Hugging Tree Winery is an independent family owned and operated farm nestled in the mountainside of the enchanting Similkameen Valley. Here we have our labour of love, whether it is nurturing trees in our orchard, digging in the gardens or tending to the vines – we find it a peaceful and purposeful way to live our life.
We are pleased to share our sunshine captured by our grapes and hope they fill more than just your glass…
Please be well.
-Makepeace family of Hugging Tree Winery
Walter and Cristine Makepeace moved 13 times during their careers with the RCMP. In 2005, just before Walter retired from the force, they settled down in the south Similkameen Valley, buying a highway-side organic apple and peach orchard near Cawston where they could finally put down roots for themselves and for their three children. Nine years later, the property has blossomed into a family-operated estate winery that includes daughter Jennifer and sons Brad and Wes.
Their search for a vineyard ended when George Hanson, the owner of Seven Stones Winery, directed them to a 24-hectare (60-acre) property located almost across the highway from Seven Stones. Half of the property was orchard; the other half was raw land. (A pair of entangled willow trees on the lawn inspired the winery’s name.) Walter planted grapes on the second half in 2007 and 2008 and now has an eight-hectare (20-acre) vineyard, all of it in Bordeaux reds except for a modest block of Viognier. Syrah planted unsuccessfully on another four hectares (10 acres) was removed, making room for a white varietal in future, as well as for a winery cellar.
Walter contracted Serendipity Winery to make the wines in 2011 (50 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon) and in 2012 (1,400 cases). Both Walter and Brad, his son, have taken viticulture and winemaking courses at Okanagan College. Brad is the emerging winemaker, a career choice flowing from the family’s roots decision. Brad was a professional snowboarder, rock musician and bartender in Whistler until he decided to move to the farm. “I wanted to support my dad’s dreams,” Brad says. “And when I spent time here, I got addicted to the lifestyle and the valley and the beauty.”