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New Year, New Winemaker for Black Hills Estate Winery

[Oliver, BC] Black Hills Estate Winery (Black Hills) is excited to announce its new head winemaker, Ross Wise.

Wise brings with him a breadth of expertise to the role of head winemaker at Black Hills Estate Winery. Originally from New Zealand, Wise holds a Bachelor of Viticulture and Advanced diploma in Wine Science from Charles Sturt University in Australia. He has worked with renowned producers in New Zealand and Ontario before the cool climate wine industry in British Columbia drew his attention. 

After 16 years of winemaking, viticulture and consulting experience, Wise and his family settled in Oliver, British Columbia. Prior to Black Hills, Wise was head winemaker and general manager at Phantom Creek Estate. Wise holds a WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits and is pursuing his Master of Wine.

 Ross Wise at Black Hills Estate Winery - Lionel Trudel Photo.

Ross Wise at Black Hills Estate Winery - Lionel Trudel Photo.

"We are thrilled have Ross join us at Black Hills," enthuses Glenn Fawcett, chief wine evangelist. "We conducted a wide-ranging international search for our new winemaker that resulted in several outstanding candidates, and Ross stood out for us."

Fawcett continues, "His passion for the craft and our Black Sage Road terroir, combined with his extensive experience, academic credentials, and endearing personality, made his selection a natural for us."

Wise is keen to assume the new role. "I'm really looking forward to joining the Black Hills team in January," he notes. "This is a great opportunity to be part of the next chapter of one of the Okanagan's most recognized and respected wineries. The ability to focus on making premium red wines such as Nota Bene," he continues, "is a big draw for me."

Wise is eager to get to know the Black Hills Estate vineyards intimately to make wines that clearly reflect their origins. "I hope to continue to elevate the outstanding quality of Black Hills wines, using precision and high attention to detail in the vineyard, combined with gentle and thoughtful winemaking," he shares.

Fawcett is equally excited. "We are extremely confident that Ross Wise is the perfect person to carry the winemaking torch at Black Hills and help us continue our journey to the next level." 

Wise joins the winery team effective January 7, 2019.

Photo Library:

Photos of Ross Wise and Black Hills Estate Winery available via Dropbox.

Haywire Makes Decanter’s Most Exciting Wines of 2018 List

[Summerland, BC] Okanagan Crush Pad winery announces its Haywire Free Form White 2016 has made Decanter magazine’s Most Exciting Wines of 2018 list, placing in the top 10, with a score of 94 points.

In the January 2019 issue, Decanter’s experts from around the world named the top 50 bottles under £60 that impressed them most this year, with Oz Clarke calling the Haywire an “astonishing Canadian Sauvignon Blanc”.

  This is the fist time a Canadian winery has made Decanter’s Top 10

This is the fist time a Canadian winery has made Decanter’s Top 10

The winery, while no stranger to UK wine circles, is beyond excited to have these kudos.

“We are so proud of our team, in particular the work of our chief winemaker Matt Dumayne, and growers Terry Waters and Cathy Banks,” notes winery owner Christine Coletta. “Our mission is to have Okanagan wines stand proudly next to a global selection of respected brands. This recognition shows us we are well on our way to demonstrating that our region can compete on the world stage.”

The focus at Okanagan Crush Pad is on authenticity and quality. Free Form wines are made using organic grapes, native yeast, extended skin contact, are free of commercial additives, have little to no sulfites added, and are unfiltered.

“We found the best way to achieve authenticity of place is to not manipulate or add anything to wine, including oak influence,” remarks Dumayne. “While you need to give up some modern conveniences, with a highly-skilled team with global viticulture and winemaking experience, you can get it right.”

Coletta credits consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini and terroir consultant Pedro Parra for their guiding influence. “Their vision for what the Okanagan is capable of has driven our work.”

While the 2016 Haywire Free Form White is now sold out, customers seeking to experience Free Form wines can visit

Okanagan Crush Pad has quickly built a reputation as a premium producer and has received many awards and accolades since its launch in 2011 with chief winemaker Matt Dumayne at the helm. Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie created Okanagan Crush Pad as a purpose-built custom crush facility. Increasingly, the facility is used to craft the team’s own wines and now produces 45,000 cases annually.

From here, their own wines, Haywire, Narrative, and Free Form are made. Located in beautiful Summerland, BC, the winery overlooks Switchback Organic Vineyard, a site that is also home to chickens and ducks. Dumayne and his cellar team craft wines using concrete wine tanks, native yeast and minimal winemaking intervention. The wines reflect the region’s unique high mountain/northern desert setting noted for its intensely hot, short growing season with hallmark cool evenings and winters that bring a protective covering of snow.

Visitors to the tasting lounge, set in the heart of this state-of-the-art facility, get a rare glance into the art of winemaking. Watch the cellar team in action, discover concrete tanks, and learn how the team composes wines that are definitive expressions of their vineyards.

For more information visit:

  L-R: Okanagan Crush Pad chief winemaker Matt Dumayne, owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie Credit: Lionel Trudel

L-R: Okanagan Crush Pad chief winemaker Matt Dumayne, owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie Credit: Lionel Trudel

3 Productions, 3 Cities, 1 Dream Come True

[Richmond, BC] Following the success of Aladdin last year, and The Little Mermaid Jr. last month, The Children's Theatre of Richmond Association is not ready to step out of the spotlight just yet. 

Tickets are on sale now for this weekend's production of another Disney classic: Beauty and The Beast Jr., (December 7 and 8, 6:30 pm at the Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver) and the company returns in 2019 to present Cinderella (G2K) and Mary Poppins Jr..

And... The Little Mermaid Jr. Returns!

By popular demand, the "Little Mermaid" will be performed again, this time at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond. The dreamy show, which ran at the Massey Theatre last month for nearly 2,500 spectators, will once again enchant, with an innovative 3D interactive background, intricate hand-crafted scenery, and best of all: the same talented cast and crew will play out this wonderful story.

 The CTORA’s The Little Mermaid Jr. returns in 2019.

The CTORA’s The Little Mermaid Jr. returns in 2019.

In addition, The Children's Theatre of Richmond Association has finalized "Cinderella (G2K edition)" and "Mary Poppins Jr." as the 2019 dramas and will present more beautiful musical works in May and November respectively.

Lily Yuan, founder of The Children's Theatre of Richmond Association and play producer shares: "It has been my dream for youth to perform in productions to showcase their artistic talents and passion. I am so thrilled that we are bringing this dream to life with these upcoming productions."

Yuan has been on a mission to provide an opportunity for youth to perform and learn from some of the best artists and musicians in British Columbia. She looks forward to the Little Mermaid's return. "The actors' understanding of their characters is growing with their age, the arc of these characters and the dramatic tension will also further develop, and the vivid back drop will again be included in the 2019 show."

"...and in 2019," she continues, "the show will be staged in other cities, so those who missed the first run have another chance to see it."

Auditions On Now for 2019 Productions

Lily Yuan does not rest. On December 9, right after Beauty and the Beast Jr., casting takes place for the new play "Cinderella G2K" set for 2019. So far, more than 400 young music lovers and more than 100 local professional actors have submitted audition applications. These 500 applicants will be narrowed to 90 call backs on Dec 9.

