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Great Estates Okanagan
November 23, 2023 | Great Estates Okanagan

Brand Spotlight: Nk’Mip Cellars

Nk’Mip Cellars Winery vineyard

An outstanding expression of culture combines with deep respect for the craft of winemaking and the spirit and history of the Osoyoos Indian Band.

Nk’Mip translates to “bottomland” in English, a reference to the southern end of the Osoyoos reservation where the winery sits, in one of the hottest and driest parts of Canada. Owned in partnership with Arterra, Nk’Mip (run by the Osoyoos Indian Band) proudly makes wine steeped in history and expressive of its identity, with an eye to celebrating a colourful past and a nod towards a quality-focused and authentic present and future. Nk’Mip is one of the many businesses that have earned the Band financial independence and relishes the ability to share its legacy with the community, both local and global.

The Philosophy

A sense of place infuses everything that is produced at Nk’Mip Cellars, and a love of the land and reverence for the region is evident in the wines it produces. Nk’Mip Cellars promises to express the variety, intensity and irresistible lure of the land in every bottle produced. 

The Winemaker 

Justin Hall grew up in Osoyoos, BC and his connection and respect for the land where he was born, is evidenced in the pride he takes in his day-to-day work and in every bottle of wine he produces. Justin first joined Nk’Mip Cellars after graduating from high school. He thought he wanted to be a mechanic, but after only a few days on the job as a cellar hand, working alongside former Senior Winemaker, Randy Picton, he was hooked. He discovered a newfound passion for winemaking, and today is the Estate Winemaker at Nk’Mip Cellars. 

Justin completed his certificate in the Winery Assistant and Viticulture program at Okanagan University College, and then went to Australia and New Zealand where he first worked the crush at Goundrey Winery and then completed a post-graduate diploma in Enology and Viticulture from New Zealand’s Lincoln University. 

Justin returned to Nk’Mip Cellars in 2009 and has grown from Assistant Winemaker to leading the team as Estate Winemaker today. A member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Justin is proud to be one of the very first Indigenous winemakers in the world and a protector of the land.  Justin’s commitment to people, his craft, and the land is evident in the award-winning, quality-driven, and expressive wines of Nk’Mip Cellars.  

Nk’Mip’s Award-Winning Wines

Nk’Mip fine wines take advantage of the superior grape-growing region of Osoyoos, British Columbia. Offerings include Winemaker’s (exceptional sips for everyday occasions); Qwam Qwmt (premium, limited quantity wines) and; Mer’r’iym (blended bottles for celebrating). 

Known for creating wines with interesting flavours that are exceedingly drinkable, Nk’Mip Cellars lets the land, with all its variation and complexity from year-to-year, lead the way. 

2021 Winemaker’s Chardonnay: All Canadian Wine Championships 

Pineapple, pear and butterscotch aromas that carry on to the palate, rounding into a balanced, slightly creamy finish.  

2019 Qwam Qwmt Syrah: British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards 

Deep purple and delicious, this wine boasts aromas of cherry, cedar and spice that lead to a silky palate with flavours of berries, dried plum and cracked pepper and a vanilla finish. 

2019 Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay: Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada 

This Chardonnay features aromas of butterscotch, melon and tropical fruits. The palate is creamy and rich with flavours of citrus with a hint of spicy oak and crisp acidity. 

What the Critics Say

Nk’Mip Cellars, 2019 Merriym White Meritage 

“This stylish blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Nk’Mip delivers richness and refreshment, with some of the attractive sage notes that make white wines from the Okanagan so distinctive. The sauvignon blanc component was fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness and intensity of the fruit, while the later-ripening Semillon was fermented in 100-per-cent new French oak barrels for added complexity and character. The finished blend shows wonderful fruit intensity and concentration, with a flavourful thirst-quenching finish.” 91 points – Christopher Watters 

Nk’Mip Cellars, 2022 Pinot Blanc 

“Truly sapid iteration of pinot blanc with an amount of chardonnay not to be ignored and a phenolic character exhibited in the herbs and botanicals of the wine. Well made, medium-bodied, very dry and persistent. Stone fruit mainly and lime on the finish.” 90 points – Michael Godel  

Nk’Mip 2020 Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 

“Delicate nose of green apple, pear and citrus gives way to a well structure palate with crisp acidity and a light touch of oak. Medium bodied with a long fresh and aromatic finish of honey and stone fruit.” 91 points – Janet Dorozynski 

Nk’Mip 2019 Qwam Qwmt Syrah 

“Here is a lovely, rich, creamy yet dry Syrah with maturing and melding aromas of ripe black cherry, pepper, vanillin, leather and some minerality. It is full bodied, quite smooth, warm and sophisticated. Great texture. The alcohol is warm to be sure; the length is excellent. It strikes me as one of the more Aussie styled Syrahs yet produced in B.C. At five years of age it is drinking beautifully, with silky tannins.” 94 points – David Lawrason 

Shop the Article:

Nk'Mip Cellars 2020 Winemaker's Chardonnay

Nk'Mip Cellars 2020 Winemaker's Chardonnay

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Nk'Mip Cellars 2021 White Mer'r'iym

Nk'Mip Cellars 2021 White Mer'r'iym

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Nk'Mip Cellars 2019 Qwam Qwmt Syrah

Nk'Mip Cellars 2019 Qwam Qwmt Syrah

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Nk'Mip Cellars 2020 Winemaker's Merlot

Nk'Mip Cellars 2020 Winemaker's Merlot

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