Picking Grapes with Wildebeest’s Christina Hartigan

The latest instalment of our wine Q & A has the Gastown restaurant's new Wine Director detailing her love of local grapes.
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Picking Grapes with Wildebeest’s Christina Hartigan

Picking Grapes is a new series that asks wine professionals to map out their complex relationships with British Columbian wines by citing the ignition point of their interest and some of their favourite wineries.

The newly minted Wine Director at Gastown’s celebrated Wildebeest restaurant, Christina Hartigan is well versed in the British Columbian grapescape, sp we had to ask her a few key questions…

What was the BC wine that you first fell in love with? Do you remember where you were? What was the circumstance?

Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon — sometime in the early 2000s…summertime backyard BBQs with my family. My Dad has bought a few cases of Burrowing Owl wines every year since 2000 and he always opened it when I was home. It’s still a bottle we often open together.

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 500 Burrowing Owl Pl, Oliver, BC MAP

What are three local wineries that fly somewhat under the radar?

1. Roche Wines — Their Pinot Noir is one of my favourite in BC. 2. Bella –- They focus solely on sparkling wine and they do it so well! 3. Synchromesh — Beautifully balanced Rieslings.

Roche Wines 60 Upper Bench Rd S, Penticton, BC MAP
Bella Wines 4320 Gulch Road, Site 15A Comp 2, Naramata MAP
Synchromesh Wines 4220 McLean Creek Rd, Okanagan Falls, BC MAP

If you could work in just one local winery for just one harvest, which would it be and why?

Le Vieux Pin — I would love to be involved with the production of Syrah, and to work with their winemaker, Severine Pinte.

Le Vieux Pin Winery 5496 Black Sage Road, Oliver MAP

Can you recommend one local, emblematic-of-BC red wine for someone who didn’t even know wine was made here? What would it be and why?

Daydreamer Amelia — Syrah rounded out with a little bit of Viognier. This wine has everything I want in a Syrah: spicy black pepper, pretty floral notes, dark fruit and a touch of oak. I love Syrah produced in the Okanagan Valley and this is a great example of what can be achieved in BC.

Daydreamer Wines 1305 Smethurst Road, Naramata MAP

What about a white?

Tantalus Riesling Old Vines –- delicious when it’s first released, but ages so well.

Tantalus Vineyards 1670 DeHart Road, Kelowna MAP

And finally, a rosé?

Sea Star Rose – knocks it out of the park every year. 100% Pinot Noir dry rosé that is great to pair with seafood and to drink year round, if you manage to keep it around that long.

Sea Star Vineyards 6621 Harbour Hill Drive, Pender Island, BC MAP

There are 2 comments

  1. Very impressive notes and comments. I’m going to track down some of these wines; thank you very much for sharing your expertise.

  2. Christina helped Badger Run Wildlife Rehab with wine pairings for a major fundraiser dinner and every one was spot on! I’m excited to sample some of her recommendations here!

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