Yuan shares, "There is so much talent, but eventually only 25 people will be selected. Cinderella will return to the stage first, to highlight the actors' performances with traditional sets and gorgeous costumes, bringing the audience into the world of fairy tales."

 The Little Mermaid utilizes state of the art background technology and costumes.

The Little Mermaid utilizes state of the art background technology and costumes.

Beauty and the Beast - *LIMITED TICKETS REMAIN*

Date: December 7 and 8, 2018

Location: Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver, BC

Booking details:

Little Mermaid Jr.

Date: TBA 2019 

Location: Gateway Theatre, Richmond

Booking details: Please pay attention to official website

Cinderella G2K

Date: May 2019 

Location: Granville Island Stage, Vancouver, BC

Booking details: Please pay attention to official website 

Mary Poppins Jr.

Date: November 2019

Location: Massey Theatre, New Westminster, BC

Booking details: Please pay attention to official website

Photo library:

Get Social with the CTORA


Singletree Winery Captures Tourism Excellence Award

Abbotsford winery heads into winter with recognition for its quality and service

[Abbotsford, BC] Singletree Winery is proud to share they have captured a Business Excellence Award for Best Tourism Experience.

Presented by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and The Abbotsford News, the 23rd Annual Awards ceremony took place November 23, to recognize outstanding organizations and individuals in Abbotsford that strive for excellence in the community. Thirteen awards were handed out, with Singletree earning the trophy for Tourism Excellence.

Sponsored by Tourism Abbotsford, the Tourism Excellence award demonstrates that Singletree Winery is a leader in its industry, with a commitment to customer service, a concern for the community, and a passion for innovation.

Singletree Winery is owned by the Etsell family, who has been farming in the Fraser Valley for over two decades. Under their Singletree banner, and with careful attention to the land, the Etsell Family is committed to showing the world what the Fraser Valley is capable of.

 The Singletree Winery team: L-R: Laura Preckel, Andrew, Debbie and Garnet Etsell.

The Singletree Winery team: L-R: Laura Preckel, Andrew, Debbie and Garnet Etsell.

"Our family is thrilled and honored to receive this award of excellence from the business community," remarks winery owner Debbie Etsell. "Family and staff work diligently to make each guest's experience and time at Singletree Winery enjoyable and memorable," she continues. "To be recognized as a leader in this field is truly monumental."

Since establishing their winery in 2015, the family has aimed to provide both a hospitable experience and quality wines, as they forge their place in the British Columbia wine industry. The Abbotsford vineyard and tasting room is located on a 67-acre operating farm in Mt. Lehman, only 45-minutes from Vancouver. 14 acres of estate vineyard contribute to award-winning BC VQA wines. Their tasting room is open year-round to present these cool climate varietals, including their extremely popular Siegerrebe and Grüner Veltliner wines. Visitors love the friendly vibe and the picnic area where they can enjoy locally-smoked meats, cheese and other seasonal selections. Special events held at the winery throughout the year always draw a crowd. The winery's special events area in the heart of the vineyard adds a special touch to weddings, corporate events, birthdays or the winery's own experiences.

In last Summer 2018 the Etsell family purchased a second winery location in the Okanagan on the Naramata Bench. Closed for the winter, the Naramata tasting room will officially open in spring 2019.

The Abbotsford winery is open year-round, and the team invites the public to join them in Abbotsford this winter. On December 8 from 12 to 5:30pm Singletree Winery in Abbotsford will devote the day to "Entertaining with local wine this Christmas". Admission is by donation with proceeds to the Mt. Lehman Community Hall, to assist with renovations. Attendees will enjoy appetizers made with their house-made wine jellies, white mulled wine, recipes for sparkling cocktails. and recipes for entrees with wine.

Check out Singletree on social media @singletreewine to keep up with the latest.

About Singletree Winery:

Singletree Winery Fraser Valley is in the Mt. Lehman area of Abbotsford, and Singletree Naramata Bench opened in 2018. The Etsell family has deep roots in the agricultural community.

With careful attention to their land, they are committed to showcasing the best of British Columbia: the Fraser Valley, which provides a lineup of aromatic, crisp, and juicy wines that highlight this unique terroir; and Naramata Bench in the Okanagan, where the glacial soils and warm climate produce luscious red wines.

Their portfolio includes Siegerrebe, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Late Harvest Kerner, Pinot Noir Rosé, Wild Ferment Siegerrebe, a white blend called Homestead, Harness, a Bordeaux-style red blend, and a traditional-method sparkling wine called Victory. The wines are made by second generation family member Andrew Etsell.

The Fraser Valley winery is open for visitors Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 noon to 5:30pm. Naramata is open only by appointment.

Visit to join the wine club and for more information on picnics, events, weddings and much more.

Penticton's TIME Winery Riesling Wins Top White Wine at 2018 Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial

[Penticton, BC] Downtown Penticton's TIME Winery is thrilled to announce that its 2017 Riesling has won Top White Wine in the Top 20 Wines for this year's Cornucopia presented by BlueShore Financial.

Judged by a panel of 13 esteemed industry experts in a closed, blind-tasting session, this year's competition saw an impressive number of submissions, especially from the British Columbia wine region.

Capably made by winemaker Nadine Allander, with delicious mineral aromas of lime, lemon zest and stone fruit, the food-friendly TIME Riesling 2017 also marks as the only Riesling to win in this year's Top 20 Wines.

"We are honoured to receive this recognition from Cornucopia. For a British Columbia wine like the TIME Riesling to win Top White Wine, it helps to showcase the quality of our local wine region and encourages more people to try a glass of wine from British Columbia," shares Harry McWatters, president of TIME Winery.

TIME Winery's award-winning Riesling will be available to taste during Cornucopia's Signature Tasting: Crush Grand Tasting event on Saturday, November 10 (8:30pm). Tickets on sale now.

For those unable to attend, the TIME 2017 Riesling ($25.00) is available to order via Encore Vineyards

The full list of Top 20 Wine winners is available online. High-resolution photo assets available via Dropbox.

About TIME Winery:

While the literal definition of TIME may be elusive, it is an observed phenomenon which allows us to honour key moments in our shared journey through life. With 50 vintages of experience in the South Okanagan, TIME Winery is committed to creating wines that express the unique flavours of Okanagan wine country. 

Built within a revitalized historic theatre in downtown Penticton, the heart of South Okanagan wine country, the new TIME Winery offers a tasting bar, lounge and intimate outdoor patio for guests to enjoy. TIME Winery's full kitchen and event space provide a unique venue for your next public or private event.

Christine Coletta Receives Founders Award at Okanagan Fall Wine Festival

Christine Coletta-1.png

[Summerland, BC] On September 27, Christine Coletta, owner of Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP), has been presented the Founders Award at the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival. Coletta has been presented the award in recognition of her contributions to the BC wine industry. 

