Tasting Room Radio

June 29th, 2019- 4 days in Tofino – ( Part One) The Chefs plus Ike & Willie




When someone says  “Go West ” Tofino is as far as you can go in Canada.

Originally  is was nick-named  “tough city” now shortened to “Tuff City”.  That’s because the road,  which was formidable, ended in Tofino.

For many years stories on this stunning coastline were about the surfing and fishing. Then it started to get noticed as a culinary destination. That’s because the  entire area was loaded with chefs. (The local food truck Tacofino became so popular they moved operations into Vancouver and now have 8 locations including Tofino.)

What’s remarkable is that there are less than 2,000 Toficians in town but almost 500 business licences.

Summer brings what feels like “The World.”  Walking miles of beaches, forest walks here are called forest bathing , swimming, surfing, fishing, diving  and dining have become part of the allure.

1909 Restaurant

This is part one of four days spent in and around Tofino.  Trying to answer the question, what’s Tofino like on a Wednesday or  Thursday?  Is it different from crazy times on the weekend?

Every guest on this show has a story to tell and one of them reveals a surprising announcement.

What doesn’t seem to change is the food and the accommodations.

I found both at the world famous Wickaninnish Inn.   I also discovered their new breathtaking “Howard’s Wine Cellar.”  That’s where we start.


Howards’ Wine Cellar at the Wick

 Guest Toficians  include:

Charles McDiarmid – Managing Director/Founding Family The Wickaninnish Inn

Ike Seaman – Director of Food & Beverage/Sommelier/The Howard Wine Cellar  The Wick

Ike Seaman,, Photo Credit: Michael Becker,

Executive Chef Carmen Ingham – The Pointe Restaurant , The Wick

Chef Carmen Ingham The Point

Chef/Owner/Author Lisa Ahier (eye-aye) – Sobo

Lisa Ahier – Sobo











Willie Mitchell – X-NHL, Partner/President at Tofino Resort and Marina

Willie Mitchell

Executive Chef Paul Moran – Top Chef Canada Winner  1909 Restaurant at Tofino Resort and Marina

Chef Paul Moran

Chef Warren Barr and Lilly Verney-DowneyPluvio Restaurant & Rooms  Ucluelet

Warren and Lilly Plovio











(NEXT WEEK  -Part Two features craft artisans on Industrial Road and The Annual Tofino Food and Wine festival)



Jim Cuddy – Cuddy by Tawse Wines

A special feature on “field blends”

Fire Season in The Okanagan

Tofino Part Two – Includes food and wine festival

BC Shellfish Festival / Courtenay-Comox

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival

Chefs speak out on their/our  role in saving fishery

Chris Tolley Moon Cursor

Fort Berens

Andrea Sartori and 121 years of Italian Winemaking


June 15th, 2019- Top Drop 2019- Victoria



The press release came in loud and clear.

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

Frankly, that’s all I needed to know.

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

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

Victoria International Marina

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

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

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

Kurtis and TD

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

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

What they have in common is craft and care!

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

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

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

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

Winemaking Guests in Victoria:

(Check them out – Winners All!!)

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

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

Rhys Pender (MW) Little Farm/Similkameen Valley

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Shindler – A Sunday in August/Similkameen Valley

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




Ann Sperling Making new direction wines at Sperling Vineyards

Tofino Food and Wine

Charles Smith and Rose Gathering/Jet City Seattle

A special feature on “field blends”

Fire Season in The Okanagan

The Wickaninnish Inn opens a spectacular cellar

Tofino mid-week experience. Chefs and more chefs

BC Shellfish Festival / Courtenay-Comox

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival

June 8th, 2019 – Bloom 2019 in Victoria


BC’s VQA Wineries showcase Spring/Summer wines at Bloom 2019 in Victoria



Wine fans across Canada and now around the world are increasingly aware of
what British Columbians have known for years – BC produces some
of the world’s most unique and in some cases very best wines

* Each year BC wineries contribute $2.8 billion
annually to the provincial economy and welcome more than 1,000,000

* There are more than 10,499 acres under vine in British Columbia with
nine geographical indications (GIs) and two sub-geographical indications
(sub-GIs): Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver
Island, the Gulf Islands, Thompson Valley, Lillooet, Shuswap, and Kootenays.
Two sub-GIs include Golden Mile Bench and Okanagan Falls, and fall within
the larger Okanagan Valley GI.

