Martin’s Lane is unique and distinct with vineyards that produce exceptional wines.
As we arrive It seemed almost like the vineyards, the winery and the building were one with the past. The past of artist Vincent van Gogh whose spectacular 1888 painting titled Red Vineyard seems to come alive as an inspirational work of art in the form of Martin’s Lane Winery. The architectually designed magnificence that juts out of the hillside overlooking the lake, surrounded by vineyards and indigenous rust colour pines, takes on a life of it’s own welcoming visitors to experience and explore what’s inside.
The architecture is bold, dramatically announcing it’s eye-catching presence. A visit to Martin’s Lane is an exciting journey into the world of superior wines that pay homage to the wines of Burgundy in style and taste.
Expect to be wowed by the impressive architecture of the Martin’s Lane Winery. It’s all an integral component of the tasting experience, like no other, an opportunity to enjoy and purchase exceptional wines.
As you drive up to the winery you encounter a little whimsy in the Douglas Copeland sculpture titled “Redhead” * The sculpture is tilted cheekily on it’s ear.
Before we get started on our tour I think we should deal with two points about Martin’s Lane. As architecturally outstanding the structure of the winery is and no matter how intimidating it may seem Martin’s Lane is a winery that welcomes visitors. Somehow there was a bit of an urban myth about the exclusivity of Martin’s Lane. Absolutely not the case. If you have been told, or believe, that the winery is open to only “club members” or an elite clientele you are mistaken. The winery is extremely welcoming as we found on our visit in late July. Possibly this has been brought about by the fact that with the exception of harvest time, the winery has only three people working; Shane Munn, Winemaker and General Manager, Jessa Black, Assistant Winemaker, and Lauren Berntzen Rorie, Experience Curator, and because every visit is personally curated only a few visits take place per day. Visits are by appointment, only for those who have made prior arrangements, guests will experience a wine tasting that is truly memorable. As always we advise you to plan well ahead. The winery greets only one set of visitors at any one time.
Now let’s deal with the elephant in the room – the price of the wines at Martin’s Lane. Expensive? That would depend on exactly what you are looking for in an exceptional, quality wine. Martin’s Lane is not the only winery in the Okanagan to introduce an exclusive, high quality, low volume line of fine wine. Once you have been made aware of the level of their commitment to the process of 100% gravity with minimal interference and had the opportunity to taste their exquisite Pinot Noir and Riesling you will find any concerns of value for money will have been alleviated.
Their wines are tended, harvested and crafted by hand according to winemaker Munn. “We don’t interfere. We don’t use a single pump. We believe this brings out elegant and complex expressions of Pinot Noir and Riesling.”
Martin’s Lane’s first vintage was in 2014 when they produced 3000 cases. Three Pinot Noir, two Riesling. In 2015 four Pinot Noir were produced and a maximum of 400 cases per varietal.
The Pinot Noir is of a single vineyard with potential for a single block. Aged in barrels for 17 months in 90% French oak, 10% Austrian. No U.S. oak is used. The toast is medium and occasionally low. The barrels are a super fine grain and well seasoned, sourced from only five or six cooperages. 75% of the barrels come from a single cooperage with 25% being new. The barrels are kept for four years before being replaced.
Their winemaking includes cooling the fruit after harvest & all movements of grapes, juice & wine are gently carried out by gravity. Using modern techniques but natural, with minimal interference. The grapes are picked during the day and stored in a giant refrigerator that can be set, by phone, at the target 8 degrees. They remain in the tank at 10 degrees, and are naturally fermented using the same principals as winemaking in Burgundy, France.
The goal is no irrigating. Most of the Kelowna vineyards tend to hold moisture.The vineyard in Naramata is their most southerly. Starting with four vineyards, three more have been purchased this season, two in East Kelowna, one of which will become the home block.
The wine is naturally made, not natural wine. Grown organically, no pesticides or herbicides are used. Limited intervention. Unlined concrete is used in the fermentation process for the red wines, white wines using stainless steel and concrete. The juice travels strictly by gravity with five movements to the bottling.
In 2017 the growing season was influenced by the smoke in the air. The smoke acted like a cloud and tended to slow things down, acting in a positive way. The results were less alcohol with an acidity that was sharper and crisper.
The Simes Vineyard produces a Pinot Noir and a Riesling. The Naramata Ranch Vineyard produces a Pinot Noir and a Riesling. Fritzi’s Vineyard produces a Pinot Noir and two Rieslings.
Currently available a 2014 Simes Vineyard Pinot Noir and a 2014 Naramata Ranch Pinot Noir; a 2014 Simes Vineyard Riesling, a 2014 Naramata Ranch Riesling and a 2014 and 2015 Fritzi’s Vineyard Rieslings. The available Pinot Noirs are $100. The Rieslings range from $55. to $75. and may be purchased individually at the winery during your visit or online with a minimum of six bottles configured in your choice. Prices do not include taxes. The 2014 Fritzi’s Vineyard Pinot Noir has been fully allocated.
The wines we tasted.
“Ancient volcanic and glacial soils settle amongst precipitous hillsides. The area is blessed with warm days, cool nights and the lowest rainfall and humidity of any wine-producing region. Our unique latitude and altitude conspire to yield a dramatic viticultural landscape.”
The design of the winery building is by Tom Kundigs and Antonio Puig (GCA architects) who also designed the CheckMate Artisanal inspirational pop-up tasting experience room. Erin Martin is the interior designer that is behind the interior design in the hospitality area.
Martin’s Lane has a Winery Membership Program. As a member, you will enjoy access to the most exclusive wine releases each year. Each shipment you receive will be meticulously selected by winemaker Shane Munn, and feature a central theme.
You may take advantage of your membership when visiting the winery, where you are always welcome by appointment, be it for a tasting, an espresso, a casual catch-up in the hospitality area, or introducing new friends to the winery.
A single membership with two levels and two shipments per year. Either twelve bottles of wine $1,250, or six bottles of wine $650. curated by winemaker Shane Munn, delivered to you twice per year. This is an estimated cost per shipment, inclusive of taxes and bottle deposit. All shipments include free shipping within Canada. Customization may effect pricing. Access to pre-release, library, and large format wines.
Private Tours and Tastings are available. Join a member of the small winery team for complimentary winery tours & wine tastings for you and up to five guests, by appointment. Enjoy complimentary wine tasting year round in the hospitality area of the winery, by appointment.
Details, terms and conditions about the Martin’s Lane Winery Membership Program can be seen here.
For more thoughts on a threshold for wine pricing visit businessinsider.com keeping in mind that 100.00 GBP is $173.00 Canadian. An interesting read.
* For more information on the sculpture visit www.IamVincent.com
Bottle shots courtesy of Martin’s Lane Winery, all images, except as noted, MyVanCity.