Meet Courtney Buryta #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall, we introduce you to Courtney Buryta.

Courtney is a #winelover and has recently been appointed sommelier for the Vancouver Canucks.

She previously shined in her role as the restaurant manager and food and beverage director for the remarkable Canadian-cuisine focused restaurant, Edible Canada at the Market, where her passion and knowledge of wine led her to win the silver award for wine program excellence in both 2014 and 2015 at the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

As the Canucks season draws closer, we are excited to see them back on the ice, and also keen to see what Courtney has in store for the Roger’s Arena wine program.

 

Courtney Buryta - Vancouver Canucks Sommelier

Courtney Buryta – Vancouver Canucks Sommelier #withTownHall

Will you please help us give Courtney a big hello?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

Wine O’Clock Now Officially Recognized Term

WineOclock

At Town Hall we have a tradition of celebrating a special time of day that we, like many, call “Wine O’Clock”.

Today, we hope that wine lovers everywhere will raise a glass with us to honour that fact that the term Wine O’Clock has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary and given us an official way to talk about the appropriate time of day to enjoy a glass of wine (which is any time).

With the prevalence of the hashtag #wineoclock across social media platforms and its popularity in everyday conversation, The Oxford Univesity Press has decided to induct it on the basis that the phrase is significant, important, and will stand the test of time.

As #winelovers – we agree!

So the next time that you are checking your watch with the longing for a superb glass of wine, know that it is now officially appropriate to announce that it is Wine O’Clock.

Cheers!

Town Hall Clients & Top Drop Vancouver

By Kathleen Beveridge

Top Drop Vancouver is two weeks away.

This celebration of terrior-influenced and handcrafted wine is only in its second year its impact is large inviting trade and consumers to participate for the love of wine. By bringing 33 honest wines and their principals directly to Vancouverites this is a wine event that educates about wine regions, biodynamic farming and natural wines. All hot topics in the wine industry at this time.

Enjoying Top Drop Vancouver 2014

                                            Enjoying Top Drop Vancouver 2014

Along with supporting wine education, tasting, and alternative farming practices Town Hall has two clients connected with Top Drop Vancouver. Proceeds from the event will go to our amazing charity client the BC Hospitality Foundation, which provides financial assistance to those in the hospitality industry facing a major medical crisis.

In conjunction with the Top Drop tasting event there are various dinners being hosted, Paula Sparkling Wineincluding one at Edible Canada featuring our winery client Blue Grouse Estate Winery and a rare chance to taste their 2012 Paula sparkling wine.

Learn more about Top Drop Vancouver here.

Buy tickets for Edible Canada’s dinner here.

Meet Frank Morgan #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall, we introduce you to Frank Morgan.

 

frank morgan

Frank is a wine lover and wine blogger whose blog is called Drink What You Like. He originally started the blog in 2008 order to track his wine experiences, and in the process became part of the blogger community at large. I met Frank at the Wine Bloggers Conference a few conferences back.

He lives with his wife and family in Chesapeake VA, where his day job is working at a large aerospace company. By night and weekends he studies, learns about, and shares his wine experiences.

He is a strong ambassador for Virginia Wines, his home region, but you will read about wines from all over the world on his blog.

Please help us say hello to Frank?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Wine Bloggers Conference: It’s more than a conference. It’s a community.

By: Leeann Froese

The Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) is more than a workshop and a meeting place to discuss everything wine related. It is a gathering of people from all over North America who convene to celebrate each other’s passion, expertise, wine region and most importantly, friendship with one another.

WBC 2015

Bob Halifax, April Yap-Hennig, me, Jeff Kralik, James Melendez Part of the #WBC15Crew

Hosted at a different wine region each year, the WBC lasts for nearly a week and invites bloggers, industry professionals and the host region’s vintners to participate.

Sure, there’s definite content: workshops and panels in board or conference rooms with a gamut of wine-centric presentations, AV materials and education, but unlike other wine trade conferences, there’s so much more that happens on the periphery.

Attendees include those from visiting wineries and representatives from various wine regions that travel to the event to bring a taste of their wine country to the Wine Bloggers Conference.

Outside of conference rooms, attendees participate in field studies that include: excursions to the host region’s surrounding wineries for a meet-and-greet with winery principals. As well, an exclusive sneak peek and tasting of newly or soon-to-be-release vintages. Always, the red carpet is completely unfurled and a grand time is had by all.