Every Spring the wineries select their showcase wines, hit the road and
gather in Vancouver and Victoria. It’s the perfect opportunity for wine
lovers to kick off the season, celebrate new wine releases, meet the actual
makers of these wines and reconnect with those who share the same passion.

This feature is for those who attended and wanted to make further notes on
their experience.(which can be a busy blur)

However, it’s really for those of you who didn’t get to taste and make


As a public service and for “research purposes” we hit the floor of the
Crystal Ballroom in downtown Victoria and tasted our way through some 40

As always, we simply didn’t have time to talk to everyone. So we sought out
winemakers, owners and growers who took the time away from home and vines to
join us.

The Team

Very much appreciated.

If you are confused by the growing number of BC wines available we truly
hope this week’s show helps you find your Wine of the Year or at least The

There is one special story here.

Michael Mosny was winemaking in Slovakia when he became a fan of Hollywood
and Vines TV co-hosted by Jason Priestley and myself. When he and his wife
Martina saw Jason and I visiting vineyards in The Okanagan it helped inform
the decision to move here. Years later we finally get to meet.

Michael and Martina Mosny Winemakers Cut

Thank You to
Kimberly Hundertmark – BC Wine Institute


Guests  this week include:

Joe Luckhurst – GM. Road 13 (Golden Mile)

2018 Canadian Winery of the Year

Joe Luckhurst


Stefan Arnason – Head Winemaker Poplar Grove/Monster Wines (Naramata Bench)



Michael Mosny Winemaker and Co-Owner Winemakers Cut (Oliver)


Bobby Gidda – Owner and President Volcanic Hills (West Kelowna)


Jeff Hundertmark – Head Winemaker Mt Boucherie (West Kelowna)

Jeff Hundertmark Mt Boucherie


Tim Turyk – Proprietor Unsworth Vineyards (Cowichan Valley, Vancouver

Tim Turyk Unsworth


Bob Johnson – Owner Baillie-Grohman (Creston Valley/Kootenays)


Richard Da Silva – Proprietor and Vigneron Da Silva/Misconduct (Naramata

Richard Da Silva Da Silva Wines


Jody Switt – Hillside Wines (Naramata Bench)



Tofino Food and Wine

Top Drop 2019 Victoria

Charles Smith and Rose Gathering Jet City Seattle

A special on “field blends”

Fire Season in The Okanagan

The Wickaninnish Inn reopens a spectacular cellar

Tofino mid-week experience

BC Shellfish Festival

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival

June 1st, 2019- THE THIRD ANNUAL BC CIDER FEST… Bigger and Better!




The third annual BC Cider Week, took place from April 27th to May 5th.

This week long craft cider celebration saw many cider events, tastings and
festivities throughout British Columbia with tasting events from Kelowna to
Vancouver Island, including tap takeovers, cider pairing meals, and much
more throughout the week.

The highlight for me and many others is the final event. The gathering of up
to 40 Cideries at The Pipe Shop foot of Lonsdale in North Vancouver.

It’s one of the buildings my father Pat worked in during WW2.

The first interview had to be with Shawn Pisio, who co-founded the B.C.
Cider Festival three years ago.

Glenn Ennis, Lynn Colliar and the Geo Team

Just how popular is this event? It sells out within minutes.

Cider is going through the very same revolution that craft beers did 10-15
years ago.

The opportunity to grow more cider apples in B.C. is unlimited, but BC is
already home to many excellent craft cideries.

One of the cideries we interviewed was Twin Island Cider on Pender Island.
They were voted most popular Cidery at this event.

Finally, for those of you who still think that ciders are not for you
because they’re too sweet or something…FORGET ABOUT IT..

It’s a whole new world out in the orchard.


Our guests are:

Shawn Pisio – Txotx/ Co-Founder

Russ Johnson – Owner/Cidermaker Truck 59 Kelowna

Sydney Bottomley – Asst Cidermaker Broken Ladder Kelowna

Nick Farrer – Founder The Bricker Cider Co Sechelt

Mike Lachelt – Co-owner/Cidermaker Salt Spring Wild SS Island

Mathew Vasilev Co-Owner Twin Island Cider Pender Island

David Schneider – Persephone Brewing Gibson’s BC

Kathleen van der Ree – Northyards Cider – Squamish

Mike Petkau – Nomad Handcrafted Cider – Summerland

Glenn Ennis – Owner Geo Cider Co – Squamish

Lynn Colliar – Geo Cider Squamish

Jeff Nairn – Co-Founder Windfall East Van



Photos by Linda C


Melissa Etheridge and Cannabis infused wine

Bloom in Victoria

Top Drop in Victoria

A special on field blends

Fire Season in The Okanagan

Rose Day June 8th

Charles Smith in Jet City Seattle (Rose all day)

Tofino Food and Wine festival

The Wick reopens a spectacular cellar

Tofino mid-week

May 25th, 2019 – New Zealand Pure Discovery 2019


New Zealand Pure Discovery 2019


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


This explosive varietal introduced the world to New Zealand Wine.

