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Small but mighty: BC wineries fight for Canadian Wine for All

Small but mighty: BC wineries fight for Canadian Wine for All

Five small BC wineries, intervening on behalf of a coalition of more than 100 BC wineries, had their day in court on Thursday, December 7, during a rare two-day hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Send Holiday E-Cards with Style

Hard to believe that it’s already December 4th!

If you’re like us, you’re busy doing many things.

If you haven’t yet organized your holiday card outreach, fear not, you are not too late for an e-card (.jpeg image or .gif).

Our team can help you, as long as you let us know what your needs are by December 18.

Call the office at 604-321-3295 or email info@townhallbrands.com and Whitney or Leeann will help you.

A few examples of e-cards:

Examples of still .jpeg e-cards to send to friends and family.

Examples of still .jpeg e-cards to send to friends and family.

A unique and fun holiday .gif e-card that animates. 

A unique and fun holiday .gif e-card that animates. 

Blue Grouse Estate Winery ends 2017 with a new look

News Release

[Duncan, BC] Over the past five years, a lot has changed at Blue Grouse Estate Winery, and they are celebrating these changes with a new web look.

Since the Brunner family purchased one of Cowichan Valley's oldest estate vineyards and winery in 2012, they have given the Island winery a complete makeover, with more than $10 million in investments into the vineyard, the creation of a new winery and tasting room, and the addition of onsite accommodation, the Grouse House.

When paired to the lineup of highly-praised Blue Grouse wines, these onsite amenities allow for an amazing visitor experience, including a vast range of wedding and corporate event packages.

With so much happening onsite at the winery, to create what is now the crown jewel in Vancouver Island's wine country, the external web presence required the same attention.

"This new website was created specifically for our online audience of people both old and new to Blue Grouse wines," says owner and proprietor, Paul Brunner. "With a timeline of our history, a new format to highlight our latest vintages and information on our wine club and events, we are proud to present to you a website that has been one year in the making."

For more information on Blue Grouse Estate Winery and to view the new site, please visit: www.bluegrouse.ca 

Winter at BG

 

This season's holiday hours:

Open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am-5pm from now until Dec 23rd.

Closed Dec 24th to 31st and open by appointment only in January.  

 

FREE Shipping in British Columbia:

Take advantage of the exclusive offer for FREE shipping to anywhere in BC, Canada. Minimum six (6) bottles order; 2015 Quill Red and 2015 Quill White only.  Offer valid from November 20th to December 17th. To order or to inquire on availability of wines, please contact 250-743-3834, tastingroom@bluegrouse.ca.

 

A reminder of upcoming events:

  • Holiday Open House on December 17 from 12-4pm: Enjoy some holiday music, complimentary wine tastings for adults, and hot apple cider for kids while you stock up on holiday wines for the season. A few cases of 2014 Paula Sparkling will be available to purchase and some nibbles will be offered to enjoy. Get those last minute stocking stuffers as well! 

 

  • Soup Saturdays: From noon to 5pm, for only $14, going until December 23, visitors can enjoy a bowl of delicious homemade soup made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, fresh True Grain bread, and a 5oz glass of wine. Some of the soup and wine pairings on the menu include: Squash and Apple soup;  2016 Quill Off-Dry White, Leek and Potato soup; 2015 Quill White, and Mushroom Beef Barley soup: 2015 Quill Red. Also, while you're there, ask to try their famous Mulled Wine Recipe.

 

  • Holiday Parties: Consider an indoor picnic in front of a large fireplace alongside catered culinary offerings and tasty Blue Grouse wines. Or the beautiful and festive upper lounge can be booked for parties from 10-35 people. For reservation requests, contact jennyg@bluegrouse.ca.

Singletree Winery Adds Artisanal Wine Jellies to Lineup

Fraser Valley treats made just in time for the holidays! 

Singletree Winery is releasing its first batch of locally-made wine jellies starting today at the West Coast Christmas Show in Abbotsford, and we're here to tell you all about it!

For only $7.50 each, try all four flavours, from Hot Siggity to Citrus Pinot Gris. Enjoy spread on a lightly toasted fresh-out-of-oven scone or make it savoury as an add-on to your charcuterie plate. With no traces of alcohol content left after production, these jellies are made to share with the whole family.

(Our design team did these cute little labels.)

Perfect wine jelly add-ons to your party platters, that also fits perfectly into a stocking.

Perfect wine jelly add-ons to your party platters, that also fits perfectly into a stocking.

Details:

  • Cost: $7.50 each
  • Flavours made with Singletree wines:
    • Citrus Pinot Gris (with lemon juice, orange rind)
    • Spicy Pinot Noir (cinnamon, star anise, clove)
    • Hot Siggity (red chili, red pepper, Siegerrebe)
    • Siegerrebe (straight up)
  • Pair with charcuterie for a gourmet touch to your dinner party, or give as a gift to a hostess or foodie
  • The jellies are produced locally in the Fraser Valley

Where to get them:

  • Tradex, Abbotsford (1190 Cornell St, Abbotsford, BC, V2T 6H5)

Not going to the Christmas show? No worries!

  • Available at the winery (while they last) starting Wednesday, November 23 (5782 Mount Lehman Rd, Abbotsford, BC V4X 1V4)

Don't be jelly! Get yours today!

It’s Merlot Day! #internationalmerlotday

By Leeann Froese

Since the runaway hit movie Sideways came out in 2004, where the character Miles held nothing back in his hatred of Merlot, this noble varietal has been struggling to find its place once again, after previous years enjoying a huge wave of popularity.

Known for being soft, ripe and elegant, most Merlot wines are easy-drinking wines that can be enjoyed on their own or with food. Merlot is a very approachable grape with a medium to full-bodied palate presence.

Aside from being a very reliable standalone varietal wine, Merlot is commonly used by winemakers to blend into other red wines, as it gives a nice fruity softness that is sometimes required to even out a blend.

According to the British Columbia Wine Institute, by acreage planted, Merlot is the number one red wine varietal planted in BC. We are proud to work with BC winery clients that make delicious Merlot (or Merlot blended) wines for you to enjoy.

Evolve Cellars

2016 Cabernet Merlot

Soft, supple, and complex mouth-filling flavours of plum, cherry, and wild red berry dominate from start to finish.

$19.99

 

Pipe’ Dreams

2015 Merlot

Ripe and rich with aromas of dark chocolate, vanillin oak, sun ripened plum and black cherry along with a refreshing note of dried wild herbs in the background.

$22.02

 

Pipe’ Dreams

2014 Reserve Merlot

Lush black cherry, dried plum, fig and cocoa, a full body, and a lingering finish.

$41.40

 

TIME Winery

2016 Cabernet Merlot (Calgary Flames)

A spicy nose with cassis and cedar and a palate filled with plum, cherry, and wild red berry.

$19.99

 

What do you think of Merlot? Are you like Miles in Sideways who says ‘no effing way’? Or are you ‘fill my glass, please'?

Happy National Publicist Day 2017

Today is apparently National Publicist Day. It seems you can choose any day of the week and there’ll be some reason to celebrate but for me I really DO want to celebrate this day.

I’ve been working in media relations for 20 years this year, and it has been a very interesting and wild ride so far. With a saturated market for content, and shrinking media outlets it’s more important than ever to have someone there to help you find your voice and then to have that voice be shared to the right audiences. That’s where we PR people come in.

We are thoughtful in finding ways to get your stories into the news, we're creative with budgets, and we're great connectors of people. It’s a unique skill set that makes a good PR person, and I am proud to employ a talented few, and know many more.

I never set out to be a PR person. I went to business school and studied marketing, but then when I landed my first marketing job with the BC Wine Institute, doing media relations and PR and sending press releases became part of what I had to do in my daily scope of work. (So I went back to school and got my PR certificate on evenings and weekends while I was working, and made sure that my education could meet the skill set for actual work I was doing.) Two decades later, I am so proud of the body of work I have produced.

Thanks to PR I have made numerous relationships across North America - some that I’ve turned into long-lasting friendships; and I have found myself among the cohort of other publicists in Vancouver that we love to collaborate with on an almost weekly basis. Here at Town Hall Brands I am lucky to have killer personalities working on our PR team: Amy Chen, Genevieve Dufresne, Maddie Clerides, and Mr. Sujinder Juneja, who each continually advocate on behalf of our clients to make sure their stories get told across different mediums each and every day.

To all my fellow PR people, and to my own team - Happy National Publicist Day; #gogetit!

What the Canadian Wine Industry has done for me

LoveCdnWine.jpg

By Leeann Froese

Having been in the industry for 20 years, the Canadian Wine Industry has been instrumental in my career. Without the support of Canadian wineries hiring us to do what we do, our boutique marketing agency, Town Hall Brands, would not have started, and evolved to where we are now, (helping wineries and wine regions from all over, as well as all the other lifestyle work we do).

We are grateful. We know that our livelihood depends on the health of these businesses, and we have made a donation. I also challenge anyone who works in the industry to do the same.

So I am asking you to stand by me, my fellow wine friends, and the whole industry, to help.

Canadian wineries want to be able to ship directly to you, no matter where you live in Canada. If markets outside the wineries' home provinces (Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec anbd BC is where wine is made in canada) do not become available to premium Canadian wines, many predict the industry will struggle over the long term.

Here's how you can help:

  1. GIVE to the fundraising page via GoFundMe. Funds will be used for legal costs the Supreme Court of Canada.

  2. Download the I Love Canadian Wine toolkit for strategies on how to spread the word.

  3. Share this post online. Ask your friends to share.

The Canadian wine industry has thrived over the last three decades with wineries and grape growers working to create quality wines and build a loyal following.

It employs 38 thousand people, contributes billions to the Canadian economy and is a cornerstone of tourism. Wineries add richness to the culinary scene and buy local movement, and are a shining example of value-added farming and what can be achieved when we work together.

Collectively, we are committed to moving the bar even higher and to leaving a strong wine community for the next generation.

Please give what you can.

Thank you!

R.v. Comeau Media Clippings

Below are some samples of the media attention this case has received.

there are more than 300 media mentions to date.

 

Wine advocate Sandra Oldfield shows how it’s easier to order a gun online from another province than it is a case of wine. - Global Okanagan Evening News

Canadian Man Sues Airline for not Serving Champagne

By Leeann Froese

THB-PressForChampagne.jpg

A lack of knowledge in the wine world has landed Sunwing Airlines into some trouble. As reported in dozens of news outlets, and also in the Drinks Business, the airline is being sued by a man from Quebec who was served sparkling wine instead of champagne, which was promised in the promotional materials for the flight, that listed 'Champagne Service'.

At the time of this news share this lawsuit was not certified yet, so it'll be interesting to see where this goes. Aside from the litigious nature of this action that is creating a big reaction in the wine world and also all over the web, it made me think.

The heart of this issue is mainly about truthful advertising, but the use of the word Champagne in the airline’s marketing materials also could just be a copy writer’s mistake.

Anyone educated in wine knows that only wines produced in the Champagne region in France can be called Champagne just like only fortified wines made in Portugal can be called Port, and there are other examples that go on, including the capitalization and one-word writing of Icewine here in Canada. (As a marketing agency with a specialization in packaging & marketing wine, we know these things and would never let something like that get to print or into promotional materials.)

The word Champagne has become generic over time for any bubbly wine, just like Band-Aid for bandages or Kleenex for facial tissues, but what we need to remember is that these are all registered names for brands.

But how would a marketing person outside the wine industry know about the legality of Champagne? I guess the lesson here is if you're going to be talking about wine in relationship to your business, make sure that you know what wording to use.

This is creating a reputation hit to Sunwing, who now must defend itself in controversy, instead of promoting holiday vacation packages. Never fun for a PR team.

