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November 16th, 2019- TOP DROP 2019

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TOP DROP 2019 / FIRST TIME IN VICTORIA

The press release came in loud and clear.

For the very first time Top Drop was coming to Victoria.

Frankly, that’s all I needed to know.

I’ve been happily covering this small wildly successful wine gathering for
Six Years but Top Drop in Victoria is a whole other event. Why? Because
Victoria is a great wine town.

TOP DROP is Vancouver based so they needed a Victoria Host. Turns out the
Vessel crew have been watching this independent, craft wine festival seed
and grow in Vancouver, and spread to Calgary in 2018. This was their year to
launch it in Victoria for ONE DAY .

Victoria International Marina

Top Drop is an opportunity to celebrate authenticity in farming, terroir
and wine, with winery principals from around the globe.

Mirroring Top Drop Vancouver and Calgary’s flagship experience, the public
event is a walk around, grazing-style tasting where attendees enjoy sips
and stories from the principals of international and local wineries. There
has never before been a wine tasting of this scope and caliber in Victoria.

For me and TRR, the voice and face of Top Drop has always been Kurtis Kolt.
Wine educator and Wine writer for the Georgia Straight.

Kurtis and TD

Because of the foul weather, Kurtis and his partners were delayed in
Vancouver and could not attend while I was there.

Once again Kurtis Kolt and his partner Jeff Curry and a sensational team
have convinced some of the very best winemakers to pour at Top Drop.

What they have in common is craft and care!

In Kurtis’ column in the Georgia Straight he said this:

“Each year, our process begins the same. Our team casts out a wide net to
British Columbia-based importers and wineries, asking for winery
applications to participate in the event. First and foremost, Top Drop
wineries must fit with our general philosophy: that wines, indeed, express
terroir or offer a sense of place.

Whether we’re talking vines grown in mineral-rich soils or under
cool-climate growing conditions bringing bright acidity or in sun-drenched
regions offering generous, opulent fruit and so on, we want those elements
to be notable in the glass and for them to have arrived there authentically,
rather than via heavy-handed additions in the winery.

Sustainable farming is also key. There is a high priority on those who
employ these methods while farming their own fruit or who work with growers
who fit the mold.”

Winemaking Guests in Victoria:

(Check them out – Winners All!!)

Ross Borland Managing Partner/Vessel Liquor Victoria www.vesselliquor.com

Mitch Renaud Asst manager Vessel Liquor Victoria www.vesselliquor.com

Rhys Pender (MW) Little Farm/Similkameen Valley
http://www.littlefarmwinery.ca/

Angus Thomson Urlar/ Gladstone NZ http://www.urlar.co.nz/

Kelsey Rufiange – Echo Bay/OK Falls www.echobayvineyard.ca

Grant Biggs – Kitsch wines/Kelowna www.kitschwines.ca

Tyler Knight = Lightening Rock/Summerland www.lightningrockwinery.com

Larry Gerelus – Stags Hollow/OK Falls www.stagshollowwinery.com

Michael Shindler – A Sunday in August/Similkameen Valley
www.asundayinaugust.com

Dan Wright – Unsworth/Cowichan Valley www.unsworthvineyards.com

https://topdrop.ca/

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Bill Jones  (Deerholme Farm) – Foraging.  How, where and when.

Italian Winemakers  pour in Vancouver (co-host Michaela Morris)

The new Cedar Creek

Phantom Creek Rises.

UnCorked! A Celebration of the Science of Wine featuring

Mission Hill. Cedar Creek. CheckMate. Martin’s Lane. Road 13

 

 

November 9th, 2019 THE FIFTH AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF BC-

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THE FIFTH AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF BC

 

THE SHOW

 The Wines of British Columbia were put to the ultimate test at the final Judgment of BC on Tuesday, October 29, where special guest and wine expert Steven Spurrier joined 32 top wine professionals from around the world and across the country to take part in a full-day, blind tasting of 24 of BC’s celebrated grape varieties; Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah against 16 international benchmarks.

I was honoured to be one of 32 wine judges in the room on the day.

Trust me, it was/is a humbling experience tasting wines “blind” and have a sheet in front of you that asks you to decide whether the wine is from BC or The World.

Your nose, your mouth,  your mind plays tricks on you.

For each varietal there were 6 from BC and 4 benchmarks from around the world.

We started with Pinot Noir, then Chardonnay.

Following that grueling morning we all headed for lunch and lots of talk about what was to come.

The afternoon was spent tasting and spitting Riesling and Syrah.

Paperwork was furiously filled out and collected.  DJ Kearney, the moderator and people wrangler asked for comments about what we had just experienced. Everyone seemed to have a comment, especially those from outside BC.

So many faces and memories in the room.  Most of them friends who had watched the BC wine industry grow and  work hard to be better.