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

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

Frankly, it was a blur.

In listening back to the discussions several things became clear.

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

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

Simon Toneycliffe WhiteHaven

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

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

Canada is showing the same kind of growth.

The reason is simple. Affordable World class wines.


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

Wayne Leadbetter Te Awanga

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

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

Syrah and Chardonnay are exceptional.


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

Jim Robertson – Stoneleigh

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

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

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

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

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

Joel Watson – Winemaker at Luna (Martinborough)

Joel Watson – Luna

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

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

A fierce believer in Martinborough.


Rory Crawford – Loveblock (Wellington)

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

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

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

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


Hamish McRae – Forrest and The Doctors (Marlborough)

Hamish McRae – Forrest & The Doctors

The vineyard of Doctors John and Brigid Forrest.

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

Forrest is all Marlborough.

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

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





2019 BC Cider festival

Melissa Etheridge and Cannabis infused wine

Bloom in Victoria

Top Drop in Victoria

A special on field blends

Fire Season in The Okanagan

Rose Day June 8th

May 18th, 2019- Naramata Winemakers: ReWined 2019


Naramata Winemakers: ReWined 2019

(17 Naramata Bench Winemakers pour on Vancouver Island)




Tasting Room Radio began in a studio/barn on The Naramata Bench.

For those who’ve never been to The Bench, it’s just above Penticton on the
East side of the Okanagan Valley.

Naramata Road winds down the bench with wineries on both sides..appearing
then fading in the rear-view mirror.

It’s spectacular and so are the wines.

The locals are great neighbours.

The Bench was voted 2018 BC’s Best Wine Trail.


In total? A one-of-a-kind place.

This is our coverage of ReWined 2019 which took place at the classic
Chrystal Gardens in Victoria

Its Year 2 raising funds for Make-a-Wish and the 11th year NBWA have poured
Spring releases in Victoria.

There are 30 wineries in the Naramata Bench Winery Assn. (with more coming)

They all get together September 14th for the annual Tailgate Party. This
year at the gorgeous Heritage Inn.


(Be warned, it sells out every year – tickets at www.naramatabench.com)

We welcome these friends on today show :

Val Tait – Bench 1775 Winemaker and GM


Senka Tennant – TerraVista Vineyards -Winemaker/Co-Owner

Kathy Malone – Hillside Winery – Winemaker

Kon Oh – MoCoJo Winery Winemaker/Owner

Gustav Allander – Foxtrot Winemaker

Gustav Allender

Lyndsay O’Rourke Tightrope Winemaker/Co-Owner

Garron Elmes – Lake Breeze Winemaker/President

Jeff Martin – La Frenz Production/Vineyard Manager/Co-Owner

Nikki Callaway – Laughing Stock Winemaker

Jeff Martin

Nikki Callaway

Riley Hollenback – Red Rooster Winemaker

Dell Halladay – Elephant Island Winery – Winemaker/Co-Owner

Dell and Bob

Bob Ferguson – Kettle Valley Winery Winemaker/Co-Owner

Matt Mikulic – Three Sisters Winery Winemaker

Katie O’Kell – Serendipity Winery Winemaker/Co-Owner

Dick Lancaster – Black Widow Winery Winemaker/Co-Owner

Will and Dick

Gavin Miller – Upper Bench Winery Winemaker/Co-Owner

Will Hardman – Deep Roots Winemaker

Plus Simone Conner Make-a-Wish Director, Vancouver Island


http://naramatabench.com <http://naramatabench.com/>

Thank you Tina and Hugh Baird for your support and friendship




Melissa Etheridge and a Cannabis Blend.

