It was in the hot, dry summer of 2003 when the big “Kelowna fire” raged, that we purchased the land destined to become Savard Vines. At first glance, the property appeared raw covered with sagebrush and native grasses. However, after a closer look, skeletons of an old peach orchard remained. We later learned that the orchard did not survive due to lack of water. Hauling water by horse from the lake proved to be too difficult for a lone farmer. The orchard was abandoned. That did not stop Michael's enthusiasm. Growing up on a farm, Michael always had a passion for the land. So on a dusty day in May 2006, we conned some of our closest friends to help plant. It would be fun! We planted our first 5000 plants by hand. We survived … but barely. It was pure hard work. It is amazing that we are still friends today….well, mostly.
Originally it was Michael's plan to farm garlic. Despite his love for garlic, it was the Okanagan’s wine culture that eventually won us over. Our plantings include mostly Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and with some Cabernet Franc. Due to the natural contours and silt bluffs of the land, we are only able to farm roughly five acres of our site.
Growing grapes was not new to Michael’s heritage. After emigrating from France post WWII, Michael’s grandfather, Marcelin Blanleil, was believed to play a prominent role tending vines on the Native American lands known today as West Bank. With frequent commutes from Edmonton, Michael has provided meticulous care to his vines.
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