Meg Mulligan

March 9th, 2019 – The 41st VanWineFest Part One – The Californians!

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The 41st VanWineFest Part One – The Californians!

By the Numbers..

• Over 25,000 wine fans
• 16 countries
• 160 wineries; including 53 from featured region California
• 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
• 1,450 wines.
• 42,000 bottles poured and/or purchased (2018 stats)
• 82,000 wine glasses used (2018 stats)

Our Numbers

32 interviews..
25 winemakers
7 CEO’s or General Managers.
Sleepless nights – 2
Hours budgeted for all interviews – 3
Minutes to missing last Harbour Air flight – 1

THE SHOW

41 years ago the Vancouver International Wine Festival opened their doors to the World’s wineries.
Only one showed up. Robert Mondavi brought his California wines to pour that day.
Some say California saved the show.


And so, here we are 41 years later and California is the feature region at the 41st VanWineFest.
What a line up. We couldn’t talk to them all but we did do pretty well.
Seventeen Californians and one certain Washington Red Mountain newbie.
Have a favourite California wine? Check the list below. See if it’s there or see if it’s there but go looking for a new California pal.
FYI – Next Week Gina Gallo. Jean Charles Boisset and 15 Canadian winemakers

Jon Bonne – Keynote Speaker. Author of The New Wine Rules

Here’s why I immediately liked Jon Bonne.
“ Not all pink wine need be Summer water But Whispering Angel should be cast into some Miltonian iteration of Hell”
Jon Bonné is one of the most influential American voices on wine. He is the senior contributing editor for PUNCH, and the author of The New California Wine and The New Wine Rules.
www.punchdrink.com

Jon Bonne

Bob Blue – Founding Winemaker at Bonterra, 1000 Stories and Elysian Collection.

In 2016 the Wine Enthusiast awarded Bonterra as its American Winery of the Year because of its commitment to organic farming and it’s quality of affordable wines. Bonterra is the most popular organic wine in the USA.
Fetzer’s bourbon-barrel-aged Zinfandel 1000 Stories debuted in 2014. In the five years since, production has exploded from 5,000 cases to more than 140,000 annually!
www.bonterra.com
www.fetzer.com

Craig McAllister – Winemaker at La Crema

A New Zealand native, McAllister earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Since moving to California, in addition to his work with La Crema, McAllister has also made wine for Wild Ridge, crafting elegant Pinot Noir from vineyards on the rugged Sonoma Coast.
www.lacrema.com

Randy Lange – Owner Lange Twins

Lange Twins

Randy Lange is a fifth-generation winegrower.
During the 1870’s his Great-Grandparents, Johann and Maria Lange, settled in Lodi. By 1916 they had the family’s first grape-ranch. It was on this ranch where their dad, Harold, was born in 1920.
In 1974 they decided to farm on our own. They finally built Lange Twins winery in 2006.
FYI – Lange Lodi vineyard produces spicy old-vine Zinfandel, concentrated Bordeaux-style wines and lively Rhone-style reds and whites—many from organically or sustainably farmed vineyards.
www.langetwins.com

Ondine Chattan

Chief Winemaker Share a Slash/Cannonball/Cowboys and Angels
High Dive and Astrolabe
Ondine is a passionate Sonoma County winemaker with experience ranging from cult boutique producers to notable household name brands. Her love of the diversity of Sonoma and California at large fuels her enthusiasm for making a range of varietals from Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet. Started her career at Cline, Beam and Geyser Peak.
www.shareasplash.com

Emma Swain – CEO St Supery

Emma Swain, CSW and CEO of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery has worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years. Emma started in finance, before joining Niebaum-Coppola Winery and later worked at Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery for thirteen years as Chief Operating Officer
“Our primary focus is on Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, “We’re a 100 percent Estate Winery, which means that we grow and produce everything that we make, without a drop of anything else coming into the process. Of the more than 530 wineries in the area, there are only a handful in the Napa Valley that are 100 percent Estate.”
www.stsupery.com