The Kiwi’s are coming

Bloom in Victoria (BC Spring pours)

Top Drop 2019 (In Victoria)

A special on Field Blends

Commentary on Fire Season

May 11th, 2019 – Vintage 2018- Senka Tennant, Howard Soon, Grant Stanley & Bailey Williamson


Vintage 2018 : Senka Tennant, Howard Soon, Grant Stanley & Bailey




First – a couple of quotes

“These wines will go down as classics” David Paterson Winemaker & General
Manager, Tantalus Vineyards

Bailey, Laura, Grant, Sharon McLean, Senka, Howard

“Overall I’m excited for the wines to come – bright acid, full flavour
development without some of the surprising potential alcohols we’ve had in
recent years.” Chris Turyk Sommelier, General Manager Unsworth Vineyards

Overall the 2018 vintage is one of freshness and elegance with slightly
cooler temperatures in most regions making wines of vibrant acidity, lower
alcohol and intense fruit character.

High quality was ensured by the trademark long, sunny Okanagan fall with warm days to ripen the fruit
balanced with cool nights to maintain the characteristic crisp BC acidity.
(Media Preview)

It was a very specific gathering in Victoria organized by Laura Kittmer of
the BC Wine Institute.

Have a look at the Vintage 2018 in BC from a winemaking viewpoint.

The discussion included all 9 regions of BC.

We took our seats at the Victoria Marriott, opened our notebooks and the
winemaking panel took over the room.

The Winemakers on the panel and on the show

Bailey Williamson -Blue Grouse

Bailey Williamson


In the heart of Vancouver Island Blue Grouse Estate Winery is a
family-owned Cowichan Valley gem. The estate-grown wines are made by
winemaker Bailey Williamson from transitional organic vineyards, and a
second label, Quill, combines Island fruit with Okanagan fruit.

Varietal wines include Ortega, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and there is also a
traditional method sparkling wine, “Paula” named after winery owners Paul
and Cristina Brunner’s daughter. The wines are bright, crisp, and
well-balanced, showcasing where they are grown.

Bailey talks about his vineyards, the BG philosophy and these wines..

2018 Rose(Gamay)

2018 Pinot Gris


Howard Soon – Vanessa Vineyard

Howard Soon

Vanessa Vineyard is located in one of the finest wine regions in Canada and
is dedicated to producing wine that is true to the heritage of its terroir.
Situated on the hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley, Vanessa
Vineyard grows its grapes on 75 acres of sloping, well drained rocky
terrain. The vines grow in rows of rock, stressing the plants while
absorbing the day heat and imparting that warmth during the cooler nights,
contributing to the grapes’ unique character.

Howard talks about …um…everything. That’s what we love about him.

2018 Rose (Syrah and Merlot)

2018 Viognier


Grant Stanley – Spearhead Winery

Grant Stanley

Spearhead Winery is located near the top of Spiers Road on the bench lands
of South East Kelowna. The focus is on premium quality wine which they
produce from grapes grown on their estate vineyard and from selected
Okanagan Valley vineyards. On our estate vineyard we grow Pinot Noir,
Chardonnay and Riesling.

About 80% of 15 acres of vines is comprised of
Pinot Noir including four different Dijon clones, 2 California heritage
clones and Pommard. They also draw from a number of other vineyards in the
Okanagan including Golden Retreat in Summerland and Coyote Vineyard in West
Kelowna. Our vineyard and winemaking teams are led by Grant Stanley.

His commitment to showcasing specific terroirs of the central Okanagan Valley is
evident in the ‘single vineyard’ program they have developed for their Pinot
Noir releases. They also produce blended Pinot Noirs which combine the
characteristics of different vineyards, including their benchmark Cuvée.

Grant poured

2018 White Pinot Noir

218 Pinot Gris


Senka Tennant – TerraVista

Senka Tennant

TerraVista Vineyards was started in 2008 by Bob and Senka Tennant. Their
farm is located on a rocky south-west facing bowl above the benches that
characterize the Okanagan’s Naramata area. Bob and Senka are the former
owner/developers of Sharp Rock Vineyards and Black Hills Estate Winery.
Senka was born in Zagreb, Croatia where she spent her first 13 years before
moving to Canada.

The focus at TerraVista is white wines. After much
research the two chosen grape varieties for the home vineyard were Albariño
and Verdejo, white varieties that have been grown in north western Spain and
Portugal for over nine centuries.

From these varieties they are now  producing the sensational white wine they call FANDANGO! Grapes purchased
from a few dedicated growers allow for the production of their other white
wine. It is a delicious blend of the grape varieties Roussanne, Viognier and
Marsanne that they call FIGARO.

