The Creation of Harper’s Trail
Well known and respected in the Kamloops business community, Ed and Vicki Collett are taking Kamloops one step further as they pioneer the next wine territory in British Columbia's landscape.
Wine entered Ed and Vicki's lives gradually. Throughout his career, Ed visited wine regions in other parts of the world, particularly Australia and Chile, and was struck by the similarity in climate to the Thompson River Valley. The possibility of starting a vineyard crept into the couples' minds and a weekend getaway overlooking the vines in the Okanagan cemented the desire to create their own vineyard.
With firm hold on a dream, but no vineyard or winemaking experience, the couple sought consultation and advice from several industry veterans to help set them on the right path. Along the way, the Collett’s came to recognize that the land they had chosen for their vineyard had so much more under the surface than just ideal limestone-veined grape-growing soil.
Thousands of years ago, when the South Thompson River ran a different course, the land that now holds the Thadd Springs Vineyard was the nomadic riverside home to 30 bands of Secwepemc (or Shuswap) whose people camped along the river. Fast forward to what, in contrast, are more recent times, and you can hear the echoing hoofs and lowing of cattle in the rolling hills that now proudly host vinifera vines. Renowned BC pioneer and rancher Thaddeus Harper used the grounds as a camp and staging area, as cattle were driven from the U.S. to the Chilcotin to Harper's Gang Ranch.
Today, the 25.5-acre vineyard shows the promise for wine growing in the Thompson Valley. With careful attention to the land, the Collett’s are committed to presenting Kamloops to the world as a place in BC where one can craft fresh, fruit-driven, quality wines.
There is nowhere in British Columbia like the riverside of Harper's Trail. With the convenience of the city of Kamloops mere minutes away, Harper's Trail is tucked into the city outskirts.
The South Thompson River is on the vineyard's doorstep, with myriad birds, majestic eagles, bulrushes and beautiful wintering swans.
Composing the backdrop to the vines are rolling hills of sage and antelope brush and majestic, mysterious hoodoos carved into clay banks. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, and bears graze and roam.
In the vineyard is a fully productive natural spring that offers further biodiversity to this special place. The Collett’s are proud to be the pioneers who are forging this emerging wine region, and they are inspired to share the history, beauty, and flavours of their unique site.