On top of a steep hill in British Columbia’s scenic Okanagan Valley sits a large Mediterranean villa surrounded by grapevines and lush mountains. This is Mirabel Vineyards, the winery of Dawn and Doug Reimer who are no strangers to the industry but only started the Mirabel label in 2015.
The couple bought the 30-acre property in 2005, back when it was covered in apple and pear trees, and saw potential for a future vineyard. After testing the soil and determining that it was a great spot to grow wine grapes, they planted six acres of Pinot Noir a year later. Once their vines came of age, the Reimers started selling fruit to Meyer Family Vineyards, another nearby winery.
“We were selling our grapes for the first nine years,” explains Doug on how they got to where they are now.
“2015 was a great growing year, we just looked at each other and said, ‘Why aren’t we doing this? Why don’t we just take the leap?’,” Dawn adds.
Trips to European wineries over the years, in addition to their experience growing and selling grapes, helped point the couple in the direction of mixing old-and new-world techniques, with an emphasis on classical methods that they use on their wines today.
In 2016 they kept 100 percent of the grapes they grew and began producing wines which ended up winning several awards. “We knew that the fruit we were producing was good,” Dawn says. “That’s all we wanted to know, ‘Are we producing great fruit?’ and ‘How can we take this to the next level?’ That’s what we’re trying to do with our wines.”
At 1,300 cases per year, Mirabel Vineyards is not a large winery, and the Reimers would like to keep it that way, only entering the commercial market in recent months. Mirabel also exclusively focuses on bottling estate plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay — in the form of three hand-harvested, low intervention, terroir-driven wines, including a vintage rosé. The Reimer’s next move is to release a 2018 sparkling rosé, and to they’d like to open a tasting room somewhere on their property in the near future. Right now, they’re hand-selling their wines and working on learning the nuances of owning their own label.
“We love doing what we do, and we try to make it the best that we can,” Dawn says. “Wine, to us, is food, it’s family, it involves travel — it’s all of the things that we love.”
For the Reimers, who have been together since they were teenagers, wine is all about the people that you drink it with and making those moments last. As the grapes at Mirabel Vineyards continue to grow, so will the Reimer’s commitment to their quality wines and the memories they create.