MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Sipping Summer In Orofino’s “Celentano Vineyard” Gamay 2013


by Treve Ring | From the stony, steep sided Similkameen Valley comes this single vineyard Cawston Gamay from Orofino. Planted in 1999 on sloping Stemwinder soils and granitic shale (gamay crushes on granite), this pale cherry-hued red should be your summer go-to.

Orofino Celentano Vineyard Gamay 2013

Because it’s hot out! You don’t want a giant, chewy, sweat-beading, muscular, heavy, oaked red. Too much work! You want this bright, fresh, light red – tart and earthy rhubarb acidity to refresh you and your palate, and finely spiced tannins to take on your dinner. This savoury, lissom red is laced with cured meats, wild strawberry, a swipe of stony minerality throughout, and an alluring bitter cherry note on the finish. Serve slightly chilled, and this versatile wine will suit anything from grilled pizza to charcuterie to salmon. Only 100 cases produced, so get on it.

I put 5 questions in front of winemaker, sports coach dad, fellow ping pong advocate, outdoor pizza oven afficianado, Similkameen stalwart and co-owner, along with his equally active wife Virginia, John Weber.

Straight up – why did you make this wine? We started taking these grapes in 2007. This style came out in 2010. We just loved the freshness and unmasked fruit that comes from these grapes. We started drinking a lot of Cru Beaujolais and thought we might try to imitate that style and see what we could do in BC with Gamay.

Where are the grapes from? A little vineyard about a 5 minute walk from the winery. It is owned and managed by an Italian couple Antonio and Carmela Celentano. They grow mostly Riesling but have a tiny little section of Gamay that comes to us. Shale and rocks all over the place. It is a stunningly beautiful vineyard. We make around 100 cases a year.

Your ideal pairing with these wines would be…? Summer. We chill it down just a bit and barbeque some sausages or roast a chicken in our cob oven. It is also a terrific Thanksgiving turkey wine with savoury stuffing.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Our friends Rhys Pender and Alishan Driediger from Little Farm Winery just down the road from us are making delicious Rieslings and Chardonnays – wines that have Similkameen Valley written all over them.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Can I say BC craft beer? Our cellar has a good mix of old world stuff. Chablis, Cru Beaujolais , Loire. We have a soft spot for dirty Spanish wines. Things with a little bit of funk are always fun to try and talk about. We drink Rieslings from Australia too.


GOODS | “Blue Mountain” Releases Two New White Wines Just In Time For Summer

Blue Mountain | 2385 Allendale Rd. | Okanagan Falls, BC | 250-497-8244 |

Blue Mountain | 2385 Allendale Rd. | Okanagan Falls, BC | 250-497-8244 |

The GOODS from Blue Mountain

Okanagan Falls, BC | We are pleased to announce that we are now 100% through bloom and looking forward to seeing the berries begin to form and grow. And with summer solstice behind us, it is now time to release the first of our 2013 white wines: the Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. The former displays complex flavours of stone fruit, white peach, and apricots with a touch of honeysuckle. A full mouth feel with peach flavours leads into a long finish. The latter displays complex flavours of citrus, boxwood and lemon/grapefruit, on the nose and palate. A full mouth feel with a lemon/grapefruit flavour leads into a rich long, finish. The structure of both wines will allow them to age beautifully for 3-5 years. Learn more about the winery after the jump… Read more

GOODS | “Le Vieux Pin” Releases Vaïla Rosé & Syrah Cuvée Violette In Time For Summer

Le Vieux Pin is located at 34070-73th Street outside Oliver, BC in the Okanagan Valley | 250-498-8388 |

Le Vieux Pin is located at 34070-73th St. outside Oliver in the Okanagan Valley | 250-498-8388 |

THE GOODS FROM Le Vieux Pin & Lastella

Oliver, BC | Le Vieux Pin Winery has released two very special wines – the 2013 Vaïla Rosé and 2012 Syrah Cuvée Violette - just in time for summer. The Vaila Rosé is a delicate wine perfect for summer sipping.Winemaker Severine Pinte used the Burgundian method of Saigneé (meaning to bleed) from free run juice of Pinot Noir grapes sourced from vineyards on Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile. Just 505 cases of it were produced. The Syrah Cuvée Violette was sourced from three vineyards – Crowley, Dead Man, Le Grand Pin – for a total of 616 cases. This noble varietal was aged 14 months in French oak. With bright acidity and a round structure to the body, it is a floral-noted, fruit forward red that is silky and smooth on the palate. Enjoy it now or save it in your cellar for 5-7 years. Either way, it will surely be fantastic. Read more

