Graydon Ratzlaff of Recline Ridge Winery in Tappen, looks over grapes during the growing season. (BC Wine Institute photo)

Owners of award-winning Shuswap winery reflect on legacy

For 10 years, Recline Ridge’s Graydon and Maureen Ratzlaff have worked to advance region’s reputation

For 10 years, Graydon and Maureen Ratzlaff have been working to grow the Shuswap’s reputation as a wine region, one award-winning varietal after another.

The Ratzlaffs own and operate Recline Ridge Vineyards and Winery in Tappen. Purchased from original owner/founder Mike Smith as a “lifestyle improvement project,” Graydon and Maureen have endeavoured to improve upon the winery’s reputation and leave their own mark, not just at Recline Ridge, but in B.C.’s competitive wine market. Their efforts have paid off with numerous gold, double gold, silver and bronze medal wins for their distinctly Shuswap products.

”One of our biggest challenges is the fact that we are a much lesser known wine region than the Okanagan Valley,” said Graydon. “When people think of B.C. wine, they automatically think of Oliver and Osoyoos and the grapes that are grown there…

“It’s been our challenge and almost the prime directive to educate folks on the varietals that we can grow here, because they are clearly different from what is grown in the South Okanagan.”

Graydon and Maureen expect that one day someone new will take over their dream and continue the Recline Ridge legacy. Their 10-acre property, including business, equipment, residences, retail space and more, is currently on the market.

Though there’s plenty of work involved in running the vineyard/winery, Graydon decribed the variety of tasks each day brings as part of the lifestyle.

“We live onsite, so it’s sort of like a version of semi-retirement in a sense because of all these benefits of being here…,” said Graydon. “We have a full-time wine maker and vineyard manager, she’s responsible for all that activity, start to finish, growing the grapes, making the wine…

Read more: Shuswap wineries win big at All Canadian Wine Championships

Read more: Shuswap vintners want trade with Alberta to continue

Read more: Cool Shuswap climate contributes to award-winning wines

“Having somebody here in that role allows me to do all this other stuff, whether it’s marketing or sales promotion or deliveries… my days are varied. All my activities are centred around the business and the site, but it allows me a lot of variety in a day and that’s wonderful, that’s the best part of it, because it’s not just sitting behind a desk eight hours a day and pushing paper.”

Having grown up in the Okanagan Valley, wine making has long been a part of Graydon’s life. As a kid, he learned from his mother how to make wine with fruits from their backyard. Later in life, he would gain employment with a large winery.

“I liked the wine business, didn’t necessarily enjoy the corporate world which is where I came from,” said Graydon.

Graydon and Maureen were living in the Lower Mainland when they set out to find a new opportunity, discovered Recline Ridge and made their move to the Shuswap.

When asked what they plan to do when they sell, Graydon tells them them he and Maureen will be staying in the Shuswap.

“We love the area, so we’re not going far,” he said.

Graydon added he would make himself available to whomever buys the winery, to help with their transition, just as Smith did for the Ratzlaffs.

“He was great at that and I would do the same thing. To me it’s the right thing to do.”

Asked what his favourite Recline Ridge wine is, Graydon laughs, noting its not the first time that question has been put to him.

“People always ask us whether we have favourites and I say it’s like our kids, you can’t have a favourite, you love them all,” said Graydon. “Different wine for different purposes.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon ArmWinery

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Maureen Ratzlaff pours a glass of wine in Recline Ridge’s tasting room. (BC Wine Institute photo)

Graydon Ratzlaff at work at Recline Ridge. (BC Wine Institute photo)

Just Posted

Oyama Zipline Adventure Park opening for the season

The Lake Country zipline is scheduled to open on June 12

No criminality in the 2019 death of woman found on Kelowna beach

Caitlin was found deceased on Gyro Beach on April 21, 2019

$220K for Okanagan Rail Trail loo

Successful proposal for Westkal Road comes ‘well within project budget’

Kelowna’s Gallagher’s Canyon announced as course participating in BC Golfathon for ALS

The initiative raises awareness and funds for the ALS Society of BC

Flair Airlines adds Kelowna to new summer schedule

Flair will be delaying the launch of service into Ottawa and Atlantic Canada

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland property taxes

Dear Editor: By now property owners in Summerland will have received their… Continue reading

Most Read