To give Albertans a Chance to Experience Lips that Taste like Sangria
MILLARVILLE, ALBERTA. In good Stampede and rodeo fashion, Southern Alberta’s local winery, Spirit Hills, has crafted an Alberta based sangria named YeeHaa! It is a delicious ready-pour sangria that can be served straight over a full glass of ice, the “loaded” version. As most things in Alberta, it is strong, and at 13.5% can stand up to the dilution with lots of ice. An “unloaded” version can be served by mixing it with some soda and orange juice and a double barreled YeeHaa! includes a half shot of amber rum.
“With Blake Shelton’s country song, Sangria, we thought it was time to craft a real Alberta sangria, so all Alberta guys can experience lips tasting like sangria,” said the wine maker, Hugo Bonjean, with a smile.
Spirit Hills is a honey winery and specializes in food pairing wines and specialty wines made with Alberta ingredients. This means that their wines are grapeless and the fermentable sugars come from honey. For their red wine they use our local prairie berries, black currants and saskatoons and age it in oak barrels, and for the white and rose they use Alberta’s local flowers, Dandelions and Wild Roses. YeeHaa! is crafted from honey, black currants, saskatoons, apples and cinnamon. In true sangria style, it is sangria sweet, which means not too sweet, but nicely balanced and easy sipping. Mike Roberts, Sommelier Manager at Co-op Wines Spirits Beer said: “Spirit Hills is well known for producing dry style wines that can be very complex, layer in flavours and are intriguing. Spirit Hills wines are very food friendly and can be used for some wonderful food pairings. Yeehaa! will pair perfectly with Stampede, BBQ and any summer party.”
During the spring of 2015 the Spirit Hills expanded its distribution from its greater Calgary base to some 90 liquor stores between Lacombe and the US border. “We had one liquor store in Rocky Mountain House last year, because the manager is such a great fan, and we noticed how well our wines were doing in this rural town. So we decided to focus our attention on all rural towns in Central and Southern Alberta, before going to Edmonton with our product,” said Ilse Bonjean, Queen Bee at Spirit Hills. “We realized that Alberta farmers and country people strongly support Alberta farm products, including good wine.”
Spirit Hills opened its doors on December 22nd, 2012 and is becoming a true Alberta family farm success. The couples oldest son, Bjorn, joined the company in the spring of 2014 and is now the full time wine maker. The fiance of their other son, Fabian, has joined them earlier this year in a sales and marketing role and their daughter, Amber, is planning to join the farm business in the spring of 2016. While the Bonjeans have been homesteading for over a decade, their commercial farm part started just 3 years ago with 60 beehives and has now expanded to over 200 hives and a production of 28,000 bottles of wine sold through some 90 liquor stores across Central and Southern Alberta.
Spirit Hills integrates organic herbs and berries with ancient honey wine fermentation methods to produce the highest quality of wines with a distinct Alberta flavour. The Spirit Hills’ bees are sustainably managed and produce their honey from the wildflowers on the range lands of the pristine Rocky Mountain foothills. Spirit Hills’ wines can be found in some 90 good quality wines stores in Southern and Central Alberta, among them all Co-op Stores, Willowpark, Highlander and Crowfoot stores. Spirit Hills is open to the public for tours and tastings year-round by appointment. Spirit Hills wines are being served in some of Calgary’s top restaurants.
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To order wine or schedule a tour and tasting contact Spirit Hills at (403) 933 3913