Sales: open daily from noon – 6 p.m.
“My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine.” – Author – Ernest Hemingway