Paul Wagner – Napa Valley College

Paul Wagner was honored by the American Wine Society as the winner of its annual Award of Merit for 2018. Other recipients of the award include Robert Mondavi, Gina Gallo, Warren Winiarski, etc
“Paul has influenced the way the public drinks wine and thinks about wine”
Paul Wagner has been an instructor for Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology department for the past 23 years. In addition, he teaches at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, is a guest lecturer at many universities and has spoken at more than 80 conferences throughout the world on wine, wine education, wine tourism, public affairs, and wine marketing.
www.rickandpaulwine.com

David Gates Jr – Ridge Vineyards VP Vineyard Operations

After an obligatory stint in Napa Valley he made his way to Ridge in 1989. David’s duties include managing the historic Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Whitton Ranch at Geyserville, and the Lytton Estate vineyards at Healdsburg, as well as monitoring and helping all Ridge growers in Sonoma, Napa, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Ridge’s fame started when it was placed fifth in the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting. At the 30th anniversary tasting in 2006 it went several steps further, with its 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet winning first place in the original vintage category and the 2000 ranking top for new vintages.
www.ridgewine.com

Russ Weis – President Silverado Vineyards

In 2005, Silverado Vineyards pioneering winemaker Jack Stuart stepped down as general manager, and Russ Weis took the reins. Russ, a senior vice president with Robert Mondavi (launched Opus One), brought more than twenty years winemaking to Silverado. He is extremely passionate about the winery: “We enjoy an amazing array of meticulously cared for estate fruit. Even in the most challenging years, our vineyards guarantee us a level of quality which we can be proud to call Silverado.”
Silverado makes around 85,000 cases each year, of which 22,000 are Chardonnay and the rest Bordeaux-style wines. The vineyards are in cool climate Napa regions, Carneros and Stag’s Leap.
www.silveradovineyards.com

Harvest Duhig – Atlas Peak Winemaker/Grower Relations Wagner Family of Wines
Caymus.Conundrum.MerSoleil.Emmolo.Red Schooner

Born and Raised in Napa. In September of 2002 she tried selling grapes to Chuck Wagner. He declined the fruit but hired her to work with him.17 years later she’s Mountain Cabernet Winemaker for Caymus Vineyards. Harvest also has her own family winery Duhig, in Coombsville.
www.wagnerfamilyofwine.com

Kristen Barnhisel – Winemaker (White Wines) J Lohr

Also born and raised in Napa, Kristen brings two decades of viticulture and winemaking on three continents to making the whites at J Lohr.
Along the way she worked with mentors Zelma Long at Long Vineyard and Milla Handley at Handley Cellars.
www.jlohr.com

Ray Signorello – Owner/Winemaker Signorello Estates

Ray lost his winery to the Napa fires. The house his Father built and the buildings attached.
Surprisingly his wines mostly survived. Signorello was designed like a Bordeaux Chateau. Everything farmed in-house for the past 40 years. His surviving vines included 38 year old Chardonnay vines with the Cab vines not that far behind.

Ray Signorello

Ray was pouring his fabulous Signorello Estates Cab but also his new wines Fuse, Edge and Trim.
Signorello is Located in the heart of the Silverado Trail. Just North is Stags Leap and just West is Oak Knoll. There’s a new winery being built this year.
Ray on Social Media and Millennials
“They’re different from Gen X and Baby Boomers. They seem to be more interested in trying wines they haven’t heard of before – off-beat stuff – not necessarily the blue chip Napa Valley. So the challenge is how do we in Napa Valley make sure we’re engaging them”
www.signorelloestate.com

Randy Ullom Chief Winemaker at Kendall-Jackson

Randy Ullom

I cannot think of another winemaker who has stayed with the same winery for 28 years.
Randy oversees 12,800 acres of estate vineyards in cooler coastal California winegrowing regions. One third each in North Coast, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties.
www.kj.com

Randy Meyer Senior Winemaker Geyser Peak

A native of Santa Rosa Randy grew up tending the small family Muscat vineyard on their property.
He and his family promptly build a small cellar into a hill on their property and started production. As one does in wine country. Randy has interned at Piper Sonoma and Far Niente before spending 23 years with Korbel and Draxton Wine.
Geyser Peak was named Sonoma Winery of the Year in 2018 by The New York International Wine Competition. Farming in Sonoma plus The Russian River and Alexander Valleys.
www.geyserpeakwinery.com