…had to get a #selfie with Thea Dwelle, at Anthony Road Cellars

One of the best parts about WBC is the “after-hour tastings” hosted in various hotel suites. This is a perfect time for WBC participants to get together, be social, and taste wines that are off the program. As everyone is keen to learn about each other’s wine region and to share a taste of their own, these hotel suites become crowded quickly and force people to literally rub elbows and interact as they mingle and taste.

Me, Bob Halifax, Sujinder Juneja and Bethany Harpur – part of Team Canada as we clean up following a taste of Canadan wines in Bethany’s room #GoWBCCanada

But no one minds because we are all united by the desire to experience and share as much we can, especially in limited time.

It’s a unique community. Even if it means being sleep deprived, the group doesn’t stop stop learning, tasting and socializing for the duration they are at WBC. (And sometimes if you’ve had too much wine, you might find yourself facing the content of the following day with a headache…)

Happy bloggers rub elbows tasting Canadian wine. Clockwise, from back, center: Ben Heskett, Christine Campbell, Michael Pinkus, Jeff Kralik, Madeline Puckette, April Yap-Hennig, me and Robert Larson

Happy bloggers rub elbows tasting Canadian wine. Clockwise, from back, center: Ben Heskett, Christine Campbell, Michael Pinkus, Jeff Kralik, Madeline Puckette, April Yap-Hennig, me and Robert Larson

From Portland, Penticton, Buellton and now Corning, this has been the fourth consecutive conference that I’ve attended WBC. As much as I appreciate and am blown away by the effort, hospitality and welcoming spirit that the host region puts into hosting this conference, the most special part about WBC is its people.

The people that assemble the program from each gracious and passionate region can be summed up as one thing: amazing.

Jeff Kralik and our Sujinder have a blossoming friendship after two WBC conferences

Case in point: most recently in Finger Lakes and Corning NY, we were coordinated by Paul Thomas of Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Beth Peluse from Zephyr Adventures for the pre excursion in Seneca Lake, and Laury Ellen Poland from Finger Lakes Wine Country led the charge with Zephyr for the main conference in Corning. Each of these people successfully “herded cats” to ensure those of us that made the trip were not disappointed.

The workshop content varies each year and so do the wine regions (showing the thumbprint of where they were made), but what’s common is the hard work and passion in putting the conference together.

And truthfully, to me all of that does not actually even really matter at its core, because it’s what happens outside the bottle that is the most important.

The bond and socialization that wine invites is the most important part for me. I love that this conference experience is shared by like minded individuals.

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#GoWBCCanada Team Canada members Christine Campbell, Joshua Decolongon, Michael Pinkus, me and Sujinder

This conference offers the ability to get together with the same people annually, as we collect from different corners to learn and be united by something we all love. Year over year, social bonds strengthen and long distance friendships blossom, to be nurtured by the in-person gathering WBC invites.

Wine is inherently social, so it’s no surprise that the social aspect is a major part of this conference.

I cannot wait for the annual opportunity it gives me to connect with my friends from San Francisco, Portland, New York, and all points in between. Real in person bonds are strengthened and then we stay in touch socially throughout the year before we reconvene at the next year’s conference.

After shyly navigating my way through the first conference that I attended in Portland, where I didn’t really know what to do or who to talk to, after four conferences I now feel like I have some legitimate, real, strong, and lifelong friendships, and that these people will be with me, and I’m part of a community. And I am very thankful for this. My life is that much richer for it so thank you for that, WBC.

Our #selfie as we were so glad to see each other – me and James Melendez

And while I want to express how great it feels to annually see those who are very strongly growing into ‘my people’,  it’s also worthy to note that there are many new friends joining this amazing community each year.

If you see a face that’s not familiar, be sure to go and say hello to them. They might be a seasoned blogger or they might be someone who is encountering the conference for the first time. A friendly face and someone who can help with the lay of the land is appreciated.

And as I settle back into being back at home, I reflect on the notes of others:

Meg Houston Maker noted there is no substitution for in person smiles, and Christine Campbell of Girls Go Grape says, “I love that wine, learning and friendship are all part of the Wine Bloggers Conference.”

I could not agree more.

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April Yap-Hennig gave us this photo with the #WBC15 crew: Bob Halifax, James Melendez, Me, Ben Heskett, Christie Campbell, Amy Miller, April and our Sujinder Juneja

And I am not alone. April Yapp Hennig of Sacred Drop took the picture above and called us her crew, and just today Christine Campbell posted this tweet:

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Yes – activate friendship indeed! Until 2016, the #WBC friendships continue to blossom online.

