The sandwich board sign advertising Wine Tasting at The Roost lingered in my brain and had me hitting the breaks while en route to a hiking destination. On this particular day, tasting some local wine sounded like a great way to set the pace!

Inside, I met Larissa, who was hosting the wine tasting area at The Roost’s entrance. She gave me an initial rundown on the wines and let me taste a few.

The Man Behind the Wine

I returned for a second tasting two weeks later and met the man behind the evolution of The Roost wines, Derek Einberger, Wine Maker and Director of Operations.

Derek came from the heart of wine country. Literally. His dad was a winemaker in the Napa Valley in California, so Derek spent his growing-up years surrounded by vineyards.

Derek also grew up with a passion for art. He obtained a studio art degree in sculpting and moved to Portland to become an artist.

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Derek Einberger, Wine Maker and Director of Operations

The money wasn’t great so he transitioned to working in breweries. He loved it for a time, but macro-brewing became monotonous. He needed room to put his creative mind to work.

Derek says, “With a small winery, every day is different. There is a lot of of problem-solving.” He also likes the farming and seasonal aspect of wine-making.

Nowadays, Derek is fully immersed in the art of wine-making and enjoys moulding various varieties of grapes into delectable wines. He began helping The Roost with their wine-making process last fall and became full-time in January.

A whole lot of wine was dumped so that he could start over with new batches such as his sparkling and slightly hazy Pétillant Naturel, an unfiltered wine that ferments inside the bottle. The semi-dry flavour and the light bubbly texture was lovely and livened up my palate!

_TVP1367The Pétillant Naturel is made with the “nearly forgotten” variety of Siegerrebe grapes

Derek also makes a clear non-sparkly version of this wine called, Portrait. It’s an exotic-tasting dry wine flavoured with grapefruit, pear and apricot.

_TVP1439Portrait, The Roost’s flagship wine made with Siegerrebe grapes 

Another favourite among patrons is the Farmer’s Daughter rosé which is surprisingly dry. I’ve tasted rosés in the past, but they’ve always had a sweetness to them. Not this one! It’s a fresh, vibrant wine flavoured with flowers, cherry, pear and orange.

_TVP1422The Farmer’s Daughter Rosé

The Roost also carries a Pinot Noir, Leon Millet, and Marechal Foch blend named Little Red Combine. It’s a lovely light-bodied dry wine with cherry, anise, spice, plum and blackberry flavours.

_TVP1355The Roost Estate Red Wine Field Blend, Little Red Combine

An Artist’s Touch

I could tell that Derek takes his work seriously and with the spirit of a true artist. He pointed out the Haiku’s that he wrote for each description card. The Pétillant Naturel’s haiku notes:

living wine sparkles

with zest, white peach, and brioche

hazy and lovely

I won’t describe them all, but you can enjoy reading them yourself while sipping a flight of The Roost wines, Monday through Thursday between 12 pm and 5 pm!

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The Vineyards

The grapes that make up The Roost’s wine portfolio are grown right at the farm except for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes in the Bourdeaux Blend. They are grown in the Okanagan Valley.

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Hamish, who owns the land that The Roost is perched on, planted two acres of mostly Siegerrebe grapes in 2009. Some Pinot Noir, Marachal Fauch and Leon Millot varieties are also grown here.

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All this talk of wine gets me thinking about the delicious food that you can pair it with. You may want to enjoy a glass of the “Pet Nat”, Derek calls his sparkling Pétillant Naturel, with something from The Roost Bistro’s new menu.

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The Roost Menu

The wood-fired pizzas sure looked delicious and got my salivary glands going. It’s amazing how quickly these pizzas bake at only three minutes inside this 700-degree dragon of an oven!

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It took a crane to move it over a few feet so the bistro could be built around it. There are many scrumptious pizzas to choose from on the menu. Take a look! I was told you can even get a ling cod or salmon pizza!

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The menu here at The Roost has changed since they invited famous chef, Garnet Schack from Cooking on the Coast, to come in and revamp their menu.

