Thompson Valley

Thompson Valley







about this subregion

Nestled within the heart of British Columbia's interior, the Thompson Valley stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of winemaking in the face of an extreme continental climate. This region encompasses the picturesque landscapes around Kamloops, Cache Creek, and Ashcroft, stretching northeastward until it reaches the charming town of Chase. Here, where nature's forces are at their most unyielding, vintners have carved out a niche that defies the odds.

The Thompson Valley's defining climatic feature is its unwavering commitment to extremes. Summers here are hot and dry, basking the vineyards in an abundance of sunlight, while winters offer an icy embrace that requires a tenacious approach to grape cultivation. The saving grace in this climatic tango is the constant movement of the rivers, like the mighty Thompson, which creates a vital airflow, mitigating the temperature extremes and allowing for more nuanced winemaking.

Given the region's propensity for chilly winters, grape varieties with a sturdy disposition thrive. Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir are planted with care, showcasing their ability to endure and produce wines of character. Additionally, a range of hybrid grape varieties find their place in this dynamic terroir, offering unique expressions of the Thompson Valley's harsh, yet rewarding, winemaking environment.

In the heart of the Canadian interior, the Thompson Valley wine region is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of winemakers who have harnessed the power of nature to produce wines that capture the essence of this formidable landscape.


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Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

The Thompson River meanders through the picturesque Thompson Valley, starting at the junction of its North and South branches near Kamloops and flowing to where it joins the Fraser River in Lytton. This valley, nestled within the British Columbia wine region, is a verdant haven for vineyards and wineries, enriched by a diverse range of climates and landscapes.

The valley stretches from the warm, sun-drenched hills of Kamloops to the cooler, milder areas around Lytton, with each locale lending a unique taste to the wines produced here. Thanks to a variety of microclimates and soil types, the Thompson Valley is ideal for growing a wide selection of grape varieties. The distinct characteristics of each area, from Kamloops’ fertile plains to Lytton’s rugged lands, infuse the wines with a unique set of flavors and qualities, creating a complex mosaic of wine profiles.

Organizations like the Wines of British Columbia association and the British Columbia Grape Growers Association are pivotal in preserving the area's rich wine heritage and supporting its diligent vineyard operators. Their efforts amplify the presence of Thompson Valley winemakers in the broader industry, promoting the region's outstanding wines and the dedicated people behind them.

The British Columbia Wine Authority is at the helm of ensuring the Thompson Valley wine region's quality and authenticity. By setting and enforcing strict standards, they certify that the wines truly represent the valley's diverse terroir, maintaining its status as a top-tier wine destination. Their commitment to quality invites wine lovers to explore the exquisite tastes and scenic beauty of Thompson Valley wines, reinforcing the region’s esteemed position in the wine world.

The Thompson Valley presents a unique climate that is pivotal for its burgeoning wine industry. This region, characterized by its semi-arid conditions, lies in the rain shadow of the high coastal mountains. Such geographical positioning significantly influences the valley's weather patterns, creating an environment distinct from its neighboring areas.

The climate here is defined by dry, sunny summers and moderately cold winters. This pattern offers an advantageous growing season for grapevines. The warm days allow for the effective ripening of grapes, crucial for developing the sugars and flavors that define the region's diverse wines. Meanwhile, the cooler nights help maintain a balance in acidity levels, a key factor in crafting wines with a bright, fresh character.

Another notable aspect of the Thompson Valley's climate is its variation in microclimates. The valley's topography, with its rolling hills and varied elevations, creates pockets of microclimates that allow for the cultivation of a wide range of grape varieties. Each microclimate, with its subtle differences in temperature, sunlight, and soil composition, contributes uniquely to the character and quality of the grapes grown there.

This combination of dry, sunny days, cooler nights, and diverse microclimates makes the Thompson Valley an exciting and promising region for viticulture. It's a place where the interplay of natural elements comes together to provide an ideal environment for growing grapes that yield high-quality wines.

In the heart of British Columbia, the Thompson Valley stands as a testament to the rich and varied tapestry of soils that underpin its flourishing viticulture industry. Each soil type in the valley contributes distinctively to the nuanced and diverse portfolio of wines produced in this region, reflecting the unique terroir that makes Thompson Valley wines so special.

  1. Alluvial Deposits: Along the meandering riverbanks of the Thompson Valley, the alluvial soils, composed of river-borne sediments, offer a fertile cradle for vineyards. These soils are teeming with nutrients washed down from the mountains, providing a robust foundation for vine growth. The inherent good drainage of these alluvial deposits ensures that the vines are not waterlogged, fostering healthy root systems and vigorous vine development.
  2. Sandy Loam: This finely textured soil, with its blend of sand and loam, is prized for its excellent drainage capabilities. The sandy loam in the Thompson Valley encourages vines to extend their roots deeply in search of moisture, resulting in stronger, more resilient plants. This soil type also facilitates aeration, promoting optimal root health and, consequently, the overall vigor of the vine.
  3. Gravel: The gravel soils scattered throughout the valley are invaluable for their ability to retain heat, an essential factor in grape maturation, particularly in the cooler microclimates of the region. This thermal accumulation aids in extending the growing day for the vines, enhancing sugar development and flavor concentration in the grapes. The porous nature of gravel ensures effective drainage, reducing the risk of root diseases and promoting healthy vine growth.
  4. Clay: With its denser composition and ability to retain moisture, clay soil offers a lifeline to vines during periods of drought, gradually releasing water to sustain them. While this moisture retention is advantageous, the cooler temperatures held by clay can pose challenges for early-season vine development. However, this same characteristic can also protect vines from the stress of sudden temperature spikes, contributing to the balanced growth of the vineyards in the Thompson Valley.
  5. Loam: Beyond these, the valley also boasts areas of loam soil, a balanced mix of sand, silt, and clay. This equilibrium provides a fertile environment that is both well-drained and capable of retaining sufficient moisture. Vines planted in loamy soils often exhibit balanced growth and yield, contributing to the complexity and depth of the wines produced.

