Tasting Room Radio

June 12th, 2021- New Spring Releases from Birch Block & Chef Jeff Needs a Miracle!  


New Spring Releases from Birch Block and Chef Jeff van Geest Needs a Miracle!




Its International Rose Day – pour some, buy some, gift some. (It’s a year-round delight, friends)

 First up Block Party 3 from Sarah and Murray Bancroft at Birch Block Vineyard (Kaleden)


The Block Party concept came about when Sarah and Murray told me several garagistes ago that they had located a fruit, lamb, and llama farm in Kaleden that was going to be perfect for vineyards and they were starting their winemaking journey.

Because they are such interesting people who lead interesting lives I thought it would make for a journey I’d like to follow.

The ups and downs of winemaking  – starting from scratch – gathering knowledge as you went – sustainable farming – what wines do you want to make.  So many decisions you have to live with.

We covered those subjects in Block Party one and two. Now comes three…

They’ve released the Birch Block Vineyard Pinot Noir Rose.

“We call this rose Endless Summer to enjoy all year long”

It comes beautifully presented. The color is Provence Pink. Unfined and unfiltered in the regular 750 ml format and a stunning Magnum. Mellon and strawberry on the nose. A palette of various citrus stars. Grapefruit, ripe mandarin, and a mouth full of yummy.


You’re going to have to do some serious seeking on both these releases. It’s hugely popular right out of the box.  It’s well worth the homework.

Murray and Sarah also talk about their new canned release Pop Up Piquette (PeeKett)


It’s a born again Rose. As Murray explains they get their hands on the Grenache/Mourvedre skins  after they’re pressed .  The take the skins and add water, honey and perhaps more rose and leave it soak for a bit.

What comes out is a lighter Rose. 8% alcohol that originally was intended for the field and cellar workers to have with lunch and not get slower as they rest of the day went on.

It’s called a wine “for the people”

The Birch Block Piquette comes in a 473 ml can. $10 each. It’s going to be wildly popular.


Today Sarah and Murray are at a  UBC  fundraising event with Alumni Grads..one of four wineries pouring Rose.

Sarah and Murray

August 20th they’re pouring at a Joy Road Catering  Al Fresco event on Main in downtown Penticton and a virtual wine tasting for a very cool seniors center in Vancouver.

There’s a Pet Nat coming plus other surprises.

You’re going to really like Murray and Sarah. Whether in person or through their wines.

THIS is a winery you really want to follow. The end result is always delicious!

Check out the website and sign up for the newsletter.


 Executive Chef Jeff van Geest – Miradoro Restaurant. Tinhorn Creek Winery  (Golden Mile)

In the middle of this week Chef Jeff posted on Instagram

Exec Chef Jeff van Geest – Photo The Great Lionel Trudel


“ Friends, I need a miracle”

“Things keep going from bad to worse for staffing. I’m willing to work a lot for my business and my kitchen and my team. But I can’t make any more sacrifices and I don’t want to ask more of the staff that I do have. I need a CDC a junior sous and more line cooks. If you know anyone please put them in contact with me. I hate to sound desperate, but I am.

Ironically, St. Anthony died three years ago today and all I can think about is our collective mental and physical health I just want to create a kitchen environment where people can cook with joy and passion. Where are these people? The people I do have are fantastic, but I don’t want to crush their spirits. Please help me spread the word. I’m Looking for people ready to take the next step. I’m willing to take a chance on the right people.”


The response was immediate. To count almost 150 replies have come in.

However, the post highlighted two serious problems the culinary industry has to overcome.

An almost complete lack of skilled workers are applying and as mentioned in comments. the toxic environment of some kitchens.

That toxicity has been handed down from kitchen to kitchen over many years. It’s disappearing but not nearly fast enough.

We have two interviews for you.

 One with Chef Jeff at Miradoro and in San Francisco, The Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem who has interviewed 100’s of the best chefs.

From San Francisco to Oakland,  Napa, and Sonoma

Liam reveals that these same conditions and problems exist in Northern California.

I’m asking both guests “what is the role – if any – for the food/wine fan to play”

This is serious gritty stuff. It involves people’s careers and lives but a solution can’t be found until everyone involved – kitchen staff, culinary team, and customers – do their part to make things right.

Please have a listen to these hard-hitting interviews and be aware of the crisis in your kitchens.

More interviews on this crisis next week starting with Chef Michael Allemeier –team leader at one of Canada’s premier culinary training institutes – SAIT in Calgary.









Crisis in the Kitchen

Michael Allemeier – Sait Calgary

Anthony Buchannan – Fine Spring Wines from his 2020 growing season.  Fabulous!









June 5th, 2021- Spring Releases from Alderlea, Mt Boucherie, Rust Wine Co, and Modest Wines


2021 Spring Releases from Alderlea (Cowichan) and Mt Boucherie/Rust/Modest Wines (Okanagan)


Every spring brings a flood of new wines and always a few surprisesThis week our guests are

Zac Brown and Julie Powell. Coowners and winemaking partners.

As Zac explains he learned his winemaking outside of Vienna and then Western Australia.

After he and Julie met and married they became  Garagistes.  Making wine and learning at home.


