Posted on 11/24/2015
By Anita Draycott
Though I found all those involved in Okanagan’s grape industry to be passionate and innovative, the quirkiest of them all is Summerhill, Canada’s largest certified organic winery.
Owner Stephen Cipes gave up his real estate business in New York and started planting grapes here in 1986. In 1991 Cipes’ Gabriel sparkling wine won the gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde event, beating French Champagne.
But what sets Summerhill apart from any other winery in the region (and possibly the world) is the scaled down replica of Egypt’s Giza pyramid, where all of the wine is stored for at least 30 days. Our guide informed me that the “sacred” or perfect geometry of certain three-dimensional shapes, such as domes, arches and pyramids, have enhancing effects on liquids. In blind tastings over a three-year period, testers preferred the wines stored in Summerhill’s pyramid over those stored traditionally.
“Mind you,” cautioned the guide, “not even pyramid power can turn something like Baby Duck into a fine vintage.”