Tasting Room Radio

September 12th, 2020 – Pinot Clonal Heaven at  CedarCreek and Block Party Part Two  


Pinot Clonal Heaven at  CedarCreek and Block Party Part Two


It was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse.

“would I be interested in tasting CedarCreek’s recent  releases – 3 separate Pinot Noirs,

fermented and bottled separately ”


2018 Clone 115 – See Paired Recipe

2018 Clone 667- See paired Recipe

2018 Clone 777- See Paired Recipe


I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.



Their idea was to showcase each of the clones and along the way discover how unique each is from the other.

They also had a 2018 Block 5 Chardonnay for openers. See Paired Recipes

All four wines would be presented by winemaker Taylor Whelan and paired with special recipes created by Chef Neil Taylor from the sensational Home Block Restaurant at CedarCreek.

Taylor Whelan

AND they would agree to gather for a Zoom interview.

CedarCreek now have six clones of Pinot Noir planted at the Home Block, with several more to be added in the next few years.

In order to better understand the terroir and what each clone can bring to wine, they fermented these wines separately and bottled them separately. They selected fruit from silty loam soils for all three clones, fermented them all naturally, and used similar oak coopers and ages.

Each bottling is only four barrels (90-100 cases) and showcases how each of these clones best expresses the terroir of CedarCreek within the confines of its clonal heritage.

 Just a heads up, there weren’t too many cases made so contact CedarCreek soon if you’d like to purchase the Clonal Three Pack.

This was such fun.

The chef nailed the pairings and the wines were outstanding.

Of course they were, this is CedarCreek after all.

executive chef neil taylor











Block Party (Part Two) Sarah and Murray Bancroft-  Birch Block Wines. Kaleden, BC

Sarah and Murray Bancroft


As we explained in early June, this is a series.

(Like Schitt’s Creek without the laugh track.)

What you do hear is the sound of helicopters fighting a wildfire across from their home in Kaleden. They start flying at first light.

I wanted to follow a small winery from the start of the year to the conclusion.

Hoping to showcase what goes into our wines, how they get made, and the hazards that must be overcome.

Sarah and Murray Bancroft were a natural choice. They are just so damn cool, any wine they made would be likewise.

We’re following their ups and downs in the growing year 2020. Nobody factored in the possibility of a Worldwide Pandemic and raging fires in the Okanagan. And critters, varmints and predators. The whole food chain of nature. Not to mention the kindness of neighbours, the farming community around them and the wines they’re creating.

If you have always dreamed of reinventing yourself into a grower, farmer, winemaker or owner..have a listen to what Sarah and Murray are going through.  It’s a Block Party.

Oh and one more thing. IF you have expertise in harvest crafts please contact Birch Block Vineyards. They’re looking for people with your skills.






Zoom tasting at Yalumba

Maenam – The book

Noble Ridge

Painted Rock

Sandra Oldfield – Back Again!!


Year 8 – The Four F’s in Kettle Valley

(Food. Fishing. Friends. Fluids)

Mayhem and Meyer – All in the Family

Clos du Soleil

Fonseca Zoomathon from Portugal






September 5th, 2020 – Zooming with Jason and Naomi Priestley!


Zooming with Jason and Naomi Priestley at Home




Jason Priestley. Naomi Priestley  –  North Hollywood, Ca.

The Priestleys

 I’ve been very happy to call them friends for a long time.

Jason Priestley and I would see each other at auditions for TV and film roles in Vancouver.

Then he headed for LA and the rest you know.

Jason and TDM

Along with Producer Chad Oakes., we created and co hosted Hollywood and Vines TV. 3 years of shows from vineyards and kitchens in Italy, USA (California, Washington and Arizona), Mexico  and across Canada.

He met Naomi while acting in London. Jay didn’t know it yet but he was “done, like dinner”.

Naydog is a force… We had lots to get caught up on.  The kids, the USA and it’s pandemic and political crisis.

Plus three wines. The Rose they were drinking and my two – both with stories attached. Winemakers Cut and “The Mulligan” from Behrens and Hitchcock.

Nay asks about returning to The Guadalupe Valley outside of Ensenada Mexico. It was just waking up to the possibilities of winemaking there when we visited over 10 years ago. Now it’s just exploded.

We talk about the status of his current series Private Eyes, thoughts on shooting film and tv down  the road and how their  family, their  neighbours and fellow Californians are handling 2020.







Its casual but a lot of fun. It gets serious a couple of times because it’s a serious time we’re all living in.  Cheers.  Enjoy!!




Mark Wachtin and Mich Pambrun   (Storied Wines and Spirits)

These two interviews were left over from our coverage of Swirl and Untapped in Parksville earlier this year.