When presented the award in front of industry peers by industry veteran Harry McWatters of ENCORE Vineyards, Coletta said "I was very touched to receive this award. It was emotional to see my name added to a trophy containing the names of people who have worked tirelessly to create a thriving BC wine industry over the past 30 years."

This award is a further recognition for Coletta's passion and leadership in propelling the industry forward and to rise on an international level. Coletta has worked tirelessly to advocate for and to improve the Canadian culinary scene. 

Coletta started her career in hospitality as a server during her early years and it was in the 1990s that her leadership and dedication for the industry took off. As founding executive director for the BC Wine Institute, Coletta forged VQA as a standard to support the local wine industry and its various marketing activities. In addition, she co-founded Wines of Canada, the national wine standards arm. Under that umbrella, Coletta developed a roadshow that crossed Canada to encourage support for local food and wine.

After helping numerous BC wineries establish their businesses, Coletta launched her own wine, Haywire, and Canada's first purpose-built custom crush winemaking facility at OCP. Since 2011, Coletta has assisted more than 15 BC wineries in their winemaking via OCP.

Coletta has also been on the leading edge of Canada's organic farming and winemaking movement, establishing OCP as Canada's top producer of wines made from organic grapes and without additives or manipulation.

Earlier this year, when the government of Alberta held a boycott on BC wine, instead of responding with retaliation, Coletta led and set the tone for collaboration, by initiating a BC wine and Alberta food event.

And above this, Coletta doesn't keep her knowledge and ideas to herself. She shares her resources and continually offers advice and encouragement to not only her own team and people, but also her community and industry. Her most recent project is on the team that formed the Okanagan Wine Initiative, where seven leading BC wineries have united to share resources and to collaborate on various projects internationally, across Canada, and in their home market, British Columbia.

With another accolade added, Coletta will continue to innovate and propel the industry forward to become a premium wine producing region and a superb wine tourism destination. 

About Okanagan Crush Pad:

Okanagan Crush Pad is Canada's first purpose-built custom crush winery facility, located on the 10-acre Switchback Vineyard in Summerland, BC. Owned by Christine Coletta and Steve LornieOkanagan Crush Pad focuses on making wines that celebrate purity and simplicity, and aim to lead the next evolution of Okanagan wine. Visitors to the tasting lounge, set in the heart of this state-of-the-art facility, get a rare glance into the art of winemaking. Watch the cellar team in action, discover why the team makes wine in concrete tanks, and learn how the team composes wines that are definitive expressions of their vineyards.

For more information visit:

Blue Grouse Estate Winery Wins Three Regional Awards in Best of BC 2018

[Cowichan Valley, BC] Blue Grouse Estate Winery (Blue Grouse) has received three regional awards from the second annual Wines of British Columbia's Best of BC Wine Country Awards 2018.

Created by the BC Wine Instiute, the annual Best of BC Wine Country Awards is a crowd sourced campaign that invites the public to vote online for their favourite BC wine experiences.

Blue Grouse's vision in executing a beautiful, sustainable, and lasting experience for everyone that visits its estate has earned the winery three awards for Vancouver Island:

1. Best of BC Winery Pet (Vancouver Island) for Deano the BorderCollie/Retriever/Labradoodle

2. Best of BC Winery Accommodation(Vancouver Island) for the award-winning Grouse House.

3. Best of BC Special Events (Vancouver Island) for weekend occasions, weddings and more.

"Our entire team, including Deano, is extremely flattered and thankful for this recognition," shares Paul Brunner, owner of Blue Grouse Estate Winery. 

"With some of the oldest vines on Vancouver Island, we aim to create a unique tourism experience that inspires people to visit the beautiful Cowichan Valley. Our award-winning Grouse House, special events held at the winery (such as our Soup Saturdays) and our heart-stealing winery dog Deano are just a few components our dedicated team puts forward to create lasting experiences. We look forward to welcoming you in the upcoming year!" 

From live musical performances to local art showings and tastings, Blue Grouse invites you to follow their upcoming event listings online . As well, book the Grouse House for an exquisite vineyard retreat. Feel your worries melt away as you wake up to the surrounding vineyard filled with natural serenity.

The Blue Grouse tasting room is open all year; daily from 11am - 5pm until September 30; and Wednesday through Sunday 11am - 5pm from October 1 to December 31.

To check off-season hours when you plan your visit please call 250-743-3834 or go to

Accompanying photos of Deano, the Grouse House and events at Blue Grouse are available here.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery 
In the heart of Vancouver Island is Blue Grouse Estate Winery, a family-owned Cowichan Valley gem. The estate-grown wines are made from transitional-organic vineyards, and a second label, Quill, combines Island fruit with Okanagan fruit. Varietal wines include Ortega, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and there is also a traditional method sparkling wine, "Paula" named after owners Paul and Cristina Brunner's daughter. The wines are bright, crisp, and well-balanced, showcasing where they are grown. Visit and pass by a pond with birds, tadpoles, and beehives in the background as you approach the winery. A bright, airy, sustainably-constructed tasting room opens onto a sun-drenched patio; the perfect spot for charcuterie and a glass of rosé. The mezzanine and its romantic views make this an essential stop in your Cowichan Valley visit, while the surrounding vineyards offer the perfect setting for weddings or special events. Make a stay of it with luxurious vineyard-surrounded accommodation in the Grouse House, open year-round. Learn more about this biodiverse, progressive, eco-conscious winery at 

Local Youth Bring Disney Musical Performances to Stage

The Children's Theatre of Richmond Association (CTORA) is excited to announce that their 2018 program runs in November and December with two musical productions from Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr. and Beauty and the Beast Jr. 

Incredibly talented youth performers, including Disney stars, perform these popular musical productions with collaboration from Vancouver Aquarium to provide support and the three-dimensional (3D) backdrop in The Little Mermaid Jr. production. Tickets on sale now from $20.00 to $49.50 (excludes applicable service fee and taxes). 

2018 Show Schedule:
The Little Mermaid Jr.
Saturday, November 24 & Sunday, November 25
6:30pm (approx. 2 hours)
Massey Theatre, 735 Eighth Ave., New Westminster
Starting from $20.00- Order online with assigned seating

Beauty and the Beast Jr.
Friday, December 7 & Saturday, December 8
6:30pm (approx. 2 hours)
Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Ave., Vancouver
Starting from $21.50- Order online with assigned seating

Lily Yuan, CTORA founder and producer, shares, "Last year's production of Aladdin was a huge success, so we expect The Little Mermaid Jr. and the Beauty and the Beast Jr. to sell-out quickly this year. We not only have a talented team of young performers and renowned directors, we have also incorporated original art with digital technology to bring audience a stunning, lively, and one-of-a-kind performance stage."

 Following last year's sold-out  Aladdin  musical production, this year's  The Little Mermaid Jr.  and the  Beauty and the Beast Jr.  are expected to sell-out quickly.

Following last year's sold-out Aladdin musical production, this year's The Little Mermaid Jr. and the Beauty and the Beast Jr. are expected to sell-out quickly.

World Class Talent and Experience Bring These Productions to Life
As a non-profit organization that leads in providing talented youth performers the opportunity to share their passion for art and culture, CTORA welcomes three (3) award-winning and local youth performers to join this year's musical productions:

Zoey Siewert as Ariel, The Little Mermaid Jr. (in Nov 25 show)
Performance credit: Universal NBC's Nina's World; ABC's Once Upon A Time.

Zac Siewert as King Triton, The Little Mermaid Jr. (in Nov 25 show)
Performance credit: Marvel's (short-series) Black SpidermanChopped Canada Junior.

Jaedon Siewert as chef Louis, The Little Mermaid Jr. (in Nov 25 and 26 shows)
Performance credit: Universal's Aliens Ate My Homework; ABC's Siren.

More than 30 talented performers will take the stage this year with returning performers to include:

Neil Hong as Prince Eric, The Little Mermaid Jr.
Victoria Kazantseva as Ursula, The Little Mermaid Jr.

With more than 22 years of global musical theatre production experience, Emma Swords is the creative director behind this year's The Little Mermaid Jr. Swords' previous musical theatre production experience include: Oliver, Mulan, Aladdin, Les Misérables and West Side Story.

Internationally renowned choreographer Harry Zhao, who has represented China in World Sports Dance Open, will bring his Latin flair to work with Swords in creating electrifying choreography for The Little Mermaid Jr. Beauty and the Beast Jr. is directed by Joseph Spitale with assistance from Emily Matchette. Spitale is no stranger to the stage as he has participated in many internationally-acclaimed theatrical productions for Tokyo DisneylandTheatre Under the Stars, Les Misérables, Lincoln Centre in New York City, and more.

Canadian surrealist artist Michael Abraham has generously offered to hand-paint props and backdrops to create a lively experience for audience. Props and backdrops created by Abraham will include Ursula's cave, mirrors from the mermaids, and much more. As well, a Vancouver-based digital media company, FStar Media, has utilized 3D mapping technology to showcase the 20 animated backdrops that bring the show to life.

Another local construction company, Kiewit, has created a ship to accommodate up to nine actors and help bring the audience on a journey into the beautiful sea world.

"This year's show embraces technology and mixes it with traditional art, while celebrating the culture and talents of the young generation in our community," adds Yuan.

Children_s Theatre of Richmond Association-Logo.png

About Children's Theatre of Richmond Association
Founded by Lily Yuan, the Children's Theatre of Richmond Association (CTORA) is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities to support young artist and youth in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver community. Young performers are casted each year to perform in annual musical productions that showcase their artistic talent and passion, while providing an opportunity to learn from some of the best artists and musicians in British Columbia. Past musical productions include: Aladdin Jr., Beauty and the Beast Jr., the Little Mermaid Jr., and more. For more information, visit:

Chefs' Table Society of BC's Slow Fish Dinner Returns


Lovers of local seafood and social times rejoice as the Chefs' Table Society of BC's Slow Fish Canada Dinner returns for the 5th year to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 6pm-9pm. 

This annual event allows seafood lovers to gather and indulge in local sustainable seafood in the most interactive way.  

With only 100 tickets available, be an early bird! Purchase tickets before September 9 for $99 + taxes and fees here. (Tickets from September 10 onward are $109 + taxes and fees).

Like all Chefs' Table Society events, the proceeds from this event along with earmarked funds will be used to fund a scholarship; in this case, one that will be awarded that night.

Meet the chefs while you eat:
It's a kitchen party! Move from kitchen to kitchen and enjoy sustainable seafood. Credit Meighan Makarchuk

The evening starts with Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) culinary student-prepared canapés, and Frizzante Rosé from Salmon-Safe winery St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery.

Next, attendees move through the school's eight professional teaching kitchens to meet the visiting chefs, who each offer a tasting-sized portion of local sustainable seafood delicacies.

Leading the event committee is Chefs' Table Society chef Darren Clay, executive culinary chef instructor at PICA, and Poyan Danesh, culinary director at Ocean Mama Seafood.

This year's participating chefs:
Julian Bond, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
Andrea Carlson, Burdock and Co.
Welbert Choi, Forage
Warren Chow, Juniper
Jason Harris, Colette Grand Café at Holt Renfrew
Edgar Kano, Four Seasons Hotel
Greg McCallum, Le Crocodile
Mark Singson, Food Art and Music (Top Chef Canada Finalist Season 6)

Dishes will include the chefs' creative interpretations of how to serve sustainable local sturgeon, arctic char, Humpback Shrimp, Honey Mussels, Spiny Scallop
Geoduck, Albacore tuna and Octopus.

Wines paired with each dish will be from the portfolio of Peacock & Martin, and several Salmon-Safe BC wineries.

The intention of the event aside from raising funds is to raise awareness for Slow Fish Canada (a Slow Food initiative) and its role in protecting our oceans. Slow Food has been working in the field of sustainable fish for many years, raising awareness among seafood-lovers through the biennial Slow Fish fair in Genoa and developing projects to support responsible artisanal fishing communities. The quality and variety of the ocean's bounty will be in the spotlight at this special Slow Fish dinner.  

Tickets include reception, flavourful seafood dishes paired to wines, sweet treats from James Coleridge of Uno Gelato and a rare chance to interact with eight acclaimed chefs. 

With limited tickets available, seafood lovers are advised to act quickly, as this exciting and delicious event sells out every year. Tickets can be purchased here.  

About The Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia
The Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia is a registered, non-profit society composed of BC's leading chefs and culinary professionals. It is a chef-administered, province-wide collaborative dedicated to creating a foundation for the exchange of information between culinary professionals. The Society supports innovative and sustainable programs that will inspire, educate and nurture BC chefs, producers and the local food industry. The Chefs' Table Society secures apprenticeships for and bestows bursaries to emerging local chefs and also finances culinary education programs in BC schools. For more information or to become a member visit Get social with the chefs on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

About Slow Fish Canada
Slow Fish Canada is a campaign that focuses on issues related to fisheries, and encourages only the seasonal consumption of wild salmon, discourages the consumption of any form of farmed salmon, and is committed to the restoration of wild salmon stocks. Learn more about the Slow Fish Movement at Follow Slow Food Canada on Facebook and  Twitter.


Chefs' Table Society of BC hosts Wild Salmon Celebration August 25

Salmon 2017-112.jpg

It's that beautiful midsummer time of year in BC when seasonal ingredients like peaches and tomatoes shine on our plates, and wild sockeye salmon makes its seasonal run.

On Saturday, August 25, 2018, join the Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia and the BC Salmon Marketing Council from 6:30pm-9pm, for a celebration of an iconic seasonal BC product: wild salmon. Tickets, $59, and more information here.

Tasting-sized dishes featuring BC wild sockeye salmon will be prepared by six well-known Chefs' Table Society of BC member  chefs, who unite for this event over their love of the ocean.

Grazing through six food stations and savouring BC Salmon Safe wines while live music plays, you will participate in the only outdoor high-end event celebrating BC wild salmon, generously provided by Grand Hale.

