1880 Fulford-Ganges Rd.
Salt Spring Island, BC
In a well-planned career change, Marcel Mercier (an environmental consultant) and Elaine Kozak (an economist) have developed Saltspring Island’s largest winery. The vineyard work is so detailed that many vines are grafted to early-ripening rootstock, giving Garry Oaks a leg up on the island’s short season.
The winery is named for the species of white oak native to the Pacific Northwest. The winery ages its pinot noir in Garry oak barrels. Winery visits can be enhanced by a stroll through the Cretan labyrinth built in the vineyard in 2004. The vineyard grows gewürztraminer, pinot gris, pinot noir, Léon Millot and zweigelt.
Purchases of Okanagan grapes have now been discontinued, even though the difficult seasons of 2007 and 2008 were challenging. On the other hand, the 2009 vintage on the B.C. coast was, in Kozak’s words, “spectacular [with] terrific fruit and unbelievable yield.” On that high note, Kozak and Mercier currently have the winery listed for sale.