Karl Wente – Wente Vineyards

Fifth generation winemaker and winegrower Karl Wente grew up working at Wente Vineyards and expanded his experience at the Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma and Brown Brothers winery in Australia. In 2013, Karl was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40.
www.wentevineyards.com

Thank You to :
James Murray – Tech and production
Kristine Wilkinson (ThinkMilk.ca)
Bailey Jelinski (Milk)
Anna Stuber (Milk)

 

NEXT WEEK :

Gina Gallo and Jean Charles Boisset
Barry Olivier
Matt Dumayne
John Skinner
Valeria Tait
Stefan Arneson
Chris Jentsch
Randy Picton
Roland Kruger
Victor Costa
Bill Eggert
Chris Wise
Ross baker
And the Nova Scotians!!

 

March 2nd, 2019- 41st Van Wine Fest features California Wines – So Do We!

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41st Van Wine Fest features California Wines – So Do We!

THE SHOW

Thursday Feb 28 Tasting Room Radio sets up a mobile studio at Vancouver International Wine Festival to record 35 winemaker interviews.
It’s the wine version of an All-Star Game.

First half: all Californian
Second half  Canada, mostly BC.
Those interviews will run for the next several weeks.

We’re starting by going back to last week’s wine stars.
In order to get everyone into the show plus include The Somms and Oscar specials I had to edit their interviews down to a hand full of minutes.
Not This Week.

Here are the feature interviews with:

Joel Peterson – Ravenswood. Chief Winemaker & The Godfather of Zin.
Inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame.

Joel Peterson

One of the leaders in preserving the heritage Zin vines of California. Joel is a true California winemaking Icon and a tremendous person.
https://www.ravenswoodwinery.com/
#VIWF IS ON

Melissa Stackhouse – Meiomi. Head Winemaker

The name Meiomi means “coast” and the brand’s winemaker, Melissa Stackhouse works with coastal vineyards to create one of the most popular Pinots in Canada (and of course The USA)

Melissa Stackhouse Meiomi

 

Born and raised in Michigan, Melissa worked for a number of years at a newspaper in Bellingham, so she’s familiar with Vancouver and its food scene.

Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology at the University of California Davis and her wine career was started. She worked her way through cellars at La Crema, J Vineyards Winery and Clos de Bois. That’s a lot of harvests.

I’m really looking forward to her plans for Meiomi Bubble.
https://www.meiomi.com/

Tom Gore – Farmer and Winemaker Tom Gore Vineyards

Tom Gore is a second-generation grape farmer from Sonoma County and from the time he learned to walk, he was stomping alongside his dad, getting dirty and taking care of the grapes.

For Tom Gore, farming isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. His family helped develop the vineyards of Northern California into a world-class winemaking region, and Tom’s childhood was spent among the vines.

 

 

He has worked every harvest since he was seven years old, and has always known farming grapes would be his life’s work.

He also has a wicked sense of humor. He’s funny. His wines are serious.
https://www.tomgorevineyards.com/

Mark de Vere Robert Mondavi Wines

Who better to speak to the history and legacy of Robert Mondavi than Master of Wine Mark de Vere?
Robert Mondavi was one of just a handful of California winemakers who became a household name in the 20th century. He and his wife Margrit were one of the founding families of the wine culture in the Napa Valley. Some would argue, the founding family.

One of their original vineyards To Kalon is considered equal to a Grand Cru vineyard.
Google Robert Mondavi. It’s a huge story.
And even though it’s not yet imported into Canada, try to get your hands on their Cab Franc. WoW!

NEXT WEEK –
12 of the very best wine stars from California (Part One)

STORIES WE ARE WORKING ON:

41ST Vancouver international wine festival
18 Californians. Winemakers and Owners
And 15 Canadians. Winemakers and owners
Uncorked and Untapped in Parksville
Black Hills pours new releases.
La Stella leans Italian!
Vancouver Somms
Okanagan Falls Wineries pour new releases in Vancouver
Brigitte Raye Orto Astisan Pasta (bad dog bread) North Vancouver

February 23rd, 2019- Here Come “The Californians” and The Oscars!

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Here Come “The Californians” and The Oscars

 

THE SHOW

 

This edition of Tasting Room Radio has a little bit of everything.