I feel so blessed to have this conference as an annual opportunity to taste and learn, and also continue to build those friendships and the community that is WBC.

Sujinder and I thank you #FLX #WBC15

Sujinder and I thank you #FLX #WBC15

See you in Lodi #WBC16 #GoWBCCanada #withTownHall!

Compare and contrast: Finger Lakes Wine and BC Wine

by Sujinder Juneja

#TownHallOnTour

#FLXWine vs #BCWine

We have been lucky enough to attend the 8th annual Wine Bloggers Conference, a gathering of bloggers (naturally), industry professionals and wine lovers. This year, the event was held in Corning, New York with a focus on the great wines, producers and the people of the Finger Lakes AVA.

FLX_Vineyard

The view from Ventosa Vineyard in the Seneca Lakes AVA.

A diverse, progressive and passionate industry, the Finger Lakes wine region shares many similarities with that of British Columbia, where we are happy to call home. Here are a few of our observations on the connections between the two regions, for your reading pleasure:

Cool Climate Viticulture

The Finger Lakes and British Columbia are both described as ‘cool climate’ wine regions and on average, share a similar amount of degree growing days. However the Finger Lakes region experiences a highly variable climate, with cold winters, cool to warm summers and a short growing season. While there is diversity of climate within the five main BC wine regions (Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands), the climate is less extreme overall and degree days are higher on average.

FLX_Traminette

Traminette is a French-American hybrid varietal favoured by producers throughtout the Finger Lakes AVA.

Planting Grapes To Site

The most established wine regions in the world plant grape varietals that are best suited to that particular site or climate. The most planted grapes in the Finger Lakes are Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc along with a selection of lesser known Vitis vinifera (Blaufränkisch, Saperavi, Sereksiya Charni), native Vitis labrusca (Catawba, Niagara) and French-American hybrids (Traminette, Vidal, Seyval Blanc, Valvin Muscat) that suit the climate and produce balanced and delicious wines. By contrast, the top white grape varietals in BC are Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds. Other crosses and hybrids such as Ortega, Marechal Foch and select Blattner Hybrids are also planted to produce successful wines. The Finger Lakes and BC wine industries began with native and hybrid varietals with the belief that they would better suit the climate, but consumer preferences in the Fingers Lakes and British Columbia are favouring the more popular vinifera varietals.

Bottled sunshine within the Ventosa Pinot Noir.

Bottled sunshine within the Ventosa Pinot Noir.

What’s Wrong With Hybrids Anyway?

Nothing. If a hybrid grape is grown on a site which allows it to mature to full ripeness, and in the hands of a talented winemaker, they can produce wines that are both balanced and delicious. It’s worth noting that hybrids sell for significantly less by the ton, compared to vinifera varietals, which can affect a winery’s bottom line. Add to that the fact that hybrids are generally less well-known and often hard to pronounce, and therefore market to consumers. One of the most vocal debates during Friday’s Introduction to Finger Lakes Wine Country panel discussion swirled around the contentious use of crosses and hybrids in the region. Consider this: if a hybrid varietal, developed specifically for a particular climate, can produce tasty wines, should they not be celebrated, granting uniqueness to the wine region as a whole? Not all winemakers are convinced. But if you ask someone like Art Hunt at Hunt Country Vineyards, he’ll tell you that his varietally-labelled Seyval Blanc and Valvin Muscat are among their most popular wines. “Millennials want to try new things,” he says. “You can taste 100 Rieslings from the Finger Lakes, but wine drinkers want experience something unique.”

Judy Wiltberger at Keuka Spring Vineyards is proud to show off her Vignoles, a French-American hybrid that sells out every year. In her experience, the key is to market regionally, get people into the tasting room where people can try the wines in person. 70-75% of her sales are through her cellar door and challenging her guests with distinct varietals is a way to excite their palates with something new.

A view towards Seneca Lake.

A view towards Seneca Lake.

A Sense of Community

Unlike other more competitive regions in the global wine world, the Finger Lakes and British Columbia both enjoy a strong sense of community and partnership. I know firsthand that winery owners and winemakers in BC regularly collaborate and share information and ideas that make the region stronger as a whole. The same is absolutely true for the wineries of the Finger Lakes. If you had the chance, for example, to taste the Tierce Riesling, made by Fox Run, Anthony Road and Red Newt, you’ll know that the wine – and the wine region – is greater than the sum of its parts.