Participating Chefs:
Meet the lineup of participating chefs and the dishes they have exclusively prepared for this event:

Ned Bell, Ocean Wise
Cured and Crispy Wild BC Sockeye Salmon with Lime and Poblano Dressing, Cashew Cream and Crumble

Darren Clay, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
Baked Salmon, Horseradish Crust, Pickled Cucumber Salad, Beets, Dill Oil

TJ Conwi and Bruce Nollert, ono Vancouver (Private chef/food service consulting business)
Hawaiian Lomilomi Salmon, Coconut Taro Poi, Seaweed Tapioca Pearls Crackers

Mariana Gabilondo, La Mezcaleria
Tostadas - Habanero Ash Cured Salmon, Crispy Corn Tostada with Acuyo "Butter", Ancho Pearls, Plantain Crisps and Mixed Micro Greens.

Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson, Hawksworth
Gus' Famous Maple Candied Salmon with Horseradish & Garlic Scape

Lucais Syme, Cinara
Cured Sockeye Salmon with Caponata

Perfectly paired for a warm summer's night, Salmon Safe wines from local BC wineries, including  Covert Farm Family Estate, Intersection Estate Winery, Sage Hills Estate Winery, St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and VinAmité Cellars will be available for tasting. For those who want an alternative from wine, you are covered, as Whistler Brewing , Lonetree cider, and Shelter Point Distillery will also offer libations. 

And to make sure your sweet tooth is satisfied, Maestro James Coleridge, Uno Gelato, will treat everyone with seasonal gelato.

The waterfront al fresco style dinner, held on a warm summer night with the False Creek marine surroundings, makes a beautiful backdrop as people gather to taste, all in celebrating a local, sustainable delicacy.

"By having everyone come out to enjoy ocean-caught, sustainable salmon, we are showcasing the best of our coast," states Robert Belcham, Chefs' Table Society of BC president. "I look forward to seeing everyone there."

Learn more about the Chefs' Table Society, its values, how to join, this event and other upcoming activities on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook .

Okanagan Crush Pad Launches New Free Form Brand in Celebration of its Newly-Certified Organic Winery Cellar

Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP) proudly announces the launch of a new label, Free Form, in conjunction with the winery earning organic certification for its cellar.

Chefs' Table Society of BC Takes a Stand Against Farmed Atlantic Salmon

Chefs 'walk the talk' with a wild salmon event August 25

[Vancouver, BC] While you likely have heard of their signature events in Vancouver, (the Spot Prawn Festival, the Curry Cup and more) the Chefs' Table Society (CTS) is the organization in the background making these events and other things happen.

A non-profit organization since 2004, the CTS is a chef-administered, province-wide collaborative that supports innovative and sustainable programs that inspire, educate and nurture chefs, food producers, and the local food industry, all the while promoting standards of excellence with the aim of enhancing the reputation of our regional cuisine. Among its core values is to conduct its activities based on fraternity, mentorship and sustainability for its people, land and resources.

 Chefs' Table Society president Robert Belcham. Photo by Chris Mason Stearns

Chefs' Table Society president Robert Belcham. Photo by Chris Mason Stearns

The CTS is making a formal statement that they are against open pen aquaculture for farmed Atlantic species in Pacific water. A land-based closed aquaculture system is recommended.

CTS president Robert Belcham says, "The Chefs' Table Society has had sustainability as one of its core values since its inception. We have always taken the stance that open net Atlantic salmon farming on the west coast is misguided, dangerous for our wild salmon stocks and negatively impacts our coastal first nations' fundamental right to clean ocean waters. We believe the future of this kind of aquaculture is better suited in closed containment, land based facilities. We need to push the government to continue the research into this kind of technology."

And the chefs practice what they preach. On Saturday August 25, 2018, from 6:30 - 9 pm, the Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia and the BC Salmon Marketing Council are hosting the 2nd annual celebration of an iconic BC product: WILD SALMON. Tickets and information here.

"By having the public come out and enjoy ocean-caught, sustainable salmon, we are showcasing the best of our coast," states Belcham. "I look forward to seeing everyone there."

Learn more about the Chefs' Table Society, its values, how to join, this event and other upcoming activities on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook.

TIME Winery Opens in Downtown Penticton

Graham Pierce joins team as director of winemaking

Photo Library: Photos of TIME Winery and winemaking team available via Dropbox.

NOTE TO THE READER: At the time of this announcement, the winery is an inspection away from opening. The plan is to open this weekend, subject to the final occupancy permit.

It is best to call the winery 236-422-2556 ext 106, or check its social media channels @timewinery for the most up to date information. 


[Penticton, BC] TIME Winery announces the soft opening of its winery in downtown Penticton at 361 Martin St. A grand opening of TIME Winery will take place in late 2018 following harvest.

During the soft opening period, chef AK Campbell, executive winery chef, will lead the culinary program to offer a selection of daily appetizers, features, and drink options.

TIME Winery is owned by ENCORE Vineyards, and is the sister winery to Evolve Cellars and the McWatters Collection label. To coincide with the opening of TIME Winery the ENCORE Vineyard team announces the appointment of Graham Pierce as director of winemaking.

With more than a decade of experience producing award-winning wines in the Okanagan, Pierce is a local British Columbian who grew up in Horseshoe Bay and received his winemaking and viticulture education from the Okanagan College in Penticton.

Prior to joining the team at ENCORE Vineyards, Pierce worked at Black Hills Estate Winery in Oliver, BC, where he has been for the past ten years, creating a strong lineup of wines including the premium Nota Bene. Before that he was at Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery and before that, a chef at Kelowna's Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Pierce's in-depth understanding of the Okanagan wine region and extensive winery operation knowledge, combined with his viticulture and winemaking experience, allows him to maximize the freshness of hand-picked and harvested grapes to create aromatic whites and balanced, big reds that truly express the terroir of BC.

At ENCORE Vineyards, Pierce is supported in the winemaking duties by Nadine Allander, who has been recently promoted from assistant winemaker to the position of winemaker.

"We have been industry friends with Graham for many years," says Harry McWatters, CEO of ENCORE Vineyards. 

"It is great to have him join our team. His pedigree of winemaking and knowledge in handling Okanagan fruits will allow Evolve Cellars, McWatters, and TIME Winery to continue making exceptional BC VQA certified wines that is a reflection of the land where the grapes are grown and the talented people who craft them."

Pierce is also enthused by the new role. "I look forward to working with this pioneering, yet continually-innovating family team," states Pierce. 

"The fun challenge will be to oversee and make a range of wines; from fruit-forward, juicy Evolve Cellars wines, to the complex and textured wines of TIME Winery and the McWatters Collection. After crafting still wines for so many years, I am most excited about the chance to create my first small batch sparkling wine."

 TIME Winery welcomes Graham Pierce as director of winemaker and Nadine Allander as winemaker. Credit: Chris Stenberg

TIME Winery welcomes Graham Pierce as director of winemaker and Nadine Allander as winemaker. Credit: Chris Stenberg

About TIME Winery:

While the literal definition of TIME may be elusive, it is an observed phenomenon which allows us to honour key moments in our shared journey through life. With 50 vintages of experience in the South Okanagan, TIME Winery is committed to creating wines that express the unique flavours of Okanagan wine country. 

Built within a revitalized historic theatre in downtown Penticton, the heart of South Okanagan wine country, the new TIME Winery offers a tasting bar, lounge and intimate outdoor patio for guests to enjoy. TIME Winery's full kitchen and event space provide a unique venue for your next public or private event.

About ENCORE Vineyards:

ENCORE Vineyards., a progressive Okanagan-based company, is home to British Columbia (BC) wine brands including TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection.

ENCORE Vineyards Ltd. has amassed an impressive team, poised to help define the next generation of BC wine and winemaking via its production centre in the Okanagan Valley. The company is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 50-vintage pioneer of the modern British Columbia wine industry, with daughter Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond (sales and marketing director), and son Darren McWatters (logistics and operations) who are each armed with lifelong wine industry experience and insight. Graham Pierce is the group's director of winemaking, supported by winemaker Nadine Allander, and talented hospitality and sales teams. See more on each winery at

Vancouver's Premier Culinary Festival Returns with 37 Top Chefs

Vancouver's Premier Culinary Festival Returns with 37 Top Chefs

EAT! Vancouver introduces all new event: EAT! Fine Cognac

[Vancouver, BC] EAT! Vancouver returns to Vancouver from November 5 to 10. More than 37 acclaimed chefs from across Canada, Los Angeles and Portland will take part in this year's festival. This year's EAT! Vancouver festival offers 18 events including the all-new, EAT! Fine Cognac event. 

Net proceeds from this year's EAT! Vancouver festival will once again support Project CHEF, a local charitable organization that teaches elementary school children about healthy cooking and eating via a curriculum-based experiential program. EAT! Vancouver contributed $25,000 from last year's festival, which enabled Project CHEF to offer its program to 556 children and 350 parent volunteers.


June 25-27: American Express pre-sale begins. 

June 28: Ticket on sale for general public via

 EAT! Vancouver returns November 5 to 10 with more than 37 chefs and 18 culinary events. Proceeds from this year's festival supports Project CHEF. Photo Credit: Hamid Attie

EAT! Vancouver returns November 5 to 10 with more than 37 chefs and 18 culinary events. Proceeds from this year's festival supports Project CHEF. Photo Credit: Hamid Attie

This year's EAT! Vancouver events include:

  • NEW: EAT! Fine Cognac (Nov. 6 at 7pm, Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront)- $175 plus tax.
    • For more than 400 years, Cognac stands as one of the world's greatest spirits. Centuries of experience of the growers and the meticulous attention to detail from the producers, with only the finest ingredients, has made Cognac perfection in a glass. Many of the world's finest Cognacs will convene in one room for your hedonistic enjoyment. To heighten the experience, delight in food pairings to complement the tasting. Rare Cognacs will be available for purchase on-site from Legacy Liquor.
  • EAT! Expert Classes (Nov. 5-8 at 7pm at various locations)- $75-$105 plus tax.
    • From authentic Italian pizza making to creating your own special dry-aged salami and knowing the secret of the Turducken sandwich, each class is an educational culinary experience for you to learn tips and hacks from the very best artisans.
  • EAT! Dinner Series (Nov. 7-8 at various times and locations)- $95-$225 plus tax.
    • Each dinner is a unique and one-time culinary collaboration between a BC chef and a special visiting chef. It's a powerhouse partnership featuring the best of both chefs and is guaranteed to impress your senses. 
  • EAT! Harvest (Nov. 9 at 7pm, Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront)- $125 plus tax.
    • This signature savoury event is back and bigger than ever. EAT! Harvest features a lineup of 21 rockstar chefs who will offer bites of canapés that embody their cuisine. Carefully-selected wine pairings were chosen to complement the decadent canapés. The result is an unparalleled event highlighting some of the best chefs in the world, all in one room. Chef Antonio Park from Park Lavanderia of Montreal, chef Tyler Shedden from The Chase of Toronto, chef Neal Fraser from Redbird of Los Angeles and chef Naomi Pomeroy from Beast of Portland are only a few of the guest chefs to name. 
  • EAT! Pastry (Nov. 10 at 2pm, Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront)- $79-$99 plus tax.
    • The elite of the dessert scene unite under one roof to make EAT! Pastry a must for anyone with an appreciation for the finest in chocolate and pastry. Take a decadent journey and meet 13 award-winning pastry chefs and chocolatiers from Vancouver and beyond, including guest chefs Brett Roy from Sweet Lollapalooza of Edmonton, and Patrice Demers from Patrice Patissier of Montreal. Seasonal cocktails included.

All events are restricted to persons 19 years of age and older. ID required.


Please visit 


The 16th annual EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival is one of Canada's most anticipated premium world-class culinary festivals in support of Project CHEF. Attracting attendees throughout North America, the 2018 EAT! Vancouver takes place from November 5 to 10 and features culinary collaborations between award-winning chefs across Canada and the United States. Experience a culinary experience like none other from this year's events including: EAT! Dinner Series, EAT! Harvest, EAT! Pastry, EAT! Expert Classes, and the all new EAT! Vancouver Fine Cognac. More:

Evolve Cellars Now Offers Pop-Up Dining and a Curated Picnic Bar

Popular Summerland winery evolves its onsite culinary experience

[Summerland, BC] Summerland's Evolve Cellars is named for a constant evolution to be better. To walk its own talk, Evolve Cellars introduces their summer culinary program, led by chef AK of TIME Winery.

Evolving Picnic Bar

An ever-changing picnic bar offering based on seasonality and individual inspiration from chef AK and his culinary team. The picnic bar is an exploration of flavour, texture and creativity. 

Visitors choose from a daily selection of three sandwiches (two meat options and one vegetarian option) and two salads (either hearty vegetable or starch-based) such as:

  • Blanched broccoli salad with caramelized onion, bacon, pecorino, and citrus vinaigrette.
  • Pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, roasted garlic, basil, and parmesan.

Build Your Own Picnic Bar

For those with a creative palate, the picnic bar also offers a "build your own charcuterie board" program with selections of quality imported, local, and house made meats, cheeses and breads paired with a rotating selection of chef inspired garnishes such as: tapenades, pickles, marinaded olives, flavoured mustards and more.

 Enjoy a glass of wine paired with food from Evolve Cellars' picnic bar.

Enjoy a glass of wine paired with food from Evolve Cellars' picnic bar.

Pop-Up Dining Series

Great food and wine go hand-in-hand and are made better when joined by good company. This summer, Evolve Cellars welcomes you to join them in celebrating fabulous friendships in a series of pop-up dining programs. Upcoming pop-up series include:

  • June 15: Lobster Day Lunch (11:30am-3:00pm)- $15 to $25.
    • From lobster chowder to lobster tagliatelle, order à la carte from the lobster lunch menu and pair with a selection of Evolve Cellars wines.
  • June 16: World Tapas Day (6:30pm-9:30pm)- $95/person.
    • Enjoy a 10-course fine dining experience specially assembled by chef AK. 
  • June 17: Father's Day Southern Comfort BBQ Buffet (11:30am-3:00pm)- $40/person.
    • Treat your father to a Southern Style BBQ buffet while enjoying the valley's best winery view of Okanagan Lake. 