DRINKER | Judging 1,335 Different Wines In Only 4.5 Days At ‘The National Wine Awards’

by Treve Ring | 1,335 wines, 4,000 bottles, 4.5 days, 16-ish judges, 2 bottles of emergency couriered Nardini, 6 judges cannonballing into a pool at a hosted event, 2 types of Sensodyne toothpaste, 1 looping blur of guitar-led singalong on a bus, 1 unconfirmed sighting of Ogopogo…

By the numbers, that pretty well sums up last week in Penticton and my annual jaunt to judge The National Wine Awards of Canada. Of course, that doesn’t include the pre-figures (countless hours by the BOH team to organize, input, ship and unpack bottles, or the thousands of Aeroplan points redeemed to move judges from one side of the country to the other), or the post-figures (1 trip to the dentist for me this week). Math was never my strong suit – but wine, on the other hand…

Non-industry and non-wine people (I call them laypeople, or “civilians”) look at my career as a wine writer and judge it as either a dream job or a lark. I get a lot of “I like wine. I write good. I like to travel. That’s not work. I can do that!” While I’m thinking “Not enough. Not well. Not for long. Like hell it’s not. Highly doubtful”, I just smile and nod and feign concurrence.

I get that my work is different than most folks. The fact that my kitchen pantry has had all food replaced by wine bottles with little tags on their necks indicating drinking windows and soil types might be curious. And blind tasting hundreds of wines during the work week before going out in the evening to taste dozens more with winemakers might sound bizarre, but it’s as ideal as gamay on granite to me (really freaking ideal).

Wine judging has a veiled mystery to it – even amongst wine professionals. “I work with wine, I want to wear a badge and be a judge.” That’s like saying “I like to eat, I can wear whites and be a chef.” Not everyone who works in wine makes for a good wine judge. Being a sommelier, buyer, instructor, winemaker, collector or enthusiastic layperson does not make you a good wine judge. Years of dedicated tasting, evaluating, listening, travelling and learning from folks way smarter than you will get you started – plus you need a strong bent for detail, stamina, focus, humility, critical thinking and confidence to treat the wines and process respectfully and judiciously. And shit – when all is said and done and poured, you have to be able to taste.

I’m still learning, thank Bacchus.

And the lark bit? Well, I work every day, and think about wine, write about wine, and taste wine 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, without the security of a pension or benefits or car allowance or whatever else civilians get, and have zero complaints – so yes, I guess so. Dream job? Damn straight! What follows, then, is a hand-scribbled look inside my week as a wine judge at The Nationals, flight by flight by flight… Read more

GOODS | Laughing Stock’s 2011 “Portfolio” And Syrah Win Awards At Home And Abroad

Laughing Stock Vineyards is located at 1548 Naramata Rd. in Penticton, BC | 250-493-8466 |

Laughing Stock Vineyards is located at 1548 Naramata Rd in Penticton, BC | 250-493-8466 |

GOODS from Laughing Stock Vineyards

Naramata, BC | Our flagship wine, Portfolio 2011, was awarded the very prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in BC Wine 2014. Of the 436 wines entered by 119 wineries, only 12 wines are honoured with this award as determined by a blind tasting panel of esteemed and qualified judges.

Laughing Stock has won 3 times in the past 4 years, previously for Pinot Gris 2010 and Syrah 2010, but this is the first time that Portfolio has received this accolade. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon will be visiting the winery in late July to present the award in person to David & Cynthia Enns. This award is well timed to launch the upcoming celebration of the 10th vintage release of Portfolio in October 2014.

Laughing Stock’s other big red, Syrah 2011, was also triumphant this week on a world scale, being awarded a highly coveted Regional Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards for Best Canadian Red in London, England. Regional trophies are only awarded to the top rated medal winner from that region and thus it is a huge accomplishment to be recognized in the world’s largest and most influential wine competition. 2014 saw another record-breaking year of entries, with over 15,000 wines entered into the competition from 46 countries.

Grown at our estate vineyard, “The Perfect Hedge” in Osoyoos, BC, Syrah has been winning regular top award honours including Lt. Governor Award in 2012 and GOLD at National Wine Awards in 2013. Unfortunately we have limited supply of Portfolio 2011 and are pretty much sold out at the winery for the Syrah 2011, but have held back a few cases for orders until July 1st (2 bottle maximum order limit). Read more

GOODS | Fort Berens’ 2012 Riesling Wins Lieutenant Governor’s Award For Excellence

Fort Berens Estate Winery is located at 1881 Highway 99 North in Lillooet, BC | 250-256-7788 |

Fort Berens Estate Winery is located at 1881 Highway 99 North in Lillooet, BC | 250-256-7788 |

The GOODS from Fort Berens Winery

Lillooet, BC | Fort Berens 2012 Riesling was just awarded the very prestigious 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. Located in Lillooet, in the Fraser Canyon, this award marks the first ever Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Fort Berens and the first for this emerging wine region.

