Dear wine Ladies,
I heard that there is a winery in British Columbia that is actually owned and operated by an Indian Band. This is pretty cool! Can you tell me more about it? How are the wines? Where can we buy them?
Absolutely! The winery you are referring to is called NK’ Mip Cellars (pronounced in-ka-meep) which is located in the Osoyoos region in the South Okanagan. It’s actually North America’s first aboriginal owned and operated winery producing VQA wines. The Indian Band owns 230 acres at the Inkameep Vineyard with some vines dating back to 1968. Forty of these acres are currently being managed by NK’ Mip Cellars producing a variety of wines including Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. Sam Baptise, the viticulturist in charge is planting new varietals each year responding to the great demand for NK’Mip’s wines.
Many of the wines, under the direction of head winemaker Randy Picton, have been honored with multiple Gold, Silver and Bronze awards from both domestic and international competitions. Most recently Nk’Mip Cellars Pinot Noir captured Best in Show at the Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards. They’ve also introduced a new line of reserve wines called Qwam Qwmt that are garnering rave reviews.
The Band actually owns 32,000 acres of which 1,155 acres are now planted with grape vines. These additional vineyards are operating under long-term leases with several other wineries. Interestingly 25% of the total vines planted in the Okanagan Valley are on the Band’s Land.
Mr. Picton is also involved in training some of the youth of the Osoyoos Indian Band both in the area of winemaking and in the day to day operations of running a winery. In fact a number of the young band members have enrolled at the Okanagan University College taking the Winery Assistant Certificate Course.
As for availability please contact the winery directly at www.nkmipcellars.com.