(Special event invitation to follow at end of blog post!)
Back to school is around the corner. While getting back into the daily grind can be extremely stressful, especially when it comes to meal time preparation, food expert Angie Quaale of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store shares five simple yet useful hacks to transition back into the school year.
1. Cook once, eat twice
Cook a double portion so half is half is eaten now and the remaining half is saved for a future meal.
2. Make ahead small freezer packs for busy mornings
Plan ahead and freeze small containers of fresh cut fruit, kale, spinach, avocados or any of your favourite smoothie fruits and veggies.
These can be added to a blender with a splash of almond milk and turned into a smoothie in an instant. It makes a nutritious breakfast for those busy mornings or a great after school snack.
3. Freeze your beverage
In a reusable water bottle, mix your favourite iced tea, coffee or fruit flavoured water. Freeze and use it as an ice pack to keep your lunch “food safe” until you’re ready to eat. Your “ice pack” will also thaw for you to enjoy.
4. Go big and start out strong
Having interesting and delicious dinners and lunches doesn’t have to be difficult but it does require some planning. If you do a big shop and preparation at the beginning of the week, you’ll save time on meal preparation for the rest of the week.
Example: Make a big batch of hummus, cut a ton of veggie sticks or bake a big bag of spicy pita chips and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
5. Supplement with store bought “extras”
Don’t be afraid to supplement your meal with some store bought “extras”. Store bought pizza dough takes minutes to roll out and bake, you can top it with just about anything you have on hand. A grocery store rotisserie chicken, canned beans and bagged salads can be turned into wraps, big bowls, salads and soups in an instant. A well stocked fridge and pantry will make it easy to avoid the drive thru on your way home.
For those needing more inspiration for meal ideas, you are invited to Well Seasoned’s free Hot August Night Open House where you will meet more than 20 local producers and sample products to add to your next meal. Mark your calendar: August 30 (6-8pm) at Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store in Langley, BC.
It’s no secret that frozen Rosé is the hottest drink of the summer. With the combination of the long weekend and this insane heatwave, it’s the perfect time to try your hand at creating this cocktail that is as beautiful as it is delicious.
The best part about this cocktail is that the honey, blueberries, and wine are all from BC – perfect for celebrating BC day!
Let us know if you’ll be celebrating BC Day with this recipe. We’d love to see a photo of your Rosé popsicle! Cheers to you.
The wine label was designed by Jill’s niece Taryn Brown, an artist living in Victoria, who worked with Jill’s vision to showcase imagery that captured the sensuality of women and wine. Jill is pleased to see the proceeds of the wine sales go to the BC Hospitality Foundation wine scholarship fund to support students who are pursuing their higher level wine education certification.
At Botanist, in Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, Jill has a focused vision to build a unique wine program featuring both Pacific Northwest and internationally-sourced wines that reflect a true sense of place. She has developed Botanist’s wine program to reflect exclusive terroir-driven wineries that support sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking practices.
Okanagan Wine Campus, created in 2011 by Okanagan Crush Pad, is a mentorship program that provides selected Vancouver Sommeliers with the unique chance to make a small lot wine using the grape variety and style of wine they wish. The proceeds from the sale of the wine are given to the BC Hospitality Foundation wine scholarship fund to support students pursuing higher level wine education certification. 26 scholarships have so far been awarded through the support of this program.
There is no one more brave, strong or influential in our lives than our mother. We know how much mothers do for us. They wear many hats. Our mothers are teachers, housekeepers, rule enforcers, book keepers, landscapers, nurses, chefs, counselors, taxi drivers and more. Not only are they all of these things, but their job never ends.
We checked in with two amazing ladies we work with, to learn what motherhood means to them and how their role at the winery may be similar to their role as a Mom…
Laura Preckel of Singletree Winery, and her family
Laura Preckel, Singletree Winery, Abbotsford, BC
Our Q: Is your role at the winery anything like motherhood?