To reserve or for more information, call the winery at 778-516-7728 or email

 Chef AK prepares dishes during Evolve Cellars' Pop-Up Dining Series event. Credit: Chris Stenberg

Chef AK prepares dishes during Evolve Cellars' Pop-Up Dining Series event. Credit: Chris Stenberg

Coming Soon: Quiche Program

There's more to winery food than a charcuterie and cheese platter. Chef AK will soon launch a quiche program that offers a changing selection (one meat and one vegetarian at all times). 


Coming Soon: Pickle and Preserve Plan

Surrounded by the bounty of Okanagan fruits and vegetables, chef AK wants to make this produce available to customers all year long. An extensive pickle and preservation program is coming soon to Evolve cellars, offering an assortment of delicious jarred goods such as: pickled vegetables and fruits, relish, chowchow, chutneys, tapenades, jams, jellies and spice blends. 

NOTE TO MEDIA: Photo assets for Evolve Cellars' Pop-Up Dining Series available via Dropbox

About Evolve Cellars:

You are the change. We change together. For every move you take forward, every positive thought you have, and for everything you've ever tried to do, you're always trying to be the best version of yourself. Evolve Cellars is right here with you.  

To evolve means to change or develop slowly, step by step, one day at a time, into a more advanced state of being. We believe that the Okanagan Valley has evolved to produce some of the best wines on the planet, and it is our intention to gently transform the fruit that Mother Nature creates into wines that can be enjoyed by all. Evolve Cellars' wines are fresh, fruit-forward, crisp, approachable, well-balanced and affordable that can be enjoyed by anyone, and at every occasion.  

The winery is perched on a bench overlooking Okanagan Lake and surrounded by five acres of vineyard, with a spectacular view across the water to the surrounding mountains. With a bright and airy tasting room, an onsite picnic bar and numerous sun-drenched patios, al fresco dining with a glass of wine in hand is essential. The grounds offer the perfect setting for a wedding or many special events, including yoga and corporate retreats. #raiseaglassto

For more information, visit

Summer Events at Blue Grouse

Blue Grouse Estate Winery Shares Fun Summer Events Kicking Off with a Musical Feast this Long Weekend

[Duncan, BC] The sun is out and Blue Grouse Estate Winery has you covered for your summer activities. Make your way to the winery and check out their ongoing events all summer long. Last chance to purchase tickets for this long weekend's Musical Feast - an enchanted evening you don't want to miss. 


A Musical Feast with food, wine and jazz - featuring Pianist Misha Piatigorsky

May 20 (6pm-10pm); $150 per person + gratuity and tax (only a handful of tickets left!)

This Food, Wine and Jazz Feast brings together handcrafted food by Cowichan Valley foraging icon, chef and author Bill Jones with wines from sustainably-farmed and award-winning Blue Grouse Estate Winery; and capped off by rhythms of jazz from New York City's vibrant pianist, composer and producer Misha Piatigorsky. Watch the video and get your tickets



Wine, Art, and Music (WAM) Festival 

May 19 and 20 (11am-5pm)

Don't miss out on the Cowichan Valley Wine, Art and Music Festival happening May 19-20

Blue Grouse Estate Winery will be featuring musicians such as...

Saturday May 19th

Scott McGill and Steve Holmberg 12:30 to 4:00pm and
Noon-12:30pm violinist Elena Ilina.
Sunday May 20th 

Ed Peekeekoot and Cari Burdett - noon to 4:30pm alternating sets.

Artists on display both days: Terri Rodstrom, Ralph Eastland, and Melanie Barnes 


Altered Olives Vintage Market

June 2 (11am-4pm)

Join Blue Grouse for a beautiful day filled with vintage shopping, creative artisans & vendors! This Vintage Market is fun for the whole family and will be an indoor and outdoor event. Please note there is an admission fee of $2, children under the age of 12 are FREE. 


1st Annual Father's Day Bocce Ball Tournament

June 17 (12pm-3pm)

Support the community and spend the day with dad at our first ever Father's Day Bocce Ball Tournament! Farm's Gate Food Truck will be on site and the bar will be set up at the Grouse House for food and wine purchases. All registration fees and $5 per bottle of wine will be donated to Nourish Cowichan. Two people for $25, four people for $50. Registration by phone or email: 250-743-3834 or


Duncan Farmers Market

Every other weekend starting April 14

Look for Blue Grouse at the market every other weekend starting April 14th. Stop by and say hi to Scott Waters and taste samples of our new releases. Pick up your wine, veggies and treats all in one place!  


Oyster Weekends at the Winery

Every Saturday and Sunday from May to August

Blue Grouse welcomes shucking expert, Wandering Mollusk who work with local oyster farmers that hand-harvest the oysters upon request so they can provide you the most fresh and sustainable shellfish.

Half shell oysters paired with our wines, every weekend.
Oysters are $2.50/each or $26/dozen.  



Make Your Weekend Retreat at Grouse House

Book your next weekend retreat at the Grouse House. The quietude of the surrounding vineyard and natural serenity is the place to be for a weekend relaxation and recharge.  Contact


Tasting Room Hours

May to September: 11am-5pm open daily. 


For the hours when you plan your visit, see or 250-743-3834.

What Are Technical Sheets and Why They Are Important

Does your winery have trouble keeping track of all the wines you’ve made, especially when it comes to flavor profiles and technical information? Technical sheets are a good solution to keep organized, but it’s also a great piece of marketing material for your sales team and consumers.

Technical sheets are often 8.5” x 11” loose leaf papers, however they can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The most standard information on these sheets include:

  • Company name and logo
  • Name of wine
  • Vintage of wine
  • Bottle shot image
  • Flavour profiles
  • Food Pairings
  • Alcohol percentage
  • pH
  • TA
  • RS
  • SKU
  • Price
  • Website and social handles
  • Company contact information

Additional information to bring your technical sheets to the next level could include:

  • Accolades
  • Awards
  • Viticulture and Composition
  • Winemaker’s Notes
  • Bottling date
  • Production in cases 

The public and trade can tell when a graphic item is made in-house or done professionally. Having a professionally-made technical sheet can give your company polish, legitimacy, and make your brand more reliable. When speaking to a designer, consider typesetting and some basic principles of design.

For more information on technical sheets, how they can work to help you sell wine, or to get some created, contact us today at

Okanagan Crush Pad Winery Acquires New Vineyard

Secrest Mountain Vineyard soon-to-be organic certified

 Okanagan Crush Pad winery acquires Secrest Mountain Vineyard.

Okanagan Crush Pad winery acquires Secrest Mountain Vineyard.

[Summerland, BC] Okanagan Crush Pad Winery owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie announce that the winery has acquired Secrest Mountain Vineyards Ltd in Oliver, BC. The holding includes a 50-acre property planted in 2000 with 38 acres (15ha) of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer. The property has been under lease to Okanagan Crush Pad since 2010 and is currently transitioning to organic certification. Grapes from this vineyard have been instrumental in allowing Okanagan Crush Pad to increase production of its own wine labels, with Secret Mountain Vineyard grapes earmarked to many of the winery's top Haywire and Narrative wines.