The interplay of these soil types across the Thompson Valley creates a mosaic of micro-terroirs, each imparting its own influence on the grapevines that thrive there. From the mineral-rich notes attributed to alluvial and gravel soils to the robust character derived from the deep roots in sandy loam, and the moisture-regulated growth encouraged by clay and loam, the diversity of soils is a cornerstone of the region's viticultural success. This intricate soil landscape is instrumental in defining the character, quality, and distinctiveness of the wines emanating from this unique Canadian wine region, making each bottle a testament to the rich earth from which it came.


The Thompson Valley in British Columbia, Canada, is an emerging wine region renowned for its diverse microclimates and semi-arid conditions. This unique setting nurtures a variety of grape cultivars, each with specific agricultural and climatic requirements. The most commonly planted red grape varieties in this region are Pinot Noir and Maréchal Foch, while the predominant white varieties include Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and La Crescent.

  1. Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir, a globally acclaimed grape variety, flourishes in the Thompson Valley's cooler climates. This grape demands well-drained soils and careful canopy management to protect against disease. It is sensitive to potassium levels, with deficiencies impacting vine productivity and fruit quality. Proper soil nutrient management and monitoring of potassium levels are essential for healthy growth and optimal yield.
  2. Maréchal Foch: This hybrid red variety adapts well to the cooler conditions of the Thompson Valley. It requires less heat to ripen compared to other red varieties, making it suitable for the region's climate. Maréchal Foch is relatively hardy, with a strong resistance to cold and diseases, which aligns well with the region's varied weather patterns. Its cultivation necessitates diligent vineyard management to ensure balanced growth and ripening.
  3. Riesling: Riesling thrives in the cooler microclimates of the Thompson Valley, benefiting from the region's significant diurnal temperature variations. This grape variety prefers well-drained soils and is sensitive to over-cropping. Riesling vines require precise water management and protection from extreme weather conditions to maintain the health and quality of the grapes.
  4. Chardonnay: Chardonnay, adaptable to a range of climates, finds a suitable environment in the Thompson Valley. It favors well-drained, fertile soils and moderate temperatures. This variety demands careful canopy management to balance sun exposure and air circulation, reducing the risk of disease and ensuring even ripening.
  5. Pinot Gris: This versatile variety prospers in the valley's diverse microclimates. Pinot Gris requires well-drained soils and benefits from moderate heat. It is susceptible to certain vine diseases, necessitating vigilant vineyard practices. Balanced pruning and canopy management are crucial for optimal fruit development and yield.
  6. La Crescent: La Crescent, a relatively new variety, adapts well to the cooler areas of the Thompson Valley. It prefers well-drained soils and requires meticulous canopy management to ensure sufficient sunlight and air circulation. This grape is known for its cold hardiness, making it a suitable choice for the region's varying temperatures.

Each of these grape varieties contributes to the rich viticultural tapestry of the Thompson Valley, their distinct agricultural needs shaping the viticulture practices in this unique Canadian wine region.

Nestled in the heart of British Columbia, the Thompson Valley is making a name for itself with its unique wines. Let's talk about the signature flavors and aromas of the most popular wines this charming region has to offer:

  1. Pinot Noir: Picture a glass of wine that whispers elegance with every sip. The Pinot Noir here is like a gentle embrace of red fruits – think cherries and a touch of strawberry – wrapped in a subtle earthy blanket. It’s smooth on the palate, with a soft dance of fruity and spicy notes.
  2. Maréchal Foch: Now, imagine a bolder character. The Maréchal Foch from these parts is like diving into a pool of dark fruits. It's a robust wine, full of blackberry and plum flavors, and often gives a nod to chocolate or coffee notes. It's a wine with a backbone, thanks to its solid tannic structure.
  3. Riesling: The Rieslings here are like a burst of sunshine in a glass – lively and aromatic. You’ll catch whiffs of citrus and green apple, maybe even a hint of flowers. It’s a refreshing sip, balancing a zesty acidity with just enough sweetness to make your taste buds dance.
  4. Chardonnay: Chardonnay in the Thompson Valley is a bit of a chameleon. Some are light and crisp, with a fresh apple and citrus vibe, while others take on a more indulgent character with vanilla and oak. They all share a creamy smoothness that makes them wonderfully approachable.
  5. Pinot Gris: Think of a fruit basket on a summer day – that's Pinot Gris for you. With aromas of peaches, apricots, and a whisper of almond, it's a medium-bodied wine that perfectly balances fruity flavors with refreshing acidity.
  6. La Crescent: Last but not least, La Crescent wines are like a floral bouquet, brimming with tropical notes. They’re light and zesty, with a touch of honeysuckle and apricot, and a citrus undertone that makes them irresistibly fresh.

These wines are like a tapestry of flavors, each thread weaving its own story, reflecting the diversity and richness of the Thompson Valley’s winemaking heritage.