This ranch sits in the middle of the Campbell Valley wine route (tributary of the Fraser). We had spotted the local vineyards on various trips out, there seemed to be one located on each road travelling away from our temporary abode. We had enjoyed tasting some of the products at the farmers market we had attended previously with Johanna from next door and at that time had been informed of the festival being held at Township7. It was an afternoon event of wine tasting and live music, bring your own picnic, what’s not to like?
Checking it out on the map we determined that it wasn’t too far so we could definitely cycle. That would mean that we couldn’t take much of a picnic but with the event being held between 12 and 4pm, we wouldn’t need much to eat after a late brunch. We invited Johanna who was pleased to come but didn’t have access to a bike so we decided to walk. This wasn’t a problem in itself, it was just that I had discovered, in the meantime, that this was a combined event between the 4 local vineyards. Being on foot meant that we would not be able to visit all of them, getting our ‘passport’ stamped and entering us into a prize draw, heyho. We did, however, manage to determine a route which would include Chaberton Winery en route to our initial choice of Township7.
We had a lovely stroll along the 4th Avenue Trail we had taken on our earlier bike ride to the park. At one point our conversation was drowned out by the noise from an aircraft overhead. We are under the flight path to and from Vancouver but this seemed particularly low and huge, not sure what though.
Johanna is a very interesting individual, being Finnish/Ukrainian on her Mother’s side and English/Scottish/German on her Father’s. Born in Hong Kong, where her parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses missionaries, something she rejected at a young age. She is married to a Honduran who unfortunately had to be deported. She is a ‘wellness’ coach and trying to launch a book helping people find health through diet and has a particular leaning towards naturally fermented food, especially yeast which must include wine and beer?! She has lead an interesting life and regaled us with all sorts of tales and on the way back took us through her property next door. She is the administrative caretaker of this huge piece of land which has been left unattended for some time and has become a bit like parkland in itself. Plenty of work there to organise its rejuvenation, in between writing. I suggested goats!
The first vineyard offered a lovely selection of wines to taste and buy (but we didn’t want to be carrying bottles). These were accompanied by lemon custard tarts which Roger was able to enjoy in duplicate. A chap was playing a selection of easy-listening numbers on an acoustic guitar, under a gazebo in the middle of the lawn, surrounded by picnic tables, a very convivial scene for a Sunday afternoon. We soon left though to achieve our primary objective of the next vineyard.
Township 7 was much smaller, more intimate and we arrived just as The Shackletons, a rockabilly duo (one of the reasons for choosing it) finished their first set. On voicing my concern that we’d missed them I was reassured by the double bass player and lead vocalist that they’d be back on again shortly, in a less than Canadian accent. He is from Scarborough and studied music at Leeds! They performed off and on for the rest of the afternoon, an interesting eclectic mix of British and American soft rock with some country thrown in. He came over to chat with us during his next break and had just bought his first property in Canada after being her for 10 years.
The wine we tried was delicious, as was their own sangria but we felt that we shouldn’t adulterate the red on this occasion. We bought a lovely bottle of Sauvignon blanc and settle down to enjoy the music, our picnic, the nibbles provided, the sunshine and ambience literally amongst the vines. Johanna had brought tinned oysters and pickled/fermented garlic along with some delicious apples off one of the trees on ‘her’ land. Perhaps her professional recommendations may not be too boring.
We were quite disappointed when everyone started to pack up and leave but were very interested in seeing Johanna’s property next door but a world away. This ranch is surrounded by tall trees so we see nothing outside, something Gaylene is looking forward to at her new ranch which is much more open. There is even a significant rise at the bottom of this next door plot, not quite a hill, whilst this property is completely flat. We are going to go back for a tour of the woods/arboretum soon.