Column: Joining the winery club scene with Hester on the bench

Do you have a favourite BC Winery? If so, considered joining their wine club.

Most B.C. wineries have their loyalty clubs. Last year I did an in-depth tasting at Hester Creek. President Mark Sheridan took my Australian mate, D’Arcy Walsh and me on a tour of the winery and explained the advantages of being a member their club. It’s the Bench Club, named after the Golden Mile Bench the winery is located on near Oliver.

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Under the direction of Sarah Lefebvre, the Bench Club is described as a “true wine experience”, designed to showcase the award-winning wines of Hester Creek and their hospitality while offering special rewards, exclusive wines, and interactive club-only events.

There are two options when joining the Hester Creek Bench Club. Patrons can either pick Terra Unica and choose from quarterly shipment options of six bottles or Loyalty where they purchase a case of 12 bottles four times a year.

In October, The white wine selection had six wines for $105 (two bottles each of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Terra Unica Sémillon.) Terra Unica is an exclusive  bottling reserved for Bench Club members.

The red wine selection included six wines for $145 (two bottles each of Character Red, Terra Unica Cabernet Sauvignon, and Reserve Merlot.)

The mixed wines selection had six wines for $130 (one bottle of Pinot Gris, Character White, Terra Unica Sémillon, Syrah Viognier, and two bottles of Terra Unica Cabernet Sauvignon.)

With the loyalty membership, the mixed wines included a dozen wines for $255 (one bottle of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Reserve Merlot, and Reserve Cabernet Franc, and two bottles of Pinot Blanc, Terra Unica Sémillon, Cabernet Merlot, and Terra Unica Cabernet Sauvignon.) During the pandemic there is free shipping on all orders but prices do not include tax or deposit.

As a Bench Club member, you will earn 10 per cent of your purchases back in loyalty points to spend on more wine, merchandise, events, or a stay at the Villa. The Villa has six Mediterranean-style suites providing deluxe accommodation high on the hill, with unsurpassed vineyard & orchard views.

Foodies will be delighted with the recipes included with each shipment so you can enjoy the wines with gourmet food. Other benefits of being a club member include a personalized club concierge when you visit the winery, advanced release of quarterly special and limited-edition wines, and complimentary shipping on advanced release wines.

During the COVID-19 restrictions, there has been a hold on access to private tastings, Bench Club Parties, and other special events.

If you’re in the Oliver area of the Okanagan, be sure to visit Hester Creek Estate Winery, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. You don’t need reservations and there are no tasting charges.

There you can taste a broad selection of wines, learn more about the Bench Club, and enjoy lunch or dinner at Terrafina, meaning“from the earth”. Terrafina is a gorgeous Tuscan style restaurant nestled among the vines at Hester Creek.


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