Little Straw Vineyards: Telling the Story of a Season

November 6, 2019

How does a single moment factor into an ongoing story? That’s the poetic way Little Straw Vineyards’ winemaker Barb Hall conceives of her work. Wine captures a single season, but at the same time, it never stops evolving. It keeps telling a longer and longer story about the people who made it and those who will enjoy it.

In Barb’s words: “… wine is grown, and the great wines connect us to the land and season. In its essence, wine is a moment in time captured that we are able to share with friends and family. Just like us though, wine evolves as it ages, and it is how that moment turns into a story that is the most fascinating thing to me as a winemaker.”

We’re lucky to be entrusted with Little Straw Vineyards’ labels. It’s not lost on us that the labels that wine lovers encounter on the shelf are a big part of telling that story.

Little Straw offers small-lot wines that are especially in demand among Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir fans. They’re also Canada’s only producer of Auxerrois Icewine. In a nutshell, Little Straw offers a lot of depth and complexity in a deceivingly small package. We think our labels, which combine bold punches of colour with simple graphics, capture that story well.

Little Straw Vineyards
Little Straw Vineyards

In fact, the story of Little Straw Vineyards as a whole runs back to the summer of love. In 1969, the Slamka family planted vineyards on the lower slopes of Mount Boucherie, near Kelowna, BC. Their original goal was to sell their crops to the larger commercial wineries in the region.

But by 1996, the Slamka brothers had hatched an unlikely dream: their vineyards would now be producing grapes for their own vintages. In Slovak, “Slamka” means “little straw”; it seemed the brothers themselves had the perfect name for a small yet charming winery.

The first Little Straw commercial releases in 1996 had been made from grapes grown two years earlier during a particularly hot summer. From that point onward, the Slamkas were in experimental mode, trying out different varietals to see what worked best on their 12 acres. Eventually, they discovered a complement of auxerrois, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, syrah, and viognier vines allowed them to craft their best offerings.

In 2018, Little Straw’s Peter Slamka decided to retire, handing over his head winemaking duties to Barb Hall. It was an exciting opportunity for Barb, who had been working in the BC wine industry for 16 years, doing everything from vineyard management to winemaking. She had a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from UBC Okanagan, and Irving K. Barber and Les Dames d’Escoffiers scholarships that had given her training experiences before she’d even graduated. It was fair to say that Barb had known what she wanted for a long time.

Little Straw Vineyards
Little Straw Vineyards

Needless to say, it’s an exciting time for Little Straw. They also have a winery lounge called the Barrel Top Grill, which makes the winery an even more luxurious destination. It’s always had the jaw-dropping views of Lake Okanagan. But now, visitors can enjoy tapas while they take in the beauty of their surroundings and the fine estate wines.

When you go to Little Straw (and you must), their Tapestry wine will surely be on your tasting menu. This blend of Riesling, Auxerrois, Schonberger, Siegerrebe and Gewurztraminer is off-dry, with a captivating nose that incorporates potpourri, oak, and fruit. It’s famous for a reason! We’re so proud that our labels are part of the experience—telling the story of a season, of a family, and of a bright future.

Categories