We are passionate about making wines that express the unique Lillooet terroir. We aim to provide premium quality wines at a fair price ensuring our customers get great value for their money.
At Fort Berens, we have set out to produce consistent, high-quality, award-winning, terroir-driven wines. We do this with minimal intervention so that the terroir and the fruit can shine through in the glass. Our main focus is on producing single varietals from single vineyards. While most of our wines are produced from our grapes grown in our Estate Vineyard, we do seek out a few other vineyards to supplement our production. In the future, we hope to be able to source grapes from other vineyards in Lillooet.
Our winemaker works very closely together with the vineyard team to grow premium grapes that have a great expression of the terroir. Decisions with regard to yield and cultural practices are made with the wines we wish to make in mind. Differences in clones, rootstocks and even vintages are welcomed to create wines that encourage the consumer to discover the riches of the Lillooet terroir. Our highly trained winemaker and vineyard manager work together to develop a highly receptive and pro-active winemaking strategy.
To-date, we have received a large collection of BC, national and international wine awards, including most recently the Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence for British Columbia Wines for the estate grown Riesling 2012. These many accolades confirm that our strategy has us on the right track.
We have embarked on a long term project to learn more about the Lillooet terroir. Every vintage, we will work with a number of experiments that will help us in systematically learning about how certain varietals, rootstocks, clones, vineyard management practices and winemaking practices contribute to our production of premium wines. The new facility was designed in such a way, that as we learn which varietals work best in our climate, we can adjust the production procedures and techniques to accommodate future plantings and production accordingly. This learning strategy is geared towards a continuous improvement of the quality of our wines and the expression of the terroir.
Our winemaking style:
- We aim to produce wines that are clean and fresh. Wines that have old world elegance blended with the fruit forward styles consistent with new world wines.
- Generally, our red wines are cellared one year in French and American oak barrels and then aged 12 months in bottle prior to release. We like to release our wines so they are ready to drink or further cellared for an additional 4-8 years.
- We like our white wines fresh while reflecting good acidity that is retained through our relatively cool nights. Generally, our whites are dry and fruit forward.
- Our Riesling is really expressing the Lillooet terroir. It is off-dry with tropical notes. It has evolved very consistently over the last three years, which provides us with a good basis for aging for those that seek a more mature Riesling.
To-date, we have received a large collection of BC, national and international wine awards. With Danny Hattingh joining the Fort Berens team as our full-time onsite Winemaker earlier in 2014, we are now doing many vinification experiments (up to 30) to see what techniques and equipment work best with our cultivars and their various clones. Our new facility was designed in such a way, that as we learn which varietals work best in our climate, we can adjust the production procedures and techniques to accommodate future plantings and production accordingly. We are confident that with these learnings and being able to now produce wine in our new facility, which we will continue to produce wines of exceptional award-winning quality that will continue to improve with each vintage.
Danny Hattingh; Winemaker
Danny studied at The Cape Institution for Agricultural Training in Elsenburg, South Africa, earning undergraduate degrees in Viticulture and Oenology. He has worked on Vancouver’s coastal islands and spent several years at wineries in South Africa – with a brief stint in Oregon, Washington. Before moving to Lillooet with his viticulturist partner Megan, Danny worked as a winemaker in the Okanagan.