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. 

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!

Meet Maureen Frost #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 in these posts 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 Maureen Frost.

editted13231257_10154249731107094_1612634123_nMaureen is a contributor at HelloVancity, as well as a business owner at Frost Nursery in Abbotsford.

Town Hall Brands has been lucky enough to get to know Maureen through her attendance at and coverage of client events, especially in the Fraser Valley.

Maureen wrote an excellent article on Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store‘s cocktail class hosted by Kelly Ann Woods of Gillespie’s Fine Spirits. If you need some inspiration I highly recommend you give it a read.

Working with Maureen is easy and she asks intelligent questions that she knows will resonate with her readers, and she holds great enthusiasm for her work. This all shows through in the finished story.

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

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

Meet Lindsay William-Ross #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 Lindsay William-Ross.

Lindsay William-Ross, VancityBuzz 01The lovely Lindsay is a foodie and senior editor at VancityBuzz and her first published piece was in 1980 in The Province; her letter to Santa Claus. If you love Vancity Buzz and its food section that’s because of Lindsay! She currently runs the food section.

Although Lindsay grew up in Vancouver a fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent two decades in Los Angeles. During her time in LA, Lindsay was the editor-in-chief of the city’s top blog, she earned her master’s degree, attended culinary school, and put her master’s to good use as a professor.

Town Hall is lucky to work with Lindsay collaboratively because of our foodie clients Well Seasoned: A Gourmet Food Store, the Chefs’ Table Society of BC and all our winery PR clients. Lindsay has attended events Town Hall has hosted and been part of the Travel Media Association of Canada‘s (TMAC) events to help writers and media learn more about what an editor looks for.

We can’t thank Lindsay enough for her support of our clients and we appreciate her love of the city and food.

With all of that said about Lindsay, 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

Delicious BBQ, Live Music, and Family Fun at BBQ off the Bypass

BBQ off the BypassIf you love delicious BBQ, live music, and all around family fun then don’t to miss the 10th Annual Barbeque Off The Bypass (#BOTB2015), happening this Sunday, September 13th, from 10 am – 4 pm at #117-20353-64 Avenue in Langley. If you still need more convincing that BBQ off the Bypass is definitely the best way to spend this Sunday, we have compiled a list of the top ten reasons to attend:

  1. It’s been a decade in the making! 10th Annual event with even bigger prizes.
  2. Wear your stretchy pants and sample some of the best BBQ in the Pacific Northwest.
  3. You can bring the kids! It’s free and family friendly.
  4. You can groove while you taste. Local Band, The New Shackletons will be playing live.
  5. Buy and eat local- Local Pork, Local Chicken, Local Beef, Local Turkey.
  6. Food trucks onsite: The Chili Tank & Bambino’s.
  7. Watch the BBQ showdown with 25 competing BBQ teams from Alberta to Oregon.
  8. Chef Dez, Red Seal Chef, Chopped Canada competitor and food columnist, emceeing the competition.
  9. Charitable partner TinyKittens Society to be on site taking donations & talking about Kitten Reality TV.
  10. A chance to meet local lifestyle celebrity Black Box and BC Bake Off Judges.
  11. (Bonus) See Town Hall Brands’ own Andrew von Rosen judge the 6th Annual Great BC Bake-Off.

To learn more, please visit: www.bbqoffthebypass.com

We hope to see you there!

Celebrating Canadian Cuisine on Food Day Canada

By Kathleen Beveridge

Saturday is Food Day Canada, which means we get to celebrate by eating delicious Canadian cuisine.

And we share it @FoodDayCanada with #CanadaISFood #FDC2015

BG-FoodWine

Vancouver island’s Blue Grouse Estate Winery is all about celebrating local food and wine

Canada is known across the globe for a variety of things: saying “sorry” and “eh”, maple syrup, and being cold (although that idea is out the window lately), but what is often forgotten is how delicious and diverse our local food is across the country. And let’s be honest, that’s silly, considering we eat every single day.

At Town Hall we couldn’t be more proud to have clients that are a part of this movement, from Langley’s Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store’s owner and local food queen, Angie Quaale, who buys local whenever she can and uses it in her recipes; to the members of the Chefs’ Table Society who all stand behind sustainable and local foods, to our winery clients who produce wine sourced from BC grown grapes.

We also have some clients who source locally and sustainably for their restaurants, including Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s Sunset Organic Bistro, the new restaurant at Evolve Cellars, and the soon-to-open Perch Restaurant, located in the beautiful new AMS building at UBC. These restaurants support local farms and are Ocean Wise.

Top this list off with our client, the BC Hospitality Foundation, who supports those working in the Food and Beverage industry with financial support for industry workers when the need arises, keeping the Canadian food and beverage movement on its feet.

It’s more important than ever to buy local and support Canada’s economy, but more importantly the people, who put so much into growing and creating nutritious food to fuel us through each day.

