I have so many connections to the Okanagan Valley’s Road 13 Vineyards that I hardly know where to start.
The connections actually go so far back that they weren’t even called Road 13 Vineyards when I first got to know proprietors Pam and Mick Luckhurst, the name Golden Mile Cellars was what adorned each bottle. I knew the brand, working with it on restaurant wine programs, for its dedication to value and always providing an honest expression of the land where Mick farms the grapes. It seemed that whether it was Syrah, Chardonnay, or anything in between, the wine always delivered for the price and was indicative of that particular vineyard block’s terroir.
Well, some things change and others remain the same. As the Okanagan Valley looks to get carved out into sub-appellations once the tangle of red tape and bureaucracy has been waded through, the ‘Golden Mile Bench’ where the winery is situated looks to be the first officially-recognized sub-region. In realizing the importance of further comprehension and devotion to our region, the Luckhursts ‘gave’ the name back to the region and rebranded as Road 13, which also happens to be a geographic indicator of where they are.
With J-M Bouchard at the helm of the winemaking team, the winery’s offerings have continued to punch above their weight value-wise, and offer a glimpse into the unique aspects of different vineyard plots in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. A personal favourite, the Jackpot Viognier Roussanne Marsanne sources fruit from a few different vineyards that exude a plethora of Okanagan orchard flavours, peaches, apricots and nectarines. On the other side of the fence, their 2011 Syrah with a splash of Viognier as a tip-of-the-hat to a traditional Côte-Rôtie blend, is a swirl of dark berry fruit, well-structured with a wisp of South Okanagan sage that brings a lift of freshness. The value is ridiculously good.
You can spin the wheel with any of their wines and come up a winner. In fact, Road 13 Vineyards recently garnered so many accolades for their wines at the National Wine Awards, that they are officially among the top ten wineries in Canada. They are testament to a family, whose second generation is starting to grab the reins by the way, who appreciate the land that provides their living, and are eager to share it with you.
I’ve had fun visits at the winery, we’ve collaborated on dinners and events, and maybe even shared an ale or two at the pub. Behind their ever-growing wall of awards and accolades, they are salt-of-the-earth folks, earning an honest living. Anyone around here will tell you that the Luckhurst family are totally the no-BS kind of folks. It’s an added bonus that their wines reflect that.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.