The recent passing of George Hanson, owner and winemaker at Seven Stones Winery in Cawston has left me a little empty since I first heard the news. George was always generous with his time for me, as a fledgling in the wine media writing for Wine Trails, podcasting on this site, and later when I worked for another winery in the Similkameen Valley.
I first met George in 2008 when I was working in a vineyard near Keremeos. I commuted past Seven Stones and stopped in one day on my way through. George and Vivianne were welcoming and lovely people to talk to and the wines were excellent. I returned whenever I could. George was a fixture at so many of the events – Festival of the Grape, BBQ King, Okanagan Wine Festival tastings – and always had time to talk to me although pausing now and then to gently toss a cork at someone pouring for another winery across the aisle. It was that kind of fun attitude that George brought with him to all of the events that he attended.
It was in January of 2013, while crossing a sketchy makeshift bridge over a massive trench that had been dug out between his house and the winery, that I realized that George’s ambition with Seven Stones was unique. He was building the wine caves that year and he was showing me around it, which was only about 1/3rd completed at the time. Even in that state, it was pretty clear that this was going to be something special. He was taking things to a new level and it was amazing to see. He was excited about the project and was imensly proud of the work that his step-son Colin had done to make it a reality.
For those articles, we often did tastings at his home in the kitchen or dining room. I was amazed at how beautifully quiet it was. I often recorded the interviews at that time because I didn’t have confidence in my handwriting to be able to get down all of the details properly. In case I missed something, at least I had a recording to consult. The focus was entirely on the wine and the conversation about it. I recorded other interviews with him for podcasts as well. It didn’t matter that it was in his quiet house or at a noisy tasting, George always made you feel like the conversation that you were having with him was the only thing happening at the time.
There were a lot of things about George that I will miss. My deepest condolences go to his family and his Seven Stones family.