Laura: Yes. I take care of the weddings and events. Each bride and groom that comes and books with us is like having a new baby. My job is to guide them, just as I would in motherhood. My brides need to know what rentals they need, what deadlines to meet. I try to ensure all my brides have everything they need from me to have the most magical wedding and the best experience possible. In motherhood, I try to ensure my kids have a memorable childhood. I provide them with the tools to have a successful, fulfilled and happy life.
Our Q: What is your favourite thing about being a mom?
Laura: Being a mom is scary! I say to myself all the time, am I doing this right thing? My favourite thing though is when I get hugs, cuddles and they say “I love you.” Nothing makes my heart melt more. When my son reaches up to hold my hand, I know I made the right decision to become a mom. I never really knew how motherhood would change my life. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I love my little creatures and family more than anything in the world.
Jenny Garlini, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, and her family
Jenny Garlini, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, Duncan, BC
Our Q: Is your role at the winery anything like motherhood? If so, how?
Jenny: Yes. I’m behind the scenes making things happen. There are so many things that I do in my role at the winery that no one knows that I do. From ordering lunch for a team meeting to keeping track of inventory at four different locations, to submitting PST returns.
It is the same as motherhood – all the behind the scene jobs….making lunches, signing up kids for camps, getting rid of the outgrown clothes and toys, etc.
Making the home and winery run smoothly- that is my job.
Our Q: What is your favourite thing about being a mom?
Jenny: Knowing I can always make my kids feel better. They come to me for hugs, cuddles, kisses on ouchies, or a talk. My words and comforts make their tears go away. Nothing is better than that.
These two ladies provide only a small window into the work of working moms, all over the world. Happy Mother’s Day to all the super awesome, inspirational, hard working moms out there.
And to the dads who are raising children by being both a Mom and Dad, Happy Mother’s Day to you too!
Blue Grouse Estate Winery announces the highly-anticipated opening of Grouse House, an exclusive ‘Bed & Bottle’ retreat for wine lovers, exquisitely set within the heart of the historic estate vineyard.
The panoramic outdoor patio space offers a barbecue and a place to lounge and relax while enjoying a complimentary bottle of wine from Blue Grouse Winery. Leanna Rathkelly photo.
Located within minutes from the quaint seaside community of Cowichan Bay and less than an hour from downtown Victoria, the Cowichan Valley wine experience has never been better.
The two-bedroom suite sleeps four, making it ideal for couples or a small family. A modern kitchen is the perfect place to create meals made from the treasures picked up at the Duncan Farmers Market. The panoramic outdoor patio space offers a barbecue and a place to lounge while enjoying a complimentary bottle of wine from Blue Grouse Estate Winery.
Other amenities include luxurious linens and towels, a gas fireplace, air-conditioning and complimentary WiFi. The Grouse House is perfect for wedding and honeymoon stays, family adventures, or small corporate retreats. Escape today and enjoy the very best that Island wine country has to offer.
The Grouse House offers a two bedroom suite, each with an en-suite bathroom (this one is wheelchair accessible). Leanna Rathkelly photo.
About Blue Grouse Estate Winery:
Family-owned, sustainably-farmed and award-winning, Blue Grouse Estate Winery is located in Duncan, in the heart of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. The winery and surrounding vineyards are a sought after destination not only for sampling the winery’s portfolio of award-winning wines, but also for evens, picnics, and family adventures.
The inspired winery facility was but with many sustainable elements including locally-sourced construction materials, the use of geothermal energy, onsite water collection and treatment, as well as other features that reduce energy consumption.
The Blue Grouse tasting room is open year round with season hours. For the hours when you plan your visit, visit bluegrouse.ca.
If you have any additional questions about Grouse House, please feel free to contact us at Town Hall Brands.
Town Hall Brands is based on the west coast of Canada in a rain forest environment, and so we are no strangers to seasonal rain. At times the precipitation can be heavy and we sometimes see some flooding, but never even close to the scale of what is happening in Peru.