Hosted by the BC Wine Institute, and curated by wine expert DJ Kearney, the final Judgment of BC took place in Penticton. Inspired by the legendary Judgment of Paris in 1976, the inaugural Judgment of BC was hosted in 2015 by the BC Wine Institute in honour of Steven Spurrier’s visit to British Columbia.

Steven Spurrier

 

 

Five years later, the BC wine industry was thrilled to welcome Steven Spurrier back to BC wine country to taste and evaluate world-class wines from the region.

DJ Kearney

“What I think is really exciting about BC wines is we’re tasting more and more like ourselves, our individual regions and individual sites. Our best examples are fresh on the palate, pure of fruit and really speak to our beautiful, cool, but hot climate.” Judge Barb Phillip, MW.

Tasting Room Radio would like to congratulate all BC wines who made the Judgment list and  the following BC wineries who took home top prizes in their categories. Arrowleaf Cellars ranked first among the Pinot Noir flight.

Terry and Manual Zuppiger (Arrowleaf)

Meyer Family Vineyards came in first for the flight of Chardonnay, with 50th Parallel Estate Winery in close second. For the Riesling flight, CedarCreek Winery came in second with St. Hubertus and Oak Bay Estate Winery coming in third.

The final flight of Syrah saw BC wines take all three top spots with Tightrope Winery coming in first, Le Vieux Pin Winery in second and Stag’s Hollow Winery and Vineyard in third.

(Complete results at the bottom of page)

Guests on this edition of Tasting Room Radio  include:

  • Gurvinder Bhatia – Edmonton Journal/Quench Magazine
  • Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva
  • DJ Kearney – New District
  • Dr. Jamie Goode – Wine Journalist/Wineanorak.com
  • Laura Kittmer – Wines of BC
  • Steven Spurrier – Decanter
  • Mark Filatow – Waterfront Bistro
  • Kurtis Kolt  – Georgia Straight
  • Rhys Pender – Master of Wine
  • Anthony Gismondi – Vancouver Sun/Best of Food and Wine
  • Sebastien Le Goff – Cactus Club Canada
  • Manual Zuppiger = Arrowleaf Vineyards
  • Larry Gerelus – Stag’s Hollow
  • JAK Meyer – Meyer Family Vineyards
  • Lyndsay O’Rourke –  Tightrope

www.winebc.com

PINOT NOIR RESULTS:

  1. Arrowleaf Cellars Archive Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey 2016 California
  1. Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Estate Dundee Hills 2015 Oregon
  1. Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Louis Jadot Beaune Grèves Premier Cru 2015 Burgundy
  1. Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills 2016 South Australia
  1. Tightrope Winery Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Quails’ Gate Winery Richard’s Block Pinot Noir 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noir 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley

RIESLING RESULTS:

  1. Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Alte Reben 2014 Mosel, Germany
  1. CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2018 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  2. St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Vineyards Family Reserve Riesling 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Tightrope Winery Riesling 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Culmina Family Estate Winery Riesling Decora 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Upper Bench Estate Winery Riesling 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling 2015 Columbia Valley Washington State
  1. Rieslingfreak No. 3 Reverence of Riesling 2018 Clare Valley, South Australia
  1. Martin’s Lane Winery Fritzi’s Vineyard Riesling 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Nigl Dornleiten Riesling Kremstal 2015 Austria

CHARDONNAY RESULTS:

  1. Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Donovan Tildesley Old Main Road Vineyard 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. 50th Parallel Estate Winery Chardonnay 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Craggy Range Chardonnay Kidnapper’s Vineyard 2017 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
  1. Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 2017 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Chartron et Trébuchet Pouilly Fuissé 2017 Macon, Burgundy
  1. Laroche Chablis Premier Cru La Chantrerie 2016 Burgundy, France
  1. Tantalus Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Monte Creek Ranch Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2016 BC VQA British Columbia
  1. Culmina Family Estate Winery Chardonnay Dilemma 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  2. Bethel Heights Vineyard Chardonnay Estate Eola-Amity Hills 2015 Oregon

SYRAH RESULTS:

  1. Tightrope Winery Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Le Vieux Pin Winery Cuvée Violette Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard Syrah Amalia Vineyard 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage 2016 Northern Rhône, France
  1. Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz Barossa Valley 2017 South Australia
  1. Time Winery Syrah 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Painted Rock Estate Winery Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. Domaine Jamet Syrah Collines Rhodaniennes 2015 Northern Rhône, France
  1. C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  1. K Vintners MCK Syrah 2015 Washington State, USA

… and the winners below!

