Tasem and Elyse Ramaden stand outside the main entrance to their winery, Deep Cove Winery. Don Denton photography

New Owners Make Their Mark On Deep Cove Winery

Tasem and Elyse Ramaden make wine making a family affair

  • Jan. 4, 2019 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Chelsea Foreman Photography by Don Denton

My car curves along a quiet country road as I make my way towards Deep Cove. This region of the Saanich Peninsula has always offered me respite and a sense of calm from my busy, day-to-day life. A pleasant breeze that carries notes of the nearby Salish Sea greets me as I arrive at my destination: Deep Cove Winery.

Set on three acres of land that has been growing grapes for 18 years, and landlocked between Horth Hill Regional Park and Deep Cove, the winery is protected from extreme wind. It is the warmest pocket with ley soil land in the region — making it an idyllic spot for ripening grapes.

While the land itself has a bit of a legacy in the region, the winery was purchased by husband-and-wife team Tasem and Elyse Ramaden in 2017 and has undergone some significant changes under their ownership.

Tasem and Elyse Ramaden stand outside the main entrance to their winery, Deep Cove Winery. Don Denton photography

“The winery was on the market and we played around with the idea. We went back and forth on it for months and eventually decided to take a chance to build our lives here,” Elyse explains.

The couple previously lived in Sidney with their two young children. At the time, Elyse was on maternity leave from her job as a psychiatric nurse and Tasem, who is originally from New York, had recently completed a degree in biochemistry.

“My husband had just finished his degree and was volunteering with Victoria Distillers and really got into [the work there]. And we really wanted to stay on the Peninsula. We talked it over with my parents and they were very supportive. They are just five minutes up the road. We needed family support if we were to take it on,” says Elyse.

Elyse and Tasem moved their family into the house that is on the winery land in June 2017. They started extensive renovations to the winery and held a grand reopening in June of this year.

I had visited the previous winery several years ago, and as Elyse and Tasem tour me around the newly designed space, I’m impressed with the changes. Only the layout remains the same — the grand tasting room, extensive event area with vaulted ceilings and a picturesque vineyard terrace.

The space is now clean, white and modern with rustic, west coast elements, including cedar beams and locally mined black marble. The wine cellar is reminiscent of an ancient cellar in the French countryside, with one wall featuring the same locally sourced marble seen throughout the tasting room and event space above.

Tasem and Elyse Ramaden stand inside the tasting room in their winery, Deep Cove Winery. Don Denton photography

“We were doing the renovations with two young kids, while making wine,” recalls Tasem. “We’re putting everything into this. A lot of people romanticize owning a winery, but it’s hard work. It’s farming at the end of the day.”

The couple hired a renowned wine consultant from France to assist them in their new venture. He has taught Tasem everything from caring for the grapes to designing an impeccable variety of wines.

“It’s a steep learning curve, but it’s really rewarding,” Tasem says. “You have one chance to make wine. It’s once a year and you have to do it right. Making wine is about dedication, creativity and time.”

Elyse and Tasem are committed to maintaining a small production focussed on quality. All of the small lot, hand-crafted wines are produced on site.

“Everyone in the family helps with harvesting the grapes; even the kids love to help. They are the perfect height to pick grapes but they also eat them,” Tasem says with a laugh. “The community has also been so supportive of us. We have been selling out of wines. People are loving it.”

Tasem and Elyse Ramaden with their children Summer and Fares inside their winery, Deep Cove Winery. Don Denton photography

Elyse adds, “We have been so humbled and excited by people’s reception. Their reactions and excitement to our wine has been incredible.”

Deep Cove Winery sells its wines exclusively at the winery and the neighbouring Deep Cove Chalet restaurant. And while the couple intends to keep production small, the two plan to make the winery a big part of the local community. Elyse and Tasem have hosted a variety of events — including paint nights and a yoga series — with the intention of drawing the community together.

“It’s a village here. We have so much support. It motivates us to keep going and have this be a place where everyone in the community can come and gather. That motivates us to have local events. We want to be a place to host people. It makes our community stronger and healthier,” says Tasem.

After a whirlwind year of change, growth and excitement, Tasem, Elyse and their family are continuing to entrench their roots in Deep Cove and honour the legacy of excellence in local winemaking.

Just Posted

$3.5M all-season turf field planned for Qualicum Beach

Town seeks grant for community playing surface upgrades

Qualicum Beach council big on support for multi-use cinema proposal

Society asks for 10,000 square feet, gets recommendation to consider with strategic plan

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

Fire engulfs trailer, vehicle and home in Bowser

The fire began around 6:45 p.m. at a property on Laurel Crescent

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

‘Nanaimo is next’ for urgent primary care centre

B.C. Health Minister says new centre coming in next few months to reduce the strain on health system

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

Most Read