Harper’s Trail has released its inaugural Cab Franc—and my guess is it will get plenty of attention. Well, it should anyway. In fact, you could file this under “One more reason why Cab Franc could be BC’s defining red variety.”

I do think this is a ground-breaking wine. If you had asked people a decade ago—even five years ago—what were the chances that Kamloops would produce a decent red wine they would’ve been a tad skeptical. And that’s being polite.

Harper's Trail owners Vicki & Ed Collett, Linda Williams photo

Vicki & Ed Collett, Linda Williams photo

We’ve followed the progress of Harper’s Trail with interest. And, yes, the fact that Vicki and Ed Collett’s first wine was a pretty decent Riesling helped quite a bit. I also appreciate that they’ve concentrated on their terroir. They’ve been able to resist the urge to bring in fruit from elsewhere while getting things off the ground. It’s a reality of the business that some start-ups need to do this. But it does make for a more interesting picture when you can taste the terroir, even more so when it’s in a new wine region.

Harper’s Trail has experimented with their red varieties a fair bit. They’ve invested a lot of time and effort along the way, pulling out some other reds originally planted. Cabernet Franc makes absolute sense here. As it does in many more marginal areas. It’s regarded as being the most hardy of red vinifera and is also an early ripener. Furthermore, it’s much more forgiving than Cabernet Sauvignon. Gamay and Pinot Noir will come later.


  • Harper’s Trail Cabernet Franc 2012

Bright red fruit on top followed by a medium bodied, palate of blackberry and raspberry notes, Wrapped in easy tannins and juicy acidity. Slightly mineral undertones and good length to finish. Not an overblown, powerhouse red but a well balanced drop that cries out for good food. Think winter dishes like cassoulet, duck breast or firm cheeses like Cheddar. Or just sip and think about where it came from. $25 at the winery – 90 pts. Move quickly as there were only 138 cases made.

You can also find it in Kamloops at:

Aberdeen Beer and Wine; Discover Wine; Fox & Hound; Plaza Liquor Store and Tumbleweeds LRS.

Also, you’ll find it in the tasting flight at the winery, on weekends until Dec 22.

Things are moving along at this beautifully situated winery on the banks of the Thompson River. Here’s the latest from Vicki Collett:

“My husband Ed and I are excited to announce that after six years of growing grapes in Kamloops we have released our first red wine, Cabernet Franc.  In other news, after a wonderful summer in our temporary facility we are now well under way in building a brand new winery facility and anticipate opening by May 2014.  We are also extremely excited to announce that the 2013 vintage has not only been 100% grown on site, but with the expert advice of our winemaker, Michael Bartier from Okanagan Crush Pad, we are now making wine on site as well!”

All good news!