A Window to the World

The Finger Lakes and British Columbia wineries both face the double-edged sword that most of their wine is consumed in their local areas. The challenge offered by the locavore movement in North America means that major cities such as New York and Vancouver consume most of the wine produced in each respective region. Add to that the high tourism rate that each region enjoys means that most wine is sold via the cellar door, limiting the chance for export and global distribution. What this means is that fewer consumers internationally have the chance to taste the wines and understand what the region is all about. At this point, allocation to outside markets becomes a critical path to increasing the prestige and recognition of the regions as a whole.

Fox Run  Vineyards owner Scott Osborn & Town Hall's Sujinder Juneja.

Fox Run Vineyards owner Scott Osborn & Town Hall’s Sujinder Juneja at Wine Bloggers Conference 2015.

With Open Arms

At the end of the day and at the end of this conference, the greatest impression left on us about the Finger Lakes wasn’t the wine. It was the people. It wasn’t just the wineries and winemakers that opened their arms to welcome us, but also the restaurants, shops, hotels and the community at large. From our first day in Keuka Lake, throughout the expertly-organized pre-conference excursion and to the last day of the conference itself, there was an excitement and overall warmth that was impossible to ignore, and wonderful to be a part of. When the wine bloggers visited Penticton, British Columbia for #WBC13 it was a similar experience as well. Community, a sense of place, and the celebration of diversity were as much a part of the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference as they are in 2015.

See you in 2016 in Lodi, California.

Bob Halifax, April Yap-Hennig, Leeann Froese, Jeff Kralik at James Melendez at Wine Bloggers Conference 2015.

Bob Halifax, April Yap-Hennig, Leeann Froese, Jeff Kralik at James Melendez at Wine Bloggers Conference 2015.

Meet Kristina Manning #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. In time for the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference this week #withTownHall, we introduce you to Kristina Manning.

#withTownHallKristinaManningKristina is the director of customer relations at Monthlyclubs.com and in 2013 created the blog for The International Wine of the Month Club. She regularly contributes to the blog sharing her travel experiences, recipes and tastings. Her love affair with wine has been going on for years which has led to a nice collection of wine.

Kristina loves food, wine, beer, and travel and shares her experience with them through social media.

Kristina is currently at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Finger Lakes, New York where she is on the scholarship committee for the conference.

Please help us say hello to Kristina?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Meet Christa-Lee McWatters Bond #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall, we introduce you to Christa-Lee McWatters Bond.

Christaleemcwattersbond

She’s been in the BC wine industry ever since she was born, and loves every aspect of promoting British Columbia’s wine and food.

After growing up in her family’s winery, Sumac Ridge, which is now owned by Constellation Brands, Christa-Lee went on to open a restaurant with her husband Cameron Bond which is now one of the most popular restaurants in the Okanagan Valley, Local Lounge | Grill.

And if that isn’t enough, her hands are very full of these days as she is the marketing manager for Encore Vineyards, which is the parent company to TIME Estate Winery under construction in Oliver BC, her family’s legacy label the McWatters Collection, and the brand-new Evolve Cellars in Summerland BC.

Please help us say hello to Christa-Lee?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

Fall Events to Plan For in the Lower Mainland

What’s Happening this Fall

We have been trying to find dates to plan activities for our clients and it has become obvious to us how BUSY the schedule is and everyone’s calendar is.

We find the best way for you to know about a client or project is to meet them in person, and the best way to do that is to hold an event, so everyone is hosting something.

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We like to use PlanitBC which has a public face as well as an industry planning back end, so we advise anyone who both wants to plan or attend something look there. It’s not expensive and helps keep everything in one spot, and then has a way to publicize the events that are public.

For whatever reason, we have found that not everyone is signing up for Planit, so we have gathered everything we know of as of the beginning of August.

Note: this is for planning purposes and will change – check back often.

