“It’s a Dream Come True”- says Winery Owner
L-R Pat Bell, Mayor Lyn Hall, Shirley Bond, Mike Morris, Doug Bell and Brenda Bell do the official ribbon cutting
Prince George, B.C.- It was two years ago that former Prince George Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell publicly announced his plan to build B.C.’s most northerly winery. Today, that dream became reality.
Pat Bell’s son Doug promised the new, Northern Estates Winery will be a destination place, where there will be “events, there will be weddings, there will be concerts, there will be harvest festivals, there will be wine tasting, it will be a place where you can take your family.” The vision is that the Northern Lights Estate Winery will be as important a landmark to Prince George, as the iconic cutbanks against which the orchard is nestled .
“This will be a place where memories are made” said Shirley Bond, long time colleague and friend of Pat Bell and his family. She said the winery is already being talked about in other parts of the province. “For me, it’s not just about what someone and their family can do when they put their hearts and minds to it, it’s about how great this is for Prince George.”
(At right, wine glasses at the ready for guests to sample the wine -photo 250News)
The vision for the project changed over the past two years, “It wasn’t that long ago we were on the other side of the road ( where the orchard is) talking about this delusion…ah I mean dream” said Doug Bell. The original plan had the winery on the north side of PG Pulpmill Road, but that was revised, and so was the budget.
Standing on the patio outside the Northern Lights Estate Winery on P.G. Pulpmill Road, Bell offered thanks to all who helped make the dream of the fruit winery a reality. From the real estate agent who found them the land along the north bank of the Nechako River, to the City planning department which assisted in anyway it could. But the deepest thanks went to his wife Brenda and son Doug, who, through the two year planning and construction phase have put plenty of sweat and financial equity into the project.
“We think we have an opportunity to build a whole new wine industry based on these types of fruits” says Pat Bell. He says the fruit wine industry has changed over the years, and it is no longer the sweet wine that is the norm , Northern Lights will blend fruits and barrel age wine for a different flavour.
He adds that PG Pulpmill Road has some of the best agricultural land in the City, “I measured the distance from our driveway to the industrial area down the road, and there are two kilometres of some of the best agricultural soils in northern British Columbia in this stretch of ground. I hope what we will do, in the next few years, is demonstrate to people that there is a viable business whether it be a winery, or other forms of agriculture, and I would love to see this road renamed in ten years from now Winery Row, something that really reflects the opportunity and that people will come out and participate in agricultural tourism.”