Interviews with the wine stars of  Mondavi, Tom Gore, Ravenswood and Meiomi.

Four Sommeliers have recommendations for 41st Vancouver International Wine Festival (starts Saturday)

Kurtis Kolt (Georgia Straight) Kristi Linneboe (L’Abattoir) Kelcie Jones (Chambar) and Somm of the Year Matt Landry (Stable House Bistro)

And we finish with Film and Wine. It’s Oscar weekend (Sunday).  Gary and Hayley Hamilton Cogill created a Podcast that focuses on film and wine because that’s what they both specialize in.

Gary’s picking the winners and so is Hayley.

 

Melissa Stackhouse  

Chief Winemaker  Meiomi

https://www.meiomi.com/

  Melissa brings a unique vision and spirit to her role at Meiomi.

Melissa Stackhouse

 

With as much zeal and enthusiasm as when she first started out in the industry, Melissa aspires to create wines that are meant to be enjoyed while laughing and sharing a delicious meal with friends and family.

While laidback and easygoing by nature, Melissa has an extensive and impressive background at some of California’s top wineries, including:

La Crema, J Vineyards & Winery, Jackson Family Wines, and Clos du Bois.

 

 

Tom Gore

Owner/Winemaker Tom Gore Vineyards

https://www.tomgorevineyards.com

 

 Tom Gore is a second-generation grape farmer from Sonoma County and from the time he learned to walk, he was stomping alongside his dad, getting dirty and taking care of the grapes. For Tom Gore, farming isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life.

Tom Gore

His family helped develop the vineyards of Northern California into a world-class winemaking region, and Tom’s childhood was spent among the vines.

He has worked every harvest since he was seven years old and has always known farming grapes would be his life’s work.

As Tom is most proud of explaining what he does as a farmer—connecting people to the earth and telling the story of where the wine comes from. The work of a farmer.

 

 

Joel Peterson

Founder  Ravenswood Zins

The Godfather of Zin

https://www.ravenswoodwinery.com

In 1976 Joel founded Ravenswood in partnership with fellow wine lover Reed Foster, a Harvard MBA. In 1977, he’d left his job in San Francisco and moved to Sonoma to work in the clinical lab at Sonoma Valley Hospital.

He didn’t quit that job until 1992, a few years after the winery turned its first profit and Robert Parker pronounced Ravenswood wines “first class – bold, dramatic and complex.” Today, Joel works with 100+ northern California growers who provide grapes for Ravenswood.

Joel Peterson

Ravenswood is one of the few wineries that has had the philosophical and winemaking skill of one winemaker for over 30 years.  That  contributes to a consistency of quality and style rarely found in California.

Joel is a current member and former president of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance (S.V.V.G.A.) and is on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Vintner. He is a founding Board member and former two-time President of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (Z.A.P.). Joel is also a Senior Vice President with Constellation Wines US. He is also a member of the Vintners Hall of Fame.

A great guy and a true friend to all of us.

 

Mark de Vere – Master of Wine

For Robert Mondavi Winery.

https://www.robertmondaviwinery.com

 

Mondavi

 

41 years ago, when the first wine festival took place… Robert Mondavi was the first and only winery attending.

So it’s a wonderful thing to see them featured 41 years later along with California.

Yes, they will be pouring their famous Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 but do NOT pass up the chance to try their Oakville Cab Franc  2015.  WoW!

 

Mark takes us through the wonderful story of how Mondavi came to be one of the great wineries of the World.

 

Four Sommeliers with tips for VanWineFest

 Who better to give everyone some reminders of how to survive a chase through the VanWineFest Tasting Room. There are hundreds of wines being poured. Its led some attendees to wobble after lunch or after dinner.

Offering help with your plan and some wines to watch for are..

Kurtis Kolt – Georgia Straight and wine educator.

Matt Landry – Sommelier of the Year. Stable House Bistro

Kelcie Jones – Chambar

Kristi Linneboe – L’Abattoir

 

www.KurtisKolt.com

https://www.chambar.com

https://www.labattoir.ca

thestablehouse.ca/

 

 

Make notes and Good Luck.