Senka poured

2018 Fandango ( Albarino and Verdejo)

2018 Albarino


Many thanks to the winemakers and to Laura Kittmer and team at BC Wine





Melissa Etheridge infuses wine with cannabis!

NEXT- The Naramata Bench pours new releases in Victoria

Top Drop 2019

BC Cider Festival – The Pipe Shop Finale

One on One with the Kiwi’s.

May 4th, 2019- Meet the makers: Victoria!


Meet the Makers – In Victoria!!

The Show:

It’s the Fifth annual Meet the Makers In Victoria – presented by Sara Park
at Costal Craft Beverages.

Sara has worked all over BC, and in 2003 she and her husband made a decision
to relocate to Vancouver Island from the Okanagan. They’ve never looked

“I have a real passion for working with local, BC, Craft Producers, and
helping them grow their businesses. We have some of the most talented
Winemakers, Distillers, Craft Brewers & Cider makers in North America –
right here! I’ve met and work with incredibly knowledgeable and passionate
people in this business. I feel very lucky to do what I do, and work on the
west coast.”

coastalcraftbeverages.com <http://coastalcraftbeverages.com/>

Penelope Roche – Co-Owner and Co-Winemaker Roche Wines

Dylan and Penelope Roche are very much the future of Okanagan Wines. They
bring smarts, skill and character to everything they do.

Roche Wines Dylan and Penelope Roche


Pénélope counts six generations of viticulture and winemaking at Château Les
Carmes Haut-Brion, the small family estate whose elegant wines rival the
Crus Classés of Bordeaux.

From oenology and viticulture studies in Bordeaux to winemaking in Spain,
New Zealand and Australia, Pénélope brings to the Okanagan a profound and
holistic understanding of the grapevine’s relationship with its environment,
from a winemaker’s perspective.

Pénélope is also a winegrowing consultant, and teaches viticulture at
Okanagan College.

“We consider ourselves as ‘vignerons’ in the truest meaning of the word,
committed to crafting our wines from start to finish.

Our priority is hands-on organic farming, with traditional French
‘savoir-faire’, to make exceptional wines which express unique Okanagan
terroirs.” Dylan and PenelopeRoche

https://www.rterroir.ca <https://www.rterroir.ca/>

Kristen Needham – Founder Sea Cider Farm and Cider House

“I am a sixth generation farmer, having inherited the family orchard in 1986.
At the time, I wanted nothing to do with farming.

“That changed in 2002 when Sea Cider was conceived. I replanted the family
orchard in traditional English bittersweets and bitter sharps, planted a
second orchard on my mother’s farm, then bought a third orchard where our
cider house now stands. I went back to school, but this time it was cider
school. In between cider courses, I made cider, planted apple trees and
built a Ciderhouse. Finally, in 2007, after five years of preparation, I
sold cider to my first customer.

Nowadays I spend much of my time working on future plans for Sea Cider. We
have grown a lot, learned a lot and made more than a few mistakes. Through
it all, our aim has always been to build a family-owned, community-minded
business rooted in farming.”

We think that cider is for celebrating, and cider is WORTH celebrating.

These words still ring true today.

Pouring Sea Cider


You can find Kristen and Sea Cider right in the middle of BC Cider Week.
Sunday at the Pipe Shop foot of Lonsdale North Vancouver, 30 plus cideries
will be pouring.

https://www.seacider.ca <https://www.seacider.ca/>

Jason MacIsaac – Co-Founder/Distiller

Prior to becoming the Distiller, Jason was a chef who achieved high
accolades cooking both locally and internationally.

Sheringham Distillery is nestled in the heart of Shirley, B.C. overlooking
the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Southern Vancouver Island. To the East is
Sheringham Pt. Lighthouse, built in 1912 to protect sailors from the
treacherous waters of the Graveyard of the Pacific. To the West is French
Beach Provincial Park. Sheringham Distillery is an homage to the name given
to the area in 1846. In 1893, after the first post office was built,
Sheringham was shortened to Shirley so the name would fit on the postage

In becoming a successful chef, Jason MacIsaac experienced the importance of
strong ties with local producers in order to obtain the best quality
ingredients and outcome. Applying these same principals, Sheringham
Distillery sources local agricultural products from B.C. & Vancouver Island.
The by-product of our spent grains is distributed to local farmers as a
healthy source of high protein livestock feed.