Julie came from the large corporate side of life, in human resources. She now counts tractor driving as a serious skill and recently made a white blend called Valerie, named in honor of her late Mother. Zac says it’s the first step into winemaking for Julie.  We talk about all of these moments and milestones.

We also talk about these Spring Releases

2018 Rose- Yup! Get this one. A blended Rose!!

2019 Bacchus $21.90

2019 Valerie (80% Ortega and 20% Viognier) $23.10  (Yummy)

2019 Pinot Gris $23.19

2016  Pinot Noir Reserve $39.80

2018 Pinot Noir $26.00

2018  Contraband (Merlot driven blend) Coming Canada Day $34.60

2016 Matrix (nice blend . Dark fruit. Cassis, Prune. Coffee, licorice) $24.75 WoW!


2017 Clarinet  Old Vines Foch. Beautifully grown and blended.


Jeff  Hundertmark  – Director of  Winemaking  Mt Boucherie / Modest Wines (West Kelowna) Rust Wine Co  (Golden Mile Bench)

Jeff Hundertmark Director of Winemaking / Mt Boucherie. Rust. Modest Wines

I first met Jeff in Niagara where he was holding down multiple winemaking roles and seemed like one busy guy.

He did take time out to ask a series of questions about the Okanagan. As I left the interview we agreed to meet in the Okanagan down the road.

Well, the road has been down.

Jeff is currently the Director of Winemaking at Mount Boucherie, Modest Wines, and Rust Wine Co.

All very distinctive – one from the other.

I do believe with this interview we have set an all-time mark for bottles reviewed or discussed in one interview.

Here’s the road map that Jeff talks us through.

Mt Boucherie  (West Kelowna)

Original Vines Series

-2020 Gewurztraminer  $30.  Impressive  Planted 1986 South Rock Vineyard. Golden Mile Bench

-2020 Semillon OK Falls Lost Horn Vineyards  Block 12. Planted 1990

-2018 Summit  Bordeaux Blend Planted 93/96/97

-2019 PTG (Similkameen) $35. 45% Gamay 36 P.Noir 20% P.Gris. Lazy River Vineyard. Block 17/18/22 (Planted 93/96/97)


Modest Wines

Mt Boucherie are growers first. They have the vineyards to play with concepts.

Modest Wines is an edgy experimental label, trying out various vineyards and blends. Affordable.

– 2020 la graves robber.  $27.  81% Sem 19% Sauv. Ok, Falls. Inspired by Left Bank. Raised in the  Westbank. Loved this.

-2020 Eye of the Partridge Rose $25 – Pinot Noir. Similkameen.

-2018 Zed’s Dead Zinfandel  $30 (Similkameen Valley) You may not see this one again. Story on back label.

-2020 The Elder Vicar $22  The Battle in a Bottle Muscat. Pinot Gris. Gew. Riesling. The Vicar is Father Pandosy.

Soaked on skins for 8 hours. 5 minutes and 24 seconds.

2019 By Jove  Sangiovese  $30  Black Sage Bench.  Bravo!


Rust Wine Co

Golden Mile Bench – formerly Rustico.

One of the most amazing tastings I’ve taken part in.

From Rust Wine Co Jeff sent

2018 Syrah GM Bench.  $44 American/French Oak. (42% new) Clones 977/2002  Gravely clay. Mtn rock

-2018 Syrah  Ferreira Vineyard $44 Black Sage Road  Clones 7/2001  Am/French Oak (46% New) Volcanic ash & fine granite sand.

-2018 Syrah Lazy River Vineyard Similkameen. $44  (40% new) Clone 877 Sandy clay loam with limestone and granite


Do your own tasting…Everybody pitch in. Gather on the patio or table and decide which one hits the mark. Your mark.

They each have different clones, different soils, different vineyards.

The bonus is – they’re all fantastic.






The return of Birch Block

Anthony Buchannan


Gold Hill

Summer Spirits Special




May 29th, 2021- Fresh Spring Wine Releases from Clos du Soleil (Similkameen) and Fort Berens (Lillooet)  


Fresh Spring Wine Releases from Clos du Soleil (Similkameen) and Fort Berens (Lillooet)




Its that time of year. Spring. Leading into early Summer.

Bud break, lots of cutting back last years growth and the wonderful beginning of the growing season.  Again.

This week we head to the gorgeous Similkameen Valley at the very bottom of the Okanagan Valley. The small centers of Cawston and Keremeos are starting to become familiar to wine fans and travelers.

What you may notice first is how hard the land is. Everything the vines are growing in seems composed of shale that’s fallen down the mountain sides. Winemakers and growers tell stories of digging equipment breaking down trying to groom the land. BUT – and it’s a big but – if you can get the vines to take hold in the soil and get down under the top layer of rocks,  then wonderful vineyards can happen. With a minerality like few others.

As hot as the days can be there, the Similkameen River supplies cool air that brings down the heat and cools the valley at night.


Michael Clark – GM and Winemaker at Clos du Soleil (Similkameen)

Michael Clark


One of the wineries that stands out among the growing number in the Similkameen is Clos du Soleil and  our guest Michael Clark is the  GM and winemaker.