Rolf de Bruin, founder and one of the owners of Fort Berens expressed his heartfelt appreciation for this recognition. “This prestigious award is an important milestone for our growing business and the emerging wine region in Lillooet. We have worked very hard on achieving a level of quality that would be worthy of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines. This award for our 100% estate grown 2012 Riesling shows that the Lillooet region has the capacity to produce grapes of such high quality.”

Winery co-owner Heleen Pannekoek explained, “We established Fort Berens as the first winery in Lillooet in 2009. To be just five years along this journey and to win such an honour is incredibly humbling for Rolf and myself, the rest of our ownership team and our staff. We have been able to form a great team of very passionate and dedicated people. Our winery attracts pioneering spirits seeking new adventures that provide them with a chance to mindfully and responsibly explore uncharted territory. Together, we have discovered a new viticultural region in British Columbia that we continue to explore and develop.” Read more

GOODS | Chef Jeremy Tucker Cooking Al Fresco At CedarCreek’s “Vineyard Terrace”


CedarCreek Estate Winery is located at 5445 Lakeshore Road in Kelowna, BC | 250-764-8866 |

The GOODS from CedarCreek Estate Winery

Kelowna, BC | The Vineyard Terrace at CedarCreek Estate Winery is the perfect setting to enjoy wine, food, and a wonderful vista. The open-air restaurant wraps around the CedarCreek Wineshop with every seat affording a breathtaking view of vineyard and lake. Following our farm-to-table philosophy, new executive chef Jeremy Tucker will be showcasing local, seasonal ingredients at their freshest all summer long.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, Jeremy has had the pleasure of working in notable restaurants in P.E.I., Alberta, Bermuda, and at New York City’s James Beard House. Most recently, he was the executive chef at the Snowwater, a boutique backcountry heli-ski lodge near Nelson. Learn more about the winery and restaurant after the jump… Read more

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Dissecting “Lock & Worth” Winery’s Cabernet Franc Rosé 2013


by Treve Ring | Lock & Worth is a new Naramata partnership between Matthew Sherlock and Ross Hackworth, longtime colleagues and comrades from Nichol Vineyard, which is further up the Naramata Bench. The duo’s low interventionist winemaking philosophy shines again here, with this whole cluster, unfined and unfiltered (yes, there are harmless floaties in the bottom, get over it) cabernet franc rosé from a single vineyard. There’s a whisper of orange pink peach, but what this rose lacks in colour it makes up for in acidity. It’s bone dry, with ripping mineral and citrus pith-laced acidity, light smoked stone, green apple, Anjou pear and delicate mandarin and floral notes. Honesty and vibrancy – more of this please. I recently talked to Matt about this characterful and uncharacteristically BC rosé…

Straight up – why did you make this wine? Firstly, we felt that the vineyard material was best suited to making a rose. Something with very little extract and that trades on delicacy and nuance instead of power. We also wanted to push our hands-off approach here so we started with a natural ferment (which didn’t finish) then did nothing else to the wine really. No fining or filtering or stabilization or any adjustments of any kind. It is what it is.

Where are the grapes from? Naramata Village, below the road, lake side.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Ceviche.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? I think Dave at Tantalus, Matt at Blue Mountain the team at Le Vieux Pin and Alan at Synchromesh are really starting to change the game here. Oh and Jay at Bella and Richard Kanazowa as well. I’ve heard very good things about Tyler Carlton too but have yet to visit.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Champagne, Loire whites and reds, Beaujolais, Jura, German Riesling, Sherry, whites from the Marche in Italy, bourbon and good rye. Mostly Old World wines but pretty much anything that speaks of vineyard and vintage and isn’t made in a lab. Beer when it’s super hot. I’m very fortunate that my neighbours in Naramata are oenophiles so we have a chance to pop a lot of corks between us.

Lock & Worth Winery | Cabernet Franc Rosé | 2013 | Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley. $20.


DRINKER | On Drunk Fish, Firing A Gun With A Drink In Hand, And The Geography Of Beer

by Treve Ring | Regarding the video above, it’s an oldie but a goodie and it remains true that you either 1. Know these people, or 2. Are these people.

