Previous Posts
British Columbia Wines
June 03, 2014
An Update from Little Farm Winery

(from the press release.)

Last fall, the finishing touches on a bright red barn were completed and the criteria met for a winery license just days before Little Farm Winery began harvest on the 2013 vintage, its first vintage on site at the home Mulberry Tree Vineyard. The 2013 Riesling, Chardonnay and Rosé fermented and aged over the winter in their new home before they were bottled this May and are now ready for sale.

It has been an exciting year for owners Alishan Driediger and Rhys Pender MW at Little Farm as not only did they build and equip the winery but they also started the process to gain organic certification for the winery and saw their wines attract the attention of many of British Columbia's top restaurants and retailers. Being small farmers and coming into wine production without the backing of a lot of money, Driediger and Pender are proud of their new facility. "We had to build the winery ourselves to get it done within our tiny budget," says Pender. "Alishan's Dad, Wil, and I slaved away for months to build the winery from scratch and we finished literally a couple of days before the early 2013 vintage began." The first grapes of 2013 came in very early due to the hot vintage with Chardonnay harvest beginning September 11th, Cabernet Franc for the rosé on September 17th and Riesling on September 20th.

The 2013 vintage is the third harvest for Little Farm but the first crush done at the home, Mulberry Tree Vineyard, farm. The four acre vineyard is split between Riesling and Chardonnay while some Cabernet Franc is purchased from the nearby Blind Creek Vineyard to make the dry rosé. Winemaker Alishan Driediger likes to make the wines with a low intervention approach, showcasing the vineyard. "We do a lot of work in the vineyard and once you have great grapes, you just want to preserve that sense of place in the wine," says Driediger. The winemaking philosophy involves picking the grapes with good flavour but while they still retain crisp natural acidity. All three of the wines undergo at least half of their fermentation in old, neutral barrels while the Chardonnay is 100% neutral oak fermented. "We love the texture and flavour complexity you get from fermenting the wines in barrel and leaving them in contact with the lees," says Driediger.

Specializing in Riesling and Chardonnay, The Little Farm wines are gaining lots of attention with many of the top restaurants and retailers in Vancouver, Victoria and the Interior. The 2012 vintage is already completely sold out. The volume of wine available from the 2013 vintage is just 353 cases (115 Riesling, 68 Chardonnay and 170 Rosé). The style of wine leans more to the old world than the new with a focus on texture and flavour ahead of fruitfulness and aromatics. The Mulberry Tree Vineyard has extremely high levels of calcium carbonate in the soil which leads to chalky and mineral flavours that suit the style of wine well.

As part of the commitment to growing great grapes, Little Farm began the process for Organic Certification for the vineyard in 2014. "We have been farming organically since we moved here in 2008 and thought it was time to get certified," says Pender. The Mulberry Tree Vineyard is considered 3rd year transitional and should be fully certified by April 2015. With the 2014 growing season now underway, the goals for Little Farm are to slowly build up production to a maximum of around 800 cases, something that will take 2 or 3 more years. "We are also interested in exploring the use of biodynamic techniques," says Driediger.

Wines are currently available through restaurants and retailers as well as online through The winery is not yet set up for visitors and on site sales. More information on Little Farm Winery, Rhys Pender MW and Alishan Driediger, as well as the wines is available at

About Little Farm Winery:
Little Farm Winery is the small hands-on operation of Rhys Pender MW and Alishan Driediger. It started with a passion for wine and developed into growing and producing Chardonnay and Riesling from their Mulberry Tree Vineyard at their home in Cawston, BC in the beautiful Similkameen Valley. The goal was always to make wines with minimal manipulation and intervention that really capture the vineyard site and each year's unique growing season. The vines were planted beginning in 2009 on the calcium carbonate rich soil, braving the unforgiving Similkameen sun and wind. The first wines were made in 2011. Little Farm Winery will never be big and will always focus on making small batches of single-vineyard wine that reflect each site's unique characteristics. The goal is to make interesting, characterful, natural-ish wines and look after our little farm. 2155 Newton Road, Cawston, BC. V0X1C1 250-499-8891

Bookmark and Share
Copyright Cityfood Magazine 2009