They are outstanding because of a dedication to growing , wine craft and sustainable practices.

The whites are concentrated, fresh and crisp. Each labeled with the specific vineyard they were grown in.

The rose is outstanding.

We finish with Signature, their classic Bordeaux Blend. (out in a couple of weeks)

Spring wines we talk about in detail are –(all prices are before taxes)

2020 Fume Blanc –  74% Semillon -26% Sauvignon Blanc. Nose (apple. lemons. lime.) Mouth (grapefruit. guava. floral and flinty minerality) $20.90

2020 Middle Bench Pinot Blanc – Part of the Winemaker’s Series. Nose (Tangerine. Pear. Floral) Mouth (apple. pear. orange. lemon) Elegant! $22.90

2020 Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gris – Also Winemaker’s Series. Nose (lemon. pear. orange) Mouth (apple. peach. wet stone) $21.90

2020 Rose – Le Cote Vineyard.  Really fine.100% Malbec. Nose (roses. dark cherry) Mouth (more of the same and a long finish)$22.90

2018 Signature – Icon Bordeaux Blend16 months in French Oak 42% Merlot. 32% Cab 19% Cab Franc

5% Malbec 2% Petit Verdot. blackberry. pepper. mint. cassis. spice. graphite and sagebrush. And a master class in blending. Releasing shortly.$47.90.  Aged and ready to taste now but  you can cellar for many years. Gentle Bliss.



Heleen Pannekoek – Co-founder/Co-Owner Fort Berens (Lillooet)

Years ago Harry McWatters and I exchanged views on the winegrowing possibilities in the Lillooet area.

I had fished the area and could see all of the elements necessary to grow and make wine.

Water, land, heat and room.

Harry had done some planting and soil testing and thought it was possible.

Years later I did my first interview with Rolf de Bruin and Heleen Pannekoek from Fort Berens in Lillooet and was very happy to see that Harry was right. Again!

Heleen and Rolf Fort Berens

They’ve been very busy at Fort Berens.

Harvesting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot &  Cab Franc.

They planted an 18 acre Red Rock Vineyard in 2018 and 2019. Their ultimate goal is to be 100% Lillooet VQA. They now have 38 planted acres.

And this year they release the premier vintage of Gruner Veltliner.

Heleen brings the Spring Wine Releases from Fort Berens

2020 Riesling. From vineyards in Vernon, Kelowna & Lillooet. Nose (lemon. rose) Mouth (apple. pear. lemon) Pair with curry. tapas. prawns and sunsets. $19.99

2020 Dry Riesling. Over 80% fruit from their estate. Nose (Granny Smith apples. Apricot)  Mouth (lime, ripe fruit. freshness) $21.99

2020  Pinot Gris. Made from Dry Creek vineyard in Kelowna and a grower in Lytton. Nose (citrus. kiwi. lime.) Mouth (grapefruit. tropical fruit) $19.99

2020  Gruner Veltliner. Premier vintage of Gru.  Next year they hope to make this fine wine from their own plantings.

Nose (apple, honeysuckle. mixed fruit)  Mouth (wonderful texture. aromatic and creamy) A wine to watch.  $21.99

2020 Rose. 100% Lillooet estate fruit. 80% Pinot Noir 16% Cab Franc. 4% Merlot.  Nose(Yummy) Mouth (Yummier)  Raspberries. Melon. Strawberries. $19.99

Think about Salmon, BBQ, chicken. Prawns.


And remember Harry McWatters.  Here’s a toast to Harry!

Harry McWatters





Mt. Boucherie

Modest Wines

Rust Wine Co

Anthony Buchanan




May 22nd, 2022 –  4th Annual Cowichan Valley Wine Festival


Cowichan Wine Festival Aug 1-31.   12 wineries – 31 days – 36 wines to be discovered.



2021  4th Annual Cowichan Valley Wine Festival

Sunday, Aug 1 High Noon –  Tuesday, Aug 31, 5 PM.

For all the dark news of 2021 it’s nice to be able to share this week’s Tasting Room Radio with our friends from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. The good news they bring is that The Cow is open for business. They will be adhering to covid guidelines and practices.

In all,  12 wineries will be open and welcoming. (for some,  reservations are highly recommended)

You’ll want to make plans early because last year was a complete sell-out.


Tickets are $35.00. Your gorgeous glass (and passport) is your ticket. That allows you to get into all 12 participating wineries.

Visit as many wineries as you like and collect stamps in your passport. If you collect all of them you can enter a draw for a Grand Prize.


For more info www.tourismcowichan.com

unsworth wines

Unsworth Winery


The stories and the pours from 6 valley wineries. Our guest list includes:

 Jim Moody – Owner and Winemaker at Zanatta Vineyards (Duncan)

Bailey Williamson – Winemaker at Blue Grouse (Duncan)

Bailey Williamson Blue Grouse

Lorin Inglis – Manager of Enrico Winery (Mill Bay)

Brent Rowland – Winemaker Averill Creek and Joue (Duncan)

Brent Rowland Winemaker Averill Creek











Michelle Schulze –  Management  Venturi-Schulze (Cobble Hill)

Dan Wright – Winemaker Unsworth (Mill Bay)





Spring Releases from

Clos du Soleil


Fort Berens


Gold Hill

Mt Boucherie

Rust Wine



May 15th, 2021 – Spring Wine Reviews from Poplar Grove & Tightrope (Naramata Bench)


2021 Spring Wine Reviews from Poplar Grove & Tightrope (Naramata Bench)




Welcome to Tasting Room Radio’s 2021 Spring Wine Release Specials.