There’s no point auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance when you could apply for So You Think You Can Drink. A new Irish show, Drunk, is looking for 18+ year olds to “get drunk” on camera in an attempt to “explore, explain and illustrate” the effects of alcohol. Mom will be so proud!

How to make a night at the movies a hella lot more fun? Alcoholic popcorn, of course.

Battle of the Scots. In this corner, BrewDog and their Dead Pony Club pale ale. Across the ring, the Portman Group Independence Complaints Panel. Portman comes out swinging, deeming the packaging of the “lower-than-average” strength 3.8% Dead Pony Club pale ale to encourage “anti-social behaviour and rapid drinking”. A swift rebuttal by BrewDog counters that they don’t give a shit about “a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants” who “treat beer drinkers like brain dead zombies and vilify creativity and competition” and will emerge TKO-victorious by “brewing awesome beer and treating our customers like adults.” Victory, BrewDog.

Relive your grade school drink box memories with the SpotWine Pouch, the adult version. Just don’t mix them up in the early-morning-school-lunch-packing rush. Because that would suck.

How to drink all night and never get drunk? Mr. Samuel Adams knows, shares all.

While Air Canada can’t figure out how to list a Canadian wine on any of its flights, craft beer has taken to the sky in American airlines like…er… people wanting decent booze on flights. And in a mind-boggling move of sanity, Alaska Airlines now allows a case of Washington wine to be checked for free for anyone flying out of the state’s three largest wine region airports.

Because butlers are so pedestrian, The Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito, California will deliver Champagne to your $10,000 a night Alexandria Suite by drone. Yeah, that’s cool, I guess, but does it come Swiss Army-equipped with a corkscrew?

Drunk fish become leaders of the pack.

Screw you, Siri! Google adds the Drunk Train feature to its maps.

Take note, road trippers. If you’re in Colorado, chances are you’ll be inundated by Coors Light, and if you’re in the Midwest, Miller Lite will be the brand of choice. The scientists have tracked it as so, in a new book called The Geography of Beer.

Take further note, road trippers. In Oklahoma, you can now drink alcohol at the rifle range. Logical humans with functioning brains, you’ve been warned.

GOODS | Okanagan Crush Pad Set To Offer Diverse Visitor Experiences This Summer

Okanagan Crush Pad is located at 16576 Fosbery Road in Summerland, BC | 250-494-4445 |

Okanagan Crush Pad is located at 16576 Fosbery Road in Summerland | 250-494-4445 |

The GOODS from Okanagan Crush Pad

Kelowna, BC | The summer is shaping up to be a great season and tourists are already starting to flock to the Okanagan. After two years of operating with limited space, Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP) has renovated its visitor area to accommodate more people and offer diverse experiences. The winery is now set up to host sit down tutored tastings for up to ten people at its cellar long table, in addition to offering a relaxed patio seating area for picnics and a new tasting bar in the wine lounge.

The new set up also allows the winery to offer intimate public events for 50 people. In addition to six evening music events between July 3 and September 11, OCP will also host a fundraiser for PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs Society), called Puppies on the PAD on Saturday, August 16. Okanagan Crush Pad is a long-time supporter of PADS and many of the winery’s lovely Labrador Retrievers are retired PADS dogs. Read more

GOODS | Blue Mountain’s Tasting Room Opens For Summer, Set For Special Events

Blue Mountain | 2385 Allendale Rd. | Okanagan Falls, BC | 250-497-8244 |

The GOODS from Blue Mountain

Okanagan Falls, BC | This May marks the 3rd season that Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars has been welcoming visitors to the winery without requiring an appointment. This year we would like to welcome you and your friends and family to visit us. Whether it is the first time coming to see us or a return visit, we look forward to sharing the wines and experience that is uniquely Blue Mountain. Our tasting room is open as of May 1st, 7 days a week from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. Learn about Blue Mountain’s summer events after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Naramata’s Lake Breeze Releases 2013 Whites, Expands Its ‘Patio’ Restaurant

Lake Breeze Vineyards is located at 930 Sammet Rd in beautiful Naramata, BC | 250.496.5659 |

The GOODS from Lake Breeze

Naramata, BC | Lake Breeze Vineyards is pleased to announce the release of their first 2013 vintage white wines including Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Ehrenfelser, and their Winemaker Series. Winemaker and President of Lake Breeze Vineyards, Garron Elmes comments, “I believe that the wines from the 2013 vintage are some our best ever.” Of the Winemaker Series, which launched so successfully last year, Garron adds, “We are shifting this year from predominantly varietal wines to wines that showcase the art of blending.” Lake Breeze’s immensely popular Windfall is joined this year by The Spice Jar, which is an aromatic and spicy blend of Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Schonburger.

