Once a thriving peach orchard, Heaven's Gate Estate Winery is now home to our handcrafted wines made from 100% premium grapes grown in British Columbia. Our vines, which were imported from France, were planted in the spring of 2009. After growing enough peaches to last a lifetime, Andy and Diane Sarglepp, opened the winery on August 12, 2011. Since then, they developed a reputation for high quality, award-winning wines.
On August 17, 2017 Andy and Diane decided it was time to pass the torch and sold the winery. The new owner and winemaker Tyson Felt quickly fell in love with the property and the wines. Working with Andy and wine consultant Christine Leroux, Tyson has learned the specific attributes and processes that have made this family-run winery in Summerland, BC what it is today. With a passion and drive to develop high-quality wines, Tyson pays close attention to every detail required to take Heaven’s Gate to the next level.
Q & A with Tyson
How did you find yourself here?
I get asked this question a lot actually. The truth, although not glamorous, is that I was visiting my parents here in Summerland when we saw that Heaven’s Gate was for sale. My parents and I decided to go to the winery for a tasting, and we loved the wines. What started as kind of a family joke about me moving here to own and run a winery, soon turned into a very real interest. Less than four months later, it became a reality. It’s crazy how fast it all happened!
So why did you decide to move here and take over Heaven’s Gate Winery?
Well, I had wanted to move out to the Okanagan for years now, but it just never seemed like the right time. When visiting the winery, I saw how beautiful it is here and after tasting the wines, I started to fall in love. After talking with Andy and Diane about their winery, I told myself this was exactly what I wanted to do, and I was determined to make it happen. I looked at a few other wineries and contemplated starting my own from scratch, but in the end, my mind just kept coming back to Heaven’s Gate.
It seems like quite an undertaking, have you had a difficult time adjusting?
It certainly is an undertaking and I wear many different hats every day. From making wine, working in the tasting room, doing special events, all the behind-the-scenes business stuff, and working in the Vineyard, it can get a little hectic at times. Hard work and long hours is not something I’m unfamiliar with though.
So, if you are managing all aspects of the winery, do you have a favourite part yet?
Honestly, I really enjoy all the different aspects of the business—aside from paperwork, of course. Does anyone actually enjoy doing paperwork?
I probably have the most fun when I’m in the wine shop doing tastings and when I do offsite events, because I get to meet all kinds of people from all over the world, which is always interesting. I also really like hearing them talk about their life stories.
The winemaking has been really interesting too. It is exciting to know that I am creating something so unique and all my own. I hope my wines bring joy and great shared experiences to people’s lives.
Right now, I’ve been putting in a lot of hours in the vineyard, pruning the vines and getting ready for my first full growing season here at Heaven’s Gate. It’s really cool getting to know every one of my vines face to face—or face to grape, if you will.
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