Cowichan Valley wineries strut their stuff
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
1d ago
Photo: Blue Grouse winery in the Cowichan Valley The Cowichan Valley profile as a British Columbia wine region is on the rise, reflecting the steady increase in quality from ever more accomplished vineyards and winemakers. The profile got an especial lift when the Jackson Family of California invested in two of the region’s wineries. Since 1992, when the pioneering Vigneti Zanata opened, wineries and vineyards have done a lot of trial-and-error work, especially with hybrid grapes, to settle on the best varietals. There was early excitement over the grapes developed by Swiss plant breeder Val ..read more
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Hillside's Mosaic and friends
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
1w ago
Photo: Hillside winemaker Kathy Malone Hillside Winery’s Mosaic is one of the oldest Bordeaux blend Icon wines in the Okanagan. The first vintage was created in 2003 by Eric von Krosigk, then the winemaker. Hillside had just come under new management and wanted a flagship wine that could make a statement. I included Mosaic in my 2017 book Icon: Flagship Wines from British Columbia’s Best Wineries. Here is an excerpt. The first three vintages were primarily blended with grapes from the South Okanagan. Hillside only began planting its Hidden Valley Vineyard, now an important source for Merlot ..read more
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River Stone adapts its wine styles
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
2w ago
Photo: River Stone's adaptable Ted Kane The current wine releases from River Stone Estate Winery testify to the resilience of Ted Kane, the co-owner, viticulturist and winemaker. He has had to rise to the challenges of the difficult vintages of 2021 and 2023; and he is coping with another difficult year. The new releases include a red table wine from 2021. That was the year of extreme heat during the growing season. “This extreme heat shut the plants down and effectively delayed ripening,” he writes. The heat “affected our grape set and ultimately harvest volumes which were lower than histo ..read more
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Poplar Grove launches its first Pinot Noir
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
3w ago
Photo: Poplar Grove's Tony Holler The debut Pinot Noir that will be released by Poplar Grove Winery in late June is long overdue from this 30-year-old Penticton winery which built its stellar reputation around Bordeaux reds, Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The Penticton winery has been run since 2008 by Summerland-born Tony Holler, his wife Barb and their four sons. Poplar Grove was founded initially by Ian Sutherland and produced its first vintage in 1996 from a Naramata Bench vineyard planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. That set the template for the varietal wines and blends the win ..read more
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Pentâge dips into earlier vintages for latest releases
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
1M ago
Photo: Paul Gardner and Julie Rennie Pentâge Winery in Penticton has a record of making interesting wines because the owners, Julie Rennie and Paul Gardner, grow 19 varietals in their 35 acres of vineyards. That includes some varietals rarely seen in the Okanagan, including Tempranillo, a major red in Spanish vineyards. “Spain is the kingdom of Tempranillo, a kingdom that extended to 206,988 ha (511,478 acres) in 2008, making it the country’s most widely planted red wine variety,” according to Wine Grapes, the great 2012 reference by Jancis Robinson and colleagues. The book has an extensive ..read more
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Spearhead is about to release two new Pinot Noirs
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
1M ago
Photo: Grant Stanley in barrel cellar (photo courtesy Spearhead Winery) East Kelowna’s Spearhead Winery is about to release two Pinot Noirs from the excellent 2022 vintage. Unfortunately, both are in small volumes (less than 200 cases). Consumers will need to move fast to get them. Like most East Kelowna producers, Spearhead has been struggling with winter damage in recent vintages. Not much wine was produced from the 15-acre estate vineyard in the 2023 vintage. The jury is still out on how severe the vine damage was in January this year and whether many buds even survived the deep cold. Kee ..read more
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Ruffino: historic Chianti producer at Vancouver International Wine Festival
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
1M ago
Photo: Ruffino brand ambassador Beppe d'Andrea It would be hard to think of a Tuscan winery more strongly identified with Chianti than Ruffino. No doubt, that is one reason why it was among the large contingent of Italian wineries at the recent Vancouver International Wine Festival. Ruffino was represented by its veteran brand ambassador, Beppe d’Andrea. There is an extensive portfolio of 14 Ruffino wines in the BC Liquor stores; and elsewhere in this market. I would bet there is not an Italian restaurant in B.C. without at least one Ruffino wine in the list; and likely more than one. That r ..read more
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Bordertown releases excellent wines from small 2023 vintage.
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
2M ago
Photo: Bordertown's Mohan Gill Judging from the excellent 2023 wines which Bordertown Estate Winery is just releasing, the 2023 Okanagan vintage is terrific. That is the good news. The bad news is that it is the smallest vintage in several decades, to be followed by an even smaller vintage in 2024, the result of two consecutive winters with hard frosts. However, Mohan Gill, Bordertown’s proprietor, believes that his winery’s deep inventory of red wines will sustain his business until grape production is back to normal. The intense flavours and aromas of Bordertown’s 2023 whites is, ironical ..read more
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Il Molino di Grace: a Tuscan jewel at the Wine Festival
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
2M ago
Photo: Daniel Grace, the Tuscan vintner from California Among the 71 Italian wineries at the recent Vancouver International Wine Festival, perhaps the most unexpected discovery was a producer from Tuscany called Il Molino di Grace. Daniel Grace and his family, who launched the winery venture in 1995, originally came from California. Frank Grace, Daniel’s father, formerly operated a shipping business based in Britain. Wine lovers and wine collectors, the Grace family were intimately familiar with the Chianti region in Tuscany. When the opportunity arose to buy a 350-year-old 20-hectare Tuscan ..read more
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Staying in business: optimism at Pentâge Winery
John Schreiner on wine
by JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog
2M ago
Photo: Paul Gardner and Julie Rennie The past two winters undoubtedly have been the most challenging that Paul Gardner and Julie Rennie have experienced since 1996, when they bought a derelict orchard at the south edge of Penticton for a vineyard. They have been selling the products of Pentâge Winery since 2003 although the tasting room opened only in 2011, initially in the massive 500 square-metre (5,500 square foot) cave that Paul dug from the crown of hard rock commanding this winery’s million-dollar view of Skaha Lake. Paul farms the winery’s two Skaha Bench vineyards, which total 6.5 h ..read more
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