Early this year Sheringham Distillery took top honours at the World Gin
Awards in London.

Seaside Gin was named the best contemporary gin in the world!

Many think that it’s the kelp included in the blend that makes it truly
distinctive in the Gin World.


Keira LeFranc Winemaker at Stag’s Hollow

Larry Gerelus and Linda Pruegger started their wine journey in 1992 with the
purchase of a 10 acre vineyard in Okanagan Falls, establishing Stag’s Hollow
Winery in 1995 on the property which now grows Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet
Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Muscat and Vidal.
Most vines are now over 30 years old.

They just recently sold their winery
to another Okanagan winery owner however they will stay on to oversee the
making of the wines.


Keira LeFranc grew up in the Okanagan, and got her start at Stag’s Hollow
in the tasting room in 2012. Keira spent 2 years training and working as a
Sommelier in Australia. After returning and completing vintage in 2015, she
left to complete Postgraduate Diploma of Wine Science in New Zealand. In
2017, Keira returned to Stag’s Hollow and spent 15 months working in the
cellar before being given the opportunity to become the winemaker in July
2018. Keira’s philosophy on winemaking mirror those that owners, Larry and
Linda have embraced throughout the growth of Stag’s Hollow, concentrating on
sustainable vineyard practices combined with minimal winemaking intervention
and principles.


Gordon Fitzpatrick – Founder Fitzpatrick Family Wines

Fitzpatrick Family Estate Vineyard features 40 acres of vines separated into
12 smaller, carefully-tended blocks. Fitzpatrick grows seven varietals in
their vineyard: Chardonnay, Ehrenfelser, Gewürztraminer, Meunier, Pinot
Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Riesling,- and not by accident. They arrived at the
decision to focus on traditional method sparkling wine, crisp whites, and
elegant, focused reds over the course of twenty years of listening carefully
to the story the land has to tell, and it’s a special one.

Gordon Fitzpatrick and TDM

The Fitzpatrick family had a hunch about what was right for their site when
they planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay twenty years ago, and they were
right. But they also planted Merlot, and that wasn’t quite right, so they
pulled it up and planted Riesling. They also had it right with aromatic
whites like Gewürztraminer and Ehrenfelser: those wines thrive at Greata

Gordon grew up in Vancouver. Transplanted Okanagan-ian. Worked for Jean
Chretien . Spent 10 years in mining (gold!). Came to the Okanagan in 1996 to
run Cedar Creek Estate Winery. Sold to Von Mandl Family in January 2014.

Headed for Greata Ranch in Summerland.

Gordon and his team have created a bubble house. Brut, Blanc de Blanc.
Coming Soon Reserve Blanc de Blanc, Pink Mile Rose and Lookout Riesling.

Great work by winemaker Sarah Bain

www.fitzwine.com <http://www.fitzwine.com%0d>

Jenny Garlini – GM/Maven of Everything Blue Grouse Estate Winery



Blue Grouse Estate is comprised of 65 acres tucked away on a sunny Vancouver
Island slope in the Cowichan Valley, named from a Salishan First Nations
word meaning “the warm land”.

The warm, dry summers and mild, moist winters make the Cowichan Valley
Canada’s only “cool” maritime Mediterranean climate. The Valley records
sufficient growing ‘degree days’ during the Spring and Summer which provides
good conditions for many vitis vinifera grape varietals that bud late and
ripen early.

The influence of global warming appears to be influencing the
ripening prospects for grape growing, but varietal and site selection,
combined with our vineyard management practices, remain critical to their

Check out the varietals –

Bacchus, Black Muscat, Gamay Noir, Muller Thurgau, Ortega, Pinot Gris, Pinot
Noir and Siegerrebe. Recent plantings are Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

We will visit with winemaker Bailey Williamson at Blue Grouse next week!!

https://www.bluegrouse.ca <https://www.bluegrouse.ca/>

Sebastien Hotte – Head Winemaker Ricco Bambino

Sebastian Hotte

Ricco Bambino is a low intervention boutique winery, producing expressive,
small batch, single varietal offerings without the additions of commercial
yeasts or filtering agents and minimal to zero additions of SO2 in downtown
Kelowna and at their Oliver Vineyard under the watchful eye of Isabel Amaro
and Head Winemaker Sebastien Hotte.