Parksvilles gorgeous beaches!

I really like these guys and their outstanding  portfolio. They represent…


(Vancouver Island)

Rathjen, Unsworth, Wayward Distillation



Anthony Buchanan


Lock and Worth

Desert Hills


Nagging Doubt

Nichol Vineyard


Ursa Major

Skaha Vineyards

Scenic Road Cidery

Tall Tale



That is an impressive list of clients.

You can tell these guys know their wines and winemakers.

Mark Wachtin

Mark Wachtin

Founder – Storied Wines & Spirits

It’s all about the people—conversations, stories and histories. Vancouver Island raised (free range) with a lifetime in hospitality, Mark’s drawn to smaller, family-run operations, sustainable farming and handcrafted production methods.

Motivated by both the traditional and the new wave of producers, Mark has paired wine and food in world-class hotels, restaurants and eateries. Mark’s commitment is best expressed in his strong relationships with sommeliers, chefs, bartenders, servers and retail product consultants.

Mich Pambrun

Mich Pambrun

North Island Sales & Marketing Representative

Michel Pambrun, former DJ and hospitality pro from Manitoba, is an  Internationally accredited sommelier. Michel celebrates natural, sustainable terroir-driven wines and their environments.

His many distinctions include participation in multiple Gold Medal Plates events curating pairings and perhaps his finest harvest, the raising of  two incredible daughters.



Zoom tasting at Yalumba

Cedar Creek food and wine pairing

Block Party Two –

Maenam – The book

Noble Ridge

Painted Rock

Sandra Oldfield – Back Again!!


Year 8 – The Four F’s in Kettle Valley

(Food. Fishing. Friends. Fluids)

Mayhem and Meyer – All in the Family

Clos du Soleil





 Hello all:

We started April by showcasing the wine events that would have happened in early 2020 except for the fact that the Earth was fighting a pandemic.

First was event was  –

 Locals Only.  Vancouver Islands  best showcase of  distillers, winemakers, brewers and cider makers.

Then Okanagan Falls &  Skaha Lake Wine Assn  pour in Vancouver. They were shut down. So we went back to 2019 and talked to the very same wineries. When people could shake hands and stand next to one another.

This week its Top Drop Vancouver/Victoria.

Top Drop is simply one of the best small wine festivals anywhere.

They ask of applicants to be sustainable, honour the fruit, don’t mess with the winemaking and be true to the land.

Unsworth Cowichan Valley

It’s become an astounding collection of “must taste” wineries.

We go back to years 4 and 5 to relive the interviews.

To salute BC Wine Month, we have collected only interviews with BC wineries.

Naramata beauty


Our guests are:





Cedar Creek – The Pinot Bundle

Tasting with Yalumba on Zoom

Birch Block – Volume 2


Four F’s





August 22nd, 2020 – The Grand Crew Collective  and Graham Pierce pours Kitsch in Victoria!


The Grand Crew Collective and Graham Pierce pours Kitsch in Victoria!




The Press Release said it all.

The Grand Crew is a Collective of fiercely committed Okanagan wineries with a passion for sustainable farming and small-lot winemaking.

Unlike other “regional gatherings,” these wineries are from four different Okanagan regions. What they have in common is a “garagiste “ attitude. Smaller batches of wine, a true “hands-on”  approach.

Each winemaker creates something unique, but they meet regularly to share insights, growing and winemaking tips, and resources so that they can each continue to craft some of the best wines in the region.

They have joined with Kelowna’s Public Liquor to offer a sample box of their releases,  curated by the winemakers themselves!  The limited-edition inaugural Grand Crew Collective box is available in-store or online, visit Public Liquor to get yours.

Read the official press release


Black Market Wine Co.  Rob Hammersley Owner/Winemaker (Kaleden)

Black Market Wine Co.

2019 Omerta Syrah Rose $24
A crisp, dry rosé made from 100% Syrah. Aromas of wild strawberries, cherries, and a hint of watermelon. The palate dominated by wild red berries and rhubarb. With crisp acidity, this wine finishes dry.

2017 Syndicate.  $35

50% Merlot. 31% Cab Franc. 19% Petit Verdot.  100% Yummy

21 months French Oak. (40% new) Lots of black fruit, Dark chocolate. Tobacco.


Nagging Doubt Winery – Rob /Westbury  – Winemaker. Owner  (East Kelowna)

Rob and Abby Westbury Nagging Doubt

2018 Sallows Rd Vineyard Chardonnay.  $21

Estate-grown Chardonnay shows yummy citrus, pear, and mineral notes with a subtle touch of vanilla from aging in 25% new French oak puncheons. On the nose and palate, lemon, green apple, and minerality. A true cold-climate Chardonnay, this wine offers beautiful balance, crisp acidity, and hangs a long time in the mouth.

