Moon Curser Contraband
The history of Osoyoos and this wine producing valley is prevalent in Moon Curser’s name and reference to their wines as ‘contraband’. The story goes that when the valley was full of gold miners in the 1880’s, gold-smuggling miners returned stateside by the hundreds, under the cover of night – trying to avoid customs agents. Often, the light of the moon would spoil their plans, shedding light onto their travels – hence the name.

During this latest trip to Osoyoos we tried to visit smaller vineyards and unique tasting rooms as opposed to those that we, and most everyone else, already knows about. We found several that we really liked including Rustico Farm & Cellars (see previous blog) and Moon Curser for their unique branding, storytelling and of course good wine.

Moon Curser originally opened in 2004 as “Twisted Tree” and rebranded in 2011. The six acre homestead vineyard (above) contains six rather unique varietals: Tannat, Tempranillo, Carmenere, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne. Moon Curser also owns two other East Bank vineyards and buys small quantities of fruit for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Martin Plut on the west side of the lake. 

The Moon Curser label is truly unique. The artwork was created by Andrea Dezsö from New York City, who has been exhibited at several museums and galleries worldwide. Each wine also has a unique name to go with the unique label that is easy to remember. Moon Curser currently has 11 reds and 3 whites in production and most of them were available for tasting. We tried them all (of course) and chose a few favorites.

“Afraid of the Dark” (2012 $21.90) is a blend of three Rhone wines: Roussanne (47%), Viognier (31%) and Marsanne (22%). It was light to medium and a bit dry with citrus flavors and a crisp finish. 
“Border Vines” (2010  $25.00) is a blend of six Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Merlot (33%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Carmenere (7%), Malbec (7%) and Petit Verdot (3%). The wine is grown in five Osoyoos East Bench vineyards, all within a short tractor-driving distance from each other. It is medium bodied and dry with the taste of dark berries and a bit of spice.
“Dead of Night” (2010 $38.00) is a blend of Tannat and Syrah. Very few North American wineries grow Tannat. The wine is rich and medium to heavy. Jeff is saving this one for a steak BBQ. 

At the 2012 Intervin International Wine Awards Moon Curser won 5 awards: Gold Medal – Malbec 2010, Silver Medal – Dead of Night 2010, Silver Medal – Syrah 2010, Bronze Medal – Viognier 2011, Bronze Medal – Border Vines 2010. What we learned on this trip was that some of the small ‘hole-in-the-wall’ looking wineries offer the best tasting experience, unique stories, great branding and very good wine at prices that are pretty reasonable (considering BC wine prices in general). If you are in the Osoyoos-Oliver area check out Rustico Farms & Cellars, Moon Curser Vineyards, Adera (no website), Silver Sage Winery and Castoro de Oro Estate Winery. Visit our Flickr photo set for more photos from Osoyoos.

Jeff & Tara Ciecko of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs on their website, one is their 19th Hole Blog where they share personal experiences and the Biz Blog where they share business best practices and golf industry related opinions. They have owned and operated CK Golf Solutions for 5 1/2 years.