JRD Farms is located in Creston, British Columbia: a small rural farming community in the south-east corner of the province. This area of the province produces a wide variety of agricultural crops, and mixed fruits. It took a number of years to find the ideal property in the Creston Valley to grow wine grapes along with mixed orchard fruits.
This property was selected after viewing countless other properties in the valley and using the skills I had acquired while working in the Okanagan Valley for Mission Hill Family Estate and for Felton Road Winery, in New Zealand, one of the worlds top Pinot Noir Producers. During the growing season JRD Farms experiences very long hours of full sun exposure, getting the last bit of sun in the valley before sunset. It is one of the most eastern vineyards in BC with an elevation from 640m-700m; the highest vineyard in BC. The average Growing Degree Days (GDD) at JRD Farms is 1124 which is comparable to Dijon and Champagne France. The difference is that the climate JRD Farms is a short growing season with intense temperatures where as France has a much longer growing season that is not as hot. Many people do not believe that wine grapes can be grown in Creston because it is too cold. Creston has a very unique micro-climate which is moderated by Kootenay Lake. The Creston Valley runs north south with Kootenay Lake also running north south between the Purcell Mountains to the East and the Selkirk Mountain Range to the West. JRD Farms is located in an ideal growing location in the Creston valley; with perfect south-west exposure for optimal heat and sunlight.
The vineyard is planted with three different clones of Pinot Noir; 115, 667, and 777. The vines are own rooted unlike most vineyards in British Columbia which are planted with grafted vines. JRD Farms believes that using own rooted vines is a truer expression of the fruit compared to using grafted vines. Also using own rooted vines is a benefit in cool climates. During a very cold weather event with grafted vines there is a very good chance the whole vine will die in a hard frost. An own rooted vine offers a chance part of the vine will survived the cold avoiding having to replant. The vineyard is planted 8x2ft spacing. The reason for planting vines every 2ft is that this spacing puts less stress on each vine to ripen fruit each season. The production is the same as an 8X4ft spaced vineyard. William Tell Family Estate, is at an elevation of 700m. This is the greatest elevation of any vineyard in British Columbia. This elevation, combined with own rooted vines allows the fruit to be expressed without interference in its purest form. The grapes from the vineyard are used to produce Sparkling Rose wine.
The orchard is a mixed orchard planted with a variety of apples, pears, peaches, plums and apricots. The orchard was planted by the original owner of the property. The fruit trees are mature trees and produce very good quality fruit. The fresh fruit is sold locally in the valley and some of the apples and pears are used for producing Hard Ciders, and Perry, Mad Trapper Old Fashioned Apple, Sparkling Old Fashioned Apple and Pear Cider, Apple & Pear Cider Vinegar the fruit is also used in the fruit spreads. The slope and aspect of the property make it one of the warmest in the valley. This helps to alleviate spring and autumn frost events that can be deadly to the trees and vines in other areas of the valley.