2018 The Leap$23.   Rob says The Leap is the younger brother of The Pull. Plumb, Blackberry, and Cherry.  Oak and Vanilla note. 60%  Merlot. 27% Cab Franc.  13% Malbec.  18 months in new French oak.  Bingo!

The Leap

Niche Wine Co. Joanna and James Schlosser.  Owners/Winemaker (West Kelowna)

Joanna – James Schlosser Niche Wine Co

2019 Small batch bubbles – $26 

Buttery texture. Homegrown. Handmade.  Stirred weekly for 5 months. Limited production. Off-dry.  Only 185 cases. Much sought after.

Pinot Noir Blanc – $24  Strawberries, lots of berries frankly. Made from just two barrels. 95 cases.

Again. $24 bucks. Oysters. Charcuterie. Or by itself. Hide from family and friends.

Tender Hope WineryEfi Perel  Owner. Winemaker   (West Kelowna)

Eli Perel – Rob Westbury

Efi began his winemaking in Israel. Now 25 years later he’s fully Okanagan.


2019  Rose Bubble. VQA. $23

Whole cluster. Combo of Stainless steel and French oak.  Melon. Strawberry.  A light touch of  PNE Candy Floss.

2018 Fire Dance Meritage

This wine is made up of a ripe and balanced blend of 50% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 14% Malbec sourced from the southern limit of Canada’s pocket desert. Rich dark fruit, blueberry, chocolate, wood spice, and smooth mouth feel and a spicy finish.


Winemaker’s Cut  – Michal Mosney co-owner and winemaker. (Oliver)

Michal and his wife moved from winemaking in Croatia directly to the Okanagan.

They have become a force, making us even better.

Michael Mosney Winemakers Cut

2019 Gruner Veltliner $26

Shades of Slovakia!
Peach, pear, and citrus aromas along with beautiful minerality and a touch of white pepper and marzipan.  Hello Gruner!!!

2018 Bohemia Cuvee $26 and $36

Michal makes a Blanc and a Rose.

Blanc is Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier.

Rouge is Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, AND Syrah. (Pepper. Herbs. Dark Fruit)



Winemaker and GM Graham Pierce  –  Kitsch Wine pours in Victoria.

I felt I owed this revisit with Graham Pierce. First, he’s a friend, second he’s one of the best winemakers in Canada (think Black Hills and Note Bene) and lastly, my previous interview placed Graham in the uncomfortable position of having to explain the wines of former gifted winemaker Grant Biggs.

Graham Pierce

When I saw that Graham was pouring for the wine community in Victoria  I headed South from Nanoose Bay and met him on the 6th floor deck at Laurel Point in the inner harbour.

Beauty spot but windy that day. Plus it was the first time I was doing an interview with masks on. So the audio is a tad muffled but that goes with the times. Mask Up!

Here’s what we tasted.


2016 Blanc de Blancs  ($39)– Lime, Granny Smith apples, crème Brulee. In other words delicious. New vintage coming soon.

2018 Ester’s Block Riesling  ($25)– classic Riesling. Nectarines and Apricots..add peach and ginger notes and you’ll love this wine.

2019 Pinot Gris ($22) – clean citrus on the nose. Green apples and minerality.  Beauty.

2019  Block Party ($21) – I’m a Block Party fan. Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir all from the same block. From the 5 blocks on the family vineyard. You just know this is going to be an interesting experience.

2018 Chardonnay ($24)–  (Tentree) Really approachable wine. One bottle bought plants 5 mangrove trees in the Village of Mahabana, Madagascar. Get your bottle soon.

2018 Pinot Noir ($40)– Star anise, forest floor, clean and bright.

2018  Cabernet Franc  ($36)  Oh Hell yes. More, please.  Elderberries, lilacs. Intriguing minerality. Spice and red berries.


Thank You, Graham. Can’t wait for your wines.






Yalumba Zoom Tasting

Birch Block  Vol 2

Charles Smith


Maenam – The Book


August 15th, 2020 – Sandra Oldfield & BC’s Women in Wine and  Jeff Hundertmark from Mt Boo & Modest Wines!


Sandra Oldfield & BC’s Women in Wine and  Jeff Hundertmark from Mt Boo & Modest Wines!


Sandra’s email said it all “let’s feature BC women in wine”.

Sandra Oldfield is currently the President of Elysian Projects Inc., a company that supports BC’s wine industry. Sandra is best known as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tinhorn Creek Vineyard, kick starting Oliver’s Festival of the Grape in 1997 and  has always advised tourism in the province.

