The Lillooet area is not yet know as a great wine growing region. This is destined to change with the successful completion of the Climate and Feasibility Assessment of Growing Wine Grapes in the Lillooet-Lytton Area study conducted by the B.C. Grapegrowers Association for the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia.
At Texas Creek Ranch we were excited enough about the results (and by drinking the wine!) to create a 3 acre test vineyard evaluating 19 different vinifera and rootstocks as well as 18 different table grapes, the largest single collection of table grapes in Western Canada. The links below introduce you to the Lillooet area and to Texas Creek Ranch as well as our current projects.
the Lillooet area
Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada is acknowledged to be one of the oldest continuously-inhabited sites in North America, and the fishing grounds adjoining the town are the most important on the Fraser River in the Interior, and have been "since time immemorial". Archeological digs at nearby Keatley Creek, about 15 miles from town, date native culture in the area back at least 9,000 years. The town became a major centre during the first major Goldrush of 1858-59 supporting a population of 16,000 people, with another 12,000 estimated to reside in the surrounding area. The area has seen numerous booms and busts since and has steadily declined after the completion of Hydro Electric facilities and along with the more recent decline in resource based industies. However Lillooet is now experiencing the early stages of a resurgence in the agricultural sector including grape production. With the warmest climate in Canada and some of the best farmland imaginable on the former floodplains of the mighty Fraser River all wrapped up in beautiful and dramatic scenery... as our neighbours on the "Creek" say: "Yes, it's gorgeous, just don't tell too many people about it!"
An extremely well researched history of the area can be found at: www.cayoosh.net
We are grateful to Mr. Mike Cleven for undertaking the considerable task of researching and putting this fascinating history on the web.
We're excited about the future of Lillooet and viticulture is only the beginning.
Being from Whistler - Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games - with backgrounds in business, tourism and tourism marketing as well as political experience in a rapidly evolving region we know that with an outstanding climate for vinifera production, this will be the next great wine region of British Columbia.
Lillooet is an area of unusual beauty, nature tourism assets... and considerable opportunity.
Climate and feasibility assessment of growing wine grapes in the Lillooet-Lytton area. 2007 Report download PDF
Climate and feasibility assessment of growing wine grapes in the Lillooet-Lytton area. 2008 Report download PDF
Economic Opportunity Assessment District of Lillooet, Electoral Areas A & B, Northern St’át’imc download PDF
Community Tourism Foundations® Program
Tourism Development Plan download PDF
a walk around Texas Creek Ranch
current projects: the experimental vineyard | Old Texas Creek
1. the experimental vineyard
2. Old Texas Creek
The results of the Lillooet-Lytton Grape Vine evaluation project were the catalyst for our decision to plunge into the Ranch, and to build on the results of that study by exploring our own specific terrior.
The 2 1/2 acre initial plantings includes 19 variations of vinifera on different rootstock selections as well as some own-rooted. Additionally there are 18 unique table grapes under evaluation.
The Ranch is over 165 acres with 110 acres in cultivation. We estimate that some 90 acres could be well suited to vineyards so our objective over the next few years is to evaluate in considerable detail the performance of a wide variety of potential wine grapes. The experimental vineyard will see annual removal and replanting of new vines. The objective over a number of years is to determine not whether the property can grow what we want to grow rather what grapes will excel here. From this project will come the future of the vineyards on the property. Future vineyards may include plots for contract grape production and joint ventures. There is no winery in our plans at this point but we'll certainly be -evaluating- what the experimental vineyard produces for us. We welcome you to come and have a look... and a taste.
Of particular interest to us will be the performance of 5 varieties created by famed Swiss breeder Valentin Blattner. Blattner grower Paul Troop of Saltspring Island tells us that when Mr. Blattner passed through the area some years ago he was very impressed by the area and keen to see his plants perform here. Hopefully when Mr. Blattner passes this way again we can show him something to make his first impressions more than valid.
Starting in 2010 we will be performing initial chemical analysis of all the varieties and will be posting results on the website.
While we are still learning of the many lives that the Ranch has lived so far, one of the remnants of time gone by are 4 heritage cabins in various stages of health. The hope is to create a scenic retreat area with Tipi accommodation, common areas to create and share a fine farm meal, and room for a group to congregate, celebrate, pontificate. Check back for updates as we undertake restorations.
Big dreams - Group retreats? Weddings? Culinary classes? Viticulture experience? Sharecropping? With the rich landscape, sunny meteorological disposition, and premium terroir, it doesn't take long being here to realize the possibilities are endless.
Panorama of Texas Creek Ranch looking to the south