In the early 1900s this site was owned by the Riddle family who operated an apricot orchard. Their property stretched about 100 yards north to what is now Riddle Road; the original farmhouse stood on what is now the site of our tasting room. The cherry trees, which were on the Riddles’ front lawn, were planted in 1926.
In 1979, the property was purchased by Bohumir and Vera Klokocka who had recently immigrated to the Okanagan Valley from Czechoslovakia. Vera had a dream. In her mind’s eye she saw the sloping land carpeted by orderly rows of grapes – grapes that she would turn into luscious wines, even though she had no experience at either growing grapes or fermenting them. In 1984 she and Bohumir pulled out the apricot trees and planted 3.5 acres of vineyards. The last surviving apricot tree from the Riddles’ orchard remains on the bank just below the Kettle Valley Railway (on the northeast side of the building). The grapevines thrived in the gravelly soil and warm Okanagan sunshine and Vera’s dream took shape.
In 1989 Hillside, together with Lang Vineyards and Wild Goose, lobbied the Provincial Government to bring about the Farmgate Winery Policy that was instrumental in changing the B.C. Wine Industry. The new policy allowed small vineyards of five acres or less to not only produce wine but also to sell it directly from their premises.
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