Check out #BCWineChat (returns first Wednesday of September) www.sandraoldfield.com

Her recent tweet says  she’s was born in the same Oakland Hospital as Kamala Harris a year and a half after the VP candidate.

It’s fair to say we took some time organizing  these names.

Sandra describes some of them as unsung heroes and some you’ll recognize instantly.

It appears we will be doing this feature again soon as there were LOTS of winemakers/owners we had to leave off just to make room.  That’s a good thing.

BC is blessed with an abundance of women in wine and there are many more joining them each year.


This week’s guests are:

Part One:

Joanna Schlosser – Niche Wines and Grand Crew Collective https://www.nichewinecompany.com/


Ria Kitsch – Kitsch Wines https://mykitsch.com/

Kathy Malone – Hillside Estate Wines https://www.hillsidewinery.ca/

Jacq Kemp – Therapy Wines https://www.therapyvineyards.com/


Part Two

Lindsay O’Rourke – Tightrope https://www.tightropewinery.ca/

Severine Pinte – Le Vieux Pin  https://levieuxpin.ca/

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

Valeria Tait – 2House and Gold Vineyards https://www.instagram.com/2housewine/?utm_source=ig_emb

Penelope Roche – Roche Wines https://www.rterroir.ca/

Cynthia Enns – 1 Mill Road https://www.1millroad.ca/



Jeff Hundertmark – Director of  Winemaking at Mount Boucherie, Modest Wines, Rust Wine Co.


Met Jeff and his wife Kimberly at the Niagara Wine Festival. Several times actually.

Kimberly was one of the lead organizers of a very large team.

Jeff was making wines for Mike Weir, Stoney Ridge, Marynissen, The Hip, etc

Then came the big move to The Okanagan in 2017.

Kimberly continued on nicely,  joining  the Wines of BC  team.

Jeff was originally  hired by Rust Wine Co, then Mount Boucherie and Modest Wines.

3 wineries with more  to come.

The new ownership at Mt Boucherie is not only heading their 200 acres to organic status but has finally completed their spectacular experience centre.

Mt Boucherie

The Modest Butcher restaurant has opened and kicked off their Modest Wines.  https://modestbutcher.com/

200 acres under vines gives this crush pad and cellar many many choices.

It’s a huge portfolio.  Well done Jeff!!

In this two part interview Jeff and I are going to taste and talk about:

From Modest Wines

2019 No 4 Orange – 100% Gewurz

2019 Odd Couple – Riesling and Merlot

2018 Little Green Red – 100%  Petit Verdot (crazy good)

2019 Last Hurrah – Syrah 95%  &  Zin 5%

2019 Green Lightning – 100% Gruner

2019 Elder Vicar – Field Blend (Muscat, Gew, Riesling, PG)

The Rest:

2018  White Label Syrah

2018 PTG – Original Vines. (Pinot Noir, Gamay, PG)

2018  Original Vines Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Malbec Reserve

2017  Summit Reserve (Merlot/Cab Franc/Cab Sauv/Syrah/Malbec)(WoW)






Grand Crew Collective

Kitsch pours in Victoria


Zooming to Yalumba


August 8th, 2020 – ZOOM  visits to HILLSIDE and HESTER CREEK  





THIS WEEK two of the leading wineries in BC.

One of the originals on the Naramata Bench and one of the leaders on The Golden Mile and  home of “The Judge.”

This week we spotlight Hillside Winery and Hester Creek Estate Winery!


Kathy Malone – Winemaker at Hillside Winery (Naramata Bench)

Kathy Malone

In the early 1900s, this site was an apricot orchard.

In 1979, the property was purchased by Bohumir and Vera Klokocka who had recently immigrated to the Okanagan Valley from Czechoslovakia. In 1984 she and Bohumir pulled out the apricot trees and planted 3.5 acres of vineyards. The grapevines thrived in the gravelly soil and warm Okanagan sunshine and Vera’s dream took shape.

In 1989 Hillside, together with Lang Vineyards and Wild Goose, lobbied the Provincial Government to bring about the Farmgate Winery Policy that was instrumental in changing the B.C. Wine Industry.


Since  Kathy moved from Mission Hill to Hillside she has lead the winery to walls of awards and became the voice and face of the Naramata Bench Wineries.

The Hillside portfolio is a testament to Kathy’s skill and passion.

100% of Hillside wines are Naramata raised and grown.

Alert – some wines are marked either above or below the road or below the road. The road being the shoreline of the lake 1000’s of years ago.

