When Marichel owner, viticulturist and winemaker Richard Roskell is asked what makes his winery special he pauses and chooses his words very carefully: “The offerings from this farm are an expression of love of Naramata. This is a special place for growing and making wine.”
More than just the attention and care Richard pours into the 1,500 cases of Viognier and Syrah Marichel he produces yearly, the farm too is about love. He was persuaded into buying it by his wife Elisabeth in 2000 who fell hard for the beautiful land on a bluff overlooking Lake Okanagan with its incredible across-the-lake view of Summerland’s Giants Head Mountain.
Elisabeth passed away a year ago. “She was key in helping us acquire the farm,” Richard says. “For example, she spoke German with the former owners who were in Germany. We both fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. She is a huge part of what Marichel is today, her efforts and her vision.”
The vineyard’s name is a combination of the first initials of Elisabeth’s son Marlow, Richard and Elisabeth. I think it sounds lovely and very French.
A retired Air Canada pilot, Richard says he is relishing his second career spent in the outdoors. “There is some useful cross-over from my days as a pilot,” he says. “The discipline you need to approach a problem and the organizational skills definitely apply. But it’s not in any way a mechanical process like flying from Point A to Point B. It’s a much longer and hugely rewarding process to plant vines, watch them grow, tend them and years later literally see the fruits of your labour.”
Richard says his take on wine-making is very hands off. “The wine is quintessentially an expression of the farm. I don’t manipulate the wine…It’s the vineyard you are tasting.”
Anthony Gismondi does a much better job at describing Marichel Vineyard’s Syrah saying, “Mocha, liquorice, black berry jam, port-y nose with intense vanilla, leather, resin, cooked rhubarb notes spiked with garrigue and slightly volatile notes…” Sounds good too me. Here is my description: “Damned good.”
This small winery is a bit of a hidden gem tucked away in Naramata on Little John Road which boasts only two properties…that of our good friends Bill and Pam and Marichel. Richard carefully tends the vineyard himself which is divided up into eight small microclimates. He has left areas of natural plantings on the property which is home to a variety of wildlife. Partway through the growing season he will select prune off a good deal of the fruit to supercharge the flavour of the remaining grapes.
With a quiet, but dedicated following, Marichel is a wonderful surprise for new visitors who are astonished by the dramatic views, special wines and the warm welcome. The tasting room is open daily through mid-October from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 1016 Little John Road is on the lakeside of Naramata Road before you reach the Village of Naramata.