September 10, Top Drop Vancouver (featuring Town Hall clients Blue Grouse and Haywire)

September 10, Design Event (Story PR)

September 11, Top Drop Vancouver (featuring Town Hall clients Blue Grouse and Haywire)

September 13, BBQ off the Bypass (hosted by Town Hall client Angie Quaale of Well Seasoned)

September 14, Chile Sommelier Challenge (Trade only)

September 15, IVSA New Product Salon (Vancouver)

September 16, Colour BC Fall VQA Tasting (Industry)

September 16, ChefmeetsBCGrape Signature Tasting

September 18, 5th Annual Fraser Valley Cork and Keg, Wine, Beer and Food Festival

September 19, Lilloet Beer and Wine Festival

September 21, Invite Only Trade Wine Event

September 22, Sparkling Wine Event (invite only featuring Town Hall clients Summerhill Pyramid Winery)

September 22, Kate Colley PR Event

September 22, IVSA New Product Salon (Victoria)

September 23, Lifestyle, Fashion, Fitness Event

September 25, Victoria Wine Festival

September 26, Victoria Wine Festival

September 27, Slow Fish Dinner (hosted by Town Hall clients The Chefs’ Table Society of BC)

September 27, Victoria Wine Festival

September 30, Lifestyle Event

October 1, Discover BC VQA Tasting (Calgary)

October 1, Lifestyle and Fashion Event

October 1-11, Fall Okanagan Wine Festival (featuring Town Hall clients Summerhill, SpierHead Winery, Mt. Boucherie, TIME, and Okanagan Crush Pad.)

October 5, Town Hall media event-by invitation only

October 5-9, Tourism Vancouver Open House

October 7, Town Hall trade event – by invitation only

October 8, Home and Lifestyle Event

October 15, Town Hall wine media event- by invitation only

October 15, Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour

October 17, BC Uncorked (featuring Town Hall clients Summerhill and Mt.Boucherie)

October 18, CONNECT Food + Drink + Lodging Expo 2015

October 19, CONNECT Food + Drink + Lodging Expo 2015

October 21, Vancouver Magazine Judging

October 22, Vancouver Magazine Judging

October 22, Vancouver Home + Design Show Opening Party (invite only)

October 22, 2nd Annual Tea Sparrow Tea Festival

October 23, Vancouver Magazine Judging

October 26, A Taste of Wines from Italy (Trade)

October 28, Wine, Food & Lifestyle Tasting

October 29, Design & Lifestyle Event

November 7, 26th Annual Fraser Valley Wine Festival

 

Looking Ahead to the Grape Harvest in BC

By Leeann Froese

As we ease back into our work week after a long weekend to celebrate this great province, we reflect on how it has been a long, warm spring and summer across BC.

Weather, growing conditions, watering restrictions and threat of fire all could impact the upcoming grape harvest, depending on which grape growing region you are in.

Could this be one of the earliest harvests on record in BC? How are things looking so far?

Laura Kittmer, media relations manager at the British Columbia Wine Institute states “It’s been a very hot summer in BC this year; many wineries are reporting their grapevines to be about two weeks ahead right now, which could mean early wine harvest.”

We checked in with our clients in different parts of the province for an update, which follows.

Let us know if you need more info, photos, or wish to interview anyone quoted below. Amy @ townhallbrands.com / 604-321-3295

 

Okanagan – Summerland – Okanagan Crush Pad – Christine Coletta, owner

OCP-Christine-Coletta-4-Credit-Lionel-Trudel“At Okanagan Crush Pad we are more than half way into yet another great season in the Okanagan. But as we like to remember, it isn’t over until it’s over, and the next three months are the most crucial to shaping vintage. Will we get those cooler fall days with cold nights that allow for hang time that creates the phenolic* ripeness and natural acidity that we all crave? Or will there be a quick, sharp finish to the growing year that leaves us with high sugars, resulting in wines with higher than normal alcohol levels? Time will tell.

An early spring and unseasonably warm summer has challenged viticulturists throughout the valley. We did not get the typical rainfall we expect in June and the rest of the summer has been dry and hot. A careful watch on irrigation levels has been required.

Bountiful crop sets with large cluster formations and small berry size should result in some excellent wines next year. The early spring start will guarantee that most crops will finish on time and viticulturists will surely be pleased about that. With veraison** starting we anticipate a late September /early October harvest. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that the weather continues to co-operate as we eagerly anticipate yet another outstanding year.

As far as water use goes, vineyards used significantly less water than tree fruits, and vineyards with drip irrigation, even less than vineyards with overhead irrigation. Our home organic vineyard, Switchback Vineyard, used seven inches of irrigation water a year compared to the standard 19 inches. At this point the Okanagan is on water restrictions, but this is an annual occurrence and nothing out of the ordinary as is being experienced in the lower mainland.

From the forest fire situation, there has been absolutely zero impact from fires and smoke in our area. A few people have said on social media that they are concerned that the smoke can impact the harvest. This kind of talk is a little on the sensational side as smoke would have to be within close proximity (not 50 km away) and for an extended period of time (not a day or two) to have any impact on grape quality.”