 

Gary and Hayley Cogill  (Cogill Wine and Film)

Its Oscar weekend. Gary and Hayley have a great Podcast that blends Film and Wine.

Both from Dallas.

Gary has been a  well known TV and Print film critic for many  years.

Hayley Hamilton Cogill is a much admired Sommelier  known for columns and shows like Dallas Uncorked. Red Wine with Breakfast. Hawaii Uncorked etc.

Cogill Wine and Film, A perfect Pairing is their Podcast

Gary and I will go over the Oscar nominations and his projected Winners for

Supporting Actor

Actor

Director

Film.

 

Hayley will pair with a theme or character from the films or roles.

It’s fast and it’s fun.

And the Oscar goes to –

https://cogillconsulting.com

 

SHOWS WE’RE WORKING ON

 

41ST Vancouver international wine festival

18 Californians.  Winemakers and Owners

And 15 Canadians.   Winemakers and owners

Uncorked and Untapped in Parksville

Black Hills pours new releases.

Vancouver Somms

Complete interviews with Mondavi/Tom Gore/Ravenswood/Meiomi

Okanagan Falls Wineries pour new releases in Vancouver

Brigitte Raye  Orto Astisan Pasta  (bad dog bread)  North Vancouver

 

February 16th, 2019 – The Stars of the Vancouver Wine Festival

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We have four  stories for you.  A primer of the next VanWineFest, also advance notice on the 3rd BC Cider festival and a check in on the  wildly popular Oyama Sausage at Granville Market.  Joanne Sasvari editor of Vitis will pair wines with Oyama’s legendary offerings.

 

And we finish with Bob Blue, Winemaker at Bonterra plus winemaker of a Bourbon aged Zin called 1000 stories.  He’s one of the stars at this year’s Wine Festival.

 

 The SHOW

 Harry Hertscheg  – (Executive Director of 41st Vancouver International Wine Festival)

 

Harry Hertscheg VanWineFest

 Vancouver International Wine Festival has been described as “the largest wine festival in the Americas” with 25,000+ admissions. It is Canada’s premier wine show and widely considered to be one of the best wine events in the world. At age 41, it is also among the oldest. Its slogan is “The Wine World is Here”. For the past six years, VIWF has been voted the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash.

This is Harry’s second visit in row. It’s because he can now talk about The Stars who will be appearing and pouring.
From Gina Gallo and Jean- Charles Boisset to Joel Peterson (Ravenswood) Genevieve Janssens (Winemaker Mondavi) Randy Ullom (Kendall Jackson) Christine Coletta(Haywire) John Skinner (Painted Rock), the first pouring on Aquilini Red Mountain Wines and many more.
Harry has the goods.

 

By-The-Numbers

 41st annual (founded 1979)

8 days, Feb 23-Mar 3 (Bacchanalia Gala, Feb 23)

25,000+ admissions

16 countries

160 wineries; including 53 from featured region California

54 events (20 are California events)

1,500 wines projected, including an estimated:

42,000 bottles poured and/or purchased.

 

https://vanwinefest.ca

Shawn Pisio – (Organizer/Co-Founder of BC Cider Week)

 

Shawn Pisio

 When he’s not organizing BC Cider Week, Shawn and his team run TXOTX – (pronounced Choech)  which is Basque for “to drink cider from a barrel”

One of the  highlights of 2018 was attending, tasting and doing interviews at The Pipe Shop, foot of Lonsdale in North Vancouver.

It’s one of the few shipbuilding rooms still standing.

30 plus cider makers all pouring their very best. So many stories and tales.

Cider has just exploded in popularity.  One of the people responsible is Shawn Pisio (and Rich Massey) who has a passion for cider than knows no bounds.

So, just like the VanWineFest, the BC Cider Week is fast approaching from April 26th to May 5.  The last day,  May 5th,  is the third gathering of cider makers at The Pipe Shop

300 Vancouver early bird tickets sold out in 45 minutes.

Shawn is here to tell you all about it.

http://bcciderfest.ca/

Jerome Dudicourt  (Manager of Oyama Sausage. Granville Market\

jerome dudicourt – oyama

Joanne Sasvari (Editor of Vitis and Vancouver Eats cookbook)

 Most line-ups are a pain but at Oyama you need the wait time to check out every square inch of food displayed in the coolers..glorious cheeses, amazing sausages, pate to-die-for, smoked wild Boar, Porcini Mushroom pate, Toulouse Sausages, sweet ham, game everywhere. The signage is fun and informative.