Ricco Bambino


Ricco Bambino is proud to be one of the very few wineries that solely uses
unlined concrete tanks to age a majority of our wines. This process plays an
important role in crafting the natural wine. Concrete aging allows the
wines to breath and develop a rounder mouth, textural feel without the
addition of any unwanted flavors imparted by the use of oak or additives.

The purchase of a new vineyard in the south Okanagan will give wine fans
another location to taste Ricco Bambino.

“Ricco Bambino is more than a winery, it’s a platform to launch this passion
and craft living wine that is known around the world and express our
dedication to this belief. I hope you enjoy our wine as much as we do.”

Jason Alton – Founder




Vintage 2019 Preview


Senka Tennant Terra Vista

Grant Stanley Spearhead

Howard Soon Vanessa

Bailey Williamson Blue Grouse

A visit to Blue Grouse

22 Naramata Bench Wineries pour

Spring releases in Victoria

April 27th, 2019 – Ben Bryant Hosts Mission Hill Winemakers Dinner – at Deane House Calgary


Ben Bryant Hosts Mission Hill Winemakers Dinner – at Deane House Calgary


Ben Bryant Chief Winemaker Mission Hill

Ben Bryant, an Australian winemaker with an exceptional resumé, has joined
Mission Hill Family Estates as chief winemaker.

Joining the Mission Hill Family Estate <https://www.missionhillwinery.com/>
last summer, Ben Bryant is looking to make his mark on the Okanagan wine

Ben Bryant Sal Howell and TDM

After growing up and gaining a masterful wine knowledge in New South Wales,
Australia, Bryant refined his skills working throughout Asia before
returning home to Australia where he served as chief winemaker for Jacob
<http://www.jacobscreek.com/> ‘s Creek, St. Hugo <https://www.sthugo.com/> ,
and Wyndham Estate <https://www.georgewyndham.com/> .

On his LinkedIn profile, Ben writes: “Pernod Ricard Winemakers is the global
brand owner and distributor of premium wines from multiple countries of
origin, including Jacob’s Creek, Wyndham Estate and St Hugo (Australia),
Brancott Estate and Stoneleigh (New Zealand), Campo Viejo (Spain) and
Graffigna (Argentina).”

Ben succeeds another Australian, Darryl Brooker, now Mission Hill’s
President , who in turn succeeded John Simes who retired in 2014 after
running Mission Hill’s cellar since 1992.

“I found Ben through contacts in Australia,” Darryl says. “It took me a year
to convince him to come.” He succeeded after flying Ben and his wife to the
Okanagan. Here, Ben was swept away by the Okanagan’s beauty, the winemaking
opportunities and the passion of Mission Hill’s owner, Anthony von Mandl.

“To me, it is endless opportunity that is untapped,” Ben says in an
interview. “There is a fair element of personal challenge to come and put
the place on the map. It is about the wine. You never find a region where
you have two regions in one. You have the classic Bordeaux varieties in the
south and then you have the Burgundian varieties in the north.”

As well, the Bryant’s “have a young family and we want to expose them to
international places. They lived in Asia with us. Canada is a country that
is very similar to Australia in terms of societal values.”

The 2018 vintage in the Okanagan got him off on the right foot. “Super
impressed,” Ben says. “It was such a mild growing season that everything was
able to ripen naturally. The Cabernet Sauvignon is an example: there is no
green, there is no herbaceousness. There is a leafiness. Everything has
amazingly fresh acid structure. There is a brightness and a purity to the
fruit. It is the perfect vintage to start.”

Mission Hill has landed a chief winemaker who, through the winery and its
vineyards, will change winemaking in The Okanagan.

Sal Howell – Owner Deane House and River Café Calgary

Wonderful host and a true culinary visionary.

Sal Howell is a successful restaurateur who has helped shape the culinary
landscape in Western Canada. She is the founder and proprietor of River Café
and Deane House in Calgary and is deeply committed to local seasonal food,
sustainable agriculture and exploring the local ‘terroir’ and ‘taste of
place’ of the Prairies, and Canada. Sal has fostered the hospitality and
pioneered the culinary ‘farm to table’ philosophy at River Café since its
inception in 1991.

Deane House

River Café has numerous accolades including, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants,
Best Overall Restaurant, Avenue Magazine and Where Magazine, WHERE Magazine
Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Award for dedicated effort in supporting the
Ocean conservation, and inclusion in the international publication ‘The 1001
restaurants you must experience before you die’.


