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.

 

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.

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.

serendipity-vineyard-4

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.

evolve-vineyard

A view towards the lake at Evolve Cellars in Summerland.

 

Town Hall Brands: Specializing in wine, food and hospitality

Town Hall Brands, based in Vancouver BC, build brands and promotes them. We offer marketing strategy, graphic design, packaging, promotional campaigns and PR, and social media outreach.

Can we help you with a story? If it comes to a story in need in wine, we can help or send you to the right place.

Meet Tara Clark #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 a colleague of ours, Tara Clark.

Tara ClarkAs you can tell from her photo Tara is fun, fabulous and full of energy!

But she’s also a savvy business owner at Tara Clark Consulting, where she specializes in Digital Marketing for luxury leisure and fine wine clients that are hand picked and reflect her values and passions in life.

Tara works with Town Hall’s PR client, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, as their Digital Marketer. Which means we are lucky enough to work with Tara where she provides collaborative digital marketing strategies and executes the plans with efficiency and effectively.

While it is still early in Tara’s career, she was the Social Media Award Recipient in October 2015 for her work with Blue Grouse through Social Media is Simple blog. This is just the beginning for Tara and Town Hall is happy to count her as part of our network.

Working with fine wine brands Tara is a known #winelover (another reason we all love her) and as such is WSET Level II certified.

With all of that said about Tara, will you please help us give a big hello to her?

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

Meet Pedro Parra #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

Well  its FriYAY – and a new week to bring you an amazing person #withTownHall!

If you are new to reading this blog or new to our company – we want you to know that we are proud that we have a big network, and we are continually meeting new and interesting personalities.

This week #withTownHall, we are rolling in on #featurefriday to introduce you to an international terroir specialist, Pedro Parra.

Pedro Parra, Coolshanagh and Okanagan Crush Pad, terroir specialistPedro is a soil and terroir consultant from Chile.  To keep it simple, he assesses vineyard soil and determines which grape varietals will grow best based on soil type and composition. This includes digging pits and truly understanding the soil since different soil types yield different results in finished wine.

Pedro’s clients are mainly located in Chile, Argentina, and Italy, but he also works in Sonoma, British Columbia, Armenia, Uruguay, and Burgundy.

In BC, Pedro works with three of Town Hall’s PR clients. Beginning in 2012, he joined the Okanagan Crush Pad team as their terroir consultant and been apart of their journey ever  since helping them continue to move forward in crafting pure Okanagan wines. In 2014, Pedro assessed the soil of Coolshanagh Vineyard and noted the vineyard’s soil was in the top 15% in the world. Along with the vineyards in the Okanagan, Pedro consults with the Blue Grouse Estate Winery team in Cowichan Valley on their winemaking.

In this position, he has dug over 20,000 pits around the world to help winemakers create the best wine possible, because it’s not about the soil-it’s all about the wine. When Pedro chooses his wine he considers soil type & region over varietal.

With all that being said will you help us say hello to Pedro?

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

 

What a year of personalities #withTownHall

 

By Leeann Froese

Welcome to the #withTownHall #2015recap!

If you are a regular reader, you will know that each week we introduce a person we have encountered #withTownHall!

So as we end the year, let’s re-meet some amazing people:

Featured-in-2015-allDid you miss a post, or are you curious to know more about someone above? Click their posts to read about them:

Ezra Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Crystal Kwon, Citizen Relations & Vancity Buzz

John Biehler

Alison Scholefield, Okanagan Crush Pad

Welbert Choi, Forage

James Melendez, James the Wine Guy

Mark Hicken, Vintage Law Group

Bailey Williamson, Blue Grouse Winery

Tyler Harlton, TH Wines

Hootsuite Owl, Hootsuite

Annika Reinhardt, Social Bites

Clement Chan, Torofuku Modern Asian

Degan Walters, SmokySweet

Cristina Brunner, Blue Grouse Winery

Jeff Kralik, Drunken Cyclist

Glen Korstrom, Business in Vancouver

Julie Van Rosendaal, Dinner With Julie

Darnelle Moore, Eastside Fitness

Sam Hauck, My Vancity

Blue Grouse Estate Winery, team

Jim Irving, BC Hospitality Foundation

Jeremy Schacht, Ampersand Distilling

Tori Klassen

Mijune Pak, Follow Me Foodie

Brian Webb Homoculture

Chris Pritchett, UBC Thunderbirds Baseball

Swearing Minion, Despicable Me

Christine Campbell, Girls Go Grape

Kayla Koroush, Barrel Thief

Joshua McVeity, Photographer and Fred Lee, Man About Town

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, Local Lounge | Grille, Encore Vineyards

Kristina Manning, Monthlyclubs.com

Frank Morgan, Drink What You Like

Courtney Buryta, Vancouver Canucks

Natalie Langston, Freelance Media

Eagranie Yuh, Edible Vancouver and Wine Country

Crystal Henrickson, University of British Columbia

Madeline Puckette, Wine Folly

Steven Spurrier, Decanter Magazine

Jennifer Schell, BC Food and Wine Trails Magazine

Amy Chen, Town Hall Brands

Ann Luu, CTV Morning Live,

Jackie Gidda, Mt Boucherie Estate Winery

William Ho, Fairchild Radio

Skip & Judy Stothert, Coolshanagh

Mary Halpen, Best of Bridge

Ron Wilson, Cheap and Cheerful

Justin Darnes, Drinks Undressed

 

Do you know someone who we should feature #withTownHall? Introduce us. And leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter

 

Behind the Scenes: The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker

By Leeann Froese

In case you missed it, our #withTownHall person this week is Jennifer Schell, international best selling author of two collaborative cook books… go say hi here.

We are super proud that Jennifer’s newest book, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker-By the Sea, was released last Thursday, October 8th and features a few of Town Hall’s clients, including winemaker Bailey Williamson from Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Cowichan Valley.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery’s philosophy is “What really matters?” and this relates directly to their new facility, the experience they create at the winery and the wine making process. Bailey’s process in creating Blue Grouse wines is working harder in the vineyard and playing shepherd to the grapes through the process from vine to bottle, letting the natural state shine through in the final product.

We wanted to share a few behind the scenes shots from the cookbook photo shoot for you.

Bailey Williamson, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, winemaker & model

Bailey Williamson, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, winemaker & model.

Up close and personal with Blue Grouse Quill Red 2012 & 2013 Ortega

Up close and personal with Blue Grouse Quill Red 2012 & 2013 Ortega

The amazing producers and Jennifer on Jericho Beach.

The amazing producers and Jennifer on Jericho Beach.

Jennifer Schell at her book release.

Jennifer Schell at her book launch on October 8th at Barbara Jo’s Book for Cooks.

Want to see even more?

For more behind-the-scenes action from the book and photos from the book launch, head over to Town Hall’s Facebook page were we’ve uploaded an album for you to enjoy!

Meet Jennifer Schell #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 Jennifer Schell.

Jennifer Schell with Town Hall Brands. Barbara Jo's Book for Cooks

Jennifer is a food and wine writer, columnist and editor of BC Food and Wine Trails Magazine, member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, author of the international best seller The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook and the brand new The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – By the SeaIn her second book you’ll be able to learn from our clients Bailey Williamson, winemaker at Blue Grouse Estate Winery in the Cowichan Valley, Harry McWatters, from TIME Estate Winery, and multiple member chefs from The Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia.

Jennifer has made her work about celebrating the people behind the labels and recipes, so today take a moment to say ‘hello’ and help celebrate her.

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