It’s with that shocking reality of how good we have it here and those that need our help so much, we must share this news from our BC one clients and also share that they are inspiring others to take action – Leeann
Peru is special to the owners of the winery. The Brunner family, who purchased the pioneering Island winery in 2012, call Peru home for half of the year. Cristina Brunner is Peruvian and has deep roots, with many family members there. Paul and Cristina’s daughter Paula, 22 and currently studying in Scotland, has established the online fundraiser with the goal of raising £5,000.
Paula, having experienced a mudslide or “hauyco” first hand, knows how terrifying the experience can be. She has leaped to help; saying “Peru is a poor country; it is my country, and from my heart I want to help.”
Effective immediately, and until the end of April, all Blue Grouse Estate Winery tasting room fees collected will be donated to the cause, and the Brunner family will match those donations.
A State of Emergency in Peru
Due to the effects of ‘El Niño’, which have been exacerbated by climate change, the country of Peru has seen some of the heaviest rains in its history since December. Over the last two weeks, flooding has intensified. Torrential rains have triggered destructive mudslides along the coast of Peru from north to south, and the death toll has reached at least 75 people. A state of emergency has been declared across half the country and at least 100,000 people have been left homeless.
The highly unusual rains follow a series of storms that have struck hard along Peru’s northern coast. This has damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 homes, collapsed 117 bridges and paralyzed countless roadways. The running water treatment systems are clogged, leaving people with limited access to safe drinking water.
The Brunner family’s GoFundMe proceeds will go directly towards helping families and communities affected by the floods to overcome the challenges they are currently facing in the areas of food, water and clothing.
The damage is tough to grasp. The sheer volumes of water that whip away the hillsides, railways, roads and bridges,is captured for the world to see live.
This video from Climate State provides a compilation of video footage of the disaster:
Cipes has a long history of being a friend to people from all over the globe. He says, “Let’s do something wonderful for those brothers and sisters who need it most! Rapidamente!”
At the Kelowna winery, watch for wine and dessert features, with partial proceeds collected to go to Peru as well.
Heavy rains expected until the end of April
Blue Grouse Estate Winery owner Paul Brunner notes “Let’s get some perspective on the seriousness of this problem. If you were to superimpose Peru over Europe there would be continuous floods, landslides and heavy rains from Amsterdam all the way down to Rome. That’s the Pacific Ocean side of Peru’s tragedy!
Now let’s look at the Amazon (Brazil) side of Peru. These same events are affecting an area from Munich down to Sarajevo, with heavy rains are expected to last well into April. Your help is needed and appreciated!”
Notice from Global Affairs Canada
And as a last note, and public service announcement:
Global Affairs Canada shares the following notice to Canadians
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the departments of Ancash, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura and Tumbes due to flooding, landslides, and mudslides resulting from heavy rains.
The Government of Peru has created an interactive map indicating the affected areas. Widespread damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges, is causing disruptions to transport and communications. The Government of Peru has declared a state of emergency for the main highway (Carretera Central) connecting Lima to the east. All major airports in Peru are operating; however commercial flights could be suspended without warning.
Free evacuation flights from some affected areas are being offered by the Peruvian Air Force; consult their Facebook page for flight schedules. There are shortages of food, potable water and fuel in the affected areas. Other regions of Peru, including Lima, are rationing potable water or have limited access to water. Water- and insect-borne diseases may also become a threat. Medical facilities in affected regions are overburdened. There remains a high risk of further flooding throughout the region, as rainfall is predicted to continue until mid-April.
If you are in the affected area, ensure you have adequate emergency supplies and an emergency kit. For assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada in Lima or local authorities at IPeru (01-574-8000; firstname.lastname@example.org). Monitor local media for the latest developments and follow the instructions of local authorities. Verify your travel plans with your airline or tour operator.
For emergency assistance after hours you may communicate with the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa (EWRC) by calling the Embassy and following the instructions. You may also reach the EWRC directly by dialing (collect call where available), +1-613-996-8885 or toll free 001-800-387-3124 or by email at email@example.com
Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Lima at 319-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a number of our clients and team members being women, we want to celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting the leadership and dedication of the women in Town Hall Brands’ circle. Most of all, we invite you to help us celebrate and recognize these incredible women for their hard work and achievements.
Thank you ladies for everything that you do! Here is what the women #WithTownHall had to say about being a woman in the work force, what International Women’s Day means to them, and why it’s important to celebrate this day together.
“To me, the meaning of this day is as diverse as the individuals who celebrate it. It’s about giving recognition to the women who inspire us, reflecting on our past struggles and achievements, planning for positive change in the future, and making the commitment to invest in the untapped potential and opportunities for future generations of women.”
“The biggest challenge is the pressure I put on myself to exceed my own expectations in all aspects of my life. Trying to not only balance, but exes, in the multiple businesses, industry boards, volunteer activities, and family obligations, sometimes leaves very little time to take care of myself.”
“Can you imagine not being able to vote? No, me either! International Women’s Day reminds us where we’ve been and how far we’ve come, it celebrates all women, especially those that blazed the trails and fought for gender equality.”
“International Women’s Day is hugely important to me because it acknowledges that the fight for women’s equality is far from being over. The community that has risen from today’s feminist movement has not only inspired me to lift up other women, but to never stop learning about women’s struggles around the world instead of focusing on issues solely on issues solely in my own line of vision.”
“International Woman’s Day is a remind that our fight is not over, and that we cannot take our rights for granted. I think this is incredibly important, especially in today’s political climate. Women around the world still do not have social, political, and economic equality. Violence against women is not only a problem abroad, it is also not being adequately addressed in our own country. I believe it is essential to have a day dedicated to confronting and finding solutions to these issues.”
“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate all women – all of the accomplishments we have made, as well as the work that still needs to happen to be seen as equals.”
“My biggest challenge of being a woman in the workforce has been having my voice heard and sticking to a good work/life balance.”
“I find it disheartening at times that we still need a day to call attention to our worth. That said, it means we have an official day to gain attention and celebrate women and their accomplishments the world over. It is a time to reinforce the love for the sisterhood.”
“International Women’s Day is a celebration of every step that we have taken in bringing equality to not only women but every individual in our society. As well, a reminder that together, we are stronger and we can make a positive difference in each other’s lives.”
If you follow us on social media, you will note that our design team has been working on a beautiful new label with an illustration from Darrell Underschultz, for the Reimers, a lovely Kelowna couple, for their new Mirabel Vineyards Pinot Noir.
This limited release Pinot made by Matt Dumayne is both bold and silky at the same time, and with only a few cases made, is sure to go quickly.
We are very proud to also handle the publicity for this new wine, and here is the official press release.
Mirabel Vineyards Announces Debut Release Reimer Family focused on terroir-driven Pinot Noir
Doug and Dawn Reimer are pleased to launch their inaugural Mirabel Vineyards wine with the release of the 2015 Pinot Noir, sourced exclusively from their South East Kelowna hilltop estate and vineyard overlooking the Okanagan Valley.
Mirabel, meaning “of wondrous beauty”, perfectly represents the Reimer family’s stunning South East Kelowna hilltop estate and vineyard overlooking the beautiful Okanagan Valley.
The sustainably-farmed Reimer Family Vineyard was planted in 2006 on a steep hill with both southwesterly and northwesterly aspects. Grapes were planted at high elevations over complex soils. Analysis of the terroir suggested the estate was best planted to specific clones of Pinot Noir, to be blended together for optimum colour, flavour, acidity, tannin and length. The yield is cropped at a low 2.5 tons per acre and harvested by hand. One-and-a-half acres of Chardonnay will be planted this spring.
The family’s commitment to quality is realized with this first vintage release of 237 cases of a luscious, elegant, sustainably-grown Pinot Noir.
The 2015 Mirabel Pinot Noir ($70.00 for 750ml, $160 for 1500ml Magnum) was aged 11 months exclusively in French oak (30% new). Gentle handling, including gravity transfer from barrel to bottle, helped to maintain the subtle texture, rich fruit, soft spice and generous length. As the Reimers do not yet have a winery, this wine was made at Okanagan Crush Pad by chief winemaker Matt Dumayne.
Mirabel Vineyards was founded through Doug and Dawn’s shared love of travel, and the belief that the creation and sharing of wonderful food and incredible wine is one of life’s greatest joys. Following a vacation to the Okanagan in 2004, the couple purchased an exclusive piece of property that was ideal for growing grapes. The fruit was previously sold to other wineries, but it will now be reserved for the Mirabel Vineyards label.
Initial praise for the Pinot Noir includes a review from noted BC wine authority John Schreiner, who described it as having “great purity of fruit”. A saignée-method Pinot Noir Rosé and a Chardonnay will be released later this year.
“We believe that what is in the bottle is more than just wine; it is a place and time; a snapshot of the vineyard. We invite you to join us, as we pursue our dream.” – Doug and Dawn
Those seeking access to these limited-production wines are invited to sign up at mirabelvineyards.com.
Industry icon Christine Coletta & husband Steve Lornie built Canada’s first custom-crush facility on Switchback Organic Vineyard. With the input of lauded international consultants Alberto Antonini and Pedro Parra, winemaker Matt Dumayne is turning heads and garnering acclaim for his natural wines made using state-of-the-art concrete tanks, native yeast and minimal additives. With the help of Pedro, the team is working hard to shape a new direction by understanding terroir.
Natural wines that celebrate the land
Made at Canada’s first custom-crush facility
Award-winning leaders in innovation for BC wine
Rock star team with international consultants who bring
global perspective to Okanagan terroir.
Talk to: Christine Coletta – co-owner, one of Canada’s most astute wine marketers
Matt Dumayne – winemaker
Pedro Parra – internationally–lauded terroir expert
Summerhill Pyramid Winery has led the BC organic movement since the Cipes family purchased the vineyard in 1986. The winery was certified organic in 2007, with biodynamic certification for its Kelowna vineyard following in 2012. Winning national and international awards for its pyramid-aged wines, Summerhill is Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine and is BC’s most visited winery. A tireless change maker, founder Stephen Cipes is at the helm of the Okanagan 2020 initiative to transition the entire valley to 100% organic by the year 2020.
Committed to organic and biodynamic winemaking since 1986
Aims to transition to Organic Okanagan by 2020
Pyramid cellar-aged wines
Known globally for award winning sparkling wines
Talk to: Stephen Cipes – founder
Ezra Cipes – CEO and a BC wine leader
Eric von Krosigk – winemaker
Evolve Cellars is a celebration of BC’s next generation, Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, daughter of industry pioneer, and chair of the BC Wine Institute, leads Evolve Cellars in embracing the traditions of BC wine industry to create today’s winery experience. Whether it’s a picnic on the sun-drenched patios with lakefront view or an onsite meal at E Restaurant, Evolve Cellars will leave you with an experiential journey to Okanagan Wine Country. Start yours with a glass of its approachable and affordable wines.
Bright, delicious, approachable and affordable BC wines
that celebrate BC terroir.
An experiential journey to Okanagan Wine Country.
Breathtaking lakefront view and onsite E Restaurant.
Talk to: Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond – oversees the winery; chair of the BC Wine Institute
Nadine Allander – winemaker
Tristan MacLaggan – hospitality director
Led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 50-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. Harry has done many firsts in his career: founding the BC Wine Institute, introducing VQA to BC, and bringing Meritage to Canada, for a few. Throughout his career, he has celebrated that winemaking is about time and place. Now the TIME is to innovate and do another “first”: a heritage theatre is being revitalized into a fully-functional winery and experience centre in downtown Penticton.
Winery home of Harry McWatters, pioneer of BC wine
industry since 1967 — this year marks his 50th vintage!
Fully operational winery in the heart of downtown
Penticton, in the former Penmar theatre.
Makers of Meritage wines.
Talk to: Harry McWatters – president, grandfather of the industry
Lawrence Buhler – winemaker
These are only a few ideas; let us help you with stories.
To arrange interviews with the winery principals, for images and more information, please email Genevieve Dufresne or Amy Chen or call the Town Hall Brands office at 604-321-3295