One of these days I really need to visit Summerhill Winery in person and meditate in their giant pyramid.
Summerhill is one of the mainstays of the Okanagan Valley wine industry and a pioneer of organic viticulture in Canada. It’s also one of the most-visited, touristy Okanagan wineries. Admittedly I thought they were pretty gimmicky at first, with the pyramid-shaped winery building and the giant freestanding bottle of bubbly overlooking Lake Okanagan. Founder Stephen Cipes looks like he’s a lovechild straight out of the 1960s and some people might be a little alienated by all the talk about sacred geometry and universal truth, love and gratitude that you can find on their website.
But I also agree with their philosophy completely, whether it’s centered around winemaking or anything else. If there’s one thing that we should all learn from 2020, it’s that we desperately need more universal love, truth and gratitude in this world. Also, on a personal note, I love the fact that they built a pyramid and host regular meditation gatherings there, and I wish I lived nearby so I could go to them.
Tourist gimmicks aside, I know that the Cipes family is very earnest in their belief about the importance and regenerative powers of organic viticulture. I met Summerhill CEO Ezra Cipes (one of Stephen’s sons) a few years ago at a wine event and I was impressed by his quiet confidence in their mission and wines.
And Summerhill’s wines are good. I’ve been a fan of their Organic Cabernet Franc for a few years now. It’s an eminently quaffable (dare I say, even chuggable) wine with notes of fresh berries and whipped cream, soft vanilla, cherry, blackcurrant, and an initial whiff of fresh green plants – like that blast of humid fresh foliage when you first walk into a greenhouse. It’s very soft and juicy on the palate, lightweight with a burst of fresh acidity on the finish. It’s honestly a bit too easy to drink.
Today is International Cabernet Franc Day. If you’re looking for an easygoing wine to celebrate this grape, I would humbly suggest you look no further than this one from Summerhill. Pop the cork and bask in universal love and gratitude.
Name: Summerhill Organic Cabernet Franc
Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Grape: 85% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste: berries and cream, vanilla, cherry, blackcurrant
Texture: soft, light and juicy
Rating: universal love and gratitude, baby