After the lawsuit was filed, Sunwing's website has been updated and now states that the passengers instead of 'Champagne service' will receive 'a welcome glass of sparkling wine'.

 

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

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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

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

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

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.

 

Celebrating International Women's Day #WithTownHall

Happy International Women's Day! 

With a number of our clients and team members being women, we want to celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting the leadership and dedication of the women in Town Hall Brands' circle. Most of all, we invite you to help us celebrate and recognize these incredible women for their hard work and achievements.

Thank you ladies for everything that you do! Here is what the women #WithTownHall had to say about being a woman in the work force, what International Women's Day means to them, and why it's important to celebrate this day together.


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"To me, the meaning of this day is as diverse as the individuals who celebrate it. It's about giving recognition to the women who inspire us, reflecting on our past struggles and achievements, planning for positive change in the future, and making the commitment to invest in the untapped potential and opportunities for future generations of women."


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"The biggest challenge is the pressure I put on myself to exceed my own expectations in all aspects of my life. Trying to not only balance, but exes, in the multiple businesses, industry boards, volunteer activities, and family obligations, sometimes leaves very little time to take care of myself."


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Can you imagine not being able to vote? No, me either! International Women's Day reminds us where we've been and how far we've come, it celebrates all women, especially those that blazed the trails and fought for gender equality."


THB-IWD-2017-Headshots-Maddie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"International Women's Day is hugely important to me because it acknowledges that the fight for women's equality is far from being over. The community that has risen from today's feminist movement has not only inspired me to lift up other women, but to never stop learning about women's struggles around the world instead of focusing on issues solely on issues solely in my own line of vision."


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"International Woman's Day is a remind that our fight is not over, and that we cannot take our rights for granted. I think this is incredibly important, especially in today's political climate. Women around the world still do not have social, political, and economic equality. Violence against women is not only a problem abroad, it is also not being adequately addressed in our own country. I believe it is essential to have a day dedicated to confronting and finding solutions to these issues."


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"International Women's Day is a day to celebrate all women - all of the accomplishments we have made, as well as the work that still needs to happen to be seen as equals." 


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"My biggest challenge of being a woman in the workforce has been having my voice heard and sticking to a good work/life balance."


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"I find it disheartening at times that we still need a day to call attention to our worth. That said, it means we have an official day to gain attention and celebrate women and their accomplishments the world over. It is a time to reinforce the love for the sisterhood."


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"International Women's Day is a celebration of every step that we have taken in bringing equality to not only women but every individual in our society. As well, a reminder that together, we are stronger and we can make a positive difference in each other's lives."

Mirabel Pinot Noir "of wondrous beauty" publicly launched

Mirabel Vineyards

Note from Leeann Froese:

If you follow us on social media, you will note that our design team has been working on a beautiful new label with an illustration from Darrell Underschultz, for the Reimers, a lovely Kelowna couple, for their new Mirabel Vineyards Pinot Noir.

This limited release Pinot made by Matt Dumayne is both bold and silky at the same time, and with only a few cases made, is sure to go quickly.

We are very proud to also handle the publicity for this new wine, and here is the official press release.

Mirabel Vineyards Announces Debut Release Reimer Family focused on terroir-driven Pinot Noir

Doug and Dawn Reimer are pleased to launch their inaugural Mirabel Vineyards wine with the release of the 2015 Pinot Noir, sourced exclusively from their South East Kelowna hilltop estate and vineyard overlooking the Okanagan Valley.

Mirabel, meaning "of wondrous beauty", perfectly represents the Reimer family's stunning South East Kelowna hilltop estate and vineyard overlooking the beautiful Okanagan Valley.

The sustainably-farmed Reimer Family Vineyard was planted in 2006 on a steep hill with both southwesterly and northwesterly aspects. Grapes were planted at high elevations over complex soils. Analysis of the terroir suggested the estate was best planted to specific clones of Pinot Noir, to be blended together for optimum colour, flavour, acidity, tannin and length. The yield is cropped at a low 2.5 tons per acre and harvested by hand. One-and-a-half acres of Chardonnay will be planted this spring.

The family's commitment to quality is realized with this first vintage release of 237 cases of a luscious, elegant, sustainably-grown Pinot Noir.

The 2015 Mirabel Pinot Noir ($70.00 for 750ml, $160 for 1500ml Magnum) was aged 11 months exclusively in French oak (30% new). Gentle handling, including gravity transfer from barrel to bottle, helped to maintain the subtle texture, rich fruit, soft spice and generous length. As the Reimers do not yet have a winery, this wine was made at Okanagan Crush Pad by chief winemaker Matt Dumayne.

Mirabel Vineyards was founded through Doug and Dawn's shared love of travel, and the belief that the creation and sharing of wonderful food and incredible wine is one of life's greatest joys. Following a vacation to the Okanagan in 2004, the couple purchased an exclusive piece of property that was ideal for growing grapes. The fruit was previously sold to other wineries, but it will now be reserved for the Mirabel Vineyards label.

Initial praise for the Pinot Noir includes a review from noted BC wine authority John Schreiner, who described it as having "great purity of fruit". A saignée-method Pinot Noir Rosé and a Chardonnay will be released later this year. 

"We believe that what is in the bottle is more than just wine; it is a place and time; a snapshot of the vineyard. We invite you to join us, as we pursue our dream." - Doug and Dawn

Those seeking access to these limited-production wines are invited to sign up at mirabelvineyards.com.

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

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

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4 BC Wineries to Discover at the Vancouver International Wine Festival

4 BC WINERIES TO DISCOVER The wine world convenes February 11-19 for the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

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

DOWNLOAD a PDF: Four BC Wineries to Discover at VIWF

SummerHill Vineyard

3 Story Starters

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

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

3. Organic Okanagan Stephen Cipes' 2020 vision - great plans for the health of the Okanagan Valley

Meet the wineries...

1) Haywire 

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

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

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

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

 

Events to Plan for in the Lower Mainland: 2017 Edition

Want be in the know for Vancouver's amazing events this year? We find the best way for you to know about a client or project is to meet them in person, and the best way to do that is told an event, so everyone is hosting something. 

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We have gathered all of the events in Vancouver and surrounding areas that we are aware of for 2017 thus far. The calendar is for planning purposes and will definitely change - so check back often!

January 20 - February 5: Dine Out Vancouver Festival

January 29: The 44th Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

February 11: Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction

February 11- 19: Vancouver International Wine Festival

February 16 - 26: Talking Stick Festival

February 16 - March 13: Chutzpah! Festival

February 17: Winefest Edmonton Private Industry & Trade Tasting Session

February 22 - 25: BC Home + Garden Show

February 24: Winefest Calgary Private Industry & Trade Tasting Session

February 24 - 26: Winemakers Cup

March 2: Brunello di Montalcino

March 3 - 5: Festival du Bois

March 6: Chef's Table Society Curry Cup

March 7: BC Wine Institute Member Meeting & Dinner

March 7: BCWI Spring Town Hall Meeting

March 9: Flourish - VCC Foundation Gala

March 15: East Side Beer Fest

March 19 - 21: ProWein (Dusseldorf, Germany)

March 20: Victoria IVSA New Product Salon

March 21: Vancouver IVSA New Product Salon

March 20 - 21: Grocery and Specialty Food West

March 30 - April 23: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

April 1 - 28: Capture Photography Festival

April 4: Canada Media Marketplace: Closing Ceremony Celebrating Canada's 150th Birthday at the Grand Hyatt NYC

April 5: James Beard House Media and Trade Lunch and Consumer Dinner

April 6: BC VQA Wine Trade and Media Tasting at Terroir Tribeca Wine Bar

April 5: Okanagan Falls Winery Association Spring Tasting

April 8: BC Distilled

April 9: Barn Burner BBQ

April 11: Colour Your Palate

April 19: Meet & Greet with Distributors/ Importers, Media, Trade and Wineries Canadian Consulate Seattle

