October 8, 2019
It was an omen that became a family legend.
As the story goes, the founding father of B.C’s Wild Goose Vineyards, Adolf Kruger, was trudging through the brush of a parcel of land he had just purchased in Okanagan Falls. While following a rough game trail, the trail opened up into a clearing and Adolf stumbled onto a flock of dozens of Canada geese.
Adolf stopped and stared.
Seventy-five geese looked back at him with one hundred and fifty glassy, beady eyes.
Then all hell broke loose.
“The geese freaked out, and started going crazy!” recalls Roland Kruger, Adolf’s son, and Wild Goose Vineyard’s general manager. “They started honking and flapping their wings and just going nuts at him. It startled him quite a bit, but he saw this encounter as a good omen; the land was perfect for grape growing with amazing slopes and sun exposure.”
That was back in the 1980s, and in 1990 Wild Goose Vineyards opened its doors as the 18th winery to be licensed in British Columbia, and the first ‘farmgate’ winery to grow grapes, make wine and bottle on site, and sell their wares directly to the public.
“We brought a lot of German influence to our winemaking style,” says Roland Kruger. “That was our heritage, our German ancestry. It is truly a great compliment, however, our wines are truly 100% made in an Okanagan style. We started off making Riesling and Gewürztraminer. We started out small making just 500 cases a year, but today we make over 20,000 cases a year.”
Another Kruger, Roland’s brother Hagen is the winemaker alongside his son Nikolas, while Hagen’s youngest son Alex tends the vineyards.
Wild Goose Vineyards produces many white and red wines including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and a blend called Autumn Gold, and all are available at Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
“Many years ago my mother said ‘you guys are always making these dry wines, and they’re all delicious but I’d love to have something a bit more, in German they say lieblich, meaning a bit more loving and kind,’ so we came up with a blend, the Autumn Gold. It’s a blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc. Once we blended them together, we added a bit of grape juice back to the wine, which adds a bit of sweetness and a nice balance of acidity to the wine. This wine has become the biggest selling wine from Wild Goose.”
Kruger says that Wild Goose is thrilled to be selling wines into Alberta now, since many of their customers have travelled to B.C’s wine country and had been asking for availability here.
“Co-op Wine Spirits Beer has been a great partner for us. Co-op recognizes quality and consistency in winemaking and they’ve been great about helping us get back into the Alberta market so we can get our wine to more customers.”
Find Wild Goose Vineyards wines at Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores.
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