JUDGMENT OF BC JUDGES:

  • Gurvinder Bhatia
  • Jenna Briscoe
  • Sid Cross
  • Dr. Janet Dorozynski
  • Mark Filatow
  • Zach Geballe
  • Anthony Gismondi
  • Dr. Jamie Goode
  • Christina Hartigan
  • Lingzi He
  • John Isacs
  • Kelcie Jones
  • Kurtis Kolt
  • Sebastien Le Goff
  • Bryant Mao
  • David McIntyre
  • Sharon McLean
  • Michaela Morris
  • Terry David Mulligan
  • Tim Pawsey
  • Rhys Pender, MW
  • Barbara Philip, MW
  • Iain Philip
  • Rod Phillips
  • Treve Ring
  • Brad Royale
  • John Schreiner
  • Dawn Smith
  • Steven Spurrier
  • Shane Taylor
  • Daenna Van Mulligen
  • Matt Wentzell
  • Jason Yamasaki

    STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

    Phantom Creek Rises

    The Italians pour in Vancouver (Michaela Morris co-hosts)

    Chef Bill Jones – Foraging and cooking at Dearholme Farm

 

November 2nd, 2019 – New Zealand Pure Discovery 2019

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New Zealand Pure Discovery 2019

THE SHOW

New Zealand is recognised as one of the world’s premium wine regions,
mainly due to the success of their Marlborough region Sauvignon Blanc

 

This explosive varietal introduced the world to New Zealand Wine.

In 2019 they would like to celebrate the success of their famous white
through sub-regional expressions as well as showcase the lesser known
varieties such as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Rose.

Several weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to “speed date” a handful of
New Zealand Winemakers as they passed through Vancouver. I sat at a desk and
they showed up one at a time..each with a wine in hand.

Frankly, it was a blur.

In listening back to the discussions several things became clear.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is World Class but now it’s time to check out
sub regions of the North and South islands.

Simon Toneycliffe GM Whitehaven. (Marlborough’s Golden Mile)

Simon Toneycliffe WhiteHaven

Whitehaven wines are grown, crafted and bottled in Marlborough. Each wine is
a powerful, elegant and consistent expression of Marlborough’s classical
wine styles. The white label is the flagship. Their growth has been nothing
short of fantastic.

Whitehaven has been successfully exporting to the United States since 2004
when its first shipment totaled just 5,000 cases. In 2015 Whitehaven
celebrated the export of its millionth case of wine to the US.

Canada is showing the same kind of growth.

The reason is simple. Affordable World class wines.

www.whitehaven.co.nz

Wayne Leadbetter – VP Sales Te Awanga Wines (Hawkes Bay)

Wayne Leadbetter Te Awanga

Planted 25 years ago by a group of friends in one of Hawke’s Bay’s oldest
wine growing areas, they dreamt of making the region’s greatest wines.
They say they’re still working on it but believe their vineyard, right by
the coast truly captures something unique.

Sitting on an elevated site in the Te Awanga foot hills, the cellar door has views down through our vines,
across the Te Awanga basin and out to the Pacific Ocean. Spectacular.

Syrah and Chardonnay are exceptional.

www.teawangaestate.co.nz

Jim Robertson Global Wine Ambassador NZ Brands – Stoneleigh/Pernod Ricard
(Marlborough)

Jim Robertson – Stoneleigh

Stoneleigh Vineyard is situated in the heart of the Rapaura area on the
northern side of the Wairau valley in Marlborough, New Zealand. The ‘Golden
Mile’ of vineyards.

Stoneleigh takes its name from the stones that cover the
vineyard – land that’s now home to some of the oldest grafted Sauvignon
Blanc blocks in Marlborough.

The stones store and reflect the sun’s heat up into the vines, enhancing the ripening process and contributing to the
unique taste of Stoneleigh wines.

Jim travels the World – a natural storyteller and what a story. NZ wines
are recognized the World over.

http://www.stoneleigh.com <http://www.stoneleigh.com/>

Joel Watson – Winemaker at Luna (Martinborough)

Joel Watson – Luna

Luna Estate has been lovingly renovated and transformed into one of
Martinborough’s premier wineries.

While their main love is Pinot Noir, they also produce elegant Pinot Meunier Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot
Gris, Chardonnay, and Syrah. It’s almost impossible to capture how
passionate Joel Watson is about NZ winemaking and Luna. It shows in his
wines.

A fierce believer in Martinborough.

www.lunaestate.co.nz

Rory Crawford – Loveblock (Wellington)

Loveblock is the home of Erika and Kim Crawford. Yup, the same Kim Crawford
who sold his namesake winery and Loveblock is what they did with the money,
honey.

This 180 acre (72 hectare) vineyard is perched on top of the hills
overlooking the Awatere Valley above Wellington..

The site is perfect for growing premium aromatic white varietals. Due to the
strong winds, the vine growth is slow and they tend to get very small
berries giving high aromatic concentration in the wine.

The main vineyard area produces Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris
predominantly, as well as Pinot Blanc, Tempranillo, Gewurztraminer, Chenin
Blanc and of course, Riesling.

www.loveblock.co.nz

Hamish McRae – Forrest and The Doctors (Marlborough)

Hamish McRae – Forrest & The Doctors

The vineyard of Doctors John and Brigid Forrest.