2019 Unoaked Pinot Gris (Hillside series. Heritage PG) Splendid!

2018 Viognier (Heritage series)  White Texture

2017 Reserve Malbec.  (A first – the label says Naramata Bench Sub-GI)

Then comes three merlots which are part of their single vineyard program (also includes Cab and Gamay Noir)

2013 Gjoa’s Vineyard Merlot   (Joe-ah) A true beauty.  Below the road.

2014 Hidden Valley Merlot. Bowl-shaped vineyard behind the winery.

Elegant Balance. Above the road

2015 Dickinson Vineyard Merlot. On a bluff overlooking the lake. Below the road.  It’s a classic.



Hester Creek Estate Winery

Chef Adair Scott – Terrafina Restaurant

Winemaker Mark Hopley


Hester Creek on The Golden Mile. Kind of rolls off the tongue, right?

Hester Creek Estate has been growing and releasing wines for 50 years.

In 2018, they marked the 50th anniversary of their estate vineyards. As one of the oldest wine properties in the South Okanagan, they are graced with historic vineyards and a modern winery.

None of it would have been possible without the stubborn farming passion of original owner/winemaker Joe Busnardo. His original planting of Trebbiano is still bringing smiles to wine fans.

Joe sold and moved on to  Divino in the Cowichan Valley.

Hester Creek went on to become one of the finest wineries in Canada.

Our Zoom guests are Winemaker Marl Hopley and for the food pairings Terrafina chef Adair Scott.

We talk about two new releases.

2019 Character White – The Pinot Gris has stone fruit on the nose. The palate is treated to honey, melons, papaya, and pear. $16.00

2017 Judge. 

Equal parts Cab Franc, Cab, and Merlot. Also equal parts DeLish.$43.99

Your nose will love the anise, black fruit, and cherry.

Followed by tastes of plum, fig, and dark chocolate.

What a great wine.

Every year it surprises and seduces.

This, my friends is an icon wine..let this beauty rest for a couple of years..like 5-8-10 years. The wait is well worth it.

Given that we’re only talking about two wines and because I had the winemaker and the chef handy I decided to pair foods with wine.  And then wines with food. This includes a speed round. Like a game show.

Great fun.





Sandra Oldfield presents  The Women of Wine.

Jeff Hundertmark  – Winemaker @ Mount Boucherie, Modern Wines. Rust Wine Co

A Zoom gathering with Yalumba

Noble Ridge

Creek and Gully Cider




August 1st, 2020 – Celebrate Food Day Canada 




Saturday, August 1st  is  Food Day Canada – a chance to salute Canada’s   favourite foods, farmers and all the people involved in our culinary experiences!  Hail to the farmers, those who harvest fish and shell fish, those who get our foods to us fresh and safe,  to the chefs and restaurateurs, the grocery stores and everyone in the food chain.

Buy Local. Eat Local. Shop sustainably. Let’s all get out of this year alive, well and still in business.


ANITA STEWART – Founder of Food Day Canada. Food Laureate,  University of  Guelph

Anita Stewart

Anita Stewart was a  little girl selling beans on the side of the road.  Who knew she  would become the author of 14 cookbooks and founder of one of Canada’s most talked about culinary events.

Anita’s  farming roots and farming smarts earned her a membership into the Order of Canada and the first interview on today’s Tasting Room Radio.  Thank You Anita!

Remember to

Shop Local

Eat Local

Cook Local




CHEF ABUL ADAMEThe Kitchen at da Silva Winery (Naramata Bench)

“Mexican born, never cooked back home, moved to Canada 20 years ago. “Throughout my first years as a newcomer, the thought of a restaurant job was an “easy thought” for a start up. but, it seemingly became a life style long term commitment and a true addictive passionate affair to me.”

Abul writing on his main page  www.thekitchen-dasilvavineyards.com

Abul Adame

I’ve known Abul since 2007 when we moved to the Naramata Bench.

My first question to the locals was – most interesting chef?

When the third neighbor said Abul Adame..that did it.

At the time he was cooking up a storm at Amante Bistro in downtown Penticton.

Loved the room and ecstatic about the kitchen. The experience was head and shoulders above 90% of the bistros in the Okanagan.

Thankfully, Abul and The Kitchen are still one of the best Okanagan dining experiences.

The da Silva family is a Portuguese family who has been farming in the Okanagan for many years.

So it’s no surprise that Abul is cooking Portuguese tapas with Mexican Flair.


When was the last time you saw a chef come out of the kitchen, take 2-3 minutes to get to know you..go back to the kitchen and cook to your personalities and tastes. Every table. Every night.



When I told Adul I was still recommending his dining room he actually said

“please. No more. I can’t keep up. The place is very busy.”

Its old school here.

Don’t write..don’t text. Just phone and make a reservation.

