The Story of BC Wine Studio
A different kind of winemaking venture
BC Wine Studio is a unique spot in the Okanagan Valley. It’s the home of the property’s signature estate label – Carter Wine Company - but it’s also an incubator for new winemakers and wine brands. Over the years, producers like Black Market Winery, Nagging Doubt, Siren’s Call, and Hello Someday have called BC Wine Studio home.
Wine lovers can visit the studio and do an in-winery tasting of the different wine labels the studio produces. And for those who dream of bringing their own wine brands and wine dreams to life, BC Wine Studio is an ideal first port of call.
It started with a dream - as it so often does
The BC Wine Studio story began in 2011, when Vancouver landscaper Stephen Carter decided to move to the Okanagan Valley to establish a new winemaking venture, one that would bring together other like-minded trailblazers with an enthusiasm for wine, family, and community. He wanted to create a facility where he could produce his own high quality estate wines while nurturing the valley’s next generation of wine brands and winemakers.
It was a bold idea especially because Stephen knew little about winemaking. Still, he had great passion, grit, and – and like so many other dreamers who simply wouldn’t be told no - he was determined to bring his vision to life.
Meet Stephen and Valerie - the team behind BC Wine Studio
Stephen purchased a rugged property and vineyard in the rich winemaking region of Okanagan Falls. Then he got to work restoring and renovating the property. That started with Hawk’s vineyard, planted with some of the oldest vines in the area. But despite their potential, the vines of Hawk’s Vineyard needed the attention of an expert viticulturist. They were in rough shape after years of neglect.
Enter Valerie Tremblay, who knew the vines of the Okanagan valley well. She already had 20 years of experience working as a viticulturist and quickly jumped in with both feet to work with Stephen. Slowly, she and Stephen brought the vineyard back to life.
Hawk’s Vineyard in Okanagan Falls
Today, Hawk’s Vineyard is planted to 5 acres including 13 varietals. Its fruit goes into the wines of Carter Wine Company, the studio’s flagship label. Val and her team farm the 40-year-old vines with minimal intervention, so the fruit can best represent the terroir of the area. Vines are trimmed for a low yield, which results in concentrated flavours with great depth and complexity.
Like Stephen, the expert viticulturist Val also had dreams of doing more. She wanted to try her hand at winemaking. Soon, she’d take the fruit she’d been nurturing in the vineyard and start producing the wines that would form the basis for Carter Wine Company.
Carter Wine Company - low intervention estate wines with great character
Under the tutelage of Mark Simpson, the winemaker for Siren’s Call, Val learned the craft of winemaking, taking the reins of Carter Wine Company, and transferring her passion for growing great fruit into making remarkable wines.
In 2020, Val – the first ever female French-Canadian winemaker in Okanagan Falls - won her first medal for 2018 Ehrenfelser Riesling.
Visit BC Wine Studio
When you visit BC Wine Studio, you’re right in the middle of the action. Across from Stephen and Valerie’s log cabin home, you’ll find BC Wine Studio’s working production facility. When you sample the studio’s wines you’ll do it right in the winery itself, surrounded by fermenters and barrels of aging wine for Carter and the studio’s other wine brands. You also might find the winery’s three dogs - Bubbles, Ruby and Grapes - lazing in the vineyard or dropping by the winery to say hello.
All told, it’s the dream Stephen Carter had a decade ago. Except this time it’s not a dream. It’s the life he and Valerie have built together on a remarkable piece of land in Okanagan Falls. And they’d love to welcome you when you’re in the area.
Make your wine at BC Wine Studio
BC Wine Studio offers custom crush and winemaking services for dreamers and rebels like Stephen and Valerie. If you’ve dreamed of starting your own wine brand, we can help make it happen. We do everything from source your fruit to make your wine to finish your blends to teach you a bit about the art and science of winemaking.Learn more