Forrest Wines – The first vintage for Forrest Wines came in 1990 when an
over-filled red wine fermenter “accident” resulted in a trophy-winning
Merlot Rosé.
Fast forward almost 30 years; many awards and accolades, 5 labels and
vineyards across the country. Forrest is set for generations.

Forrest is all Marlborough.

The Doctors – The Doctors’ range is about innovation and excellence.
New grape varieties, alternative winemaking techniques and select parcels of
fruit all qualify to create very special wines under this unique label.

https://www.forrest.co.nz <https://www.forrest.co.nz/>

https://www.forrest.co.nz/collections/doctors

www.nzwine.com

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

2019 Judgment of BC – The Final One

The spectacular Phantom Creek Winery

Checking out  Cedar Creek Winery

The Italians pour in Vancouver – Michaela Morris co-hosts

Oct 26th, 2019- Charles Smith: Jet City Rose Experience in Seattle!

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Charles Smith ‘s Third Jet City Rose Experience in Seattle.

( Ann Sperling stays home and makes New Direction wines)

THE SHOW

 

Charles Smith – Founder Wines of Substance

Charlie is the founder of Washington’s largest winemaker owned winery and the 4th largest wine producer in Washington State.

Charles Smith

He created and then sold Charles Smith Wines, and five other wines to Constellation.

His new  company, Wines of Substance made 53 different wines last year in their Seattle Jet City facility. 51 were single varietal.

Today he has a portfolio that includes

 K Vintners – The original. Royal City. The Creator. The Boy.

SIXTO – High Elevation Chards. Uncovered, Moxee Vineyard, Frenchman Hills

CasaSmith –  Italian inspired. CasaSmith Sangiovese, Barbera, Primitivo

Substance – Cabernet Sauvignon is the star.

B Leighton  –  By winemaker Brennon Leighton. From Olsen Hills in Yakima.

Wines of Substance showcases Charles Smith’s dedication to producing the very best  wines. From vineyard to glass.

Charles built and opened Jet City in Seattle.  It’s the largest urban winery on the West Coast.

When I saw the artists that would take the stage in the cellar..Rev Horton Heat and Har Mar Superstar – I realized none of my questions or their answers would be heard.

Guests from this wild ride include

Charles Smith  http://winesofsubstance.com/

Chef Stuart Lane http://www.spinasse.com/about/chef-bio/

Andrew Latta – Latta Wines  http://www.lattawines.com/

  

Ann Sperling –  Winemaker Sperling Vineyards

Sperling Vineyards (Tourism Kelowna)

Note – Sperling Vineyards 2015 Old Vines Riesling Estate Bottled.  95 Points Decanter Wine Awards.  The only Gold medal winning still wine from BC

 A true original.

Ann Sperling creates wines in Ontario, Nova Scotia and most importantly in her family’s home vineyard in Kelowna at a special piece of land called Pioneer Ranch.

It was established and planted in 1929.

Ann grew up in those vineyards but found herself pulled away as more and more vineyards sought her expertise.

She spent several years at Cedar Creek. Then headed back East to the organic and biodynamic vines of Southbrook Vineyards in  Niagara.

Ann Sperling

Finally in 2008 Ann and her immediate family members decided to launch  Sperling Vineyards at Pioneer Ranch.

So..here we are 11 years later and the wines are  pushing the outer edges of what we know BC wine to be.  Wines to keep an eye on.

Their portfolio has specific series called Heritage, Market and Late Harvest/Icewine.

The one series that is really game breaking is The Vision Series of wines.

That’s what Ann and I are going to be talking about .

Organic Natural Amber Pinot Gris 2017 – Like no other Pinot Gris you’ve tasted. Orange and made from 40% whole cluster, 40% whole berry and 20% pressed juice. Nothing added. Nothing taken away.

Vision Chardonnay  2016 (BC Left Gov Award)  . Large French Oak barrels. Minerality and structure.

Organic Pinot Noir 2014 – Hand harvested Dijon clones  144. 777. 828

And the star of the show  Speritz Pet Nat 2018.  (Love and Labour)

 

 

Perle of Csaba grapes planted in 1934 – Honouring the Past.

8.3% alcohol.  No fining, No filtration. Wild ferment. Bottled with lees.

 

Seek and enjoy!!

 

www.sperlingvineyards.co

 

Many thanks to our great pal Tim Meeks, who suggested this event and ferried  us around Seattle!

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 

Tofino Food and Wine

A special feature on “field blends”

Fire Season in The Okanagan

The Wickaninnish Inn opens a spectacular cellar

Tofino mid-week experience. Chefs and more chefs

BC Shellfish Festival / Courtenay-Comox

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival

Chefs speak out on their/our  role in saving fishery

 

October 19th, 2019 – Fishing. Food. Friends. Fluids  The Four F’s Year Seven

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Fishing. Food. Friends. Fluids  The Four F’s Year Seven

 The SHOW

 For 7 years I have had the pleasure of gathering once a year with 3 food and wine friends to fish, eat a great meal and pour tastes of interesting wines.
What’s not to like about that.

