This article was published on November 13th, 2011
Since 1969, three generations of the Slamka family have owned and operated Little Straw Winery on Kelowna’s Westside. The family has a rich history as both growers and wine makers.
In 1964 the family purchased the 23-acre property, which today has 13 acres of grapes and 10 acres for their horses.
The first varietal in the ground was Marachel Foch in 1969, which they still grow and harvest today. Just five years later, in 1974, the family saw opportunity to expand and planted Auxerrois.
It wasn’t until 1994 that the family began to make and blend their own vintages. They are best known for Pinot Noir and Auxerrois icewine, however, there is a hidden cult of followers for their Tapestry blend.
The 2010 Tapestry, is a blend of Riesling, Auxerrois, Siegerrebe, Schonburger and Gewürztraminer. It has strong notes of citrus and has a clean, bold, crisp finish.
The 2008 Marachel Foch is a popular seller; however, because it has been blended with Lemberger it cannot be labeled as VQA. This vintage is still a bit young in the bottle and could sit for another year to reach its full potential. This wine is best served decanted for 4 – 16 hours to bring out the full pepper flavor and body.
Although they are well known for Auxerrois icewine, the Lemberger icewine is not to be missed. It has rich fruit flavours and is not thick and syrupy like most icewines. It’s high on the sweetness scale, coming in at a 30.
Grandpa Slamka is a self-taught wine maker and has passed his knowledge and skills to his son, who has since been experimenting with many new blends. Approximately 90% of the grapes used in their vintages are grown on the estate; the remaining 10% come from other Okanagan growers.
Little Straw wines can be found in select VQA wine shops in BC, but for the full selection it’s best to visit the estate at 2815 Ourtoland Road in Kelowna. The wine shop is open year around. For more information, visit their website.
Make the most out of the day by taking the Westside Wine Trail from Tourism Kelowna. The helpful guide will make sure you get to all the right stops along the way.