A hidden gem amongst long stretches of farmland. Driving along Tolmie Rd, you would never suspect the beautiful gardens of Ripples Winery were behind the short stretch of hedges. Lush greenery and the gentle sound of water rippling from a small fountain. We spent most of the time either in the gardens by the pond, feeding the Koi fish or admiring the stunning barn structures. With such beautiful scenery, it is no surprise the family is so busy running a winery, event space and greenhouse.
After being greeted by puppies running around our feet, daring us to trip over them, we made our way to the Cabana where Caroline introduced us to her daughter Kelsey and husband Paul. The Father Daughter duo are the winemakers of the Mostertman family and throughout the whole morning we always found them laughing and joking around with one another. We were amazed to hear extensively about their winemaking process, especially when we joined them in the back to take a closer look at the wine in the barrels.
TFV: What’s the story behind the name “Ripples” Winery?
RW: Before there was Ripples, we were a pond and water plant nursery as well as an organic blueberry farm. When deciding upon a name for our winery, we wanted to include our love of nature and creating pure unique products with using our home-grown blueberries. All our wines are hand crafted and bottled onsite ensuring our products are local and wholesome, essentially displaying how one drop (a change) can create a ripple effect.
TFV: How did you get into making Blueberry wine, and what made you decide to continue?
RW: We own a blueberry farm, and as the prices of blueberries were on the decline, we wanted to source our blueberries into something that would hold more value. Within the Fraser Valley there are little pockets of mirco-climate like ours, that can product the best of the best blueberries. We knew we wanted to stick with blueberries, so we decided to become a blueberry winery.
TFV: During our visit we saw the work in progress of the new tasting room and plans for a Distillery you’re working on. Can you explain a bit more about them?
RW: We are expanding our tasting room to accommodate both the winery and the distiller. What brought us to start a distillery was noticing a great deal of waste being disposed of after our wine making production. We use our own blueberries, and then make wine from those blueberries. With our distillery, we can use those wasted products from the blueberry wine and distill it to become alcohol. The great thing is that our footprint comes to a full circle. Once we have finished distilling, we can then use the waste from the distillery, to help fertilize the original blueberry plants. It’s really a very elegant way of recycling.
TFV: Which is your favourite wine that you make? What foods would you recommend pairing with it?
RW: My favourite wine we make is the Intemperance. It’s a classic red style, similar to a full-bodied Merlot. We find it pairs nicely with grilled meats or strong flavoured foods.
TFV: As Ripples Estate Winery is a family-run business, how are the different areas of your business split up between family members? What’s it like working with family?
RW: Being a family run business, you know your family members best, including their strengths and weaknesses. We all work in areas that we excel in. Paul and Kelsey run and operate the winey and distillery together. Paul works mainly with the hands-on jobs and Kelsey works on the product development. I mainly oversees the nursery and venue. We are all supported by a great team of employees.
TFV: At the end of our visit we had a glass of your wine ‘Veracious’, and you mentioned it’s one of your most popular wines. Can you describe it a bit more for us?
RW: Initially when we started the winery we made wines we liked ourselves, but at Kelsey’s insistence and determination, we developed a variety of blueberry wine profiles. These just to happen to be the most popular. Veracious is our all-time most popular wine, a slightly sweet, juicy, rose style wine that pairs nicely with just about everything.
TFV: Tell us about Woodbridge Ponds. What is your process for harvesting water plants?
RW: We operate Woodbridge Ponds, April – June and in those 3 months we harvest and ship out over 100,000 floating water plants. This work is done by a wonderful group of 12 ladies. We wake up early weigh into the beds and when we leave we are covered to duck weed. We call it our own personal spa vacation, as we all come out with a healthy glow and buns of steel.
TFV: Tell us a little bit about your lives outside of Ripples Winery.
RW: From May-September we really don’t have lives besides our work. Whether it’s in the office replying to emails or outside picking plants, our lives are non-stop during those months. During our off season we do love to travel.
TFV: How many dogs do you have and what are their names?
RW: We actually only own one but our daughter and son both live on the property and they each have a dog of their own, so there are always three dogs at grandmas. Their names are Kayda, Charlie and Pete.
TFV: What would you tell yourself 20 years ago that you wish you knew then?
RW: I would tell myself to start a winery earlier.
TFV: Are there any local businesses that inspire you? And why?
RW: Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry is a company we have recently been working together with. I truly admire how they’ve turned a mundane product like chicken or duck and have it exploded into the market place to become such a success.
TFV: What is your favourite thing about living in the Fraser Valley?
RW: Living in the Fraser Valley gives us access to all of nature’s playground. Within 1 hour we can be hiking mountains, swimming in the ocean, skiing a mountain or biking beautiful trails. I especially enjoy having so many local sources foods and amenities nearby.
TFV: Where is your favourite place to eat here in the Fraser Valley? Tell us about it!
RW: Our favourite place to eat is at Home. Kelsey and I love to cook, and we enjoy experimenting and eating. There are so many great locally sourced foods and wines out there, we love to search for the perfect wine to pair with the most perfectly cooked meal.
Nearing the end of our time together, Caroline poured us a glass of their most popular blueberry wine, the Veracious and they shared with us about how their collection of wines came to be and their plans for the future. We couldn’t help leaving excited for what they have in store and eager for our next visit.