This week we welcome Tony Holler co-owner of Poplar Grove plus Graham & Lyndsay O’Rourke from Tightrope Winery. Both on the Naramata Bench.


Tony Holler – Co-Owner of Poplar Grove. (Naramata Bench)

When I started Tasting Room Radio we were living on the Naramata Bench and had created a studio in a barn. Outside the windows, I could see the roof of Ian Sutherland’s original Poplar Grove. Then he sold to Tony & Barb Holler and they started to build the new Poplar Grove out my French Doors to the side, up on Munson Mountain. (the one with the PENTICTON sign).

Tony introduces us to the 2021 Spring Releases. They include their flagship Bordeaux blend The Legacy. The 2017 release is coming in September. It won a Gold Medal for Best of Show (by varietal)  at the London Wine Competition and scored 93 points.

Holler team!

The Poplar Grove Spring Releases are:

2020 Rose  Lovely strawberries & Cherries on the nose. melon. citrus. cherries on the palate. Beautiful blend of Merlot/Malbec/Syrah/Pinot Gris/Muscat!

2020 Pinot Gris.  You’re going to love this.  Pear. Peach. Lychee. Citrus. Can be cellared to 2025

2017 The LegacyThis just in. The blend is 40 Merlot/38 Cab/12 Malbec/6 Cab Franc/4 Petit Verdot. It’s pure Gold!! Cellars to 2031.

Leather. Plum. Tobacco on the nose.  Palate has tonnes of ripe berries, dark chocolate, and caramel.  A true Okanagan Bordeaux!


The restaurant is up and ready to go. They have a great patio and fabulous lawn overlooking Penticton and the vineyards.

June 1st they start gourmet picnic options. It’s the Munson Munch.




Lyndsay and Graham O’Rourke – Tightrope Winery (Naramata Bench)

Team O’Rourke – Tightrope

They are a great pair. Graham grows the grapes and Lyndsay makes the wines. It’s called Teamwork!

Graham was one of the founding directors of Sustainable Winegrowing BC (SWBC) and that’s exactly what Tightrope wines are all about. Beautiful fruit made without harming the land, the environment, or people.

The Tightrope Spring Releases are:

2020 Rose – Clean. Dry. Strawberries. Spice. A blend of Pinot Noir/Syrah/Barbera.  Cellar to 2022. $22 at winery

2019 Riesling – Sustainably grown. Cellar now through 2025. $22 at winery. Delicious.

2020 – Pinot Gris. Tropical fruit. Lime. Granny Smith Apples. Handpicked and pressed on the same day.$21.50 at winery

2020Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon  80/20. A spectacular White Bordeaux. Achieves a trifecta of clean and dry introduction and then texture. Wait for what? You can’t be both except when the palate also contains ripe mango and peach. Lime and Lemon.

I loved this wine. $22 at winery.

2018Merlot  12 months French Oak. Cellar through 2029.  Your gateway wine back to Merlot Land.  $27 at winery.

2018 – Vertigo. A wonderful blend of Merlot 45/Barbera 30/Cab Franc 25.  10 months 50% New French and American Oak

$36 at winery. Cellar this asap. Then count the days until you reward your clever self.







Cowichan Wine Festival


Blue Grouse

Averill Creek


Venturi Schultze


Clos du Soleil


Fort Berens



May 8th, 2021 – 2021 Spring Wine Releases  – Hillside and Roche (Naramata  Bench)


2021 Spring Wine Releases  – Hillside and Roche (Naramata  Bench)




Hillside Winery and Bistro       Kathy Malone – Chief Winemaker (Naramata Bench)

A dozen interviews.

That’s how many times I’ve talked to Kathy Malone for Tasting Room Radio.

She speaks on behalf of Hillside Winery and Bistro and been the spokesperson for  The Naramata Bench Wineries Assn.

hillside rose

Kathy is also Chairman of the BC Wine Council.

Trust me of this – she absolutely knows how to make memorable wines.

Kathy brings her new Hillside Spring Releases

(Above/Below means position of vineyard in relation to Naramata Road.  Kathy explains the nuances)

2020 Unoaked Pinot Gris.   Amazing mid-palate.  A winner.

2020 Gewürztraminer.  you can smell flowers and ripe fruit. Ginger and Guava on the palate.

2016  Merlot.  (Hidden Valley. Dickinson Vineyard)  (in pre-release)  (Below)

Coffee. Dark Chocolate. Ripe Cherry  $40.00

2018 Heritage Series Syrah 100% Hidden Valley Vineyard (above) $32.00

Coffee notes. Clove and dark fruit. Currents. Splendid.

2018 Howe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. (above) $48.00

Black fruit and chocolate. The long hang time on vine  highlights beautiful flavours.