If you get Abul..he’ll say they’re too busy. If you get staff,  make a date.


One more quote from Abul

“you may like my food, you may not like my food – either way,  I Thank You.

because I no longer cook to impress.”


JENNIFER SCHELL  – The BC Wine Lovers Cookbook

(Recipes and stories from Wineries across BC)

Jennifer Schell


Jennifer Schell (@JenniferSchell8) | Twitter

Jennifer Schell is a highly acclaimed food and wine writer, columnist, and former editor of BC Food & Wine Trails Magazine. Her three cookbooks, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker (In the Okanagan & ‘By The Sea’) are Canadian bestsellers and have won numerous international awards.


She is also the co-founder/producer of Garagiste North Wine Festivals, an event celebrating BC’s small lot wine producers chosen as one of the Top Wine Festivals in the Word in 2015 by the London Financial Times.


Jennifer was also the founder of Soup Sisters (Kelowna), a charity organization that focuses on feeding the Women and children at the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and the youth on the streets.

Above all, she is a food, wine & culture leader.

Plus she is part of the Schell Family Winery with her two brothers.



This is not just a book filled with recipes.  Each farming family has its own story.

And when you open their wines, the stories come spilling out. Generations of wines, harvests, long table dining, and every conceivable weather story.

Jenn knows it’s the stories, the people and the food that make wine a great experience.

What a book.


CHEF NED BELL – Naramata Inn

Chef Ned Bell

Ned Bell and his wife Kate Colley have come full circle.

Ned grew up 20 minutes from Naramata Village. Kate met Ned on our veranda on The Bench

in 2008.

They married and had two sons.

They have both had outstanding careers. Ned through bigger and bigger kitchens. Kate through her own successful marketing and media company.

They last worked together at The Four Seasons in Vancouver.

Then over two years ago Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s beaten it back with an amazing team of professionals.

(even as I write, she’s going through more treatment in Vancouver)

They decided to come full circle and return to the Naramata Bench. Specifically,  the tiny hamlet of Naramata.

With their partners Maria Wiesner and Paul Hollands, they bought the Naramata Heritage Inn at the end of the main street.   Over the years the Inn has represented a beloved base of community and become a destination for visitors.   With 12 vintage rooms above and a dining room and bar below, the inn is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Trust me. The rooms are a memory you’ll treasure always.

Ned, Kate, and the new owners bring world-class culinary experience to the kitchen, which is all about sourcing and celebrating local.

The Inn will deliver a proudly “Naramatian” experience. From produce to proteins, the menus will be built around the best local growers and artisans in Naramata and the Valley. It will showcase the true depth and breadth of award-winning wines produced by British Columbia’s winemakers.

Keep in mind, you’re surrounded by 20-30 wineries and a lake that goes on forever.




stories we’re working on:


Kathy Malone – New releases from Hillside

Hester Creek checks in

Noble Ridge – a revisit

Sandra Oldfield – What’s on her mind?

Birch Block Take Two

Maenam (The Book)  – Angus An





























July 25th, 2020 -The 2020 Cowichan Valley Wine Festival  Aug 1-31  



The 2020 Cowichan Valley Wine Festival  Aug 1-31

In a normal year, just about now,  I’d get in the car and drive south on Vancouver Island to Cobble Hill and meet the Cowichan Winemakers on a Crush Pad.

As we all know 2020 is not a normal year. A historic pandemic has a way of shutting everything down and threatening everyone’s health and life.

How then to organize and pull off a wine festival?

With the assistance and guidance of Tourism Cowichan, the 13 wineries of the Cowichan Valley invite you to Discover Cowichan Wine.

This year the wine festival is taking place for the entire month of August.

Due to Covid19, there will be no opening party however participants can purchase a ticket for $20 which gives them a festival glass to bring to each winery. Tasting fees are waived and if you get a stamp at each tasting on your passport you then qualify for a draw at the end of August for a case of Cowichan Wine.

The wineries have been preparing to receive guests in a safe and healthy environment. Physical distancing, sanitized tastings plus safety for the guests and employees.

There is so much to celebrate in The Cowichan.  A new Sub GI designation. Cowichan now can appear on all wine labels made with Valley fruit.

And the recent purchase of Unsworth by Barbara Banke and Julia Jackson (Napa/Sonoma).


This is our first Zoom interview with the Cowichan Wineries. The audio and zoom video can be streamed on our website.