Our first guest is Jerome Dudicourt, the manager & trained chef who speaks of his store  like it’s priceless, which it is.

And then Joanne Sasvari the editor of Vitis  comes into the picture with her wine choices to go with Jerome’s specials.

Joanne Sasvari, Nuvo magazine

From Vancouver Island to the Okanagan Valley, B.C. wine is rapidly gaining global attention for its quality, diversity and innovation.

Vitis aims to capture the excitement by telling the stories of wineries and the passionate people that own and operate them, as well as offering accessible insights into the finer points of wine and current trends.

Keep a notepad handy..there’s something  here for everyone.

http://oyamasausage.ca

https://vitis.ca/

Bob Blue – Founding Winemaker at Bonterra and 1000 Stories

 

Bob Blue. Bonterra – 1000 StoriesIconic winemaker Bob Blue on the phone from Mendocino.  Bob is showcasing his most recent project – 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-aged Zinfandel 

 A graduate from UC-Davis, Bob is considered a pioneer in the organic wine arena and is the founding winemaker for Bonterra, America’s #1 Organic wine. Bob was mentored by Paul Dolan and Dennis Martin and traveled to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Australia and the Rhone to broaden his sense of style. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Drinks Business Green Awards in 2014, recognizing him for his 25-year commitment to the highest standards of organic viticulture.

Bonterra

Bonterra

1000 stories opens with vanilla and cherries, hints of barnyard.  A sweet attack followed quickly by pepper, cooking spices, vanilla? AND Twizzler. (Liquorice)

By the time you taste that first mouthful you are engaged. Welcome back  to BC Bob!!   http://www.1000storieswines.com/

The second half of the interview is all about Organic wines..their growth and rise in popularity.

Because Bob has been an industry leader in organic wines for almost 30 years he’s the guy to talk to about how organic wines won all of us over.

Winery of the Year in 2014 from Wine Enthusiast.

 

http://www.bonterra.com/

 

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Van Wine Fest

The Californians, the Canadians

A Gaggle of Sommeliers

OK Falls pours

Unplugged and Uncorked

 

 

February 9th, 2019 -The debut of Aquilini Red Mountain Wines

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The debut of Aquilini Red Mountain Wines.

THE SHOW

We start with Harry Hertscheg  Executive Director of the 41st Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Harry Hertscheg

Harry brings the first of two updates on this years event. (Feb 23- March 3)

https://vanwinefest.ca/

Barry Olivier – President/Brands Aquilini Wines

Barry Olivier – Aquilini

Backbreaking days laying bricks and hauling mortar up rickety scaffolds; young Luigi Aquilini knew he had to find a better means of supporting his family. In 1957, Luigi left his hometown of Brescia, Italy and travelled to North America seeking a new life.

Through strong relationships, saving his wages, and a legendary work ethic, the bricklayer struggled up the ladder – wooden and corporate – doing whatever it took to provide for his wife and three young sons. As his children came of age Luigi brought Francesco, Roberto, and Paolo into his now-thriving construction company.

For three decades they grew the business as a family; diversifying from building skyscrapers, to farming blueberries, to purchasing NHL Hockey Team, the Vancouver Canucks in 2006.

Francesco and Luigi

For these four entrepreneurs, fine wine was a lifelong passion and a natural unity of the pillars on which they’d built their empire: construction, farming, and entertainment

Francesco Aquilini sought out Barry Olivier, a fine wine importer notorious for scouting up-and-coming producers.

Francesco and his brothers had trusted Olivier to build their own cellars for years, and now they recruited him for the ultimate task: create the World’s Next Great Wine.

The opportunity suddenly emerged in November 2013 with the most high-stakes land auction in Washington Wine History.

670 acres of completely unplanted former Government Land on Red Mountain was on the block, and competition was fierce.

Over 40 wineries from across America came to Washington looking for a piece of the Mountain.

Though this was the last virgin acreage on Red Mountain, to acquire and develop that much vineyard all at once was risky.