2015 Mosaic $54.00   Cab. Merlot. Can Franc. Petit Verdot. Malbec.  “Big Mo”

A fine balance of flavours and  discoveries in the mouth. Flying The Flagship of Naramata Bench.

Cellar up to 10 years.

Chef Evan Robertson Hillside Bistro

FYI – The 2020 Rose and the 2020 unoaked Pinot Gris are released.

Kathy introduces us to their wonderful new Chef Evan Robinson and his new menu.

The May fundraiser #HospitalityHustle campaign.$1 from every bottle of Muscat Ottonel.

Bistro Hours – Wed-Sun 5pm-9:30 pm Take out and meal kit Wed/Sun 1-8 pm

Heated outdoor patio dinner service

Tasting Room

Wed/Sun 10am-5pm


And check out Kathy Malone’s Virtual Tasting opportunities online.



Roche Winery – Penelope and Dylan Roche

Had Meg and I stayed on the Naramata Bench, Penelope and Dylan would have been our next-door neighbors.

They bring such wonderful spark to the valley.

Penelope grew up in the very heart of French wine country. Chateau Les Charmes – Haut Brion.  Dylan in North Vancouver.

I laugh every time I type that line. But there’s no shortchanging either one of them.

They trained in classrooms and cellars. Learned winemaking all over the World and then chose to make their stand in – the Okanagan Valley!

“Our strength is a combination of experience in vineyard management and winemaking and a precise appreciation of the link between the two”

Roche Vineyards Naramata Bench

Here are their Spring Releases:

 2019  Texture Pinot Gris. floral notes. Apple then lime in the mouth. Very engaging. $21.90

2018 Traditional Pinot Gris. Vanilla. Apple.. Beautiful mid-palate.  Pear and Lemon.  Loved this front to back. WoW. $28.90

2017 nuances entry level Bordeaux but waaaaay better than many. 58 Cab Franc/25 Merlot/17 Cab.  Herbs. Cassis.Blackberry  $32.90

2016 Chateau 41 Cab Franc/35 Cab/24 Merlot vanilla.black currant .pipe tobacco. tannins & acidity. Think cellar. 14 months. 50% New French of course. $49.99

Penelope and Dylan Roche

FYI – They are now open to “futures” on their wines.

The Black Book Wine Club is very popular. Do you like their wines?  Join the club.

Growing and farming under organic discipline.

Tasting Room open 11 am-5pm

For Pete’s sake- try the Chardonnay!


Roche has all the talent and smarts to be one of the wineries leading BC into the future.  For me, where they lead, I follow.


Stories we’re working on:

Cowichan Wine Festival

Tightrope Spring Releases

Clos du Soleil Spring Releases

Alderlea Spring Releases



May 1st, 2021- Our First Spring Wine Release Special of 2021!


Our First Spring Wine Release Special of 2021




You can set your clocks by this moment in the year.  Spring shows itself in green “everything”  plus  warmer days and beautiful longer nights.

For the farmers and winegrowers its “Bud Break”. One of  the first signs of life from the wines.

To celebrate, we’ll be presenting a series of these Spring Specials starting with our friends,  the segment sponsors of Tasting Room Radio.

Enrico in the Cowichan Valley, Moon Curser in Osoyoos, The Hatch in West Kelowna.

Next week Hillside, one of the first on the Naramata Bench.

 Celebrate the future with a glass of wine with your family and friends. It’s Spring 2021


Develyn Barker –  The ‘Artful Dodger’ of The Hatch (West Kelowna)

 If you’ve never been there, it’s almost impossible to describe the talented community gathered at The Hatch. However, their smarts and passion show in the wines.

The leader is the Fagan of the Okanagan,  winemaker Jason Parkes. JP is the hub of a wine-making wheel called The Hatch.

Please let me give you an example.

Hatch World includes:

Crown and Thieves                                         Spirit and Fizz

Black Swift Vineyards                          Cactus Fruit

Screaming Frenzy                                           The Hatching Post Brewery

Truck 59 Cidery                                     Proper Man – New album 40 Elephants

(Fifty Shades of J and Fifty Beards Old)

This segment is just a small piece of the whole wine picture at The Hatch.

Spring Wine Releases  from Crown and Thieves

2020  Mr. Hickenbothom – Chardonnay

2020 Pinky Blinders – Rose

2020 Little Nipper – Pinot Gris

2020 Winemakers Wench – Blend (Chard. Roussanne. Pinot Gris. Viognier)

 2014 – Scoundrels Punch  $29.00  Amazing blend. 6 years in the barrel. (Hello?  6 years – 29 Bucks?)

2017  Broken Wing – Merlot $38.99

2017 The Arch Doxy – Cab Franc $44.99

And then a tease of two new big reds. (in the photo above)

Fifty Shades of J

Fifty Beards Old.

AND they’re just getting started. Coming up – new wineries, new wines, new ideas.

They will be announcing four new wines every Friday in May

Thanks to our guest Develyn Barker,  The Artful Dodger, and his boss Fagan.



Beata and Chris Tolley – Founders and leaders at Moon Curser (Osoyoos)

(Best small winery in Canada and the #2 winery of the top 25 in Canada)


Winery owners Beata and Chris Tolley.


They make a lot of everything at Moon Curser. All with new labels.

Keep an eye out for:

Roussanne Marsanne

Moonlit Viognier Bubble


Touriga National


Syrah. Tempranillo. Petit Verdot.


New Spring Releases include:

2020 Arneis. The “little rascal” of Piemonte . Also called Barolo Bianco. They believe it’s the only one grown in Canada. $25.99

2019 Border Vines. 62 Cab/15 Cab Franc/9 Petit Verdot/9 Malbec/5 Carmenere . Big Bold Bordeaux $27.99

2019 Dead of Night. 53 Tannat/47 Syrah. Can be cellared up to 10 years. $39.99

2019 Malbec $31.99. Cellar 7-10 years.

Moon Curser can be contacted online, tastings arranged and wine discovered and purchased.

They open right after May long weekend.


Lorin Inglis – GM of Enrico Winery (Cowichan Valley)

They’re open for business at Enrico. And weather permitting there’s live music on the patio Saturdays starting May 8.

Here are your 2021 Spring Wine  Releases from Enrico in the Cowichan Valley:

Two bottles of fine bubble.

Celebration (Pinot Gris) $25.50

Revelation (Pinot Noir) $25.50

Coronet  Reserve Petit Milo  $26.50

Tempest Ortega $22.75

Shining Amour (Pinot Gris) $22.75

Red Dragon – a really interesting Pinot Noir Rose $21.25

Lorin and Terry

Lorin teases us with a new field blend that’s coming. And a little info about the annual  Cowichan Wine Festival all August.




Hillside – Spring Releases and a new Chef

Alderlea says Hello

More new Spring Wine Releases from

Clos du Soleil









April 17th, 2021- Spring Releases!


Spring Releases from Le Vieux Pin, Noble Ridge and celebrating World Malbec Day



It’s quite a line up today. Founders, owners, winemakers, viticulturalists and three of the best wine minds I know.

Leslie D’Andrea – co-founder/owner of Noble Ridge  Okanagan Falls.

Leslie brings the  next group of  Spring releases from a very busy winery.

Leslie and Jim D’Andrea


FYI – Now open daily from 10-5 (May-October)

NV “The Fizzy One”  Frizzante Sparkling 60% Pinot Gris 40% Viognier – a 100% fun. Lush Pink Grapefruit and citrus  on the nose. The palate is clean, brisk and loaded with berry flavours. and here’s the best part. $21.99. How long do you think 300 cases will last?

2020 Rose’

100% Cabernet Sauvignon Provence style. Pear and herbs take you to a lasting finish.There’s no need to hurry through this rose’…linger a while. Salads, seafoods, soft cheese, chicken or the love of your life. $21.65  Only 120 cases.

2019 Meritage

84% Merlot  16% Cabernet Sauvignon 12 months in barrel. 75% French  25% American. 20%  New Oak. Berry and  dark ripe current on the nose. Herb and a solid minerality/graphite straight down the middle.Hints of heated barn wood and chocolate. yes I know, I’m getting carried away.Which is  what a good wine should do for you. And the bonus is – $22.00 and they made 1984 cases.


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


Severine Pinte – winemaker/viticulturalist/management team  Le Vieux Pin and La Stella

“Wine is complex, but also simple: it’s the transformation of fruit to alcohol. A lot of people are intimidated because of how people talk about wine: experts use big words, but sometimes it goes back to -“do I like this smell, this colour, am I pleased with what I see in my glass, is the taste pleasing, do I want another glass?”

Wine can be just that. If I see a smile on people’s faces when drinking my wine, then I’m happy. And remember, it’s a training process. You can keep practicing”  Severine Pinte in The Femme Vine

We are so lucky to have Severine Pinte making wines in the Okanagan. With her skills and training she could be working anywhere in the wine world, even back home in France,  where she grew up. She leads the growing in the fields and the winemaking in the cellars for Le Vieux Pin and La Stella. The first leans French and the second fully and completely embraces the best of Italy.

Just a hunch but I think the reason why her wines are SO good is because she’s a grower first. As a grower she knows what she wants in the bottle so she works with the vineyard to produce just such a wine.

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.”

Severine has been growing and harvesting and winemaking in BC  since 2010 and she is truly one of the reasons why BC wines  are  so much better today.

Severine and Ava


Severine brings with her today her new Spring Releases from Le Vieux Pin and La Stella.


2020 Le Vieux Pin  Sauvignon Blanc –hints & elements of Marlborough, a little Napa influence and a dash of The Loire.

Think oysters, prawns, salads.  Strikingly fine  $30.99

2019 Le Vieux Pin  “Ava “  – classic Rhone white  50 % Viognier. Balanced with Marsanne and Roussanne. Can cellar for 5-8 years.

Le Vieux Pin 2019 Ava

Full and rich. Notes of herbs and brioche. Ripe fruit and floral delight. Pairs with roast chicken. Game birds.$30.99

2019 Syrah “Cuvee Violette”  . This is a pure essence of Syrah. Pepper, dark fruit and oak.

Feminine, perfumed and elegant.  16 months in concrete. Some new oak.  $32.99

2017 Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah.  18 months in French Oak.  48% New. Everything you want in a Syrah. Spice. Blackberries. Balance from front to back. This wine was made by a lover of Syrah. $89.99

La Stella 2018 Fortissimo  Merlot. Cab. Cab Franc. Sangiovese. It has everything you could ask for in a beautiful dark blend – spice, plum, blackberries and a wonderful fruitiness & tannins but what really pulls it all together is the acidity in the Sangiovese. $31.99

La Stella 2017 Espressivo Old World meets New World. Paying tribute to the arrival in the 60’s of Super Tuscans  This release is 52% Cab Franc,  16% Cab, 16% Merlot and 16% Sangiovesse. 17 months in barrel.  28% new oak.  $49.99

2017 Maestoso “solo” Merlot.  100% Merlot. Powerful and seriously structured.


Notes of cassis – plum and vanilla. Wildly  impressive. $89.99






Saturday April 17th  is World Malbec Day –  Malbec is the flagship wine of Argentina

Viñedos relevamiento WOFA
Wines of Argentina


Talking about and recommending Malbecs are:

DJ Kearney – Educator and judge (note: at Argentine Wine Awards)

Kurtis Kolt – Educator and wine judge.

Rhys Pender – Master of Wine, winery co-owner and wine teacher.


Stories we are working on:

Spring Releases

Cowichan Wine Festival

Fort Berens


Moon Curser

The Hatch




April 10th, 2021 -A tribute to Chris Jentsch. Laura Kittmer & April Wine Month and a New Documentary : Brewmance



A tribute to Chris Jentsch, Laura Kittmer & April Wine Month and new Documentary  Brewmance

Chris Jentsch (CC Jentsch)




Remembering Chris Jentsch (CC Jentsch)

One of the great benefits of being around the people who call wine their life is finding and making friends along the way.

For Chris Jentsch and I it was two days after his 2013 Syrah beat all comers at the  Judgement of BC gathering in 2015.

(There were 6 BC Syrah and 6 from around the World. His CC Jentsch 2013 Syrah  placed first to the delight of a room full of judges. Me included)

When I read that Chris had died April 2 I was taken with such a sadness. For his loss, for his wonderful partner Betty and their whole family.

The BC wine industry also lost a true leader. Chris was an admitted  farmer first!  When I showed up to congratulate him on winning The Judgement, I had to talk him off the tractor. That machine was his escape from the phone that wouldn’t stop ringing.  It’s ringing still.

I’ve gathered the interview that day and two others. One at Bloom 2016 and one at VanWineFest 2019, sitting in with Val Tait.

We’ll never forget the loss but let’s remember the man. Here’s to Chris Jentsch and CC Jentsch from the Golden Mile Bench.




Laura Kittmer – Celebrating BC Wine Month in April

Laura_Kittmer   (Wine Growers of BC)

Laura is the Communication Director of Wine Growers of British Columbia. That’s a big job!   As my pal Barney Bentall says “Like a goat rodeo”


In celebration of B.C. Wine Month, Wine Growers British Columbia has launched a campaign titled “A Year in the Life,” aimed at celebrating B.C.’s hard-working, passionate and dedicated winemakers and farmers and their deep sense of respect for the land. The month long event includes a consumer contest inviting British Columbian’s to learn more about B.C. wine, discover new spring releases, and participate in a B.C. wine quiz for a chance to win an exclusive behind-the-scenes trip for two to one of B.C.’s pristine wine regions once it is safe to do so.

Laura walks us through the events above and then we get into a Spring Release speed rap..lots of names and wines.

But first we remember the legacy of one of the finest persons in the farming/wine industry Chris Jentsch.

We try to get a sense of what the year will look like, given the pandemic.

Laura also reminds us that there a new Wine BC Explorer App now available. For all of you wine fans who get your shots and mask up and want to make plans to visit a BC wine region this year,  this app answers all your questions. So you can start making plans or organize your dreams of travel.

Lots of info. Because that’s what Laura brings.  Every time.


@WineBCdotcom  #BCWineLife




Christo Brock – Director of new documentary BREWMANCE (April 13)


The boys from Liberation-BREWMANCE-

Our brewery, forged from equal parts Mos Eisley cantina and a Tom Waits fever dream, is a mighty 5 barrel production facility with tasting room. A safe haven for workers, story tellers, shamans, down-n-out detectives, street samurai, graffiti artists, revolutionaries, punks, drunks, con artists, and pirates. Sit for a pint and a tale… or three. Cheers!  Liberation!

There are over 7000 breweries in America. How do you find “the story” in that many tales.

Well, if you’re documentary director Christo Brock you stay home in Long Beach and tell the story through the people behind Ten Mile Brewing and Liberation Brewing. 

Why?  “because I promised my wife I wouldn’t disappear again  and wanted to be part of my kids upbringing..so I stayed in Long Beach for this story”   Good Call.


