Get to know the story, faces and history behind Meyer Family Vineyards in this interview we had the luxury of doing with JAK Meyer, Proprietor of MFV!
OK: Can you fill us in on a bit of the history behind Meyer Family Vineyards and how it all began?
JAK: After a career in the investment business and raising our two girls, Sydney and Kamryn, Janice and I decided to completely change directions and get into the wine business. In 2006 we purchased “Old Main Road” vineyard in Naramata and we set out to establish ourselves as one of BC’s top wineries focusing on small premium Chardonnay and later Pinot Noir.
As in business and my business models the plan was to surround myself with the best people I could in each area. We enlisted James Cluer and Rhys Pender to build our business plan. We hired Pierre Levesque to look after the vineyard and our final piece of the puzzle was to hire Chris Carson who had just returned to Canada after honing his skills and education in Central Otago.
In 2009 we purchased “McLean Creek Road” vineyard in Okanagan Falls and where we opened our tasting room in 2010.
OK: We know your tasting room just recently opened on March 30th for the season! What can we expect when visiting for a tasting?
JAK: Our tasting room is now open daily for the season. We are pouring a selection of our current and newly released wines and we offer a complimentary tasting flight and a deluxe tasting flight. Starting in June we’ll once again be offering private guided sit-down tastings in our beautiful outside cabana area (must be booked in advance). Our outside wine lounge will open in June as well and we will be offering a selection of local artisan foods, wine by the glass or bottle and local craft beer and cider.
OK: Lets talk upcoming events! Your annual wine release event is coming up on May 19th and additionally your annual party in the vineyard on June 16th. Can you tell us about your upcoming wine release and some of the fun to be expected at both of these events?
Tickets go on sale soon for our May 19th event, guests can enjoy a catered dinner with Flambé Catering, wine tastings and live music in the vineyard. Our June 16th event will also have live music with local band UnCorked and two food trucks (Tacos del Norte and Vagabond). Some new releases to expect at these events our 2017 Okanagan Valley Chardonnay, Stevens Block Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Rosé. We also just released our 2016 McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir which was recently reviewed and written up by Anthony Gismondi scoring 91 points.
OK: We know you have a Wine Club which includes some fantastic opportunities such as invites to your 'family only' events and complimentary tastings in the tasting room. What else can one expect when joining the Meyer Family Vineyards Wine Club?
JAK: There’s lots of benefits to joining our wine club, members also receive 10% off purchases online or in our tasting room and access to our limited availability wines like our Micro Cuvée Series and library wines when available. Some of our premium wine clubs are at full capacity and we have a wait list to get into our Premium Pinot club and Premium Pinot & Chard Mixer.
OK: Your personal favourite go to wine you offer and why - if you HAD to choose - we know tough question!
JAK: Can’t answer as it always changes; with food, without food, summer, winter. Lunch or dinner.
OK: Summer is around the corner which means many nights soaking up what the Okanagan offers best: beaches and relaxation! What would be your recommendation for the perfect summer wine to enjoy this 2018?
OK: Okanagan Falls is a stunning place. For those who are reading this and haven't ventured there (yet) what would your recommendations be for a spring or summer day out in your neck of the woods?
JAK: Wine tasting followed by lunch at one of the awesome winery restaurants in the area then off to the beach for a swim and finish it off with a huge ice cream cone from Tickleberries.
OK: Your grapes are grown on three different vineyards - can you share with us a bit about each vineyard and what makes each so unique?
JAK: Our estate vineyard on McLean Creek Road is bowl shaped with 3 very distinctive aspects just in this vineyard alone. It consists of more alluvial sandy loam and has more heat than the other vineyards making for higher acidity and beautiful wines. Our Naramata vineyard is a much cooler site with only chardonnay grapes on it. The vineyard faces to the east and the north and so does not get the late afternoon sun and ripens slower allowing for fuller ripeness and concentrated fruit. Kelowna is also cooler and slighty higher elevation again making for slower ripening and more concentrated fruit flavours.
OK: We loved learning about the Tribute Series and how Meyer is involved - can you fill our readers in with what it is all about and who the honouree was for 2017?
JAK: The Tribute Series is a dedication to a Canadian for an outstanding achievement in their field. Each year, we donate $5,000 toward a not-for profit foundation, endowment or scholarship as a way of encouraging or honouring the legacies of these Canadians. In 2017 we paid tribute to Donovan Tildesley, accomplished blind Paralympic swimmer, and we made a donation to The Foundation Fighting Blindness, Canada’s largest not for profit donor to researching cures for retinal diseases. The funds will be earmarked to the “Dr. Robert K Koenekoop Ocular Genetics Laboratory” for research into cures for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) which is the eye condition affecting Donovan.
OK: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
JAK: In 2017 we were named #2 small winery at the National Wine Awards of Canada, #12 overall winery in Canada and #6 in BC. The 2017 National’s were the largest in history with over 1,700 wines entered from 242 wineries from across Canada (132 wineries from BC). We’ve place top 12 winery overall 3 out of the last 5 years. We’ve also been featured in the UK’s Decanter Magazine a number of times and in particular were named one of the best pinot noirs in the world (outside of burgundy) in their April 2016 edition (http://www.mfvwines.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/APR16-Best-Pinots-outside-Burgundy.pdf)
A big thank you to JAK for this interview, for those of you looking to learn more and shop the MVF wine collection please find Meyer Family Vineyards on the OK market below: