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

 

Going Haywire Organically

Okanagan Crush Pad sign

By Leeann Froese

I recently made a vineyard visit to one of our clients, Okanagan Crush Pad, in Summerland British Columbia, and share some of the updates.

For full disclosure: this is a special place to me personally, in that I have been a part of this company’s team since the vineyard was planted, and I even have a row named after me: Row 38! (If you visit – take a #selfie with ‘my’ row and send it to me!)

The vineyard, called Switchback Vineyard, provides Pinot Gris grapes for Haywire wines. In 2007 winery owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie planted the 10 acre vineyard to one clone, all Pinot Gris, with the idea that they were going to value add to their land and sell all of their grapes to one buyer. They were not planning to be winery owners or get into the business of making wine.

Leeann #selfie at Row 38

Leeann #selfie at Row 38

What actually happened over the next few years is that they did create their own wine: Haywire. First, virtually, then eventually under their own brick-and-mortar winery Okanagan Crush Pad, which has been constructed adjacent to the Switchback Vineyard.

In the time since becoming grape growers the couple has learned a lot more about how they want to farm their property, and now Switchback Vineyard is on its way to becoming certified organic; yet it did not always start out that way. Under consulting Italian winemaker Alberto Antonini’s guidance, the winery team changed the way they farm and stepped up its game to make better wine. After conventionally farming the vineyard for its first few years, the team switched to organic growing practices, and applied for certification in spring of 2014.

They’ve said goodbye to herbicides. Instead, they’re controlling weeds with tilling, beneficial cover crops and the addition of baby doll sheep to graze in between rows. Also, they have stopped mowing the grass between rows. While this makes the vineyards look “weedy”, it lets ground cover grow and it reduces vigour on the vines.

Chickens in a dust bath

Chickens in a dust bath

Ducks & chickens have been added, and they live in the “Okanagan Chicken Pad”, which has got to be the nicest chicken coop one has ever seen. Made by winery owner Steve Lornie, the chicken, sheep and ducks happily coexist in a beautiful wooden coop that has incorporated repurposed wine barrels.

 

 

 

 

peek a boo sheep

Peek-a-boo sheep

These critters are charming, but they have jobs. Chickens provide beautiful and delicious eggs, provide manure to fertilize and they eat insects.  The ducks do the same. Baby doll sheep graze ground cover and also provide manure – all animals contributing to a whole farm approach.

The winery is also practicing integrated pest management, inviting beneficial insects to take up residence so they can eat any insects that eat grapevines. Recently a swarm of bees was discovered on one of the grapevines, so they were harnessed and put into a hive. Now the vineyard has built-in pollination (and perhaps honey one day soon?) and in addition to the bees, ‘insect hotels’ have been erected: a few cute small ones, and one large one, created as a DIY project involving children.

Indian Runner Ducks

Indian Runner Ducks

The overarching idea is to have minimal intervention between the growing and winemaking, to keep things as natural as possible to make the wines without any chemical intervention. This practice requires a lot of attention and despite all the focus, the vineyard rows look rather wild and unkempt. It’s interesting and cute to see the animals running around between the vines, but these animals, insects as well as the many birds in the area all show that there’s a very alive ecosystem in play and that the grapes are being tended for lovingly.

 

It has been a three-year process to get to the point of being able to seek certification, but the result is amazing wine that is gentler on their land.

 

 

 

Baby Pinot Gris grapes at Switchback Vineyard in Summerland, BC

Baby Pinot Gris grapes at Switchback Vineyard in Summerland, BC

 

I raise a glass to that.

 

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Wins Gold in France and Rosé is Named in World’s Top 10 Sparkling Wines

 

Client News – photo download at end of story

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Suggested Tweet:

Best bubble! @summerhillwine Cipes Rosé named in Top 10 in the world http://bit.ly/1dSKgbY #bcwine #organic

The News:

Cipes Rosé Brut

Cipes Rosé Brut

They have done it again! The Cipes Rosé sparkling wine from Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Canada’s acclaimed organic and biodynamic winery, has been given a gold medal and named one of the Top 10 Best Sparkling Wines in the World at the 2013 Effervescents du Monde held on November 13-15 in Dijon, Burgundy, France.

Of the 46 gold medals awarded, the Cipes Rosé is the only North American wine to win a medal, as well as make the top 10. Other countries that placed in the top 10 included France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Brazil.

The Effervescents du Monde, now in its 11th year, has established itself as the leading authority on quality sparkling wine. Utilizing strict guidelines, more than 100 international expert judges, including 50% from outside of France, sampled over 600 wines representing almost 30 countries.

The Cipes Rosé is a 100% organic Pinot Noir cuvee grown at multiple vineyard locations around the Okanagan Valley that were planted and are maintained specifically for sparkling wine production to express a crisp, bright style.

Made in the traditional Champagne method, this wine offers notes of raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, blood orange, vanilla, almond and white toast. Extremely versatile, the wine pairs well with charcuterie, salmon, grilled chicken, duck, pork, quiche, roast turkey, or with family and friends.

Perfect for the holidays!

Download the bottle shot here.

 

 

 

 

 

British Columbia Icewine Harvest Begins

Client News – photo downloads at end of story

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British Columbia Icewine Harvest Begins at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Team Braves Sub-Zero Temperatures For A Sweet Reward

Suggested Tweets:

Brrrr! The #icewine harvest began tonight @summerhillwine Superb grapes will yield delicious nectar. #bcwine #organic

or

Want to learn more about #bcwine and #icewine? @summerhillwine tells us more about it in Icewine: The Essence of the Grape

Here’s The Story:

 

Pickers bundled up to pick frozen grapes at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Pickers bundled up to pick frozen grapes at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Canada’s acclaimed organic and biodynamic winery, started its harvest of Icewine at their Kelowna vineyard tonight. Following an already excellent growing season and table wine harvest, the ideal weather situation occurred that allowed the team to harvest Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt from the winery’s estate vineyard.

“To make superb Icewine, the first thing you need is superb grapes,” said Summerhill CEO Ezra Cipes. “The Okanagan Valley is singularly blessed because not only have we had a growing season that produced perfect grapes, but we had the temperatures that froze our grapes on the vine to produce this delicious nectar. It’s perfection in a glass.”

Frozen grapes are poured into a bin at  SummerhIll Pyramid winery

Frozen grapes are poured into a bin at SummerhIll Pyramid Winery

In the previous vintage, Summerhill picked grapes for the 2012 vintage Icewine on January 12, 2013.

Vineyard manager Willem Semmelink suggested, “After a challenging growing season that saw heavy rain in June, followed by damaging hail in some parts of the Valley, the weather ultimately delivered a long, warm Autumn that produced wonderful grapes. We are pleased that the arctic express has arrived so early, allowing us to capture this amazing fruit so early in the season and avoid damage to nature’s gift.”

So what exactly is Icewine?

summerhillicewine

Grapes left to hang on the vine that when frozen, will be made into Icewine

Icewine is a style of sweet dessert wine produced from grapes that have frozen naturally on the vine to a level of at least -8 degrees Celsius. Grapes left on the vine late in the season begin to lose their stored water content and start to shrivel. The sugars within the core of the grape do not freeze, which produces a concentrated grape must at time of pressing, resulting in a small yield of sweet and concentrated juice. Ice wine usually offers mouth-coating balanced with high acidity and moderate alcohol.

Frozen grapes are picked for Icewine at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Frozen grapes are picked for Icewine at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Icewines are generally more expensive than table wines for several reasons. Labour costs are higher than normal as a large group of grape pickers must be assembled with sometimes little notice, who are able to pick the entire crop within a few hours before the grapes begin to thaw, often in the middle of the night. The potential for damage to grapes left on the vine also increases due to weather, predators, rot and disease. Conditions in the cellar are also more challenging as the grapes must be pressed while still frozen and special equipment may be used. Fermentation also takes months instead of weeks and unique varieties of yeasts must be used in the process.

Since many of the world’s wine growing regions will not experience such extreme temperatures, Canada and Germany produce most of the world’s Icewine, usually sold in 375 or 200ml bottles

Summerhill Winery has produced a short video titled Icewine: the Essence of the Grape which can be viewed HERE.

Learn About Summerhill Pyramid Winery:

 

 

Summerhill Pyramid Winery  Kevin Trowbridge photo

Summerhill Pyramid Winery – Kevin Trowbridge photo

Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located for more than 20 years in the Lakeshore district in Kelowna, BC, is Canada’s premier certified organic winery, BC’s first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, and Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine.

Winemaker Eric von Krosigk oversees the portfolio of BC VQA wines that suit every occasion and has earned the winery the ‘Canadian Wine Producer of the Year’ award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England. The winery, owned by the Cipes family, is also home to the Sunset Organic Bistro, serving food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill’s own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden. The mission of the entire Summerhill team is to produce exceptionally good-tasting wines organically, support local organic food growers, and provide unforgettable experiences for all guests.

More background reading on Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s organic and biodynamic farming practices can be found here.

For more information, visit www.summerhill.bc.ca, find Summerhill on Facebook or follow the winery on Twitter @summerhillwine.

Download photos:

1. Pickers bundled up to pick frozen grapes at Summerhill Pyramid Winery click here

2. Frozen grapes are poured into a bin at SummerhiIll Pyramid Winery click here

3. Frozen grapes are picked for Icewine at Summerhill Pyramid Winery click here

4. A bottle of Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s finished Pinot Noir Icewine click here

Need something you can’t find here? Email leeann@townhallbrands.com or sujinder@townhallbrands.com