Rolling into the launch for this new Fraser Valley winery, I was greeted by three children in matching t-shirts, who happily directed me to where I was to park. There was an assigned attendant for this job, but he was quickly overruled by the kids.
The display was totally in sync with the family feel of the event: founded by father and son, Singletree Winery is all about family, history, and taking giant leaps of faith.
The first four varieties of grapes were planted five years ago after Andrew Etsell caught what his wife terms “the wine bug,” while doing an apprenticeship at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery. With the encouragement of their son, husband and wife team Garnet and Debbie Etsell began their grape experiment with two acres, and after the first four grape varieties flourished, more varieties were planted on the lower level of the property in 2012 and 2013.
In five short years, the 67 acre property has seen 12 of those acres planted to vineyard.
Land that had previously been used for dairy farming, fruit and vegetable planting, and turkey raising, is now officially full of grapes. It is the same area that was home to Lehman’s Landing, a gold rush stop used to offload supplies. The name Singletree refers to this rich heritage—a singletree is a part of a working horse harness, and both the name and logo of the winery speak to the very Canadian history this area of the Fraser Valley can attest to.
The formal launch was attended by a few dozen family members, friends, various media personnel, and city officials. Both Abbotsford MLA Mike de Jong and Deputy Mayor Patricia Ross gave short (but entertaining) speeches, and the presentation of the singletree that inspired the idea for the winery’s name was followed by a ribbon cutting and a catered lunch of salmon and greens.
The best part of this event? The wine, of course. Being a red wine drinker, I was hesitant to accept the glass of Pinot Gris that was offered to me. Being around 25 degrees in the hot morning sun, white wine made sense over red. And guess what?
It was lovely.
Located on the corner of Harris and Mt. Lehman, Singletree Winery should be on your radar as a place to escape, take in the gorgeous view, taste a little wine, and take a deep breath. If you’re interested in trying one (or more!) of Singletree’s vintages, shop HERE.