Paul Koodrin is the sole owner, developer and operator of Bluecrop Farms located on the banks of the Kootenay River, with easy access off the highway between the cities of Castlegar and Nelson, British Columbia. Established by the Koodrin Family in 1984, it took seven years to develop a generously producing field of blueberries, the first in the region. In 1990, a walk-in freezer was added to collect the abundant fruit produced, the climate being perfect for growing this unusually sweet, crisp and long lasting berry. Originally attracted to blueberries for their health-giving properties, Bluecrop Farms follows a holistic approach to growing the fruit without pesticides, and when necessary, only with the use of organic fertilizers. Supplemented with occasional irrigation, the soils of the sunny river bank provide ideal growing conditions for this rich, mountain berry. Throughout the years, the family farm has maintained a sustainable bioculture, balancing thoughtful agricultural practices with the natural ecology of the beautiful Kootenay River valley.
In an attempt to fulfill a life-long dream, Paul Koodrin began exploring the potential use of blueberries in wine making, hoping eventually to develop his farm into an estate winery. Over the years he amassed a wealth of experience, experimenting with various wine-making techniques and recipes - producing small quantities of delicious dry and sweet wine. In 2000 he began purchasing larger scale winery equipment from the Okanagan Valley. At this time, with the help of a local artist, he developed a visual identity and designed a wine label, inspired by the lovely Blue Heron that frequents the farm's river bank and nests on the nearby islands. Heron Ridge Estates, once a dream, was now becoming a reality.
Expanding on his acquired skills in fruit growing and winemaking, Paul took a course at the Summerland Horticultural Research Facility in 2001. More recently, in a continued effort to further improve the quality of his wine, he has solicited the expertise of an award-winning Okanagan vintner as a consultant. The rich, unique flavours of Heron Ridge wines are achieved through careful, measured blending of two varieties of blueberry - the sweet Northland and the small ultra-sweet Stanley. With very positive results from recent professional analysis of their current samples, Heron Ridge Estates is now poised to offer their Blueberry Wines to the rapidly growing local and export market
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