Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greata Ranch certainly has reason to celebrate.
Last week, the menacing Mount Eneas wildfire roared down the hillside towards the vineyard, bistro and tasting lounge near Peachland.
“It became a towering inferno,” said president Gordon Fitzpatrick.
Highway 97 was the only barrier to prevent disaster.
“The fire did hop the highway and we had a couple of areas on our property that had to be put out,” he said.
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards was forced to evacuate for three days.
“I could feel the warmth from the fire,” Fitzpatrick said. “You could hear it; it sounded like a river rushing by you.”
When the worst was over, Fitzpatrick discovered the property was remarkably left unscathed.
It isn’t the first time his business has survived an Okanagan wildfire.
Gordon’s father Ross Fitzpatrick founded CedarCreek Estate Winery in Kelowna in 1986 before it was sold in 2014.
“In 2003, and the firestorm at Cedar Creek, we were on the front lines there, he said.
“So I don’t know whether we are unlucky to have had to deal with it twice or very lucky we came out of it both times in not too bad of shape.”
Fitzpatrick says the evacuation order was lifted on Saturday and they opened for business once again on Sunday.
“We’d just like to let people know that we are open and come join us,” he said.
Now, Fitzpatrick said, they are counting their blessings
“I think we have a few reasons to celebrate.”
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