The American Craft Beer movement began with a group of restless homebrewers searching for something genuine and flavorful. Today it’s evolved into a redefinition of beer and an international cultural phenomenon. The  American spirit of rebellion and innovation survives in two groups of homebrewers from Long Beach, California who are looking to open their own breweries and bring their beers to the world. These include a Christian father-son team who grew close over making beer and a retired ska band rock star (Dan Regan, Reel Big Fish) looking for the “quiet” existence of a brewery owner. With the insight and commentary of legendary brewers Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada), Fritz Maytag (Anchor Brewing), Charlie Papazian, Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River), Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Jim Koch (Boston Brewing) and others, BREWMANCE reveals the soul of craft beer in the heart of America.


“Over the three years and 600+ hours of footage I gathered I found some unexpected discoveries. Firstly, craft beer is a uniquely American story. It could only have happened in a land that values independent, out-of-the-box thinking, and anti-authoritarianism. It’s a product made by people used to working hard, not giving up, and persevering through the impossible times. It’s also a story of entrepreneurship, one driven by innovative capitalists who saw a way of giving the people something they didn’t know they wanted. And most of all, it’s a story of people who honored and respected each other, and redefined the laws of competition to include collaboration. Craft beer is a better place to be, and we are all better because of it”  Christo Brock – Filmmaker



Christo Brock is an American Producer, Director, and Editor best known for directing and producing the iconic swim documentary Touch the Wall, the sports films Spirit of the Marathon and Hood to Coast, and  now the craft beer documentary BREWMANCE.




Apple TV (iTunes),
 Google Play, Microsoft Store, Vimeo On Demand



Spring Releases

The Wine Diva

Le Vieux Pin

Cowichan Wine festival



April 3rd 2021 – New Releases from Michael Bartier (Bartier Bros) and Mark Hopley (Hester Creek)



New Releases from Michael Bartier (Bartier Bros) and Mark Hopley (Hester Creek)

 It’s that time of year.

Spring brings new releases from all the wineries.

Michael Bartier  – Winemaker  (and co-founder) at  Bartier Brothers (Black Sage Road)


2019 Rose –  (Now) $17.99

2019 – Grenache Syrah Mourvedre (April) $41.99

2019  Merlot –  (May) $22.99

2019 – Orchard Row (June) $36.99

 “Less is More“

 That’s Michael Bartier’s winemaking philosophy. No big over oaked glob in the glass.

Lean and sharply defined. Flinty. Minerality.


The Rose is a smash hit. A blend of Merlot, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.

Strawberry, melon and floral notes.  A clean beauty in the mouth. And best of all,  affordable.

The GSM  is tough to grow and blend. Thus the price tag. But what a payoff.  It stays with you long after you finish.

The Merlot is one of the very best in Canada. Blueberry, cherry on the nose. Flint, wet stone follows. Very affordable. Highly Recommended.

The Orchard Row is quite a story. Its basically a long row of plantings left over from other vines. Like a hedge you can drink.

It’s a field blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Gamay and Pinot Noir. All from the same row.

It was the Bartier house wine until friends convinced them to share.

Its fantastic.

Just like the winemaker.

NOTE – Michael takes us through the partnership he’s formed with one of France’s most influential wineries – Boutinot.

The wine Michael makes for them is called Boutinot – Project B.  A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.


Bartier Bros Tasting Room now open.  Daily 11am to 5PM





Mark Hopley – Winemaker at Hester Creek (Golden Mile)


Hester Creek is celebrating over 50 years of winemaking.  Those years started with the original owner/winemaker Joe Busnardo.

Mark Hopley – Hester Creek

In 1968, BC wine pioneer Joe Busnardo came upon an excellent property sheltered below the rugged desert bluffs of what is now known as the Golden Mile Bench.  Joe recognized the potential for growing superior vinifera grapes on this unique land.

Today, a total of 115 acres comprise the Hester Creek  estate, which is planted with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Italian Merlot, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sémillon, Syrah, and Trebbiano on 22 vineyard blocks.


All that wine history allows  all of to us celebrate the release of the….

2020 Hester Creek Trebbiano.  52 year old gnarly vines that deliver absolutely classic flavours. Do yourself a favour. FIND THIS WINE.

Apple, Melon and topical fruit on the nose and clean citrus, honey and minerality in the mouth. $22.99 plus tax

Thank you Hester Creek.  Thank you Mark. Thank you Joe.


2020 Hester Creek Pinot Gris-Viognier.  (2/3 Pinot Gris .1/3 Viognier)

Hand picked and pressed. Stainless steel retains the complexity and flavours we’ve come to love.

On the nose,  peach, clover.  In the mouth peach and honey and minerality. $16.99 plus tax.

This is a Save On Foods special. Also available at winery.

2020 P Gris. Viognier

Hester Creek is now welcoming guests at Terrafina Restaurant for patio service and take-out from 12:30-4pm, Wednesday-Sunday.   Check out the Hester Creek Website for special events.


Wine release dinners

Rose/Trebbiano April 3  – sold out

Bubble evening  May 13/14. Ti Amo and Old Vine Brut

The Judge – July 8 Summer Dinner.


Mark also looks ahead to future releases this Spring and Summer..

Ti Amo,  Old Vine Brut and The Judge.






April is BC Wine Month

Valleys of Wines

New Spring Releases

Eat Local. Checking in with the restaurants