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Our Wine Philosophy

IT BEGINS IN THE VINEYARD

The finest wine comes from the finest grapes.

From the beginning, our focus is to grow high quality wines, in harmony with the environment. Farming sustainably with low yields, allows us to to bring concentrated and ripe flavour to every glass. Our team farms our vineyards year round, ensuring that the quality of what we produce improves every year, alongside our commitment to stewardship.

THE GROUND BENEATH YOUR FEET

The rules are simple, give the earth good things, she will give you good grapes.

We are stewards of the land, ever burdened with the responsibility of caring for our little piece of paradise. We use  over 320 tonnes of compost annually, encouraging organic materials in our soil is key to its longevity. Between rows, we plat cover crops, they aid in natural weed and insect control and also help with soil stability.  Currently our plantings of Sweet Elysium, Clover and Braco Mustard, Wildflower Mix and Lacy Phacelia also attract friendly pollinators. In addition to cover crops, all weed control is manually done by hand, we never use herbicides or sprays.

LIVING THE VINE LIFE

Our stewardship extends to the vine an ultimately, what our consumers are putting into their bodies when drinking our wines.

We farm for low yielding crops, giving us great concentrated flavours, but this also helps in reducing the need for spays.

We typically drop about 40%-50% of our grapes, this happens throughout the growing season.  This process allows the vines to focus their energy on ripening the remaining fruit.  Lower yields, combined with thoughtful canopy management encourages more airflow which decreases the risk of mildew and other fungal growth.  Naturally arid; the risk of mildew and rot is low in the Valley and we use organic sprays to assist in our vine management.

Our watering is done via drip irrigation, targeting water to the root system is the most effective way of water sustainability.  Our Winemaking and Viticulture Teams proactively plan watering times for physiological vine growth, ensuring the use of this resource is fully optimized.

WE KNOW HOW TO GROW

Still young in the world of winemaking; the Okanagan is emerging as a world class growing region.

The key to success, is learning the land, learning your grapes and learning how to showcase them in the best possible light.

Winemaker, Scott Robinson has been with Little Engine since it’s inception.  Every year he adjusts; a constant academic mind, there is always more the vine is telling you, more the grape can express.  Scott’s relationship with our vineyards allows him to craft finer and finer wines, year after year.

Often found in the vineyard thinning or pruning, Scott is conscious to continue his relationship with the vineyard. He makes picking decisions based on flavours and phenolic ripeness above all else.  Often we will pick blocks multiple times, looking for only the perfectly ripe fruit.  All of our grapes at Little Engine Wines are hand-harvested and sorted for quality right in the vineyard.

MAKING GREAT WINES

Every decision comes down to the grape.

Individual lots and clones are processed, fermented and aged separately until blending.  This allows us to maximize the components that then become our final wines.  Occasionally Scott will find some lots which are just too good to blend and these will become special releases for our Wine Club Members.

With white varietals, we are looking to enhance aromatics, showcase the abundance of flavours, all while retaining balance and acidity.  We allow for plenty of skin contact prior to pressing and focus on long and cool ferments to craft flavourful wines.    Though our white wines are all partially natural fermented, any inoculated yeast selection is done to compliment specific varietals and clones to enhance their character.

Red wines undergo a lengthy cold soak pre-fermentation to enhance colour extractions and flavour.  The use of submerged-cap ferments further increases tannin extraction on some reds.  Our reds are naturally fermented for an expression that showcases a purity of fruit.

Our French Oak Barrel Program is extensive and ever evolving.  We use six different French cooperages, giving us over ten styles in finishes and toasts.  Scott is always looking for the perfect pairing of vineyard block and barrel.  Slowly we are moving our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to puncheons, this gives a more balanced oak element to these wines.

Our wines are vegan, no animal fining agents are used,  we use minimal sulphites for clean wines.  Little Engine Reds are bottled unfined and unfiltered.