The vineyard was originally planted with 10 different varieties of grapes, as we were not sure what would thrive on our site. At the time, there were very few people growing wine grapes in the Arrow Lakes Valley.
Through nearly a decade of trial and error, we have determined the best varietals that are suited to our climate and terroir and have focussed our efforts on several varieties that ripen early and give us excellent fruit for wine making.
The vineyard is planted on a bench that has a South to South West aspect. Soil profile has about 7-8 cms of organic material before giving way to sandy gravel, soils mixed with large stones to a depth of 20 meters before hitting bedrock that is a fine grained alkali feldspar granite with overlying sparse deposits of shale. The soil is rich in potassium and sodium. History suggests that the site was an old river bed.
The prevailing winds come from the north east, in the summer, down the Kuskanax Valley across the bench, which gives us excellent airflow through the vineyard. The breeze is like clockwork blowing from about 6:30 PM to 11:30 PM. The moist air from the Kuskanax Creek has a moderating effect on the site in the winter and spring months and is excellent in keeping radiant frosts at bay from the end of April on.
The site gets about 1100-1200 growing degree days and about 150-170 frost free days. Early ripening to mid-season on rootstock, varieties are chosen for this site. Sunset Ridge enjoys about 1900 sunshine hrs annually. Average January temperature is about -3.9C and the last recorded temp below -22C was in 1968 of-27.8. Nakusp receives about 537 mm of rain per year and about 60cms of snow. From May to the end of September the sun hits the vineyard at about 7:00 A.M. until about 8:00 P.M. giving the site long sunlight days.