...here are a few reports and unconfirmed rumours from various sources. Some credible, others,... well.
John Schreiner on wine - "Moon Curser's original wines", 12 wines rated 90+ points
"Moon Curser Vineyards produces no Pinot Gris, no Chardonnay and no Gewürztraminer even though these are three of the most widely grown varietals in the Okanagan. With a few exceptions, Chris and Beata Tolley, owners of this Osoyoos winery, did not plant many of the popular grape varieties. For the most part, their wines are made with varietals that few other wineries, if any, are growing. That may have struck some as commercially risky. However, the Moon Curser portfolio is exciting, never boring and usually delivers surprises..."
Overview of John's ratings:
Moon Curser Dead of Night 2020
Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2020
Moon Curser Roussanne Marsanne 2021
Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2020
Moon Curser Contraband Syrah 2020
Moon Curser Arneis 2021
Moon Curser Viognier 2021
Moon Curser Heist Rosé 2021
Moon Curser Tempranillo 2020
Moon Curser Malbec 2020
Moon Curser Syrah 2020
Moon Curser Moonlit 2021
View full wine reviews and article by John Schreiner - "Moon Curser's original wines".
winebc.com - "Behind the Label"
"This winery opened in 2006 as Twisted Tree Vineyards. Four years later, proprietors Chris and Beata Tolley changed the name to the more dramatic Moon Curser. The drama carried through to labels evoking an earlier history when Osoyoos was centre for gold mining.
During the gold rush, American miners sought to smuggle gold back across the border in the dark of night without paying taxes or duties. The smugglers would curse the moon if it exposed their activities. On its back labels, Moon Curser puts these words in the mouth of a smuggler: “Damn you moon for lighting my run tonight. This gold is mine and no border agent is going to tax me.”
The labels, which mimic shadow and light, anchor Moon Curser and its wines in the history and the terroir of Osoyoos. The pick, the mule, the saddle bags and the gold nuggets are references to the mining and smuggling on the last. Other elements on the labels are drawn from nature in the South Okanagan, such as ponderosa pines, deer, foxes and even small bats.
The labels are a fun and engaging way to reference the terroir which the winery exploits to grow varietals rarely grown elsewhere in the Okanagan, if at all. “We believe they thrive in our Osoyoos vineyards is because they are growing in the southernmost, hottest and sunniest place in all of the Okanagan,” Chris writes.
The varietals include Arneis, Carménère, Dolcetto, Tannat, Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional. “I love the diversity,” Chris says. “I love the affirmation that this valley is capable of doing a wide variety of wines.”"
Discover the inspiration and stories behind award-winning BC wine labels.
John Schreiner on wine - "Moon Curser makes an impact", 14 wines rated 90+ points
"...The range of varietals produced by Moon Curser is extensive and includes several varietals that are either exclusive to the winery or grown by few other producers. A Moon Curser wine list includes Arneis, Dolcetto, Tannat, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Carménère, and Nebbiolo. “I love the diversity,” Chris says. “I love the affirmation that this valley is capable of doing a wide variety of wines. Maybe we do one of these varieties better than anywhere else in the world.” Indeed, I would put up a Moon Curser Tannat against wines from Uruguay where that variety thrives. The flagship red at Moon Curser, Dead of Night, is an inspired blend of equal parts Tannat and Syrah...."
Overview of John's ratings:
Moon Curser Dead of Night 2019
Moon Curser Carmenere 2019
Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2019
Moon Curser Contraband Syrah 2019
Moon Curser Roussanne Marsanne 2020
Moon Curser Dolcetto 2020
Moon Curser Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2019
Moon Curser Arneis 2020
Moon Curser Border Vines 2019
Moon Curser Syrah 2019
Moon Curser Tempranillo 2019
Moon Curser Malbec 2019
Moon Curser Viognier 2020
View full wine reviews and article by John Schreiner - "Moon Curser makes an impact".
John Schreiner on wine - Moon Curser's love affair with slightly obscure varietals
"There is a view that far too many grape varietals are grown in the Okanagan Valley. Chris Tolley, the co-proprietor of Moon Curser Vineyard in Osoyoos, would differ.
“I love the diversity,” he says. “I love the affirmation that this valley is capable of doing a wide variety of wines. I have not been the champion of that but it is turning out that way. Maybe we do one of these varieties better than anywhere else in the world.”
The Moon Curser portfolio is unusually rich with varietals that would not be considered mainstream for the valley. Such as Arneis, Dolcetto, Tannat, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional and Carménère. Coming soon: Nebbiolo.
There is a nod to mainstream varietals such as Viognier, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. And this spring, the winery planted a new 10-acre property in west Osoyoos that includes three acres of Merlot. In 2005, when the first vines were being planted by Moon Curser, Chris planted Merlot because he thought that he could always buy it. Today, Merlot, along with many other varietals, is short supply, forcing vintners to grow their own.
Chris’s viticultural choices have made for challenging grape growing but also for a very interesting wine portfolio.
Take Arneis, which Chris grows, along with Dolcetto, because he has roots in northern Italy, where that white varietal produces crisp and fragrant table wines.
“In Italian, Dolcetto means little sweet one, where Arneis apparently is little rascal,” Chris says. So far, he has produced three vintages of Arneis – and each one ripened at a different time.
The 2016 vintage ripened in September while the 2017 ripened in early November. “If I had that much drama with every variety, I probably would not be in this business,” Chris laughs. “In the end, the 2017 made a very interesting varietally correct Arneis. I quite like it. It has a lot of structure to it.”