To give you a few of examples, you can get the Prosciutto Wrapped Ling Cod, Duck Confit or Clam Linguini. Or, if you have traditional tastes you can get the Dry-Aged Striploin, Whisky Burger, or Macaroni & Cheese. They’re just prepared more creatively!

There are so many amazing-sounding eats to choose from. Check out the breakfast, lunch, dinner and kid’s menus!

Farm Fresh Ingredients

The Roost takes farm-fresh literally. They even grow their own wheat and mill it right there at the farm. It’s used in some of their baked goods like breads and pies!

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Furthermore, the kitchen staff picks from an herb garden out back that grows popular herbs such as basil and thyme. Imagine fresh basil on your Roost Original Pizza with red sauce, fior de latte cheese, roma tomato, and olive oil. Yummm! Perhaps even pair your pizza with a glass of the Little Red Combine.

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While I wandered around the back forty admiring the vineyards and visiting the egg-laying chickens and pet sheep, I stumbled across “The Chef’s Garden”.

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The Roost grows a nice variety of vegetables and other edible greens like lettuce, carrots, radishes, nasturtium, gooseberries, currents, figs and more. The bakery even makes gooseberry pies!

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About The Roost

The Roost is owned and operated by Dallas and Sarah Bohl. They lease the land from Hamish, Sarah’s dad, who emigrated here from Scotland twenty-five years ago. He saw an ad for the land and put an offer on it site unseen. It proved to be a good move as the Agricultural Land Reserve rules changed allowing him to lease out the land and operate a business on it.

He leased out two buildings, a shed and half of a workshop, to two women between 2002 and 2008 who started a bakery and a garden center. The original bakery still exists with its variety of delicious pies and cakes.

In 2016, the bistro began taking shape. It opened in November of the same year.

A Top Notch Restaurant Designer

JC Scott, a well revered restaurant designer, took The Roost project on. He joked with Dallas that he’d worked with a bakery, bistro, and winery before, but never all in one project!

The Roost is currently in the process of constructing new tables that resemble wine barrels (except square table tops instead of round) to replace the checkered table cloth theme.

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The Bakery

Over the years, I’ve seen The Roost morph from the original bakery into a three-in-one operation. I came here years ago for the pies and bread which are baked right here!

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They also make granola, cookies, and some pretty serious-looking cakes.

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Check out their lunch menu too! You can also get espresso beverages.

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Upcoming Events!

The next event is happening on July 21st in the tent. A local band, Marshall Road, will entertain you while you enjoy a backyard barbecue-style menu with wine, beer and even sangria!

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You can also rent out this backyard space for your own event. Contact The Roost for details!

Keep an eye open for the Long-Table Dinners happening at The Roost this fall! I’m so excited about this as it reminds me of the shared meals I loved so much when walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. It was so special to share food, drink and conversation with strangers from all over the world. It’s great to hear that the tradition is getting started here too! The dinners will be held in ‘The Chef’s Garden’ or under a tent if it rains.

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The Chef’s Garden where the Long-Table Dinners will happen

Also, in the fall, The Roost ships out their largest pumpkin to be carved. In the past, celebrity Chef Takashi Ito, an ice sculptist who worked at The Empress and who currently works at Aura at Laurel Point, did the honours. The largest pumpkin that The Roost has grown and carved was a whopping 976 lbs!

I’m curious to see what grows this year inside this greenhouse!

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A little off the topic, but impressive never the less, is Hamish’s car and plane collection. I’ve never seen so many MG’s in one garage!

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My very first car was a candy-apple red convertible MG MGB, not as old as any of these beauties, but my 16-year-old self thought it was pretty sweet to drive one! I can still hear Boston’s Greatest Hits blasting down the highway! Ha! I guess that dates me a bit.

Contact The Roost!

The Roost Winery, Bistro and Bakery is located at 9100 East Saanich Road in North Saanich. Visit their website for hours of operation and contact information!

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The Roost bakery on the right, the bistro on the left and wine tasting inside the main entrance!