I asked our winemaking guests to highlight two wines they’re pouring…

Jill Nessel – Tourism Cowichan.GM

Mike Nierychlo – Emandare Vineyard  (Rose and Pinot Noir)

Brent Rowland – Averill Creek/Joue  (Joue White and Red)

Paul Bruner – Blue Grouse.  The owner (Estate Pinot Gris and Quill Rose)

Blue Grouse

Dan Wright – Unsworth Vineyards (Allegro and Rose)

Paul Busnardo – Divino (Trebbiano and Everything red blend)

Lorin Inglis – Enrico.GM  (Charme De Lile Sparkling and Tempest Ortega)

Xavier Bonilla – Cherry Point (Pinot Noir and Siegerrebe)

Chef and Author  Bill Jones – Deerholme Farm in The Cowichan.


A Question.  What goes best with Cowichan Wine?  Cowichan Food!

And who better to add a food component to this special than Chef Bill Jones at Deerholme Farm.

You know Bill from his dozen or so books..The Deerholme Foraging Book. The Deerholme Mushroom Book.

Bill Jones is a passionate supporter of local food communities, a founding member of FarmFolk/CityFolk, SlowFood Vancouver Island, and was a key organizer of the BC Canadian Chefs Congress.

If you’re heading to the festival, check out Bills  Thursday small dinners and special dinner Aug 15th (Mediterranean) & 22nd (Korean BBQ)

Or sign up for the always sold out foraging classes in The Fall.



Cowichan Visitor Information




Tasting Room Radio Cowichan Wine Guests –










Kathy Malone – New releases from Hillside

Hester Creek checks in

The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook – Jenn Schell

Chef Ned Bell – Naramata Inn

Food Day Canada.

Noble Ridge – a revisit

Sandra Oldfield – What’s on her mind?

Birch Block Take Two

Maenam (The Book)  – Angus An






July 18th, 2020 Rathjen Cellars. Jim Cuddy Wines. Moon Curser, The  Best Small Winery on Canada


Rathjen Cellars. Jim Cuddy Wines. Moon Curser, The  Best Small Winery in Canada



In addition to planting their own vineyard in 2016, Mike Rathjen leases five other established vineyards on the Saanich Peninsula, all of which provided grapes to former wineries in the area. Mike is honoured to work with some of the oldest vineyards on Vancouver Island and he’s  excited with the quality of wine coming from these vines.

Mike Rathjen moved to Vancouver Island in 2011 with a passion for wine, farming and food culture. Over the next five years he honed his winemaking skills in his basement (AKA the ‘Wine Bunker’) while building relationships in the local farming community.

Together with his friend and business partner Colin Mann, Mike founded Rathjen Cellars in 2016 with a business model based off leased farmland and a focus on supporting the local food system.

Mike prefers the title ‘winegrower’—seeking to diminish the variable of winemaking to allow further exploration and expression of Vancouver Island as an emerging wine region.

Rathjen Cellars source all of their fruit from six vineyards on the Saanich Peninsula and two vineyards in the Cowichan Valley.


I’ve always been impressed with the wines I’ve tasted from Mike and I think you will be too!  Tasting and talking about their Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir.  Yum.


Jim Cuddy – Cuddy Wines by Tawse

Paul Pender – Tawse Winemaker

Jim Cuddy does not like Rosé !

Jim Cuddy

But he basically likes everything else.

As you know, Jim is the co-writer and co-singer with Blue Rodeo, The leader of the Jim Cuddy Band and recipient of The Order of Canada.

When he decided to put his name on a wine bottle he was smart enough to partner with one of the very best names in Canadian wine. Tawse Wines.

Jim Cuddy at Tawse

They’ve release a Chardonnay, Cab/Merlot and Sparkling Riesling. No Rosé .

We talk about that and other wines. AND we also talk to his winemaker Paul Pender.





Chris Tolley – Co-Owner/Co-Winemaker Moon Curser Wines.

Moon Curser won the 2019 Wine Align Best Small performing Winery in Canada.


Moon Curser – Best Small Winery in Canada

At the end of the competition, the winery walked away with several medals led by a Platinum for its remarkable ode to the Douro Valley, the 2017 Touriga Nacional. They followed that up with six gold medals for a 2015 Tannat, think Uruguay; 2018 Dolcetto, that’s Italy; a 2017 Malbec, that’s Argentina; a 2017 Tempranillo, a nod to Spain; a 2017 Petit Verdot a classic from Bordeaux; and one final gold for a 2017 Dead of Night, a blend of Syrah and Tannat.


“Well, you get the picture, this is one very different producer, and in many ways, a poster child for what we always hoped would be the kind of innovative, family estate winery that would grab the title of the Best Performing Small Winery in Canada.

All that is left for you to do is try the wine and eventually visit the winery to experience what the Tolleys did when they first got into the business, something new and intriguing and most of all different.”