Along for the fun again are:

John Weber – Our host this year as we all gathered at John’s Orofino Winery in the Similkameen Valley in the South Okanagan. John’s wife Virginia was kind enough to let us stay overnight in her outstanding  Orofino Winery Suites, right beside the crush pad.

beautiful suites at Orofino!

 

John is the real true fisherman here. He arranged a pontoon boat drift down a stretch of the Similkameen River, from just outside Hedley and almost to Keremeos.  6 hours in total.

John Weber

Our second day was spent just outside Cawston on a farming lake that can be seen from the highway. Its stocked,  locked and loaded.

Executive Chef Mark Filatow from  came along again with his spinning rod..the one with no tip.

Didn’t stop him in the least.  Caught more fish than me, that’s for sure.

TDM and fish!

Mark also prepared a sensational breakfast and a dinner that I’m still telling people about.

Oh, and then he created pizza’s from all the leftovers. Pies that could win awards.

Mark Filatow

It’s the kind of cooking you come to expect from his Waterfront Bistro and his Catering café in Kelowna.

One other thing, because he’s a certified Somm, his wine choices for all of us are  from all over the Planet!

And finally Rhys Pender – Master of Wine and co-partner in Cawston’s Little Farm Winery, just around the corner from Orofino.

Rhys Pender

In the two days that we’re together it’s Rhys that starts most group laughs. Plus he  comments about the wines we’ve brought to no one one in particular..I think he just shouts out tasting comments to the ceiling.

 

Occasionally I feel like I’m in one of his Wine Plus Classes.

Enjoy the food, the wines, the fishing and what friends do when they gather.

The Four F’s Gang

(all fish were catch and release.)

Just a heads up – to all those many people who drive through Keremeos ,  Cawston and The Similkameen Valley on their way to “wine country”,   STOP and check out The Similkameen, Its where many of the other wineries wish they had vineyards. This IS wine country!!

And the fishing is outstanding!!

 

Special thanks to:

Virginia Weber

Similkameen Ernie

Row 14 Restaurant

www.similkameenvalley.com

www.orofinovineyards.com

www.littlefarmwinery.ca

www.waterfrontrestaurant.ca

www.waterfrontcafe.ca

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Lft Governors Awards

Harvest 2019

October 12th, 2019- COWICHAN VALLEY WINEMAKERS –  Crush Pad Sessions in Cow Valley.  

hello

 

THE SHOW

 

The Cowichan Valley Wine Festival came and went.  I missed it due to a road trip.

However, it’s an ongoing story that I just couldn’t pass up. Many thanks for photos to: Corey & Heather Wood

 

By all accounts, it was a huge success,  with many comments about the “new faces” showing up.

A whole new wine fan has discovered this  region just North of Victoria on Vancouver Island!

 

Let’s face it, if you’re not The Okanagan Valley, you just have to try harder to get people’s  attention.

That’s exactly what Cowichan  Valley is doing.

I sent a message to Mike Nierychlo at Emandare to ask if he could wrangle a gaggle of winemakers all in one spot to get caught up on 2019.

Wrangle he did. On the crush pad at Emandare. (And he even brought the sandwiches)

I will admit that during the last interview with Joe Busnardo I had real trouble understanding what he was saying..his accent was thick and he really rambled. I just kept nodding and smiling. I hope you do better with Joe. He’s a real treat!

Today’s guests are:

Mike Nierychlo –  Winemaker/co-owner Emandare  https://www.emandarevineyard.com/

Brent Rowland – Winemaker at Averill Creek and joue https://www.averillcreek.ca/

Garrett Deol– The next winemaker at Deolhttp://www.deolestatewinery.com/

Zack Brown – co-owner/winemaker at Alderlea http://www.alderlea.ca/

Mark Holford – co-owner/winemaker at Rocky Creek http://www.rockycreekwinery.ca/

Marilyn Venturi – co-proprietor at Venturi Schulze https://www.venturischulze.com/

Lorin Englis – GM at Enrico https://www.enricowinery.com/

Dan Wright – Winemaker at Unsworth https://www.unsworthvineyards.com/

Michael Abbott – Vineyard Manager/Raisin Rancher  at Blue Grouse https://www.bluegrouse.ca/

Joe Busnardo –  Winemaker/owner/legend at Divino http://www.divinowine.ca/

https://www.tourismcowichan.com/eat-drink/

https://www.tourismcowichan.com/cowichan-valley-wine-festival/

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

FFFF  – the 7th annual Food. Fishing. Friends. Fluids field trip

This year in the and on the Similkameen Valley/River

Full Italian

Harvest Roundup

October 5th, 2019 – Two Wineries. Two Regions. Similkameen & Lillooet.

hello

Two Wineries. Two Regions…Similkameen and Lillooet

 

The SHOW

 Every day 100’s of wine fans get in their cars and drive into the Okanagan to discover wine country. Good on you.