 

Vancouver Island – Blue Grouse – Bailey Williamson, winemaker

_DerekFord_BlueGrouseportraits1505218765“Many in the Cowichan Valley have long stood by the ideology of dry farming, and this year they may reconsider this dogma.

At Blue Grouse we hope to have drip irrigation throughout the whole vineyard by next season; we have been irrigating where we can, and it shows a marked difference in the vine health.

Smoke has not been an issue for us as the fires are not burning close by or the smoke is blowing the other way.

Our issue is that vineyard labour has always been a huge issue and will be for the foreseeable future. In a small grape growing region it is even more of a challenge because there is no labour pool to draw from: seasonal, foreign or otherwise.

Very often we pick the grapes based on disease pressure, and hope for phenolic ripeness. At this moment the extreme heat has given way to more seasonal averages which could very well have us harvest a bit early, but not super early. If the rain holds off and the grapes are a week ahead of usual we could be picking in the sun rather than the rain. This would be a great boon for both quality and morale.

I generally don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch, and Mother Nature always has a trick or two up her sleeve, so I am cautiously optimistic, and hopeful.”

 

Okanagan – Naramata – Serendipity Winery – Judy Kingston, owner

Serendipity-Judy-Kingston-6

“At Serendipity we are lucky that there are no water restrictions on agricultural properties in the Naramata bench.

The smoke cover here was far less than in most parts of the province, almost to the point that it was less than normal. We had maybe five days of smoke, and the kind of smoke damage that CedarCreek and St Hubertus had in 2003 is not anticipated at this time. That was a rare occurrence.

We have seen few if any 40 degree days on the Naramata bench, we had a few that were kissing 40 degrees. The south valley has seen a few. We haven’t seen the vines shut down yet, but we have in past seasons. At this point, veraison is just kicking in, showing up in our Pinot Noir field and our Syrah field. Southern regions have veraison in full-swing.

Everyone needs to take a reminder that grape vines are one of the most adaptive species out there. They can withstand stress or difficult conditions.

This year’s harvest looks great. We knew at the beginning of the season that it was going to be an early start to the growing year and a hotter year, so we have taken measures to make sure that the grapes mature properly and not too quickly. Without careful farming practices, there could be a risk that the brix*** accumulate in the berries faster than the phenolics do. This year’s harvest could be fantastic, but it is impossible to say how the harvest is going to be until the grapes are in the press. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

We look forward to picking the Pinot for bubble in the last week of August. Katie is looking forward to harvesting in shorts and a tee shirt, as we anticipate harvest for our regular table wines to start in early September, well ahead of schedule.”

 

Fraser Valley – Singletree – Andrew Etsell, viticulturist

View More: http://typeaphotography.pass.us/onetree

“This year has the potential to be the best year I have seen in a decade. The grapes are 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. At Singletree our Siegerrebe is already at verasion and the lack of rain has made mould a non-issue. This is the first year I have seen the Fraser Valley grapes keeping pace with the Okanagan. The only issue I foresee is that with so little rain our tonnage will be down from last year, but the quality of grapes will be far superior to what we have seen in the past from the Valley.”

 

Kamloops – Monte Creek Ranch – Galen Barnhardt, winemaker
DSC_8036 copy“The 2015 at Monte Creek Ranch season got off to a roaring start, bud break arrived 10 days early and an unbelievably hot start to the summer has pushed us 2.5 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule at veraison. The period between veraison and harvest is the most crucial by far, we are hoping for more moderate temperatures so that phenolic ripeness will occur before sugar levels get too high.

Though there have been many water restrictions in the province, we are fortunate that grapes are quite drought resistant. We practice deficit irrigation within our own vineyards and typically only use 20% of our water license in any given season. We have also been quite lucky and have avoided any smoke taint so far – a bit of recent rain should help matters. If Mother Nature can play nice for another six weeks then we should have a phenomenal harvest.”

 

So there you have it; no one has a crystal ball, but things are looking good so far for the 2015 BC grape harvest.

 

*Phenolic – are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in grapes, which give a wine its profile; includes tannins that occur in grape skins, seeds and stems as well as other complex chemical compounds that will help to define a wine’s character

**Veraison – a grape-growing term meaning when the grapes change colour – the onset of ripening in the grapes.

***Brix – the measure of sugar