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Local wineries now contenders

Campbell Valley is fast becoming a destination spot for many different reasons, including the most important of all — wine.

Campbell Valley is fast becoming a destination spot for many different reasons, including the most important of all — wine.  Thanks to the wine-making expertise of Domaine De Chaberton, Township 7, Vista D’oro Winery and Neck of the Woods, the days of taunting by the wine aficionados of the world are over. These wineries have proved to be equal contenders in an industry that is a master class all to itself.   Recently they have joined forces in what is soon to become “The Campbell Valley Wine Run.”

I was so intrigued by all of this, I decided to pay a visit to each of them. I was more than a little curious about the concept and what they thought it would take to get everyone out of the house for the day and deep into the valley. 

To successfully write about the Wine Run, it is important to start at the beginning.  Inge Violet (Domaine De Chaberton) agreed to stroll down memory lane and discuss the journey she and her late husband Claude took that eventually led to the Valley of Wine.

Wine in one form or another had been part of Claude’s lineage in France, dating as far back as 1644. Claude was in Vancouver visiting friends during the spring of 1980, and realized the territory was similar to that of the Loire Valley in France and Moselland Region in Germany. 

He was so intrigued by his findings that, upon further investigation, he uncovered 55 acres in South Langley, with its micro-climate suitable for development. Thanks to Claude’s equal amounts of stubbornness and persuasion, Inge and her husband became the first wine pioneers of Langley, and in 1981 Domaine De Chaberton was born.  It was eight years of growing and harvesting for others before they felt it was time to turn this venture into their home and begin the first of many wineries that now exist here locally. 

Upon arrival at Madame Violet’s estate, Inge was there in the driveway to greet me.  A welcoming conversation and a tour of her home soon led us outside onto the terrace, reminiscing about Claude’s love of life and wine.   When I asked Inge about her memories of conversations with friends and family on the subject of  moving here to Langley to build a winery, she quickly replied “They thought we were crazy, but we became so busy there was no time to think about it, and with so many projects going on at the winery, I never knew what Claude was going to do next.”

As construction was completed, Inge became the ultimate hostess of the Winery Tasting Room and the Bacchus Bistro Restaurant. Her presence added to the ultimate success of both, while Claude focused on the wines and industry affairs, producing what has become Domaine De Chaberton’s flagship wine “Bacchus.”

You will have to drop by the winery and taste this lovely German varietal that in itself is worth the trip. Claude and Inge’s vision soon lent itself to helping others fulfill their dreams of owning a winery in the Fraser Valley. His advice and influential support for newcomers was a welcome and respected experience.

As the afternoon came to a close, Inge brought out a decanter of dessert wine for me to try. The wine was the colour of deep amber and the bouquet, undeniably floral with hints of green apple.  The wine appears to have aged much like a port and finished a little off dry. 

After I had told Inge of my thoughts on the wine, she seemed to beam.  It was as though she was keeping something from me.  It was then that she divulged the age of the wine. Nothing had prepared me for finding out that it had been bottled sometime in the 1800s.  Although it was long past its prime, I still enjoyed every drop and the company of Madame Violet was a treat not soon forgotten.

And so the journey begins. First stop — Vista D’oro Winery


First in a series by Theresa Harrett



About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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