Now I’ll go celebrate by picking local blackberries and raising my glass (full of BC wine) to Canadian cuisine.

Summerhill-Gardens-Tomatoes-Credit-Kevin-Trowbridge-500x500

Harvesting at Summerhill’s gardens.

How will you celebrate Food Day Canada? In Kelowna, celebrate at Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s Sunset Organic Bistro, one of the 250 participating restaurants in Food Day Canada.

Try wine from one of these BC wineries this Food Day Canada:

Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Coolshanagh

Evolve Cellars

McWatters Collection

Monte Creek Ranch

Mt. Boucherie Winery

Okanagan Crush Pad

Serendipity Winery

Singletree Winery

SpierHead Winery

Summerhill Pyramid Winery

TIME Estate Winery

Wine and Food Event Season is Upon Us in BC

By the Town Hall team

Events to celebrate – mark your calendar now!

Since March 25th’s #bcwinechat was about events, we thought we should share our clients’ events – but there is far to much to say for 140 character!

Check back often for updates…

Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store – BBQ Book Signing & Tasting – April 10
You are invited to celebrate the book launch of Grilling with House of Q, written by BBQ expert Brian Misko, at Well Seasoned in Langley, BC, on April 10th. Mark your calendar for a smoking hot evening of BBQ tasting and book signage by Brian.CARPROMO_BRIANMISKO_BOOKLAUNCH

 BC Wine Appreciation Society – 10th Anniversary Gala Celebration – April 16

Join the BC Wine Appreciation Society on April 16 at 7:00pm for their 10th Anniversay Gala celebration! While you walk around and admire the view that the Diamond Ballroom has to offer, you can sip on wine of over 35 BC wineries, savour some delicious cheese and socialize with your fellow BCWAS members.

And as a bonus it will be super easy for you to add new favourites to your cellar. Order as few as three bottles from any winery – an easy way to get a start on your summer sipping! Get your tickets here!

BC Hospitality Foundation – Dish ‘N Dazzle – May 7
Taste more than 80 wines from Argentina and bites from some of Vancouver’s most celebrated chefs at the annual Dish N Dazzle party at the Convention Centre East. Presented by the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation, the annual fundraiser also includes a cocktail competition and an amazing silent auction. Reserve your tickets now.DND-2015-Web-Banners

Chefs’ Table Society – Spot Prawn Festival – May 17
The Chefs’ Table Society of BC, in partnership with the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association, and Fisherman’s Wharf, present the 9th annual Spot Prawn Festival May 17. The FREE celebration includes live entertainment, fun activities for children, and free cooking demos by top local chefs.

When the boats come in, live, local prawns are for sale at the dock, or buy tickets to the Prawn Boil or for local beer and wine, all while enjoying the dockside atmosphere and live entertainment.IMG_6043

Blue Grouse Estate Winery – Grand Opening – May 23
You’re invited to attend the grand opening of Blue Grouse’s new tasting room and winery facility. Nestled in the heart of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, Blue Grouse is one of Vancouver Island’s first wineries, working with vines originally planted in 1977. Winemaker and vineyard manager Bailey Williamson will be in attendance to showcase the latest vintages from the historic estate, and you will be treated to snacks and live music.Blue Grouse-Vinny

Okanagan Crush Pad – Mother’s Day Brunch – May 10
Mother’s Day is May 10 and Okanagan Crush Pad has teamed up with three Summerland businesses to provide a casual and fun Mother’s Day treat! They will be serving True Grain waffles, drizzled with maple Roch syrup, and My Chocolate Crush will be on-site providing luxury handmade chocolates. Enjoy all this with Haywire’s The Bub!OCP-Tasting-Room-4

Bottleneck Drive – Wine in the Garden -May 28
Celebrate spring with Bottleneck Drive wineries on May 28th at 6:00pm in VanDusen Botanical Gardens (Vancouver) to taste over 75 wines with food pairings from Truffles Fine Foods. Enjoy live music, a silent auction and wander the beautiful gardens.OCP-Switchback-Vineyard-Guests

Wines of Provence Tasting – June 6
Get patio ready! Be transported to the beautiful, sunny south of France in a glass, at a complimentary tasting of rosé wines from Provence. Visit the 39th and Cambie BCLDB location on June 6 (exact time TBD) and sample a selection of refreshing and delicious rosé wines from Provence, on feature throughout BC in the month of June.IMG_2778

Bottleneck Drive – Heard it Through the Grapevine – June 13 – 14
Join Okanagan Crush Pad along with Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive members to kick off the summer tasting season! Enjoy live music throughout the day, free tasting and great deals on great wine. The tasting room will be open 7 days a week hereafter.OCP-Switchback-Vineyard-5