Many of them drive right through the Similkameen Valley and past some of the best vineyards in the country. Orofino, for example.

 

Some of those same well meaning wine fans head East through the Frazer Canyon and may have no idea that if they hang a left at Lytton they can head North into BC’s most promising new  wine region and Fort Berens Estate Wines.

 John Weber – Orofino

 This week we drive around with , sit down with and talk to John Weber, the co-owner and driving force behind Orofino in the Similkameen Valley.

John at Harvest 2019

 

 

John will take us to his latest planted vineyard, The Passion Pit. It was a gravel pit that Cawston teens hung out in.

He tastes us through his blend  White Bridge, his Cab, Syrah, Gamay and his award winning Bordeaux blend Beleza!

 

Also a word about Row 14  the new restaurant in the neighbourhood.

ROW 14

It’s been launched to great success by Clippers Organics.

Here’s a tip:  Orofino have two of the sweetest suites anywhere. Best of all you are right in the vineyard and looking down on the crush pad.

Highly recommended.

https://www.orofinovineyards.com

Rolf de Bruin  – Fort Berens Vineyards 

Rolf de Bruin

Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of several entrepreneurs. It was founded with a pioneering spirit and forged on the road less traveled. The winery is owned by a team of eight individuals who share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine.

The voices and faces wine fans see and hear most are Rolf de Bruin and

Partner Heleen Pannekoek.

Just in case you missed the news and as if you needed another reason to drive up to Fort Berens…have a look at this

As voted on by the public, the Best of BC Wine Country 2018 included the following regional awards for Fort Berens:

Fort Berens Estate Winery Riesling – Best BC White Wine
Fort Berens Estate Winery Rosé – Best BC Rosé Wine
Fort Berens Estate Winery – Best BC Winery Tasting Room
The Kitchen at Fort Berens – Best BC Winery Restaurant Showcasing Local Food

That’s what you call a sweep!

Rolf and I will talk about his Rose, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and a white blend Camels White.  The new estate  vineyards they’ve planted and  their partnership with vineyard Cliff and Gorge

Rolf shares plans for a 10th anniversary bubble. Created  by winemaker  Jim Cambridge who crafted it  with a combination of fruit from Fort Berens and their neighbours.

Watch for releases now labeled Lillooet VQA

Fort Berens wines are well worth the drive and everything in their portfolio is priced under $20.00 at the winery.

You just might want to join the wine club.

http://www.fortberens.ca

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

 Next week – The Cowichan Wine Festival

And soon the 7th annual

Food. Fishing. Friends. Fluids field trip

 

September 28th, 2019 – The 5th Annual Garagiste North – Kelowna  

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Coverage of the 5th Annual Garagiste North – Kelowna

THE SHOW

 What is a garagiste? (gar-ah-jeest)?  

It started out in France (of course) where it was a derogatory phrase for those avante garde and crazy mavericks making wine in their garage and outside the highly regulated system. Gradually and grudgingly came the acknowledgement that something really interesting was happening with these small case lot artisan wines, and a movement was born.

Garagiste North  brings together the small guys. Wines produced from 100% Canadian grapes and under 2000 cases total production annually.  

We’ve been covering this gathering of small BC producers from the beginning. We like the people, the wines and the no BS approach to farming, creating and selling.

This year Sperling Vineyards was once again  the site for a gathering of the Garagiste.  Many of the favourites are returning, but with the growth of the wine industry we are excited to see new small wineries popping up.

Sperling Vineyards

The likes of Lightning Rock, Scorched Earth and Burnt Timer all seem to have a theme!  Added to this year’s event will be a wine pairing of Sperling Vineyards and cheese, music by Glendale Avenue,  food truck service from CrAsian, a cool booth by Taste Advisor and a pop up wine store by Fairview Cellars.

 

tdm and Ann Sperling

 

This event gives you an insight into the passion, commitment, craziness and excellence that is the hallmark of a small producer.  We love that for many this is their first time showing off their wines to the public. Others have been attending for awhile, carefully crafting their wines and growing their business and reputation. Others have grown up and graduated.

Former Garagiste are:

  • Daydreamer
  • Synchromesh
  • Sage Hills
  • Tight Rope
  • Bella Wines
  • River Stone
  • Roche Wines
  • Kitsch Wines
  • Forbidden Fruit
  • Marichel
  • Deep Roots
  • Van Westen
  • Kraze Legs
  • vinAmite

 

This year’s Garagiste guests are :

  •  Schell Wines – Jennifer Schell
  • Mayhem Wines – Terry Meyer Stone
  • Dames Wines – Mireille Sauve
  • Sperling Vineyards –  Ann Sperling
  • Rigor and Whimsy – Costa Gavaris
  • Nagging Doubt – Rob  Westbury
  • Birch Block Vineyard – Sarah and Murray Bancroft
  • Anthony Buchanan Wines – Anthony Buchanan
  • Red Bird Estate – Remi Cardinal
  • Giant head – John Glavina
  • BC Wine Studio – Mark Simpson
  • Scorched Earth – Anita and Peter Pasdernick

 Enjoy the stories and histories!

 STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Fort Berens

Passion Pitt Vineyard – John Weber/Orofino

Year 7 –  Food, Friends, Fishing and Fluids.

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival

Fall Wines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 21st, 2019 – The 5th Pinot Noir Celebration in Kelowna

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The 5th Pinot Noir Celebration in Kelowna

 

 THE SHOW

The 2019 BC Pinot Noir Celebration brings together BC’s top 35 Pinot Noir producers for an unforgettable festival-style tasting experience. The event kicked off with a reception and keynote address by Madeline Puckette, certified sommelier and author of New York Times Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine.

Kurtis Kolt

To put this gathering in proper perspective, here’s an overview from writer/judge Kurtis Kolt:

My big take-away is how local Pinot Noir reflects its terroir of origin, rather than its producers trying to emulate other iconic Pinot regions around the world, from Burgundy in France to the Russian River Valley in California.

No matter which B.C. region it hailed from, each one had a freshness and purity of fruit, along with juicy acidity—a common trait in B.C. wine. I was quite impressed that compared to other reds—from Bordeaux-inspired blends to Syrah—the B.C. Pinot Noirs were all tasty and approachable, whether we were looking at current, more fruit-forward releases, or bottlings as far back as a 2006 from Averill Creek on Vancouver Island. It had started to exhibit those more savoury, tertiary notes like sarsaparilla and sun-dried tomato, but still had great structure and was buoyant on the palate.

 Kurtis, who guests on this special,  makes the comment that Pinot Noir is the one wine that can be grown from coast-to-coast in Canada.

All 35 wineries pouring at the event were accepted through a high profile sommelier tasting panel.  They were determined to be the best of the best.

Our owner/winemaker guests are:

 Jak Meyer – Meyer Family Vineyards/Organizer

Grant Biggs – Kitsch/ Organizer

David Paterson – Tantalus/ Organizer

Jason Parkes – The Hatch

Madeline Puckette – Keynote speech and Wine Folly Author

Grant Stanley – Spearhead

Ben Bryant – Mission Hill

Jenn and Kent Molgat – The View

Chris Carson – Meyer Family and Carson

Dan Wright – Unsworth

Paul Pender – Tawse and Hidden Bench

Rhys Pender – Master of Wine and Panelist

Kurtis Kolt – Wine Educator and Panelist

Paul M Bruner – owner of Blue Grouse

Andy Johnson – Owner of Averill Creek

Tyler Knight – Co-owner of Lightning Rock

http://www.bcpinotnoir.ca

https://winebc.com/

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

 

Garagiste North – Next Week

Fort Berens

Passion Pit Vineyard at Orofino

Cowichan Valley Winemakers

Fishing, Food, Wine and Fishing  Year 7

 

 

 

 

September 14th, 2019 – Untapped and Uncorked Craft Beer and Wine Festival in Parksville

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Severine Pinte  Winemaker at La Stella/le Vieux Pin

Ross Wise – New Winemaker at Black Hills

Plus Pouring in Parksville

  

THE SHOW

It’s the annual Untapped and Uncorked Craft Beer and Wine Festival in Parksville, Vancouver Island.

The featured winemakers are the charming Severine Pintewho was pouring La Stella for a winemakers dinner at Beach Club Resort and for his first ever interview Ross Wise, the brand new winemaker at Black Hills.  Home of Note Bene.

Before we get to those prime feature interviews..let’s head to the “untapped” part of the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Paul – Head Brewer/Owner Love Shack Libations

We start with the craft beer makers at Tigh-Na-Mara and a guy I’ve been waiting a whole year to reconnect with.  When I interviewed Dave Paul from his Love Shack Libations, just up island from Qualicum Beach, he was about to pour his first beer at his first event EVER.  Like an opening night.

Love Shack is a very popular small brewery that the locals all love and tourists are starting to discover. Dave makes a new beer every month..so depending on when you walk in,  your choices may be different from month to month.

Dave was pouring his latest brew, with the zeal of a mad scientist. It’s called Juicy Juice – Northeast style hazy IPA.   Love Beer. Love Shack.

www.loveshacklibations.com

Dave Woodward –  Head Brewer Mount Arrowsmith Brewing

 A local Dave headed to the UK to start his brewing education.  His career took him through the UK, 5 years at Whistler Brewing,  then Tofino Brewing and  Axe & Barrel Victoria.

Dave Woodward Mt Arrowsmith

Mount Arrowsmith brings him full circle.  Back to where it all began.

