Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery

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When I think of the prairies, especially in the summer, I envision clear blue skies and fields of wheat as far as the eye can see. The saying that you can see your dog run away for days is easy to understand if you have stood in the prairies where the view seems to go on forever. One of the last things you would expect to see is a field of grapevines. However, in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan you will find just that. The Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery is a must stop if you are driving through the province, or a good day trip if you are based in the Province’s capital city of Regina.

I went there in June with an aunt and uncle who were visiting from England. I drove from Regina to pick them up in Moose Jaw and we continued west along the Trans-Canada Highway to Highway 21 at the Maple Creek turnoff. We stopped in Maple Creek and picked up the fixings for a picnic and headed through town onto highway 271 towards the winery and Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. The winery has a restaurant but it was not serving its full food service yet so our plan was to have lunch in the park then head back to the winery for coffee break in the afternoon. The winery has luncheon service between June 25th and September 1st.

We drove past the winery and turned into Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park to see the views from the Conglomerate Cliffs, a highland plateau in the prairies. After lunch It was time to retrace our steps and visit the winery. The members of staff were very friendly and accommodating. After trying a few free samples (you can sample up to nine wines) we went out to the vineyard to take a self-guided tour. Our favourite wines were the rhubarb and sour cherry. The huge German rhubarb is evident in one corner of the vineyard as are chokecherry trees that will provide a windbreak for the vines as the trees grow to maturity. There are storyboards in the vineyards explaining that the vines are a hybrid of North American and European fruit that are able to withstand the cold prairie winters. The snow also provides some insulation for the plants.

There is a high fence around the vineyards to keep deer and other animals away from the vines, though I’m sure the deer could jump the fence with no difficulty. The patio of the restaurant overlooks the gardens and the vineyard and was our last stop for a drink and some Saskatoon berry pie a la mode. The vineyard is in a lovely spot and makes for a nice drive/day out. Next time I go I’ll make sure it is in season for the restaurant to be serving lunch. There are lots of wine related gifts for sale in the shop along with all the wines.

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