Naramata Bench, BC, Canada
Jay Drysdale, his wife Wendy and their dog Budda live in Naramata Village, just 5 minutes down the Road from our friends (and their friends!) at Nichol Winery and Lock + Worth Winery. Jay has always worked in food and wine. He was a cook for many years before he started making bubbles and it was through his love of food that he first became a sommelier. Wine came easily to him and was a natural passion leading him to Washington State University to study Oenology.
Since their first commercial vintage in 2011 Bella has worked exclusively with Chardonnay for Blanc de Blancs and Gamay for Rose. Their home farm has 2.75 acres of Gamay and Chardonnay which they farm biodynamically, but they also buy fruit from sites all over the Okanagan including Kamloops, Westbank, Oliver, Naramata, and Keremeos. Some of the sites they work with are certified organic like Keremeos and Westbank, but Jay’s focus is to work with growers who’s vineyards are farmed based on whole vineyard health. Bella is the furthest North winery on the Naramata Bench (Nichol used to be) and overlooks the beautiful lake.
Inspired by the grower movement in Champagne and small batch sparkling wines around the world, Jay’s wines are made from single vineyard sites, contain one single grape variety, have 0 dosage and are either extremely low in sulphur or have none at all (10 - 15ppm maximum). The natural sparkling wines are fermented in old oak barrels and taken right from barrel into bottle while they are still fermenting. Jay labels these as his Ancestrale Method, you might also know this style as “Pet Nat” or Petillant Natural wines.
For his traditional (champagne) method wines he lets the primary ferment use ambient yeast and then inoculates with EC1118 champagne yeast but never adds any nutrients or DAP. No riddling aids, bentonite, or additives are used and cold stabilization is done by mother nature during the winter. Literally everything is done by hand.
The Vineyard Series wines see less than one year on lees and are closed with a crown cap. The focus of these wines is on fruit flavor and the differences the various vineyard sites offer. Reserve wines see a minimum of 36 months on lees and are finished with cork. The Ancestral Series wines (Pet Nats) are finished with cork as well and vary in the time they spend on lees.
Feral Ferment = fermented at winery site with ambient yeast living in the winery.
Wild Ferment = fermented outside at Bella with native yeast found on grapes.
2016 Vineyard Series Westbank Gamay
100% organic Gamay from Westbank, Kelowna. Feral primary ferment. 10ppm of sulphur at time of crushing. Secondary ferment used champagne yeast EC1118. No further additions. Warm disgorge, Brut Natural (no dosage).
2016 Ancestrale Series Keremeos Chardonnay
100% organic Chardonnay from the Similkameen Valley. Wild ferment in neutral barrels and bottled directly from barrel. No sulphur or any additions. Warm disgorged and no dosage.
2016 Ancestrale Series Westbank Gamay
100% organic Gamay from Westbank, Kelowna. Wild ferment in neutral barrels and bottled directly from barrel. No sulphur or any additions. Warm disgorged and no dosage.
2016 Ancestrale Series Mariani Gamay 509 & Ancestrale Series Mariani Gamay 787
100% Organic Gamay from Naramata. First fruit off of young vines with both clones coming from the same vineyard. Wild ferment in neutral barrels and bottled directly from barrel. No sulphur or any additions. Warm disgorged and no dosage.
2013 Reserve Series Westside Blanc de Blanc
100% Chardonnay from Secrest Vineyard in Oliver. 40 months on lees with sulphur added once after first ferment. Champagne yeast DV10 was used on both primary and secondary ferments. This single vineyard, single varietal, single vintage sparkling wine has no dosage.
- Kenaston Wine Market
- Ellement Wine and Spirits
- The Winehouse