As of Tuesday, August 11, 2015
OROVILLE Two miles south of the Canadian border is the Taber’s Taste of Summer Fruit Stand.
The stand along U.S. Highway 97 just outside Oroville sells all the fruit, vegetables and flowers that Taber’s grows on its own 250 acres of orchards and farms.
It also sells wine, just another by product of the fruit they grow.
Owners Dave and Judi Taber have lived in the area since Dave left the U.S. Air Force at Whidbey Island in 1974 and bought his uncle’s orchard. Judi was sure they would just be here a short time and didn’t fully unpack for years.
They’ve been orchardists, restaurant owners, and in 1998 they planted their first grapes. Judi says Dave would come up with a new idea and she would wonder how in the world it would work, but here they are still open outside of Oroville.
They close the Fruit Stand from November to May and start the season with flowers and hanging baskets and a barrel tasting the third week end in May. That takes place in the garage of their home, which is where the barrels of wine are kept and bottled.
Dave hand-drew the wine labels that depict both the location of one of their vineyards on the Similkameen River at the Pacific Northwest Trail Head as well as Copper Mountain, which overlooks the fruit stand.
The Tabers sold grapes for a few years until they were bonded to make wine in 2006 and could begin selling it.
Daughter Angela likes the fruit part of the stand and Judi says she likes the gift section. You can find anything from wine related gift items to specialty food items.
Judi says they procure from other small family operations that fit in with the style they have; also hand-crafted items.
With a production of 700 to 1,000 cases annually, the Tabers still make five red, five white and three different ice wines. Some of the regulars will take either the chardonnay or riesling ice wine and mix it with another wine to fashion their own glass.
Their most popular wine is the Pinot gris. However, last years first forage into a rose was very well-received and it sold out. (I was a bit disappointed to hear that.) The Tabers make it with a cab-Franc grape, which is apparently unusual.
They do sell their wines locally at the few grocery stores and restaurants, but other than that, it is just marketed from the stand.
There is no charge for a tasting and Copper Mountain. The Tabers do not currently offer a wine club. Judi says she isn’t sure just how to start it or if it is necessary.
They have music and wine tasting on Wednesday evenings which is hugely popular. In fact, folks who have met there have become friends and will meet up in the winter when snowbirding down south, Judi says. You are welcome to bring your own food and have a glass of wine and the environment is ver family friendly.
Dave Jr. runs the vineyard operation. His wife, Jaden, helps out with special events and in the Tasting Room.
The Tabers’ two grandchildren even help out by putting labels on crates in the small packing line. They like to join the adults on Wednesday evenings. Like I said — Taber’s Taste of Summer Fruit Stand is family friendly.
The Tabers do hire out for harvest, but most of the rest of the work is done by the family.
I enjoyed my visit to the fruit stand. I enjoyed sitting on the covered porch the Tabers added to the fruit stand, which is the original shipping shed for the farm.
One of the most northerly wineries in the continental U.S., the view of neighboring orchards and Lake Osoyoos are very relaxing.
Once they are open for the season they are open 7 days a week and happy to have you stop in for a visit.
Tune in next week for a visit to the Lost River Winery in Winthrop.
This is the fourth in a five-part series of columns on local wineries written by Sandy Hansen. To reach Sandy, email her here.