I remember tasting the wines from Tightrope for the first time. I was in Whistler to present at Cornucopia, a festival that celebrates food and wine. A friend drew my attention to this bottle with no label on it. It was a lip smacking Riesling not for sale yet. I was impressed by the quality and couldn’t wait to taste more from this new winery, Tightrope.
Even though the first official vintage of Tightrope was 2012, the owners Graham and Lyndsay O’Rourke are not new to the wine industry. They left the ski and fishing life of Whistler in 2003 and moved to the Okanagan Valley. They were in love with the wine industry and the region seemed ideal to raise a family. Going to Okanagan College to learn viticulture and winemaking was not enough in their mind, they wanted to perfect their knowledge, so New Zealand was next. They both now have an Honour's degree in oenology and viticulture from Lincoln University, NZ.
The couple came back to the Okanagan and settled in Naramata in 2007. They immediately purchased a 10 acre apple orchard and prepared it for grape growing. In the meantime, Graham gained experience by being one of Mission Hill’s leading viticulturists and Lyndsay became the winemaker at Ruby Blues Winery. In 2012, they join forces to dedicate their energy full time to their own project - Tightrope. The name suggests the fine balance you need to have when you’re making decisions. Every step is important to achieve quality.
Early on, they were acknowledged by their peers and won numerous medals for their wines. Their Riesling remains their specialty and one of my favourites. You can currently purchase three vintages right here (the 2012, 2013 and 2014 vintages). What a treat to be able to experience the evolution of the wines from day one. Lyndsay is also known to have a knack with Viognier, she was recognized for it multiple times when she worked at Ruby Blues and her success with the grape continues. Another bottle to add to your basket. Santé!
This post is Part 1 of 2. Come back on March 9 to read Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson's spotlight on Tightrope and his tasting notes on their wines that will be sent out to our lucky Wine Club members.
You can buy Michelle's favourite Rieslings by clicking on each bottle below!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.