Mt. Boucherie Winery – Lobster Fest – June 27
Join Mt. Boucherie Winery on June 27th for Lobster Fest and enjoy the panoramic view of Okanagan Lake as you dine in the winery’s picnic area for a three course meal of fresh lobsters paired with Mt Boucherie wine. Please check back on the Mt. Boucherie’s events page for more information.MB-Events-Page-Banner-2015

Mt Boucherie Winery – Stretch, Sip and Savour – Every Sunday from May 24 to September 13
What’s more relaxing than unrolling your yoga mat, and getting out a glass of wine. Starting May 24th, visit Mt Boucherie every Sunday (11am to 12pm) for a relaxing outdoor yoga class followed by a glass of wine and a light lunch. To register, please call the winery at 250-769-8803 or email sales@mtboucheriewinery.com. yoga9

Mt. Boucherie Winery- Mt. Boucherie Presents Becca T. – Second Saturday of Every Month from June 13 to October 10
Dance to the beat of pop and jazz singer, Becca T. as she performs live under the Mt. Boucherie white tent on the second Saturday of every month (1pm to 3pm). Starting June 13th until October 10th, bring a friend, your favourite snack and sip a glass of wine as you enjoy a musical afternoon out in the vineyard. Please check back on the Mt. Boucherie’s events page for more information.
MB-Events-Page-Banner-BeccaT-2015

Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store – Weekly Cooking Classes – Weekly
Well Seasoned offers weekly cooking classes with various exciting themes taught by professional chefs. See the full list of classes from Date Night to Modern Indian and many more!chefjohnwalls_newfeature

The year that was 2014 With Town Hall – Part 2

Status

By Leeann Froese

Picking up from last week’s Wine Wednesday, today I finish a recap of what we did in 2014.

I repeat how grateful we are for the support we receive from our clients, colleagues and the trade. You all bring the awesome, and I can’t wait to see what 2015 unfolds for us all.

Here we pick up the last half of the year…

August

Road Trip #withTownHall

As our team grew throughout 2014 two new people with no previous wine experience joined us (Laurisha Bardal and Amy Chen) so a tour & learn was in order. We visited Okanagan Valley clients SpierHead winerySummerhill Pyramid WineryMt. Boucherie Family Estate WineryOkanagan Crush Pad and Serendipity winery.

Each winery client welcomed our team with open arms and in addition to learning a lot, we had a lovely time!

Laurisha makes her selections in the cozy and welcoming Mt. Boucherie wine shop

Laurisha makes her selections in the cozy and welcoming Mt. Boucherie wine shop

Of course a #selfie with Laurisha, Summerhill's Ezra Cipes and Amy

Of course a #selfie with Laurisha, Summerhill’s Ezra Cipes, and our Amy

...and a #selfie with barman extraordinaire Gerry Jobe and Globe and Mail columnist Alexandra Gill. Alexandra was on assignment to cover the winery's truly innovative cocktail menu being led by Gerry (using ingredients grown and foraged on site, as well as Tibetan singing bowls)

…and a #selfie with barman extraordinaire Gerry Jobe and Globe and Mail columnist Alexandra Gill. Alexandra was on assignment to cover the winery’s truly innovative cocktail menu being led by Gerry (using ingredients grown and foraged on site, as well as Tibetan singing bowls)

It is so relaxing at the cute outdoor area at Spierhead winery in Kelowna

It is so relaxing at the cute outdoor area at SpierHead winery in Kelowna

We arrived at Okanagan Crush Pad just in time to have the girls star in a video with winery owner Christine Coletta and 30 day Adventures travel blogger Marc Smith

We arrived at Okanagan Crush Pad just in time to have the girls star in a video with winery owner Christine Coletta and 30 Day Adventures travel blogger Marc Smith

Okanagan Crush Pad's Garnet Valley Ranch

It was a pleasure to give the team a rare behind-the-scenes look at Okanagan Crush Pad’s Garnet Valley Ranch property (new plantings in the back ground). I’m pretty sure this is the highest elevation grape planting in BC.

Serendipity's Judy Kingston showed us the ultimate in hospitality. Not only did we get a great tasting, she had the three of us as guests in her home. The next morning, she made us an incredible breakfast before we hit the road.

Naramata’s Serendipity Winery’s Judy Kingston showed us the ultimate in hospitality. Not only did we get a great tasting, she had the three of us stay as guests in her home. The next morning, she made us an incredible breakfast before we hit the road. Not in this picture was second-in command Katie O’Kell, Judy’s daughter, who also rolled out the red carpet for us.

September

BBQ OFF the Bypass

Our client, the amazing Angie Quaale, hosted the 9th annual BBQ On The Bypass (it became OFF the bypass after Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store moved to a new location). The free public event offered music, unique displays, tasty vendors and delicious BBQ samples.

15 teams gathered and the winner was House of Q, who then went on to win for the World’s Best Ribs from the World Food Championships in Las Vegas!

House of Q

House of Q BBQ is the winning team for the 9th Annual BBQ OFF the Bypass

A free family event, the BBQ OFF the Bypass offers everyone's fave: bacon!

A free family event, the BBQ OFF the Bypass offers everyone’s fave: bacon!

A few thousand BBQ lovers gathered on a beautiful day in Langley for the BBQ OFF the Bypass 2014

A few thousand BBQ lovers gathered on a beautiful day in Langley for the BBQ OFF the Bypass 2014

 

Celebrity Dim Sum

Raising funds for Aids Vancouver was the annual Celebrity Dim Sum. What fun it was to have politicians, media, and other personalities from Vancouver serving up yummy dim sum to an enthusiastic crowd.

Haywire was the official wine sponsor and sneak previewed its next release of the Lunar New Year wines.

Celebrity Dim Sum

David Scholefield and Whitney Law sneak preview Haywire’s 2015 Year of the Sheep Lunar New Year wines, as the wine sponsor of Aids Vancouver’s Celebrity Dim Sum. David also did his best in the chicken feet eating competition, but alas, was not the victor…

 

Jurgen Gothe Celebration

Our team was proud to help organize the event to celebrate the 70th birthday and achievements of Jurgen Gothe’s lifetime. Many in the industry came together with wine, food, and stories. Our team was thrilled to be part of the planning, event execution and friendship for a memorable afternoon with an unforgettable man and those close to him.

Jurgen 70th birthday

I was so happy to spend the afternoon with Jurgen and his lovely wife Kate Williams. Such amazing people.

 

Fall Colours

The British Columbia Wine Institute held its annual fall tasting event Colours. A few of our lovely BC winery clients were in town to showcase their newest releases to an enthusiastic crowd of trade and media.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery CEO Ezra Cipes shows off his latest releases to the trade

Summerhill Pyramid Winery CEO Ezra Cipes shows off his latest releases to the trade

Amy Hollenbach and Alison Scholefield offer tastes of Haywire wines

Amy Hollenbach and Alison Scholefield offer tastes of Haywire wines

October

Let’s hear it for the Girls!

In time for breast cancer awareness month was the promotion of The Girls wine – a rosé and a red – with 100% sales proceeds of to charity. Note these wines are available year-round and make a wonderful choice for gifting or entertaining, knowing that all proceeds go to a great cause. The red would could be a nice Valentine wine.

Let's hear it for The Girls Wine - 100% proceeds to charity

Let’s hear it for The Girls Wine – 100% proceeds to charity

The Girls Wine founder Bill Lui and CTV's Lynda Steele

The Girls Wine founder Bill Lui and CTV’s Lynda Steele

 

November

Meet Monte Creek Ranch

We were pleased to announce that the wines are now available from Canada’s next wine region and the newest winery in Kamloops, Monte Creek Ranch. Stay tuned for summer 2015 when this winery opens its doors.

With a hat tip to the area history, Monte Creek Ranch will open in 2015 in Canada's newest wine region: Kamloops

With a hat tip to the area history, Monte Creek Ranch will open in 2015 in Canada’s newest wine region: Kamloops

 

Monte Creek Ranch

The driver of this tractor takes a break to catch a beautiful sunset over Monte Creek Ranch in Kamloops

 

Samanatha Syrah

Each year Vancouver’s sommelier of the year is invited to make 100 cases of wine through Okanagan Crush Pad’s Okanagan Wine Campus program. From this $5,000 is donated annually to the BC Hospitality Foundation to support wine education scholarships. 2013 Sommelier of the year Samantha Rahn of Araxi in Whistler created a delicious Syrah. Our team was proud to do the packaging and the publicity.

Samantha Rahn

Samantha Rahn in action in Whistler

Samantha Rahn launches her Okanagan Crush Pad wine at CinCin

Samantha Rahn launches her Okanagan Crush Pad wine at CinCin

SamanthaBottle We are thankful to the media for the great press for sommelier Samantha Rahn’s wine project. This has been the most publicity we have received to date for one of the Okanagan Crush Pad Wine Campus wines. Girls rule!

Previous Wine Campus releases include Kurtis Semillon 2011 (Kurtis Kolt), Owen Cabernet Franc 2011 (Owen Knowlton) and TNT Chardonnay 2012 (Terry Threlfall). In progress and up next is Mike Bernardo (2014).

 

Skills n Spills

The second Skills N Spills competition benefiting the BC Hospitality Foundation took place. Hospitality trade teams competed for bragging rights and more. Our team’s role was media communication and coordinating the amazing media judges.

Skills N Spills 2014 Judges

Meet the 2014 Skills n Spills judges: Emily Caulfield, the Fat Pigs; (me, judge wrangler), Marc Smith, 30 Day Adventures; Miranda Nelson, the Georgia Straight; Tim Pawsey, the Hired Belly; Natalie Langston, Novus TV; and Johanna Ward, the IT Factor

Skills N Spills 2014

Skills N Spills 2014

A New Look for an Older Wine

We were proud to bring to life the new packaging for Cipes Ariel 1998 premier cuvée.

This critically lauded wine now looks as beautiful as it tastes. The artwork and calligraphy were done by Helen Menyes, who also hand painted each of the original Cipes Gabriel 1991 bottles. The layout and design were led by our Andrew von Rosen, and inspiration for the design also came from the winery’s winemaker Eric von Krosigk. The artwork depicts the archangel Ariel (lion of god), descending down the cone shaped bottle. On the back, two ethereal lions are nose to nose, creating the impression of angel’s wings.

Andrew and I had a bottle of this wine on New Year’s Eve (thank you team for the gift!) and it was absolutely delicious. No other way to put it. A truly special BC wine.

Cipes Ariel

 

December

One Faith Vineyards

Our team announced the newest project in British Columbia wine: One Faith Vineyards, and not without controversy, so with this project we will expand…

In the past I have been lucky enough to do media work in Canada with Penfolds Grange and Mondavi’s To Kalon Vineyard, and I was proud to be the publicist to launch Osoyoos Larose. These wine labels are all bold, high end, aspirational projects. Those in the Canadian wine media might recall that when Osoyoos Larose was launched it was met with skepticism before it earned fanfare. Critics said it showed promise but were slow to get 100% behind the project. In the case of One Faith Vineyards I am suggesting the case is the same. However today, the conversation is more rapid, as in 2001 there was no online platforms for social dialogue. And a tempest in a decanter is taking place because Bill Lui dreams for One Faith Vineyards, an expensive wine, to become a first growth wine for Canada.

Sujinder Juneja from our team, a French Wine Scholar, assembled this text:

Let’s first talk about what First Growth actually means. Translated as “Premier Cru” in France, the First Growths were established in 1855 when Napoleon III classified the best wines of Bordeaux for the Exposition Universelle de Paris, based at the time on selling price and overall reputation. The top-ranked wines, named the Grand Crus Classés (Great Classified Growths) were placed in one of five categories from first to fifth, each of which carried a high mark of prestige and suggested a higher quality product.

The fact that these classified growths were now perpetually allowed to charge more per bottle than their close neighbours meant that greater financial resources could be potentially allocated to produce the best possible wine, year after year, even in challenging vintages.

Even inside France, the term First Growth is not a regulated term, but remains a title that lends distinction and perceived quality to the associated wine. Premier Cru is now also used in other appellations in France, including Burgudy, Alsace and Champagne, for example. More often than not, the term merely means the top wine (price and quality) of a particular estate.

Outside of France, the term has been used by other wineries who hope to establish a connection to old world traditions or perhaps build a higher reputation for quality in their home country.

In Canada, there is not yet a legal or binding definition for First Growth but it is the vision and the goal of One Faith Vineyards to produce a First Growth-level wine in the Okanagan Valley, an exceptional wine of unparalleled quality. Everything to do with the wine, from vineyard to winery, from grapes to bottle, must be only the very best.

To be fair, Bill Lui, the proprietor of One Faith Vineyards has never said that his wines are Canada’s First Growth. It is only his goal. His ambition. And only time will tell if that honour is given to One Faith in a formal way. And to be sure, Bill Lui has never once suggested that One Faith Vineyards is above the other great vineyards or wineries of the South Okanagan, but rather that the wine represents the fully-realized potential of excellent quality Bordeaux grape varietals, which have been growing in that site for more than 20 years.”

Interestingly, many people talking about this wine and Bill Lui have an opinion when they have not met Bill, (a generous, humble, husband and father), or tasted the wine. Bill has invested his retirement resources to the project. Despite this, whatever does not make the final blend of only 144 cases is used in the 100% charitable The Girls Wine project.

How does the 2012 wine show? People might expect a big, extracted, tannic and masculine wine, as it is made from Bordeaux varietals, but the inaugural release of the wine is a delicate, fruit forward blend that expresses the south Okanagan terroir beautifully. With the meticulous care, attention, hand crafting and detail that go into production and the resulting limited quantity made, the wine retails in a custom made bamboo box of three for $495. At the time of this post the wines had been selling steadily, but a few cases remained.

One Faith Vineyards founder and aspirational vintner, Bill Lui

One Faith Vineyards founder and aspirational vintner, Bill Lui

 

Wild Sweets

Also in December we were proud to welcome Wild Sweets by DC Duby as a client. I worked with them when I was at Coletta & Associates back in… let’s just say it was more than a decade ago. It’s fun to reconnect with these two passionate chocolatiers and pastry artists. I encourage you to take a look at their website as their chocolate creations are truly remarkable.

At the Atelier in Richmond, DC Duby's pop up retail space, Cindy and Dominique Duby (in the white coats) are joined by Michael, Rebecca Coleman, and Regina Chen

At The Atelier in Richmond, DC Duby’s pop up retail space, Cindy and Dominique Duby (in the white coats) are joined by Michael, Rebecca Coleman, and Regina Chan

Dominique and Cindy make an appearance on Global TV to make creme brulée with Jay Durant and Lynn Colliar

Dominique and Cindy make an appearance on Global TV to make creme brulée with Jay Durant and Lynn Colliar

 

#30 Days of Kindness

Our last project of 2014 was a team one: we took part in #30DaysofKindness

Our team met 30 Day Adventures chief adventurer Marc Smith at the Skytrain station to take part in 30 Days Of Kindness by surprising 20 lucky strangers with the gift of a smile, a positive note and a free ride on Translink. (Just so you know no transit laws were broken in the committing of this act of kindness as we had full approval from Translink.)

This is our 2nd year in a row participating in 30 Days Of Kindness. I am so proud of my hard working and generous-spirited team. Check out our little video and the post with detail on Marc’s site

Sujinder, Amy, Laurisha, me, Ritika, Andrew

Sujinder, Amy, Laurisha, me, Ritika, Andrew #withTownHall

Act of Kindness 04

 

Wrapping Up

Whew!

It was so nice to end the year on a kind note, making people smile, and spreading good will.

Let me know how YOU enjoyed 2014. Did you attend any of these highlighted events? What were the highlights of your year?

2015 already promises some projects and exciting events to emerge so stay posted. Things are already getting busy in the industry with tastings and events.

If you do not already follow us on social media, we’d love for you to join us. Or sign up to receive updates to see what we are getting up to with our clients. You can do this at the top of the website.

We can’t wait to share what else our clients are going to be up to, keep all dialogue going, and I hope we see you in person very soon!

Happy New Year – and on behalf of myself, Andrew, Sujinder, Amy, Laurisha, Felicia, Lindsey, Ali and Ritika, let’s all #gogetit!

The year that was 2014 With Town Hall – Part 1

Starting the New Year with a look at the year that was… 2014 in review – part one of two long posts…

By Leeann Froese

It is remarkable that it is already the first Wine Wednesday of 2015!

2014 had been quite the amazing year for our team at Town Hall. The saying that ‘it takes a village’ is certainly true, especially as you apply it to what we’re doing here. It takes a committed team and also a supporting cast of characters to really make all that we accomplish on behalf of our clients possible.

We feel blessed to have a cohesive team that really enjoys each other’s company both while at and outside the office, and we love our clients, because as well as quality offerings, they carry so much passion and personality.

Also in the village we rely heavily on social thought leaders, bloggers and journalists to support our efforts to help spread the word on behalf of our clients, and we can’t thank everyone enough for their ongoing support and enthusiasm for everything that we’re doing here.

There is too much to detail, so to follow are a few highlights from what was an incredible year.

January

Wine for the Year of the Horse

Haywire Lunar wine launched… and sold out in days. This was an unprecedented program to create a wine for the local market specifically crafted to pair with Asian cuisine, and this wine symbolized the Year of the Horse. Our team did the packaging and PR. The program was a huge success and will be repeated for this year, the Year of the Sheep.

Haywire was the 1st BC winery to release a wine specific for the Lunar New Year

Haywire was the 1st BC winery to release a wine specific for the Lunar New Year

 

Wines of France educational seminar

On behalf of Sopexa Canada our team coordinated three days of training for the senior managers and product consultants of the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch, highlighting Alsace, Beaujolais, Bourgogne, Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhône Valley wines. On the heels of this, it was so exciting having Wines of France be the theme region for the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2014.

French Wines Event

Barb Philip, MW, portfolio manager-Wines of Europe, of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, greets her fellow delegates, who were trained on the wine regions of France, while Annette Hanami of Bourgogne and I look on

 

Dawn Chubai goes Under the Covers

14 years after her award-winning début album, vocalist turned TV personality Dawn Chubai releases Under the Covers. Our design team was proud to do the layout on her album cover.

Under the Covers by Dawn Chubai

Under the Covers by Dawn Chubai

 

February

Pure Chablis

An exclusive dinner format never done before in Vancouver: three up-and-coming sommeliers (Brooke Delves, Jason Yamasaki and Roger Maniwa) competed to pair wines from Chablis to a menu created by chef Jefferson Alvarez of Secret Location. Invited guests to #PureChablisYVR voted by private individual electronic ballot, and the winner was Roger Maniwa.

Roger Maniwa of Hawksworth is the winner of the Chablis wine pairing competition

Roger Maniwa of Hawksworth is the winner of the Pure Chablis wine pairing competition

Christophe Cardona and Françoise Roure of Chablis congratulate winner Roger Maniwa

Christophe Cardona and Françoise Roure of Chablis congratulate Roger Maniwa

 

The International Wine Festival

The 2014 International Wine Festival featured 178 wineries from all over the world, and the theme country was France. Mike Bernardo of Vij’s was named the Sommelier of the Year. The wine world gathers to taste and connect. Selfies were taken.

The darling trio from Summerhill Pyramid Winery at their booth: winemaker Eric von Krosigk, founder Stephen Cipes and CEO Ezra Cipes

The darling trio from Summerhill Pyramid Winery at their booth: winemaker Eric von Krosigk, founder Stephen Cipes and CEO Ezra Cipes

Star-studded sommelier lineup includes (back row) Mark Taylor, Neil Ingram, Brent Hayman, Jason Yamasaki, Terry Threlfall, Mike Bernardo and Emily Walker (front row) Barb Philip, Mark Davidson, Kurtis Kolt and Tom Doughty

Star-studded Vancouver sommelier lineup includes (back row) Mark Taylor, Neil Ingram, Brent Hayman, Jason Yamasaki, Terry Threlfall, Mike Bernardo and Emily Walker (front row) Barb Philip, Mark Davidson, Kurtis Kolt and Tom Doughty

Ellen's has nothing on this sommelier-#selfie!

Ellen has nothing on this sommelier-#selfie!

2012 Sommelier of the Year Terry Threlfall (left) and 2014 Sommelier of the Year Mike Bernardo (third from left) stop by the Okanagan Crush Pad table to say hello to Christine Coletta, David Scholefield, and Alison Scholefield

2012 Sommelier of the Year Terry Threlfall (left) and 2014 Sommelier of the Year Mike Bernardo (third from left) stop by the Okanagan Crush Pad table to say hello to winery principals Christine Coletta, David Scholefield, and Alison Scholefield

My #selfie with the Okanagan Crush Pad team: Matt Dumayne, Alison Scholefield, Julian Scholefield, Mike West and Whitney Law

My #selfie with the Okanagan Crush Pad team: Matt Dumayne, Alison Scholefield, Julian Scholefield, Mike West and Whitney Law

March

Kosher Wine from BC

Canada’s first uncooked Kosher wine was created by Summerhill Pyramid Winery with the release of Tiferet (loosely translated, means beauty).

Tiferet

Tiferet, Canada’s first uncooked Kosher wine

wax sealing

Rabbi Shumly Hecht places wax seals on the Tiferet wine. To make uncooked kosher wine that may be used within a Jewish ceremony, it must be made by those who live their lives as Sabbath-observing Jews. Hecht made the wines with hands-off guidance from Summerhill winemaker Eric von Krosigk

 

Eight unique curries compete

In another first, the inaugural Curry Cup took place on behalf of the Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia; eight chef teams competed and the winner was chef Taryn Wa of Savoury Chef.

Taryn Wa of Savoury Chef  is the inaugural Curry Cup Winner

Taryn Wa of Savoury Chef is the inaugural Curry Cup Winner

 

April

Vancouver Dining gets Social with Serendipity

Serendipity Winery is the exclusive wine partner for the second annual #DinnerpartyYVR. Hobby chefs prepared meals in their homes with all proceeds to charity.

Annika Reinhardt and Crystal Henrickson of #dinnerpartyyvr

Annika Reinhardt and Crystal Henrickson of #dinnerpartyyvr

 

May

Dish n Dazzle

The BC Hospitality Foundation and Wines of New Zealand presented Dish N Dazzle with proceeds to support those in the hospitality industry in dire financial need. The event featured New Zealand Wines, a spirits competition and food from top Vancouver restaurants.

Dish N Dazzle offfered great food options  from top chefs and suppliers, all for a good cause

Dish N Dazzle offfered great food options from top chefs and suppliers, all for a good cause

 

Lauren Mote, Sophie Lui and Natalie Langston enjoy Dish N Dazzle

Lauren Mote, Sophie Lui and Natalie Langston enjoy Dish N Dazzle

Spotlight on Portuguese Wines

For the first time in 20 years (maybe more) vintners from Portugal arrived en masse – 27 in all – to Vancouver, many displaying wines that were not available in Canada yet. We were proud to implement this program, which was a guided tasting led by Treve Ring, followed by a walk-around tasting. We were delighted to see how engaging the vintners are, how well the wines showed and how much the trade appreciated these wines.

Portuguese wines are on the rise globally, and we can see why.

Treve Ring leads an entertaining and educational tasting of Portuguese wines to the delight of  Michaela Morris, Judith Lane, Park Heffelfinger and Tim Pawsey

Treve Ring leads an entertaining and educational tasting of Portuguese wines to the delight of Michaela Morris, Judith Lane, Park Heffelfinger and Tim Pawsey

 

27 vintners from Portugal wowed the Vancouver trade

27 vintners from Portugal wowed the Vancouver trade

 

Spot Prawn Festival

Presented by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC, the 8th annual Spot Prawn Festival took place at Fisherman’s Wharf. The Spot Prawn Festival celebrates the start of spot prawn season in BC’s coastal waters. The event involves many local chefs, and more than 2000 people attend this celebration of sustainable seafood.