Deane House Chef de Cuisine Galasa Aden

His whole bio is contained in our interview..great guy.

His parents are proud of him – it only took five years.



Colin Linden – Musician, singer/songwriter AND serious wine fan.

Colin Linden is a genuine renaissance man of roots music. He’s a member of
the highly successful trio, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, a singer and
songwriter, an in-demand and prolific record producer, musical director on
the hit TV show Nashville and sideman to the stars as guitarist for the
likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn, Emmy Lou Harris, Robert Plant and Alison

Colin Linden

Played a gospel concert with T Bone Burnett at the Obama White House.

We find Colin sitting outside the back door of his studio in Nashville.

He’s just wrapped up producing Keb Mo, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Lucinda
Williams, Bruce Cockburn and many others.

And we talk about his newest album Amour with friend and partner Luther

Amour features vocals by the cast members of Nashville TV series.

Best of all Colin can talk wine for hours..and he buys wines on both sides
of the border.

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



Vintage 2019 – featuring

Senka Tennant Terra Vista

Grant Stanley Spearhead

Howard Soon Vanessa

Bailey Williamson Blue Grouse

Meet the Makers – Victoria

Kristen Needham – Sea Cider

Jenny Garlini – Blue Grouse

Stags Hollow – Keira Le Franc

Roche Wine – Penelope Roche

Fitzpatrick Family Wines – Gordon Fitzpatrick

Ricco Bambino – Sebastien Hotte

Sheringham Distillery – Jason MacIsaac

A visit to Blue Grouse

April 20th, 2019 – A Merlot Special even Miles would like!




Jack If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.

Miles Raymond No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any f#*king Merlot!



Somewhere on this website  is the famous Merlot scene from the film  Sideways, spoken with outrage and indignation by the sublime Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymond, failed writer and wine snob.

The film came out in 2004 and the sales of Merlot dropped like a stone. In some markets it has  never really recovered.

(Director and Writer Alexander Payne starts the show)

Alexander Payne – Director of Sideways


I had this nagging question hanging over me for a while now.

Is BC Merlot being taken for granted? Has it lost its luster and ranking to the wine fan?

The most planted grape in BC is Merlot  but, except for Vancouver Sun wine writer Tony Gismondi, I’m not seeing a lot articles or headlines on BC Merlot.



In the next hour you’ll hear from many of BC’s Best Merlot winemakers. Many of the questions are the same…

Is Merlot being taken for granted?

What was the effect of Sideways?

What makes BC Merlot outstanding?

When did you fall in love with this grape?

Have we all changed our wine tastes?

Many of the questions were the same ..but the answers were  all wildly different.

Our 12   Merlot guests include:

Alexander Payne – Screenwriter and Director of Sideways https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0668247/

Rhys Pender – Master of Wine   http://www.wineplus.ca/

Mary McDermott – Winemaker at Township 7  https://www.township7.com/

Mike Raffan – GM at Township 7   https://www.township7.com/

Phil McGahan – Winemaker at Checkmate Wines. (Winner: 2017  Judgement of BC) https://www.checkmatewinery.com/

Jeff Harder –  Co-Owner Ex Nihilo  https://exnihilovineyards.com/

Peter Lindenlaub –  Wagner Family Wines (Napa)  http://www.wagnerfamilyofwine.com/

Kane Morgan –  Co-Owner Rust Wine https://www.rustwine.com/

Joseph Luckhurst –  Managing Partner  Road 13  http://road13vineyards.com/

Larry Gerelus – Co-Owner  Stags Hollow  (OK Falls) https://stagshollowwinery.com/

Rob Summers – Senior Winemaker at Hester Creek  http://hestercreek.com/

Michael Bartier –  Co-owner  and Winemaker at Bartier Bros  http://www.bartierbros.com/



Vintage 2019 – featuring

Senka Tennant Terra Vista

Grant Stanley Spearhead

Howard Soon Vanessa

Bailey Williamson Blue Grouse

Meet the Makers – Victoria

Kristen Needham – Sea Cider

Jenny Garlini – Blue Grouse

Stags Hollow – Keira Le Franc

Roche Wine – Penelope Roche

Fitzpatrick Family Wines – Gordon Fitzpatrick

Ricco Bambino – Sebastien Hotte

Sheringham Distillery – Jason MacIsaac

A visit to Blue Grouse

Ben Bryant- Chief winemaker Mission Hill

Colin Linden – Singer and sipper