Tucked in the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley, you’ll find a beautiful new winery by name of Quidni Estate Winery.
Founder Marty Gunderson, who actually didn’t know much about wine-making, decided to partake in an adventure to open a winery to bring good people together through outstanding wine because… why not? The word “quidni” means “why not” in Latin – this was the inspiration behind their humble beginning. Today, each bottle of Quidni wine reflects their philosophy of taking risks, leaving excuses at the door, and living life to the fullest.
Quidni Estate Winery has a rustic wine tasting room, an outdoor patio, and three beautiful private luxury suites available for guests. I stayed in Room 1, complete with a king-sized bed, an incredible panoramic view of the vineyards below and mountainside, and of course, a mini-fridge for all of my wine purchases (… sorry wallet!).
They offers a fantastic selection of reds and whites, including a few Barrel Selects, and their signature WhyNots. In their few short months of operation since opening in April earlier this year, Quidni has already won four awards for their wines (Viognier, Merlot, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris Viognier) – surely a testament of winemakers Todd Moore and Robert Thielicke’s expertise. My personal favourites are the 2013 Merlot, 2013 Pinot Gris Viognier and the 2014 WhyNot Red & 2013 WhyNot White.
2013 Merlot: This red wine was full of sweet berry fruit aromas, and its full-bodiedness fills your mouth with such richness and opulence. There is also an added depth and complexity, having been aged in French oak.
2013 Pinot Gris Viognier: I was forewarned before my winetasting that this wine had actually sold out only just earlier that day. After I had my first sip, I was sorely disappointed – I would not be able to buy a bottle (or two) to take home! This wine was a wonderful balance of the intense, flavourful Voignier (30%), with the more gentle Pinot Gris (70%), giving it a clean finish that makes it so easy to drink and enjoy.
2014 WhyNot White and 2013 WhyNot Red: The WhyNot White is a blend of the Gewurtztraminer and Riesling – for light, sweet wine-lovers, this is the perfect wine. It has a fruitness that is light on the palate, and as Quidni’s “summer sipper”, would be a fantastic wine to enjoy on a patio on a hot summer day. The WhyNot Red is also a blend, balancing out the full-bodied Merlot, with the light to medium bodied Cabernet Franc, to create a smooth red wine.
An honourable mention goes to Quidni’s 2013 Gewurtztraminer – a wine that is a difficult mouthful only when pronouncing its name. This fruity white wine has notes of sweet grapefruit and lychee, that is crisp and refreshing with its lovely citrus-y finish.
You can browse through and order from their full wine collection online on their website: quidniwine.com.
What makes this winery so special were the people that I encountered during the trip. Leanne, a Wine Tasting Associate, kindly guided us through a (non-intimidating) wine tasting, peppered with Quidni tidbits, allowing us to learn more about both the wine and the winery.
Dustin, the self-proclaimed “cellar-monkey”, has such a friendly and vibrant personality, whose passion for wine and the wine-making journey emanates brilliantly through his character. We were lucky to catch him in action, and he was very kind in showing us the downstairs area and cellar where all the action happens, despite it being past closing time. If you have a chance to meet either Leanne or Dustin, I promise you, they will make your journey to the Okanagan Valley worth it!
I’m looking forward to seeing Quidni Estate Winery’s guaranteed growth in the upcoming months and years. With the team aiming to double their wine production, a lounge license and a fragrant rosé already in the works, this winery is bound to be the talk of the town. Next time you are in the Okanagan Valley, I would definitely encourage you to drop by and taste their wine. As Quidni’s motto goes … ask yourself why not, and see where it takes you!