Wine Chain: Jay Martiniuk at Stoneboat Vineyards

Jay Martiniuk at Stoneboat Vineyards

“Winemaker Chris Tolley at Moon Curser Vineyards passes the glass to Jay Martiniuk at Stoneboat Vineyards.”


Quick Stats

  • Born in a vineyard. Cellar-Rat: Herder Vineyards, Osoyoos Larose  and family vineyard Stoneboat.
  • While the winery only opened in 2005, this family has been growing grapes for over thirty years. Patriarch, Lanny Martiniuk helped with the replanting of vinifera grapes across the valley in the late eighties and early nineties and today is known as one of the Okanagan’s leading propagators of vines.
  • While official family titles do hold some merit, Jay “Winemaker”, twin brother Tim “ Marketing Manager”, younger brother Chris when not flying planes “ Tractor-Pilot”, dad Lanny-“Grape Grower”, and mom Julie “Lab Technician and Tasting Room Manager”, this is clearly a family venture. Family discussions in the vineyard, lab room and cellar along with the dining room table ensure their very best is showcased in the bottle.
  • Musical talent also runs in the family, and the grand piano in the tasting room can be played by most family members. According to rumour, Jay could have had a career as Opera singer and while grapes remain his primary audience, he is known to belt out a song after a glass or two.
  • Varieties:  Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Schönburger, Kerner, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Pinotage.
  • If the wine begins in the vineyard, it is no surprise that Stoneboat Vineyards, with their solid legacy of growing grapes for many of BC’s first wineries, has established a reputation for making excellent wines that reflect the Oliver terroir.



How did you become a winemaker?

Our family has been growing and selling grapes since the early eighties and we had been discussing the idea of making our own wine. After completing my first year at Queen’s University, I returned home for the summer to work in the vineyard. I was involved in a car accident where I broke both my legs and had to take the year off to recuperate. While I was still recovering, my dad said why don’t you try making our first wines? I helped make our first 2005 vintage and then continued my training at Osoyoos Larose for a couple of years as cellar master. I did eventually return to university and completed my degree in Food Science at UBC Vancouver. While completing my degree, I remained in the vineyard during the summers and on the weekends.


Wild Yeast Experimentation?

As part of my undergrad thesis I worked with UBC’s Wine Research Centre to study and evaluate the natural different yeast strains and fermentations that could be found in our vineyard.  I also studied several pinot noir wild yeast fermentations to try and identify their strains and help in our own pinot noir winemaking.


Why the name “Stoneboat”?

Stoneboat is a flat sledge that you drag behind a horse or a tractor to remove heavy rocks.  It is reflective of our vineyards as we have very rocky soil on the top surface with gravel soil beneath.  We believe the stoneboat also represents our family values of hard work, perseverance and tradition.


First BC wine?   

I grew up on the vineyard, so it was homemade wine.


Favorite Grape varietal?

Pinot Noir, because of how it expresses the terroir – the styles of Pinots out there are so diverse.


Other BC Pinot Noirs that you enjoy?

Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir.


Burgundy or Bordeaux?

I do have a soft spot for Bordeaux, but ultimately I would choose Burgundy.


Dead-man walking last wine request? 

I would want to try Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Pinot Noir.  (A small wine producer in Burgundy with the reputation for making the best Pinot Noir in the world).


Favourite wine region outside of BC?

Oregon and the Willamette Valley. They make excellent Pinot Noir.


Favorite wine pairing?

My brother’s Tim’s home cooked Thai dishes with a bottle of Tantalus Riesling.


Favourite Stoneboat wine and meal pairing?

My mom’s Eggplant Parmesan with our Pinotage. If I’m cooking it’s either a steak with our Pinotage or grilled prawns with our Pinot Gris.


Why the variety Pinotage?

In the late nineties, we grew some grapevines for Lake Breeze Vineyards. The original owners were South African and asked us to grow Pinotage. We were able to keep a couple of vines; my dad really liked how the vines grew and found the variety well suited to our vineyards. When we opened our own winery, we decided to make Pinotage and propagated all the vines for our blocks.


What beer is currently in your fridge?

Naramata Nut Brown Ale  and Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue, a brewery from Quebec which I discovered during my days at Queen’s University.


Last wines tasted?

I have been very busy with harvest so not much time for wine drinking. The last wine I had was an Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc – tried, tested and true.


What were the last restaurants you ate at?

Bistrot Bistro in Vancouver and Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Winery.


First Restaurant to carry your wines?

Bistrot Bistro in Vancouver.  Owners Valerie and Laurent came by the winery very early on and have been carrying our wines ever since.


What other restaurants carry your wines?   

Local Lounge • Grille in Summerland, Edible at the Market in Vancouver, Arm’s Reach Bistro in Deep Cove, Stage Wine Bar & Vis a Vis in Victoria, Shelter Restaurant  in Tofino…


Can you find wines outside of BC?

We’re just starting to get our wines into Alberta, so stay tuned…


With so many wine competitions, which ones do you focus on and why?

We are a small winery so we do not enter a lot of wine competitions. We are very proud of our three Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for our 2009 Pinot Noir, 2007 Pinotage, and our 2006 Pinot Noir.


Favorite vineyard shoes?

Dunlop Insulated Green Gumboots on the crushpad  and Dayton work boots for the vineyard.


Wild animal encounter in the vineyard?

We have lots of wild animals in the vineyard but I do not like running into our Black Widow spiders, which love to live in the milk cartons at the bottom of the vines.


Best thing about living in the Okanagan?

The view is great from virtually anywhere you go here!


Anything new?

Yes, we just released our 2010 Reserve Pinotage, Solo.


Your vision for the future of Stoneboat?

We still grow 50% of our grapes for other wineries so our vision for the future is to use all of our own grapes for making Stoneboat wines.


BC winemaker that you are currently taking note of?

This winemaker marches to his own drum and is very passionate about wine – makes great reds. He is now making some great Pinot Noir…….





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