Garron continues: “The 2013 vintage started out as an extremely challenging one. High humidity, late rainfall and extremely high pest pressure, particularly wasps, resulted in a perfect storm of conditions that were conducive to grape disease. Fortunately, once the picking began things improved and our vineyards yielded exceptional quality fruit again. After the initial scare, harvest progressed incredibly smoothly for us. I am extremely happy with the quality of the 2013 wines and am excited to share them with consumers.”

The 2013 vintage is already being acknowledged with awards. At the 2014 All Canadian Wine Championships medals were received as follows: two Gold Medals for the 2013 Pinot Blanc and the Ehrenfelser, a Silver medal for The Spice Jar, and a Bronze for the Pinot Gris.

Lake Breeze is also pleased to announce that their Patio Restaurant kitchen has been upgraded for the season, a move that dramatically increases seating capacity. Chef Mark Ashton and his team will continue to serve memorable winery dining experiences, featuring breads made in their kitchen and local products that showcase the seasonally-inspired menu. Read more

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Winemaker Jay Drysdale Pops Twin “Bella” Sparkling Rosés


by Treve Ring | No, you’re not seeing double through rosé-coloured glasses. Like identical twins, these paired rosés – Bella Sparkling Rosé Brut Natural, Oliver 2013 and Bella Sparkling Rosé Brut Natural, Westbank 2013 – are mirror images of nature and nurture, yet each exhibits its own distinct personality and style. Sure, there are obvious similarities – same grape (gamay), same style (bone dry, traditional method sparkling), same vintage (2013) and same winemaker (Bella Wines founder, Jay Drysdale) – but it’s the little differences that count here.

One wine is made from grapes sourced from Secrest Vineyard outside of Oliver at the bottom of the Okanagan. This warm, sandy site gave birth to the shy one, with its delicate wild strawberries and fragrant raspberries, ripping lemon-peel acidity and savoury, finely spiced finish. The second wine is from Beaumont Vineyard in Westbank, near the top of the Okanagan Valley. This is the gutsy one, with 100% organic fruit. It’s assertive, vibrant and racy, with lime peel, rhubarb leaf and cranberry on the finish.

The experiment is not one of temperament, but of terroir. Jay and his wife Wendy focus exclusively on gamay and chardonnay grapes through a series of small lot, single site-specific sparkling wines. Keeping their low-interventionist methodology and grapes the same across varying sites allows the geeks among us to clearly taste what’s in the glass.

But you needn’t be a nerd to enjoy these bottles. It’s dry, crisp, Bella sparkling rosé! Get it while you still can.

I asked Jay to share his message in the bottles of Bella Sparkling Rosé Brut Natural – Oliver 2013 and Bella Sparkling Rosé Brut Natural – Westbank 2013.

Straight up, why did you make these wines? The desire to see the personalities of this amazing grape and eventually hear what the vineyards have to say. With very little gamay planted in BC and its ability to come across light and elegant to muscular and aggressive, my goal was to offer up some consistency to see what I could learn from this varietal. My winemaking style this year offered up some very cool profiles as the grapes from Oliver showcase this shy and elegant style with soft integrated notes and the Westbank grapes play up the young and awkward acidity emphasizing the big rhubarb flavours.

Where are the grapes from? The lighter sparkling rose is from Secrest Vineyard in Oliver; a very unique site with a silty sand base — a micro-region that tends to trap the heat with the surrounding rock features. This is the third year we have made sparkling rose from this site. The other sparkling rose comes from the Beaumont organic vineyard in West Kelowna. This site takes advantage of the volcanic soils of the region. This is the first year we have made a sparkling rose from these grapes. Oliver came in first while Westbank was about two weeks later.

Your ideal pairing with these wines would be…? The Oliver sparkling rose needs some saltiness to coax out some of the beautiful floral flavours and my favourite pairing is some local oysters, au naturel. Grab a bucket of oysters and a bottle of this wine on the beach somewhere and you’ll understand. The Westbank rose with its bigger flavours is the perfect start or end to any amazing meal while you nibble on some charcuterie and cheese. I love the way this wine compliments cured meats.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Blue Mountain. I’m a big fan and not just of their sparkling wines. If you have the patience to hold on to some of their wines like the Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, you will be very well rewarded. I am also a fan of their sustainable practices and how their vineyards have been taking shape for the past 40 years. I’d like to be like them when I grow up.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? I’m a fan of wines from all over the world but recently I have been on the hunt for wines from Marches, Italy. Can’t seem to get enough Verdicchio – it’s such a comfort wine with beautiful minerality and soft fruits.

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