Chapter 2: Natural
Phantom Creek Estates is rooted on vineyards with a deep history. Led by the vision of the Bai family and the tireless efforts of the vineyard team, our Estate vineyards are farmed organically and biodynamically.
On the lower terrace of the Black Sage Bench, the historic 10-acre Phantom Creek Vineyard (est. 1996) is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Malbec as well as late-ripening Bordeaux variety Petit Verdot. In 2017, we extended this heritage with new plantings immediately North and South totaling 33 acres.
The 51-acre Becker Vineyard (est. 1977) that surrounds the winery is planted to Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon, with small blocks allocated to Syrah, Carmenere, Chardonnay and Semillon.
The 45-acre Kobau Vineyard (est. 2005) on the Golden Mile Bench is planted to Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Viognier and is historically known for producing world-class Syrah.
Evernden Springs Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley has been in development for two years. Consulting white winemaker, Olivier Humbrecht Master of Wine and owner of Zind-Humbrecht, says, “This site shows incredible potential to grow expressive single vineyard Pinot Gris and Riesling.”
Amy Richards, Director of Farming at Phantom Creek Estates, has been fortunate enough to work in many different wine regions around the world in her 20 years as a viticulturist. To her, nothing compares to the Okanagan Valley. With a high latitude, long days, warm to cold climate changes, the Okanagan has proved to show many different aspects of viticulture, making it a truly unique wine region.
Our vineyard team is fascinated by the diversity of soils throughout all our vineyard sites. By analyzing the soil, you see the story of the farming process and how the vines grow and react to their environment. Each of the estate vineyards has a unique combination of local climate infused with the sites micro-climate, vineyard soil type, layered with the varieties that are planted. Through these natural elements and irrigation, we are supporting a unique set of circumstances – called terroir. At Phantom Creek Estates, farming is done naturally to express that terroir as purely as possible.
We farm all our vineyards following organic and biodynamic principles, eliminating the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers, rather relying on traditional methods using organic compost and cover crops for weed control and soil health.
These measures support a balanced and healthy ecosystem in each of the estate vineyards, allowing our team the opportunity to get the best grapes possible while taking care of the land. Integrated pest management is a critical part of managing the vineyards. We use heritage breed chickens in our vineyards as they consume cutworms and other pests that are great for chickens but harmful to vine health. Our chickens are part of the ecosystem and do their part to support healthy vineyards, all while naturally fertilizing their workplace.
Amy’s one message to the Phantom Creek Estates visitor is that we farm naturally. Natural farming is a choice you make when you decide to be stewards of the land and commit to purely expressing the terroir of your vineyards. At Phantom Creek Estates, we believe, ‘What goes into the land, goes into your glass.’
Welcome to Phantom Creek Estates.