April 23 - 25: Harrison Uncorked Wine Fest

April 23: Sun Run

April 24-25: California Wine Fair

April 28: Wine for Waves

May 1: Rosé Revival at Bridge's Restaurant

May 4 - 14: DOXA Documentary Film Festival

May 10: BC VQA Spring Release Tasting & ChefmeetsBCGrape Calgary

May 16: In-Market Events (London, UK)

May 18: Dish 'n Dazzle for the BC Hospitality Foundation

May 23: Bloom BC VQA Spring Release Tastings & ChefmeetsBCGrape Victoria

May 25: Bloom BC VQA Spring Release Tastings & ChefmeetsBCGrape Vancouver

May 25 - 28: ART! Vancouver

June 3 - 4: Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival

June 5: Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting

June 8: BC Wine and Seafood Collaborative Multi Chef Dinner

June 15: Night at the Aquarium

June 19: Wine Australia 2017 Roadshow

June 23 - July 2: Vancouver International Jazz Festival

July: Deighton Cup

July 6: Champagne and Caviar at the Vancouver Rowing Club

August 12: SeaWheeze Half Marathon

August: Diner en Blanc

October 5: Port and Chocolate at the Vancouver Rowing Club

October 14 - 15: Art of the Cocktail

September 23-24: Victoria International Wine Festival

November 6 - 11: EAT! Vancouver

November 7: Sensory Wine Tasting at Okanagan College

November 10: Deadline to submit to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement's Alcoholic Beverages Stakeholder engagement survey

November 23: Deadline to feature your orange wine in the Winter 2018 of Nuvo Magazine

November 28: The Perfect Holiday Pairing at Okanagan College

December 7: 2017 Winemakers and Viticulturists' Forum

 

2018

January 8: Wine 31: Understanding Food and Wine Pairing (Kelowna Campus)

January 19 - February 4: Dine Out Vancouver and

February 20: Sparkling Wines of BC at Okanagan College

February 24: Grapevine Pruning Workshop at Okanagan College

March 5: Introduction to BC Wine at Okanagan College

April 12: History of BC Wine at Okanagan College

April 20-21: Harrison Uncorked

What Foods Will Trend in 2017?

Wish you had a crystal ball to predict 2017's hottest food trends? BBQ champion and culinary expert Angie Quaale of Langley's Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has compiled a list of her predictions of the foodie fads for next year. 1. Reduction of Food Waste

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

2. Coconut Flour

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

3. Soup

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

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

4. More Veggies

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

Simple Roasted Roots

5. Fried Chicken

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

Pretzel Crusted Oven "Fried" Chicken

6. Avocados

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

Avocado Fries. You're Welcome!

7. Big Bowls

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

8. Craft Cider

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

9. Iced Tea

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

10. Pimento Cheese

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

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

So your child has collected too many treats...

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

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

Yes, candies and chocolates paired with wine.

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

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

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

Halloween and wine pairing

  • 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.

TOWN HALL BRANDS JOB POSTING: Agency Administrator and Marketing Assistant

  TH-Hiring

JOB POSTING: Agency Administrator and Marketing Assistant

UPDATED November 20:

Thank you to all who have submitted applications.

We will contact only those selected for interviews.

Good luck, and thank you for your interest in Town Hall Brands.

 

posted October 17, 2016

BACKGROUND:

Town Hall Brands is a full service agency specializing in beverage, food and hospitality. Services include strategy, branding and graphic design, packaging, media relations, social media outreach, and special events. With a specialization in beverage, food and hospitality, we deliver projects that inspire and celebrate the good life.

We are hiring for an agency administrator and marketing assistant:

town-hall-brands-admin-marketing-job-posting

Please download the posting above.

If you want to work in east Vancouver with a small team of professionals, send us your resume with salary expectations.

Please send a cover letter and resume by November 18, 2016 to Amy@townhallbrands.com

We hope to find a person who would like to grow with us. Thank you for your time in reviewing the post for this position.

Only those selected for interview will be contacted.

SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW RHÔNE?

By Leeann Froese

Do you know Rhône Valley wines?

It turns out, I know less than I thought.

Thankfully, at a trade event earlier in September at Vancouver’s Maenam restaurant, Michelle Bouffard, president of the local chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS), hosted and presented a discovery workshop and tasting, to help bring some Rhône knowledge back to the forefront.

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40 industry professionals: sommeliers, retailers, and media representatives alike, were joined by representatives of the Rhône Valley, Laure Vaissermann and Virginie Charlier, marketing and communication director of Inter-Rhône. Upon arrival to the event, each guest cracked open a fortune cookie, and inside was the name of one of five teams named after a few of the region’s famous varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Marsanne and Roussanne. Once randomly teamed up we tasted 12 wines from the Rhône Valley during a blind taste test. Our goal was to guess the appellations or varietals as part of an interactive challenge under the evocative theme “So you think you know Rhône?”

It turns out, I do not.

I was on Team Grenache, with notable trade #winelover -s including Noel Hollet, Rachel von Sturmer, Iain Philip, Ron Wilson, and Si Man Lee. I was impressed by the tasting ability and knowledge at my table, although the table discussion revealed that my team members, like me, were also not 100% confident.

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Created from a range of 21 different varietals, Rhône Valley Wine wines are renowned for their depth and distinctiveness. The reds range from round and fruit forward, to full bodied and structured; the whites are floral and fruity or full bodied and deep, and there are dry rose wines as well, that range from fresh and bright to spicy.

It’s all about the blend; and while there are many varietals, for example, most blended reds are a combination of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The wines’ blends and flavour profiles depend on what area or village they are from and the related terroir, as well as the laws from each area as it relates to how much % of varietal is allowed in each blend.

Once we heard from Michelle about the regions, blends and laws, we blind tasted and were quizzed, with our answers submitted electronically and then displayed on a screen for all to see. I was not doing well at all, and my teammates were doing only slightly better.

I did OK on identifying the building blocks of the wines; identifying the acid, alcohol and tannin characteristics, but that is where my success ended…

Luckily the results were collected and posted by team, so no one saw that I only got a few of the questions right. I am sure that I brought my team’s score down, and here I publicly apologize to them!

Where I really fell down was aligning the wine characters to their origin. Related: I have a lot of dusting off of my WSET notes to do!

Even seasoned experts can still learn something new about Rhône Valley Wines,” said Michelle Bouffard.

I wasn’t alone; there seemed to be collective groans in the room each time an answer was revealed. The fact that so many of us got responses incorrect provided a great chance to discuss why – for example why Ventoux in the foothills offers wines so different from the full-bodied and round Gigondas wines from further south.

Some other teams did much better, voting as a group and doing very well. Congratulations to Team Marsanne on earning bragging rights!

Bouffard adds “The region’s diverse appellations, soil types and flagship varietals make it a key wine region. What really turns heads are the wines’ versatility, as they pair wonderfully with a wide range of dishes, such as Maenam’s Asian specialties.”

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After the tasting and quiz was done and the whole room seemed collectively deflated, our moods were revived by the chance to taste these wines again and openly discuss, this time knowing what we are reaching for, and also now accompanied by hand-passed bites from chef Angus An.

KEY STATISTICS ABOUT THE RHÔNE VALLEY WINES

  • Ranks 2nd among French AOC vineyards in terms of volume;
  • 388 million bottles sold in 2015;
  • Over 50% of total production is certified organic;
  • 1 bottle of Rhône Valley Wines AOC is enjoyed worldwide every 12 seconds;
  • Over 10 years, the volume of Rhône Valley Wines exports to Canada has increased by 41%;
  • In 2015, 11% (in volume) of French table wines in Canada is from Rhone Valley Wines. An overall 20% increase in BC sales of Rhone Valley Wines during 2015 to 2016.

Disclosure: As a member of CAPS BC, I was an invited guest at this event, and I thank Rhône Valley Wines for the chance to taste and learn. For more information on Rhône Valley Wines, visit www.vins-rhone.com