The 2022 Winery of the Year
Cedar Creek Estate Winery
Is located in East Kelowna in the northern Okanagan Valley, emerged as the winner of the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada in 2022, beating 251 other producers. However, this achievement did not happen overnight; the winery has been on a long journey to become Canada’s Winery of the Year, especially in the fiercely competitive market of premium wine production.
Cedar Creek Estate Winery has been in operation since 1980, initially under the name Uniacke Wines before it was purchased by the Fitzpatrick family in 1986, who rebranded it as Cedar Creek. The Fitzpatrick family uprooted the hybrids and planted some of the earliest Pinot Noir vines in the valley. Today, the winery, under the guidance of its current owner, Anthony von Mandl, and winemaker Taylor Whelan, continues to thrive 42 years after its inception.
Cedar Creek’s success can be traced back to winemaker Tom DiBello, who established Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the winery’s future. Winemaker Darryl Brooker then put in place a structure to move the winery forward, paving the way for Whelan to release a range of electric, supercharged, and vibrant wines despite facing numerous on-site renovations.
In the last five years, the winery has undergone a significant renovation, beginning with a transition to 100% organic farming in the vineyard, which included every aspect of the winery, from sustainable viticulture to farm-to-bottle craftsmanship in the wine cellar. Additionally, they renovated the winery itself, creating a luxury guest experience in their beautiful new Tasting Salon, a member-exclusive Aspect House, and their award-winning Home Block Restaurant.
The winery is known for its wines that honor the extremely rare terroir of its Home Block vineyard. This small patch of land has soil diversities so unique that they can only be found here and nowhere else in the world, resulting in wines that embody the soul of the Okanagan Valley.
Winemaker Taylor Whelan is dedicated to exploring the diversity of the North Okanagan, making wines that reflect his philosophy of using natural paths whenever possible. The winery’s waste glass is crushed on-site and spread on roads with sand in the winter, and then swept up the following spring to be used the next year, which is an ingenious Canadian trick.