Hans Buchler named 2020 Viticulturist of the Year by BCGA
A long-time Okanagan grape grower is being honoured for cultivating wine grapes that have created award-winning wines and accolades for his story. Formal recognition will take place Thursday, June 24 at 9:30 am at Park Hill Vineyard, 137 Pampas Grass Way, Oliver, BC V0H 1T5.
Hans Buchler, who has been producing Okanagan grapes for 40 years and is considered a legend in the industry, has been named 2020 Viticulturist of the Year by the BC Grape Growers Association (BCGA).
Buchler operates the 20-acre Park Hill Vineyard in a small valley north of Oliver where climate, soil and growing conditions have created a winning combination for certified organic Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Gewürztraminer, Marechal Foch, Pinot Noir and Riesling grapes, among others.
“When we began to develop the vineyard in the 1980s, we knew it would be difficult,” said Buchler. “We knew the site was on the edge of the growing region and had limited water. We also knew the eco system in this difficult growing location was going to give us frost and other unique challenges so we had to be innovative and resourceful to be successful.”
Buchler adopted an organic approach and through determination and innovation, began to produce top-quality grapes.
“Skilled and high-quality growers like Hans are critical to the on-going success and evolution of our industry,” said John Bayley, president of the BC Grapegrowers’ Association and viticulturist for Blasted Church Vineyards.
“We have been growing wine grapes in BC for over 60 years and earning more honours, nationally and internationally, for the wines created from BC grapes. Over 90% of wine’s quality comes from the grape and we are very grateful to the excellence of grape growers like Hans.”
Buchler sells all of his grapes to Summerhill Pyramid Winery, a multi award-winning Kelowna winery that produces more than 40 varieties of organic wine.
BC grape growers nominate their peers for the Viticulturist of the Year honour. A committee of growers evaluates the nominees by visiting their vineyards to look at management practices, environmental stewardship, innovation and other factors.
The award carries a $2,000 bursary for viticulture education. This is the second year the honour has been presented.
Karnail Singh Sidhu, viticulturist at Kalala Estate winery and the inaugural Viticulturist of the Year in 2019, said he came to know Hans many years ago and turned to the veteran grower to learn organic farming techniques.
“Hans has volunteered countless hours to grow the industry and has given a great deal of personal time to help grape growers become stronger producers.”
About the British Columbia Grape Growers' Association
The British Columbia Grape Growers’ Association is a 300 member organization that represents commercial wine grape producers with 11,000 acres under production on agricultural and policy issues before other industry organizations and all levels of government. For more information, visit www.grapegrowers.bc.ca