All that craftwork resulted in Mount Arrowsmith winning Best Amber Ale in the World, at the 2018 World Beer Awards.

 https://arrowsmithbrewing.com/

Kev Ward – Wolf Brewing Nanaimo

wolf brewing

Kev Ward, a  Liverpool lad,   has been brew master  for about 6  years. First thing he did was change all the recipes. Wolf Brewing still uses old-school techniques in its brewing. Check out the line up.

Golden Honey Ale, Porter, Scotch Ale, Black and Tan, IPA!

He says “hey” to all his buds back in Liverpool listening on The Net!

 http://www.wolfbrewingcompany.com/

 Clay Potter –   Brew Master Moon Under Water

Clay Potter


Clay’s brewing career started at  University of Victoria for Biology & Chemistry and Heriot Watt University in Scotland for the Brewing & Distilling Master’s Program. He was lucky enough to work with and be mentored byPaul Hoyne.

With his family, he took over the Moon Under Water Brewery in 2012.

In 2014, Moon Brewery introduced two new programs: a sour series featuring the beloved Copper Kettle Sour, and line of limited-release barrel-aged beers, such as The Crow’s Nest. These highly-sought after beers are small-batched and aged for 18 month

In December 2017, Clay opened a distillery within the brewery. The Moon Distillery has recently launched their first wave of products, featuring Citrus Gin, Orange Vodka and Espresso Vodka, all made with local malts, fruits and botanicals.

http://ww.moonunderwater.ca/about.php

 Ross Wise – Winemaker  Black Hills

Ross Wise Black Hills

Eric Edwards – Executive Chef    Cedars @ Tigh-Na-Mara

Black Hills is the home of one of Canada’s greatest wines Note Bene. A huge Bordeaux blend and a spectacular portfolio. It includes one of my three favourite BC wines, their Carmenere!   The sale of the winery to Peller sent the Canadian wine industry sideways. The new winemaker has to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Senka Tennant and Graham Pierce.  Ross has the chops to more than do the job.

New Zealand-born Ross Wise joined Phantom Creek Winery  in September, 2016, as the fulltime winemaker. A 2005 enology graduate of Australia’s Charles Sturt University, he started his career as a vineyard supervisor at Felton Road Winery in Central Otago, and moved on to the cellar at the Grove Mill Winery in Marlborough before coming to Canada in 2006.

 He became an assistant winemaker at Flat Rock Cellars in Ontario, becoming the winemaker there in 2009

 In 2012, he launched his own consulting firm, making wines with several Ontario wineries, including Rosewood Estates, Keinte-He Winery, The Organized Crime Winery, Icellars Estate Winery and The Good Earth Winery. The opportunity to make ultra-premium wines in the Okanagan drew him to Phantom Creek, and now, to Black Hills.

 In addition to all that, he is well into his studies to become a Master of Wine.

(from John Schreiner)

This is the first verbal interview Ross has done.  He was great!

On the other hand,  Chef Eric Edwards at Tigh-na-Mara loves a microphone.

He’s outgoing and loves to swap verbs.

Chef paired his food with Black Hills wines. You can hear the delight in his voice.

It helps that he’s a very good chef..with a command of his ever expanding kitchen.

http://www.blackhillswinery.com/Current-Vintages

http://www.blackhillswinery.com/

https://tigh-na-mara.com/dine/cedars-restaurant-lounge

 

Severine Pinte   Winemaker at La Stella & Le Vieux Pin

 Severine makes both La Stella and Le Vieux Pin but on the night she was pouring La Stella exclusively!

a native of Montpellier..

Severine Pinte came to Le Vieux Pin in 2010 with 14 harvests of international winemaking experience under her belt along with 8 years of vineyard management. Severine is a graduate of the illustrious ENSAM (Ecole National Superior Agronomic of Montpellier)

Severine Pinte La Stella

She apprenticed at the Cave de Tecou in the AOC Gaillac before coming for the first time to British Columbia to work for Domaine de Chaberton as an assistant winemaker.

In 1999 she returned to France and worked a year in Bordeaux under the direction of Andre Lurton in Pessac-Leognan then returned to the Languedoc. For nine years Severine was head winemaker and viticultural council for ‘Le Vignoble des 2 terres’ in the Terrasse du Larzac terroir.

In the winter of 2003, she took leave for harvest at Frankland Estate winery in Western Australia and enjoyed learning a different take on her beloved Syrah and Viognier. Curiosity and the pursuit of new challenges brought Severine to the Okanagan and she brought with her an astute understanding of wine and terroir. Her favorite quote is from Jean Hugel: “100% of the quality of a true wine is already in the grapes, not in the cellars where you can only lose quality.”

For her, The Okanagan, with its unique terroir and cool climate, has always been intriguing. As such she is the perfect candidate to craft world class Syrah and Viognier in the South Okanagan.

https://levieuxpin.ca/

  

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

2019 Pinot Noir Celebration Kelowna

2019 Garagiste North Kelowna

Fort Berens

The Passion Pit at Orofino Wines

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival