Culmina Unicus, a Gruner Veltliner from British Columbia, Canada


Culmina Unicus, a Gruner Veltliner from British Columbia, Canada

donald triggs

On my visit to the Okanagan Valley, it was nice to meet Donald Triggs (above) and taste a few of his wines. One stood out immediately as being particularly interesting: it was Gruner Veltliner, made from third-leaf fruit.

Triggs has been an important figure in the Canadian wine industry. A businessman with international experience, he partnered with Alan Jackson to form Jackson-Triggs in the early 1990s, and this became part of a larger company, Vincor International, with Triggs as CEO. It grew to become one of the world’s largest wine companies before a hostile takeover in 2006 by Constellation Brands. This left Triggs and fellow shareholders $1.5 billion better off, but he needed a fresh project.

So he and his wife Elaine left Niagara for British Columbia, and set up a new vineyard, Culmina, on a property in the south Okanagan. Joined by their youngest daughter Sara, they are clearly very ambitious, and have constructed an 8000 case gravity flow winery. The Triggs have just over 50 hectares of vines split over three sites, and the first wines are now beginning to emerge. Alain Sutre is providing some consultancy advice: he’s known to Triggs because of his work at Okanagan winery Osoyoos Larose, which was owned by Vincor.


Culmina Unicus 2013 Okanagan Valley, Canada
From 600 m elevation schist mountain soils, with 1280 GDDs, this is a cool climate Gruner Veltliner. It’s spicy with some white pepper bit and a hint of fennel, as well as fresh, textured pear fruit. Lovely weight. Quite fine. The single hectare of GV yielded 60 cases, and retail price is $27. 89/100

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