5 Ways to Simplify Your Meal Preparation

Well Seasoned-Open House August 30 2017

(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.
  • Example: Eat half of a roast chicken for dinner and save the remaining half for a chicken tortilla soup or shred it for a pulled chicken lettuce wrap

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.
  • Suggested Products: Slice N’ Bake Cookies; Compound Butters; Take N’ Bake Puff Pastry Tarts.    

Stock Your Pantry! August 30 Open House at Well Seasoned:

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. 

Raise a glass to these two women who balance motherhood and winery work

FacebookCover-MothersDay2017

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 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, 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.

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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 Offers Bed & Bottle Retreat

Client News

Grouse House now open for reservations

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.

Grouse House at Blue Grouse Winery

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.

For available dates and rates, email stay@bluegrouse.ca

Book online at www.vrbo.com/997490

Photos of the Grouse House for media found here.

Grouse House accommodation on Vancouver island

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. 

 

 

Call for aid to victims of Peru flooding

Posted by Leeann Froese

Lend a Heart for Peru

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

Blue Grouse Estate Winery appeals to the public to help those affected by the rains and flooding in Peru. People are encouraged to donate here: gofundme.com/DonationsForCrisisInPeru

peru-floods-1

Photo from the Washington Post

An Island Winery with Strong Peruvian Ties

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:

Mobilizing a Community

And the Brunners have inspired action in others.

When Summerhill Pyramid Winery owner Stephen Cipes saw what Blue Grouse was doing, he too leaped into action.

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!”

map

 

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; iperu@promperu.gob.pe). Monitor local media for the latest developments and follow the instructions of local authorities. Verify your travel plans with your airline or tour operator.

We encourage you to stay connected with the latest travel advice and advisories, via the web at http://travel.gc.ca, our mobile TravelSmart application, available at http://travel.gc.ca/mobile, and our RSS feeds at http://travel.gc.ca/rss. You may also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/travelGoC or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/travelGoC.

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 sos@international.gc.ca

Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Lima at 319-3200 or lima-cs@international.gc.ca.

 

Mirabel Pinot Noir “of wondrous beauty” publicly launched

Mirabel Vineyards

Note from Leeann Froese:

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.

If you are a member of the trade seeking an allocation, please contact info@mirabelvineyards.com.

For media, or anyone who wants to know more about the Mirabel Vineyards story, download the information kit HERE.

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4 BC Wineries to Discover at the Vancouver International Wine Festival

4 BC WINERIES TO DISCOVER

The wine world convenes February 11-19 for the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

In 2017, the wine world celebrates Canada in its 150th year of Confederation. Meet BC wine pioneers and stars that continue to shape the industry and taste their amazing wines.

DOWNLOAD a PDF: Four BC Wineries to Discover at VIWF

SummerHill Vineyard

3 Story Starters

1. Industry disruptors, who carve a path for BC wine, then and now
Christine Coletta | Stephen CipesHarry McWatters

2. Trends in BC Wine
Sparkling Wine | Organic | On site experiences | City Winery

3. Organic Okanagan
Stephen Cipes’ 2020 vision – great plans for the health of the Okanagan Valley

Meet the wineries…

1) Haywire 

OCP-Christine-Coletta-6-Credit-Lionel-Trudel

Christine Coletta, Okanagan Crush Pad

Discover The ‘New’ Okanagan
okanagancrushpad.com | @Haywirewine | @OKCrushPad

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

2) Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Stephen Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winer

Stephen Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Leading the Organic Movement
summerhill.bc.ca | @SummerhillWine

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

3) Evolve Cellars

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, Evolve Cellars

Welcoming Wine Country with Celebrational Approachability
evolvecellars.com | @EvolveCellars

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


4) TIME Winery

Harry McWatters

Harry McWatters, TIME Winery

Complete Winery Experience in Downtown Penticton
timewinery.com | @TimeWinery

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

 

What Foods Will Trend in 2017?

Wish you had a crystal ball to predict 2017’s hottest food trends? BBQ champion and culinary expert Angie Quaale of Langley’s Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has compiled a list of her predictions of the foodie fads for next year.

1. Reduction of Food Waste

  • Using everything from bones to vegetable stems, tops, and peels, Quaale suspects that this eco-friendly trend will skyrocket in 2017.

2. Coconut Flour

  • This item is going to gain popularity, and not just for people with gluten sensitivity. It is delicious and will appear in kitchens as a more widely used flour option.

3. Soup

  • From simple bone broth to zesty gazpacho, soup’s popularity will contribute to the reduction of waste while simultaneously feeding your soul.

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

4. More Veggies

  • Meat isn’t going anywhere in 2017, but veggies as sexy sides are going to get more attention – especially if they’re charred.

Simple Roasted Roots

5. Fried Chicken

  • There are many types of fried chicken, but Quaale predicts that the Nashville Hot variety will specifically be more visible next year. This particular variation is super crisp and soaked in hot sauce – not for the faint of heart.

Pretzel Crusted Oven "Fried" Chicken

6. Avocados

  • Avocados keep getting bigger and bigger – and not size. They are showing up in breakfast and as the main feature in desserts, used to thicken sauces and add texture and richness to countless dishes. Avocados aren’t going anywhere in 2017, especially Mexican because they are available every season of the year!

Avocado Fries. You're Welcome!

7. Big Bowls

  • Soups, salads, noodles, acas – big bowls are easy to eat, and can usually be made well ahead of time, making them super convenient. They are also usually fast and fresh.

8. Craft Cider

  • Step to the side craft beer, craft cider is hot on your heels!

9. Iced Tea

  • In 2017, Quaale foresees the rise of this classic beverage brewed from real tea, tweeted naturally with honey and fruit juices; also made into cocktails.

10. Pimento Cheese

  • The caviar of the south. If it isn’t a trend in 2017, it should be and it will be in Canada soon… it is too delicious not to start popping up!

What are your food predictions for 2017? Let us know below!

So your child has collected too many treats…

halloween-treat-and-wine-quoteBy: Amy Chen

As the clock strikes midnight on November 1st, we said goodbye to Halloween 2016 and hello to the piles of chocolates and candies that your child has collected in the few hours of trick-or-treating.

Instead of trying to give away the mountains of Halloween treats to everyone in the office or anyone that you see in the next few months, why not turn it into a fun #WineWednesday pairing!

Yes, candies and chocolates paired with wine.

It’s inexpensive and fun. Everyone will love you and actually accept your leftover treats. It’ll also save you from the headache of dealing with your child’s sugar-high or melt-down from discovering that you have secretly taken from their stash of treats. It’s a win-win for all.

If you’re (un)lucky enough to not have piles of treats at home or a coworker who has brought in a stash of Halloween treats (secretly taken from their child), there is still time for you to head over to your local grocery store and stock up on those heavily discounted candies and chocolates.

Here’s our suggestion of chocolate and candy pairings but feel free to experiment and let us know what pairs well or not.

Halloween and wine pairing

L to R: Evolve Effervescence, Serendipity Sparkling Truth, Evolve Effervescence Pink, Haywire Pinot Noir, Evolve Riesling, TIME Cabernet Merlot, Haywire The Bub, Narrative Riesling, Blue Grouse Pinot Noir, Haywire Pinot Gris Switchback

  • Fruity candies– Such as Skittles, Starburst
  • Sugar coated chocolate– Such as Smarties and M&Ms
    • Pair sweeter chocolates, especially ones that are sugar-coated, with reds such as Cabernet Franc, for a classic aroma with firm but approachable tannins to balance off the sweetness.

Leave a comment below or tweet us your pairing @TownHallBrands, using the hashtag #WithTownHall.

Five Reasons to Love Okanagan Crush Pad Winery

Okanagan Crush Pad is Five today!

5glass

1. Summerland

This winery is located in beautiful Summerland, heart of the Okanagan Valley, and is one of the Bottleneck Drive wineries. The surrounding views are breathtaking and the hospitality and community are so welcoming in this small town.

The view from Okanagan Crush Pad.

The view not far from Okanagan Crush Pad.

2. Respecting history to make wines of today

Since constructing its state-of-the-art winemaking facility and visitor center in 2011, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery has been regarded as one of the most innovative wineries in Canada. One of these reasons is because of its return to yesterday’s wine making techniques using the science and knowledge of today. The use of concrete tanks and clay amphorae really work to bring out the terroir of their Haywire and Narrative wines, which personify where they are grown.

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Haywire natural wines with an amphorae.

3. International insights

The Okanagan Crush Pad Winery team has pulled in consulting minds from Alberto Antonini and Pedro Parra, who have used their global perspective to help the Okanagan Valley shine.

 

14457483_1164251366961450_7393452582593729622_n

The OCP team learning about the soil at Garnet Valley Ranch with Alberto and Pedro.

4. For the love of the earth and all of its animals

Switchback Vineyard, where Okanagan Crush Pad Winery is located, is certified organic. Garnet Valley Ranch, where vines are grown for Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, is also organic from day one. There are animals onsite, including chickens, ducks, dogs, sheep, cows, worms and bees, which help to keep the biodiversity alive.

ocp-chickens-sbv

Say hello to the chickens at Switchback Vineyard.

5. A dream team

Owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie have assembled an amazing team around them: Christine, Steve, David, Alison, Matt, Julian, Jordan, Megan, Tyler, Theo, Duncan, Kristina, Mike, Lisa, Rebecca, Amy, Rebeka, Paula, Alberto, Pedro, and many more, and we are proud to be part of it!

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The OCP team on the day Switchback Vineyard became certified organic in 2015.

Congratulations to the entire team at Okanagan Crush Pad Winery on your fifth birthday; we are so proud of all of you.

2016 BC Grape Harvest In Full Swing

 

Would you like images, an interview, or to learn more? Contact Sujinder Juneja for assistance.

According to the BC Wine Institute (BCWI), BC’s cool-climate grape crop is on track for another excellent vintage this year. Hot and dry conditions in the spring led to the earliest bud break on record and the earliest harvest ever for some wineries in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. The low average temperatures and high rainfall allowed BC grapes to have more time to ripen on the vine and to accumulate flavour and aromatic compounds. This contributes to wines that are fresh, complex and balanced with higher acidity that make them versatile food pairings.

On Vancouver Island

Bailey Williamson, winemaker for Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan on Vancouver Island, is expecting another excellent harvest at the Cowichan Valley estate. A strong growing season in April and May, followed by a cooler June and July than the previous year, led to an elongated flowering and fruit set cycle and allowed the grapes to mature and ripen to classic levels. The Blue Grouse harvest started on September 10, beginning with the popular Siegerrebe, an aromatic white varietal which tends to ripen earliest. After that, there will be a break in harvest until the end of September, when the rest of the grapes will be harvested in earnest. Compared to all the vintages since 2012, this year’s harvest started within a week of normal.

bg-winery-01-creditderekfordsmall

Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan.

In the Fraser Valley

Conditions on the mainland were similar to Vancouver Island. Andrew Etsell, GM and viticulturist of Singletree Winery in Abbotsford notes that with the warm and dry August, the grapes developed beautiful flavours with balanced acids and sugars. Singletree began its harvest on August 25 – one full week earlier than 2015, and the winery’s earliest harvest on record. “We started with our Siegerrebe, which is evolving into one of our most popular wines,” Andrew shares. “We’re also keeping a close eye on our estate Pinot Noir, which we have just harvested for our first-ever estate sparkling wine. Other estate varietals, such as our Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc, will follow after that. This year’s harvest will not yield as much fruit as 2015, yet the fruit will be clean and very high quality.”

It’s harvest time at Abbotsford’s Singletree Winery.

In the Okanagan – Naramata Bench

After an unseasonably warm spring, followed by an early summer, Serendipity Winery’s Katie O’Kell was concerned that the harvest would take place much earlier than normal at her estate Naramata vineyard. However, the cooler, wetter weather moved in, which allowed the grapes to mature a more moderate pace.

Serendipity’s harvest started on August 29 with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and continued on August 31 with Viognier. With a dry and cool climate, the phenolics (flavour and aromatic compounds) will eventually catch up to the brix (a measure of potential alcohol) that is currently sitting in the low 20s.

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Serendipity Winery’s estate vineyard in Naramata.

Okanagan – South

Likewise, Lawrence Buhler, director of winemaking for ENCORE Vineyards, which produces wines under the TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection labels, is also in the middle of an active harvest. Compared to last year, Buhler and his winemaking team saw a two-day early start to the season on August 17. Harvest has almost been completed for the still whites, with additional harvests to take place in the next two to four weeks for red varietals.

Regarding the balance of the 2016 harvest, Lawrence says the reds are maturing well and the cooler weather is excellent for proper fruit development and sugar accumulation in the berries.

Harry McWatters, president and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards said recently to Global Television, “we had record-breaking temperatures in April and the earliest bud break that I’ve seen in my history in British Columbia. This is my 49th vintage in the wine business and I’ve never seen a harvest this early. What it does is even in the fringe areas, where the grower may be pushing their limit as far as what they’re growing or the amount of crop they’ve got, it gives them a bit bigger window to mature that fruit to its optimum level. It’s a good thing.”

Indeed it is, Harry. And although the wineries – from Vancouver Island to the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan – are right in the middle of an exciting harvest, we already can’t wait to taste the finished wines starting next spring.

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A view towards the lake at Evolve Cellars in Summerland.

 

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