mark hopley

December 2nd, 2023 Mary McDermott Winemaker Township 7 and Project X Mark Hopley Winemaker at Hester Creek  


This Week : 




Mary McDermott –  New releases and awards won at Township 7 (Naramata Bench/South Langley)

Mary McDermott in London

Mary was in London to receive the Best Sparkling Wine in Canada award from the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championship!

For their Riesling driven  7 Stars Rigel. It was the runner up to the World Champion Aromatic Sparkling Wine from Italy.

Mary and T7 also won this award in 2021 with their Polaris.

Declared the best Canadian  sparkling wine in the World.

Before Mary and I talked about her new releases,  we discussed about what everyone else in the BC wine world is talking about – crop loss due to a deep freeze in December of last year.  A 54% reduction in crop and long term damage to vineyards.

Strangely, while the crop was reduced, the colder weather led to fewer clusters on the vines which in turn led to rapid ripening when Summer and Fall returned. Great flavours in the whites and complex concentrated reds followed.

Mary and I tasted:

Benchmark Series 2021 Viogner.

From one of the best vineyards in Canada – Fools Gold Vineyard in North Oliver. Owner is vineyard manager Mark Antonello. Planted over two decades ago by his Father-law the legendary Richard Cleave.  Fermented in stain steel tank and just two barrels.

Grapefruit and rounded lime/citrus  on the nose.  Passionfruit awaits in the mouth…with a beautiful soft mouthfeel. $30.97


2021 Seven Stars Vega

 A single vineyard wine. Also made with Viognier from the same Fools Gold Vineyard. Picked early for high acidity . En tirage for one full year. Beautifully aromatic. Crafted in an off-dry style. Inhale notes of pink grapefruit. Both nose and mouth get treated to mandarin orange notes and flavours. $36.97

2016 Seven Stars Sirius

Gold medal winner recently at Great Northwestern Invitational Wine Competition 2023.

Crafted from south Langley fruit planted two decades ago.

Cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes harvested, pressed and fermented together. Only the free run juice  was used to make the crown jewel of Township 7’s sparkling wine collection.

En tirage was 60 months. Crafted in the traditional Methode Champenoise style, don’t be surprised to discover Brioche on the nose with a palate of oven baked apple and raw honey. Gorgeous mousse and acidity .


Congratulations for Mary and staff at  Township 7


Mark Hopley – Winemaker at Hester Creek (Golden Mile)

Mark Hopley

Hester Creek was named BC Winery of the year from Great Northwest Wine Awards.

Timing is everything. If that cold freeze had hit the Okanagan just 3 weeks later, many of the vines could have achieved Winter dormancy and survived.

Timing is also important when requesting interviews and tasting wines. Mark Hopley and I were prepped to talk about his/their new releases –

Brooke Jesus and Mark Hopley

2020 Old Vine Brut – traditional method Brut. 24 months en tirage. Lemon and line on the nose. Minerality and brioche notes. $34.99

2022 Merlot  100% Merlot . Sage nose & red berries on the nose. Raspberries and chocolate/herbs on palate. $19.99

2022 Cabernet Merlot – 5 south Okanagan vineyards. 7 months in American and French oak.  $19.99

2022 Character Red –  Italian Merlot clone, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Malbec. Blueberry, blackberry and peppery. $22.99


Speaking of timing ….

it just so happens that a  whole new thinking and planning in winemaking is being released to the wine world Friday Dec 1 –

It’s  called Project X  – Winemakers Trilogy (thus XYZ labels)

Mark will explain – 3 very different wines. Only 200 bottles left.  “$110 dollars of Okanagan goodness”



Fort Berens – New Releases

Canadian Whisky Awards  Victoria

Best of  2023 lists




April 3rd 2021 – New Releases from Michael Bartier (Bartier Bros) and Mark Hopley (Hester Creek)



New Releases from Michael Bartier (Bartier Bros) and Mark Hopley (Hester Creek)

 It’s that time of year.

Spring brings new releases from all the wineries.

Michael Bartier  – Winemaker  (and co-founder) at  Bartier Brothers (Black Sage Road)


2019 Rose –  (Now) $17.99

2019 – Grenache Syrah Mourvedre (April) $41.99

2019  Merlot –  (May) $22.99

2019 – Orchard Row (June) $36.99

 “Less is More“

 That’s Michael Bartier’s winemaking philosophy. No big over oaked glob in the glass.

Lean and sharply defined. Flinty. Minerality.


The Rose is a smash hit. A blend of Merlot, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.

Strawberry, melon and floral notes.  A clean beauty in the mouth. And best of all,  affordable.

The GSM  is tough to grow and blend. Thus the price tag. But what a payoff.  It stays with you long after you finish.

The Merlot is one of the very best in Canada. Blueberry, cherry on the nose. Flint, wet stone follows. Very affordable. Highly Recommended.

The Orchard Row is quite a story. Its basically a long row of plantings left over from other vines. Like a hedge you can drink.

It’s a field blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Gamay and Pinot Noir. All from the same row.

It was the Bartier house wine until friends convinced them to share.

Its fantastic.

Just like the winemaker.

NOTE – Michael takes us through the partnership he’s formed with one of France’s most influential wineries – Boutinot.

The wine Michael makes for them is called Boutinot – Project B.  A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.


Bartier Bros Tasting Room now open.  Daily 11am to 5PM



Mark Hopley – Winemaker at Hester Creek (Golden Mile)


Hester Creek is celebrating over 50 years of winemaking.  Those years started with the original owner/winemaker Joe Busnardo.

Mark Hopley – Hester Creek

In 1968, BC wine pioneer Joe Busnardo came upon an excellent property sheltered below the rugged desert bluffs of what is now known as the Golden Mile Bench.  Joe recognized the potential for growing superior vinifera grapes on this unique land.

Today, a total of 115 acres comprise the Hester Creek  estate, which is planted with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Italian Merlot, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sémillon, Syrah, and Trebbiano on 22 vineyard blocks.


All that wine history allows  all of to us celebrate the release of the….

2020 Hester Creek Trebbiano.  52 year old gnarly vines that deliver absolutely classic flavours. Do yourself a favour. FIND THIS WINE.

Apple, Melon and topical fruit on the nose and clean citrus, honey and minerality in the mouth. $22.99 plus tax

Thank you Hester Creek.  Thank you Mark. Thank you Joe.


2020 Hester Creek Pinot Gris-Viognier.  (2/3 Pinot Gris .1/3 Viognier)

Hand picked and pressed. Stainless steel retains the complexity and flavours we’ve come to love.

On the nose,  peach, clover.  In the mouth peach and honey and minerality. $16.99 plus tax.

This is a Save On Foods special. Also available at winery.

2020 P Gris. Viognier

Hester Creek is now welcoming guests at Terrafina Restaurant for patio service and take-out from 12:30-4pm, Wednesday-Sunday.   Check out the Hester Creek Website for special events.


Wine release dinners

Rose/Trebbiano April 3  – sold out

Bubble evening  May 13/14. Ti Amo and Old Vine Brut

The Judge – July 8 Summer Dinner.


Mark also looks ahead to future releases this Spring and Summer..

Ti Amo,  Old Vine Brut and The Judge.




April is BC Wine Month

Valleys of Wines

New Spring Releases

Eat Local. Checking in with the restaurants