Luigi and his sons made the call. The Aquilinis outbid the room for the entire 670 acres.

In just 24 hours, the family had become the largest landowner in the AVA.

An overnight turn that left the Pacific Northwest wine community wondering “Who is Aquilini”?

 Philippe Melka joined as Consulting Winemaker. Heralded as one of the most influential wine consultants in the world. Bordeaux-born, Melka apprenticed at Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau Petrus, then crossed the Atlantic to electrify the Napa Valley, working with icons like Quintessa, Bryant, Fairchild and Hundred Acre.

Philippe Melka – Winemaker

Aquilini Wines are  headed to the Vancouver Wine Festival to introduce themselves to Canada.

They’ll be pouring

Aquilini Horse Heaven Hills Syrah Rose 2017

Aquilini Red Mountain’s Grand Vin is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

The Second Wine, Aquilini Red Mountain Family Blend,. The Family Blend is constructed of varying levels of Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot and occasionally Petit Verdot.

 

Here’s a first taste with Barry Olivier.

 www.aquiliniredmountain.com

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 Vancouver Wine Festival

The Californians

BC showcases at Wine fest

BC Sommeliers speak out

Okanagan Falls wineries pour new releases

Unplugged/Uncorked

 

February 2nd, 2019 – Super Bowl Weekend!

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THE SHOW

It’s Super Bowl Weekend!

Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole from Sports Centre at TSN are paying their annual visit to The Tasting Room.

They began as a humble sports pairing at TSN and we heard from them 7 years ago before yet another Super Bowl.

Then they headed for Fox Sports One in LA only to be shown the door several years later but not before guesting on yet another Super Bowl Tasting Room Radio.

 

There are some saying that it was their appearance on TRR that hastened their exit.  Not True.

It was Jan and Dan’s appearance on Hollywood&Vines TV with Jason Priestley and myself that did them in.

Upon returning to TSN, we were told by their “people” that J&D would never again guest  on Tasting Room or H&V.

Several weeks ago I reached out to Onrait and O’Toole in the hopes they would relent.

They didn’t exactly relent but they simply forgot ever having been on either show.  So we’re good.

Jay and Dan will take us through:

The Game

The Food

The Swill

The Odds

Their Podcast

The Jannies

Jay and Dan Direct.

I was going to ask them for some of their favorite music tracks but when Dan said “Play Dean Martin”  I shut that down Right Away.

https://www.tsn.ca/jay-and-dan/podcast

 Mira Tusz and Daniel Dragert–  Co-owners/Winemakers at Kutatas (Salt Spring Island)

 This is the first in a series of features on new wineries around the Province that we think you may want to know about.

(working title The Chase)

Mira and Dan realized a dream when they recently bought Mistaken Identity Vineyards on Salt Spring Island.

Mira and Dan

Dan had been the winemaker at Averill Creek in the Cowichan Valley and Mira had been working in the vineyards at Unsworth, also in the Cowichan.

I discovered their wines at last year’s Locals Only event that Rich Massey throws at Edible Canada, Granville Island.

The wines were outstanding.

I mumbled something like “who ARE these guys and how did they pull this off”?

Currently,  a majority of their small production comes from 3 acres of Pinot Noir and Ortega in  Deep Cove/North Saanich, on Vancouver Island. These blocks are managed sustainably.

Most of the vineyard is dry farmed to limit yields, restrict berry size and express terroir. They personally hand tend the vineyard to ensure they achieve the highest possible quality.

Now they have their own vineyard and we’re the lucky ones who’ll be tasting their wines in years to come.

Mira and Dan are redesigning their new Tasting Room … so we huddled in the cellar and tasted the whites and reds.

Pinot Noir Rose

Ortega

Pinot Gris

Plus 2 different Pinot Noirs  (Clone #114)

(whole cluster and de-stemmed)

Also, a Bubble program is in the works.

Keep an eye and nose on  Kutatas (Koo Tah Tash)

They hope to be open on Valentine’s Day  Feb 14th

https://www.masseywines.com/kutatas-wines/

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

The Californians

Vancouver Wine festival

OK Falls pours in Vancouver

Aquilini. Red Mountain Wines