Take Tannat, best known for the robust reds made with the varietal in Uruguay and in the south of France. The unusual chemistry of the grape challenged Chris with stuck fermentations when he first made it, something since mastered.
The next challenge was how to use the rustic red in a blend. After trying a number of varietals, he took the suggestion of his wife, Beata, to make a Syrah/Tannat blend. (Both owners trained as winemakers in New Zealand.) That now comprises the blend of Moon Curser’s flagship red, Dead of Night.
“Beata and I blind-tasted blends for Dead of Night two years in a row,” Chris says. “We don’t even bother blind-tasting the Tannat blends now. It is always going to be a Syrah blend. Originally, we tasted other Tannat blends and we always picked the Syrah. They seemed to marry quite well – although the appellation system in France would not allow that.”
The winery does release a modest volume of Tannat on its own, mostly to satisfy the curiosity of tasting room visitors. “We do a pretty nice Tannat compared to other places that do Tannat,” Chris believes. “It is nice to have a variety we do world class, even if it is an alternative variety.”
Then there are Chris’s adventures with Touriga Nacional, the great Portuguese red varietal. An Osoyoos neighbour with Portuguese roots decided to plant some vines. With no viticultural experience, he canvassed the possibilities with Chris and settled on Touriga because it is a Portuguese varietal.
“He put lots of fertilizer on the plants,” Chris says. “The vines grew like crazy. When winter came, they were still green. The first frost came and they all died right down to the ground.”
Not quite all; enough survived that in 2011, about two barrels of wine were produced from what had once been a two-acre vineyard. When an effort to replant did not succeed, the neighbour sold the vineyard to Chris in 2012. Never one to back away from a challenge, Chris salvaged cuttings, had them propagated and planted them in a different vineyard. He made his first significant volume of Touriga Nacional in 2016 – a wine so good that it won a platinum medal this fall at the Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards.
Carménère is another varietal grown just by a handful of B.C. wineries. It was grown widely in Bordeaux pre-phylloxera but, because it is a late ripener, was not replanted often in France after phylloxera. The varietal did thrive in Chile, which has no phylloxera, and has been revived during the past 25 years. Black Hills Winery and Moon Curser were the first Okanagan wineries to plant it.
Moon Curser is also among a handful growing Tempranillo, a Spanish varietal that is not quite as challenging as the other non-mainstream varietals. “All it cares about is heat,” Chris has found. “If you get a cool fall, it gets to a certain ripeness and just sits there.” In a cool vintage like 2011, Tempranillo wines were light. Most subsequent vintages have produced bigger, richer Tempranillo.
Moon Curser does pretty well with varieties that are grown more widely in the Okanagan, such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Here are notes on Moon Curser’s current releases."
Read More Click Here
John Schreiner on wine - Moon Curser winemaker revels in diversity
"Moon Curser Vineyards co-founder and winemaker Chris Tolley seems to have a bit of a nightmare: that he could be making wine in Beaujolais with just one varietal.
“I would do horrible in Beaujolais,” he says. “The idea of knowing just one grape for my whole life ….” He lets that frightening [to him] thought hang in the air.
Life is different at Moon Curser. He works with numerous varietals, almost all estate grown and some fairly obscure in the Okanagan. These include Arneis, Tannat, Touriga Nacional, Dolcetto, Carménère, Tempranillo, Marsanne and Roussanne. There is not much chance of getting jaded as a winemaker with that array of grapes every harvest."
Read More Click Here
John Schreiner on wine - Arneis and Its Nearly Lost Friends
Arneis, a white grape varietal from Piedmont, is one of rising stars among Italian varietals now also being planted elsewhere.
Arneis wine is being produced not just in Italy but in Australia, New Zealand, California, Oregon and in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley by Moon Curser Vineyards. Read more Click Here.
John Schreiner on wine - Moon Curser and my Neighbours
It is axiomatic that wine is best enjoyed in the company of other wine lovers.
By good fortune, I had samples from Moon Curser Vineyards, which was opened in 2006 by Beata and Chris Tolley. Having planted varieties different from the Okanagan mainstream, they produce some of the most interesting wines in the Okanagan. Read more Click Here.
John Schreiner on Wine - Moon Curser: contentious labels for interesting wine
By: John Schreiner blog, June 12, 2012
Formerly known as Twisted Tree Vineyards, the winery relaunched itself last year as Moon Curser Vineyards.
The bottles now bear some of the spookiest and contentious labels in the Okanagan. Some of their peers thought that Beata and Chris Tolley had taken leave of their senses; but others are coming round to the view that the winery is successfully tapping a new demographic of wine consumers... / Read More
John Schreiner on Wine - Moon Curser Winery debuts
By: John Schreiner, blog , April 26, 2011
In what may be the most contentious name change yet among Okanagan wineries, Twisted Tree Vineyards & Winery of Osoyoos has become Moon Curser Vineyards.
The new labels, designed by New York artist Andrea Dezsö, will be unforgettable and, to some consumers, unsettling because the illustrations have the feel of, well, illustrations for Halloween... / Read More
John Schreiner on Wine - Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country is the South Okanagan's new branding
By: John Schreiner on wine, April 18, 2011
The South Okanagan Winery Association used last weekend’s Banée celebration to reveal that it is rebranding as Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country, with the slogan “Uncork the Sun.”
The objective is raising the profile of this exciting wine region. It extends from the U.S. border to McIntyre Bluff, north of Oliver. The membership includes all by five of the 26 wineries current operating in the area... / Read More