Fort Berens Estate Winery

On a beautiful day in September (2014) Fort Berens Estate Winery in the little but very beautiful town of Lillooet British Columbia celebrated its Grand Opening. The winery was founded in 2009.

One hundred and fifty years ago the Hudson’s Bay Company began construction of Fort Berens on a sage-brush covered bench on the east side of the Fraser River, at Lillooet, British Columbia. This trading fort was to serve the thousands of prospectors who flocked to the Lillooet region in search of gold. The fort was never completed and the fertile river bench was used instead for the growing of melons, tomatoes and alfalfa. 

Located in the magnificent Fraser Canyon, that historic site is now home to Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery and vineyard.

In keeping with the pioneering spirit of the Gold Rush era, we are creating a new and unique wine experience in British Columbia, offering superb, distinct, hand-crafted wines.

Lillooet experiences a warm-summer humid continental climate  that falls near the borderline with both the hot summer humid continental climate type and Merlot, Cabernet Franc the semi-arid climate type The estate grows different clones of the Pinot Noir grape in their home vineyard. the red also grown here are  Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The whites are Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Danny Hattingh winemaker Photo credit: Brad Kasselman/ 

Fort Berens’ new winery building is a 9,500 square foot facility including tasting room, crush pad, wine cellar, warehouse and surrounding guest patio and picnic areas. Toronto- based David Agro and Vancouver-based Richard Newell were collaborating architects on the project and Okanagan-based Greyback Construction built the new winery. The tasting room provides a spectacular view of the coastal mountain range and vineyard, so that people can get a sense of the area while enjoying the wines Here guests can view it as a working winery where they can see the process of creating the wine from grape to bottle. The new winery was completed over a period of about twelve months at a cost of approximately $3.5 million. This takes the committed investment into Fort Berens to $8 million to-date and is reflective of the owners’ confidence in Lillooet as an emerging high-potential winemaking region in BC

The proud owners of Fort Berens Rolf de Bruin and his wife, Heleen Pannekoek

More than anything else the quality of there wines has made them very successful pioneers in the BC wine industry

Fort Berens 23 Camels White 2013 ($16.99 for 204 cases). Made from Lillooet grapes, this is a blend of 46% Riesling, 42% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Gris. The wine begins with aromas of apples, pears, bananas and even oranges. On the palate, the wine is simply a delicious bowl of fresh fruit dominated by citrus and apples. 90. reviewed by John Schreiner

Fort Berens Pinot Gris 2013 ($17.99 for 520 cases). This wine is remarkably refreshing and generous, beginning with aromas of pear and citrus and leading to flavours of peach, pear and citrus. 91.. reviewed by John Schreiner

2011 Mertiage nice wild berry flavours from their home grown wine good finish 92 reviewed by Robert Bell

2012 Riesling was just awarded the very prestigious 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines.

2012 Cabernet Franc won gold at the British Columbia Wine Awards

The winery will produce 6000 cases from this years harvest

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