Chefs Chris Whittaker of Forage and Robert Clark of the Fish Counter lead the charge in sustainable seafood.

Chefs’ Table Society member chefs Chris Whittaker of Forage and Robert Clark of the Fish Counter lead the charge in sustainable seafood.

Chefs Table Society member chef Vikram Vij of Vij's serves Spot Prawns

Chefs’ Table Society member chef Vikram Vij of Vij’s serves Spot Prawns

 

Wine In the Garden

The Bottleneck Drive Winery Association from Summerland held their first event in Vancouver: Wine in the Garden, at the beautiful VanDusen Gardens.

 

Bottleneck Drive wineries in Vandusen Gardens

Bottleneck Drive wineries in VanDusen Gardens

 

June

Provence Rosé

We were delighted to present a program on behalf of Wines of Provence, celebrating the wonderful wines and flavours from the south of France. the program included media appearances by Provence’s François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska and a tasting for retailers.

François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska

François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska represent Provence

IMG_2669

 

Preparing BC wineries for Fame

I was joined by DJ Kearney and Kathy Michaels to present a media training session to the BC Wine Institute member wineries.

Media training BC wineries

Media training BC wineries

 

Finding the Best Canadian Wines

The Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada judging took place in Penticton, BC. It was a thrill to see the judges, many of whom I have worked with for more than 15 years (!) but never get to see, and help host them at Okanagan Crush Pad.

Christine Coletta and Styeve Lornie, Okanagan Crush pad Winery owners, welcome the Wine Align judges

Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery owners, welcome the Wine Align judges

#selfie time with Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Matt Dumayne and Brad Royale, wine director for Rocky Mountain resorts, and Wine Align judge

#selfie time with Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Matt Dumayne and Brad Royale, wine director for Rocky Mountain resorts, and Wine Align judge

A huge highlight for me as well was meeting Jamie Goode, a visiting wine author from the UK. He is a marathon runner and kindly slowed down enough for me to join him for a run in paradise.

Run #seflie with Jamie Goode #gogetit

Run #seflie with Jamie Goode #gogetit

 

Welcome Calvin

Our Felicia had a baby! Welcome Calvin! 9lb 2 oz and 100% cute!

Our team welcomes Calvin

Our team welcomes Calvin

New mom Felicia and Calvin

July

#WBC14

The Wine Bloggers Conference took place in Santa Barbara California, following a pre-excursion to Paso Robles. While there we presented a handful of BC wines in a hotel suite, exposing the wines to leading bloggers. We also got to see parts of California wine country and taste some incredible wines from the region, not to mention meet amazing people we now remain in touch with throughout the year.

I get a #selfie with Sujinder at the top of the world in Paso Robles

I get a #selfie with Sujinder at the top of the world in Paso Robles while at #WBC14

Tasting BC Wines with the bloggeratti

Tasting Oregon and BC Wines with the bloggeratti at #wbc14

 

Golfing to help the industry

The British Columbia Hospitality Foundation’s annual golf tournament took place in Vancouver. Amazing support was shown from the industry.

darryl Weinbren Anthony Gismondi, and BCHF chair Richard Carras

Darryl Weinbren, Anthony Gismondi, Sean McAdam and BCHF chair Richard Carras

 

Joining Us

In July we were also pleased to welcome the Blue Grouse Vineyards and Winery team as well as financial consultant Judy Poole of Raymond James into our roster of clients. Wonderful people with lots to share.

 

Cristina, Paula and Paul Brunner, owners of Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Cristina, Paula and Paul Brunner, owners of Blue Grouse Estate Winery

A #selfie with the smart and lovely Judy Poole of Raymond James

A #selfie with the smart and lovely Judy Poole of Raymond James

 

Next week I will finish off from August onward, this post is lengthy enough!

Did you attend any of these highlighted events? What were the highlights of your year?

2015 already promises some projects and exciting events to emerge so stay posted.

We can’t wait to tell you what else our clients are going to be up to and I look forward to seeing you very soon!

 

Happy New Year – let’s all #gogetit!

Meet Melanie Wessel With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese

It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #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 we introduce you to Melanie Wessel Can you please say hello?

Melanie Wessel of Well Seasoned

Melanie works at Well Seasoned, a gourmet food store in Langley, BC.

She has been working extra hard these past many months: the store relocated to a bigger and better space (she’s seen here in the old store),

In addition to the store, the store’s classroom she has been helping with the hosting of many classes and events, and then there is the holiday shopping… shoppers from all over have been flocking to this food lovers’ mecca for goodies to give and entertain with. Good thing Melanie is a true foodie who loves her job, and she’d love to see you visit the store.

Can you please say hello to Melanie with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.