Anthony Gismondi – Co-Head Judge


Moon Curser’s Medal Winning Wines


Moon Curser 2017 Touriga Nacional, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia


Moon Curser 2015 Tannat, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2018 Dolcetto, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2017 Malbec, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2017 Dead of Night, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2017 Tempranillo, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2017 Petit Verdot, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia


Moon Curser 2017 Carmenere, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2018 Arneis, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia


Moon Curser 2017 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Moon Curser 2018 Afraid of the Dark, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia


In 2006 they opened the doors to Moon Curser..except, at the time it was called Twisted Tree.

Rebranding brought the name Moon Curser.

The location has always been the same..very close to being the last winery in BC..right at the USA  border.

I had already done an interview with Chris when the awards were handed out..so here’s the update from Chris and the whole interview before they won the award.

Congratulations to Chris and Beata Tolley

Moon Curser Wines




Jay Drysdale – Bella Bubble

The Cowichan Wine Festival 2020

Kathy Malone – Hillside

Lock and Worth

Chef Ned Bell – Naramata Inn

Hester Creek.


Winemakers Cut

Abul Adame – The Kitchen




July 11th, 2020 – Randy Ullom Master Winemaker (Kendall Jackson) & Graham Pierce  Winemaker. GM


Randy Ullom Winemaker (Kendall Jackson) & Graham Pierce  Winemaker(Kitsch)



 Randy Ullom – Master Winemaker and Senior VP

                              Jackson Family Estates and Kendall-Jackson Wines.


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 wine growing regions. One third each in North Coast, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties.

“I look at all of the vineyards we own, and all of the individual lots of wines that we make, and the thousands of barrels we have sitting in our cellar and sometimes I think, you gotta be kidding me! After I’ve sufficiently recovered from my daily panic attack, I take off my coat, dig in my heels and take it one barrel at a time. It’s a rewarding job that I love.”

  Hired by Jess Jackson in 1992 as Winemaker for some of their smaller and international vineyards, Randy was handed his most prestigious assignment in 1997 – Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson Winery.

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Randy became interested in wine during a three-year stay in Chile, while on sabbatical from college in the early 1970s. His stay inspired a cross-country trek through Chile’s vast wine-growing regions. On his return to the United States, he entered Ohio State University to study crop production with a specialty in Viticulture and Enology and received his degree in 1975.

After six years as a vineyard manager and Winemaker in Ohio and upstate New York, Randy moved to California to become associate Winemaker at De Loach Vineyards in Sonoma County. He was promoted to Winemaker and Vice President in 1991. The wines produced during his tenure were consistent gold medal winners at wine competitions.

Randy   looks like a Sheriff from Dodge City..Oversees the growing and creating of 5 Million cases of wine from 35 labels. (check their website below)

His job includes  working with wines grown in Sonoma, Chile, Bordeaux, Australia and Italy.



 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnayhttps://www.kj.com/wine/vintners-reserve/chardonnay

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanchttps://www.kj.com/wine/vintners-reserve/sauvignon-blanc

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Grishttps://www.kj.com/wine/vintners-reserve/pinot-gris

(Featured at Liquor Plus in July)

Kendall-Jackson, Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignonhttps://www.kj.com/wine/jackson-estate/hawkeye-mountain-cabernet-sauvignon

(Will be featured at Everything Wine in July.)




Graham Pierce – GM and Winemaker at Kitsch

Graham Pierce

If the name is familiar it’s because he has worked with and made wines at  Mt Boucherie, Time and for 10 years at Black Hills.

Graham had the toughest job in the Okanagan. Following in the footsteps of winemaker Senka Tennant, the creator of one of Canada’s greatest blends Note Bene.

Graham carried the torch for 10 years and created a brilliant blend in his own distinctive style.  He’s a pro.

Now he’s going through much the same process at  Kitsch  #okanaganinaglass.  Winemaker Grant Biggs has moved on and Graham once again has the ability and talent to walk into the cellar and begin shaping his versions of Kitsch wines.


Kitsch Tasting Room

Graham walks us through:

2019  Pinot Gris

2019 Block Party (Riesling, P. Gris. Chard)

2019 Pinot Noir Rose (100% PN)

2018 Chardonnay (In partnership with tentree)

Congratulations to Trent and Ria Kitsch for having the smarts to survive the loss of their signature winemaker and then hire another outstanding creator who has shown himself to be capable of greatness, much like the wines he will make going forward.

Trent and Ria Kitsch






Bella Wines

Rathjen Cellars

Cowichan Valley Wine Fest 2020


Bartier Bros

Lock and Worth

Creek and Gully Cider

Hester Creek

Noble Ridge


The Grand Crew


Cedar Creek

Ned Bell – Naramata Inn