I learn from this week’s Lillooet News of the release of the first wines handcrafted with grapes grown on the 20-acre Lillooet vineyard operated by Fort Berens Winery, and it should be a cause for celebration that their success has been achieved in so short a time… the owners embarked on their project as recently as 2008.
Their success begs the question: Couldn’t something similar be happening in the Ashcroft area? Of course it takes expertise to develop a successful vineyard and winery, but that expertise is close at hand in the Okanagan, where the wine industry has grown enormously even in very recent years.
What can be done to make it happen in Ashcroft? It seems to me a simple project for our Village Council to invite some experts from the Okanagan to look at our immediate area to identify suitable sites. Our climate is not so dissimilar to that in Lillooet, we have sunshine, we have hillsides. Ideal, I would have thought for vineyeard location. And who knows? An Okanagan grower or two might just see expansion into the Ashcroft area as being a viable proposition.
So please let’s see our Council taking the initiative on this one. Success won’t happen overnight, but it could happen… given time and interest.
Come to that, they’re growing organic hops in Lillooet too. There’s no reason why that couldn’t be done here and possibly lead to the development of a micro-brewery in town. We surely have spare commercial land that would accommodate one?