"We thank Brad and Dave Wise for the hard work they have done over the years and wish them well in their future endeavors," states Lornie. "We look forward to working with their crew and completing the organic farming conversion they started."

Secrest Mountain Vineyard, which neighbours Covert Farms, is a flat, south-west facing bench in a high mountain setting 487 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level, with alluvial soils, studded with coarse gravel, sandy loam and limestone layers.

"The cool high altitude setting of Secrest Mountain yields exceptional grapes," notes chief winemaker Matt Dumayne. "We can harvest at full physiological ripeness with lower sugar levels, and subsequently create delicate, lower alcohol wines, which is exactly our aim. The vineyard has proven itself over the years, and we are able to produce some of the best sparkling, Pinots and Gamay that I have made over the course of my career."

With this acquisition, Okanagan Crush Pad now has 80 acres of grapes between their Switchback (Summerland), Garnet Valley Ranch (Summerland) and Secrest Mountain (Oliver) and aims to plant an additional 55 acres at their Garnet Valley Ranch and Monro Avenue sites, to bring the total to 135 acres.

"Owning and controlling our grape supply is critical to our future," notes owner Christine Coletta. "We have been very fortunate that the Wise family shared our vision, and have put in three years of hard work to convert to the farm to organic practices. Now we are in a position to see that work carried on. While our winemaking team is a key asset in the processing chain, the farmer is the unsung hero in any wine narrative. The more work done in the vineyard, the less intervention required in the cellar, and that suits our winemaking ethos fully."

Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie built Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, BC, on Switchback Vineyard in 2011. The facility, producer of Haywire and Narrative, has established a reputation by receiving unprecedented awards and accolades with chief winemaker Matt Dumayne at the helm in the cellar, and with farming in the capable hands of fellow New Zealander, Duncan Billing. Dumayne crafts natural wines from organic grapes in state-of-the-art concrete tanks, using native yeast, and minimal additives. 

The wines reflect the region's unique high mountain/northern desert setting noted for its intensely hot, short growing season with hallmark cool evenings. Visitors to Okanagan Crush Pad discover a guest center, built into the heart of the winery, where they are offered a rare glance into the art of winemaking and a place where they can sample and purchase.


About Okanagan Crush Pad:

Okanagan Crush Pad is Canada's first purpose-built custom crush winery facility, located on the 10-acre Switchback Vineyard in Summerland, BC. Owned by Christine Coletta and Steve LornieOkanagan Crush Pad focuses on making wines that celebrate purity and simplicity, and aim to lead the next evolution of Okanagan wine. Visitors to the tasting lounge, set in the heart of this state-of-the-art facility, get a rare glance into the art of winemaking. Watch the cellar team in action, discover why the team makes wine in concrete tanks, and learn how the team composes wines that are definitive expressions of their vineyards.

For more information visit:

Social:  InstagramTwitter & Facebook

TIME Winery Welcomes Executive Chef, AK Campbell

Chef AK shares preview of menu in advance of winery opening

[Penticton, BC] TIME Winery is pleased to announce the appointment of chef, Alexander Keith Campbell (chef AK). As the newest creative force behind TIME Winery, chef AK oversees the small plate program at the highly-anticipated downtown Penticton location, along with the culinary program at Evolve Cellars

With more than 15 years of experience in the kitchen, chef AK's humble culinary adventure began back home in Nova Scotia, where he spent much of his time in the kitchen with his parents and grandmother.

 TIME Winery welcomes chef Alexander Keith Campbell (chef AK).

TIME Winery welcomes chef Alexander Keith Campbell (chef AK).

After graduating from the Culinary Arts Program at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown PEI, chef AK moved west to pursue his love of cooking. With his talents and passion, chef AK led culinary teams in boutique hotels and ski lodges such as the Naramata Heritage Inn and SpaTruffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge, and Heather Mountain Lodge Resort. Prior to joining TIME Winery, chef AK was assistant director of culinary operations for Vintage Hospitality.

Chef AK's passion and his charismatic personality shines beyond his food. He has a full sleeve tattoo that consists of pinup girls in chef clothes paired with bountiful fruits, vegetables, eggs and bacon. This speaks to the dedication and wit that chef AK has put into his career and passion. 

"My culinary approach is simple. I cook food that is big on flavour, bold, and fun. However, the most important is that no matter what I prepare, the experience that I deliver for guests will be one that I want to receive." shares chef AK.

At TIME Winery, chef AK will collaborate with Harry McWatters and Christa-Lee McWatters to develop pairings on both winery menus that achieve a sense of balance and harmony, while ensuring both the wine and food enhance one another to showcase the best components of each.  

"TIME Winery could profoundly change the food scene in Penticton. I'm excited to work with the team because there is a unified vision and a heritage of quality and dedication that I want to be a part of."

With that in mind, chef AK shares a sneak peek of what you can expect on the menu at the new TIME Winery, set to open in downtown Penticton this summer. 

"Grab a glass of wine and order one of the 'breads and boards' which consist of local and international cheeses, breads, charcuterie and antipasti. If you like variety, try a selection of small plates, such as Chickpea Frites with charred onion salt, basil and garlic yogurt sauce; or a short rib hush puppy complete with roast corn batter and a spicy tomato jam."

With construction nearing completion, the TIME Winery and kitchen is counting down to its opening. Follow TIME Winery on Facebook for exact opening date. 


About TIME Winery:

While the literal definition of TIME may be elusive, it is an observed phenomenon which allows us to honour key moments in our shared journey through life. With 50 vintages of experience in the South Okanagan, the team knows that our unique terroir can offer the right wine to celebrate any occasion. TIME Winery is committed to creating wines that express the unique flavours of Okanagan wine country. 

Built within a revitalized historic theatre in downtown Penticton, the heart of South Okanagan wine country, the new TIME Winery opens in 2018.

Sip the latest vintages, which offer expressive and elegant flavours of Okanagan terroir while you explore the inner workings of a fully-functional winery. Complete the experience at the tasting bar and lounge, or with your guests on the intimate outdoor patio. TIME Winery's full kitchen and event space provide a unique venue for your next public or private event.

For more information, visit

Evolve Cellars' Riesling 2016 Wins BC Wine of the Year

Results are in for 2018 BC Best of Varietal Wine Awards 

[Okanagan, BC] ENCORE Vineyards is proud to share that Summerland's Evolve Cellars' Riesling 2016 ($19) has won BC Wine of the Year at this year's British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Awards, presented by Okanagan Wine Festival. 

A classic Riesling that is well-balanced with stone fruit, floral notes and a touch of honey, this fruit-forward and approachable Riesling 2016 stood out as The Best in a vigorous competition with 571 other BC wines that were entered for judging. 

This year's competition saw a record number of 572 wines entered into the competition that featured 34 varietal categories. A well-respected panel of 18 judges narrowed the selection down to 141 finalists with one winner titled as The Best in each category. 

While Evolve Cellars' Riesling 2016 won the overall most prestigious title in this year's competition, other wines from Evolve Cellars and Penticton's TIME Winery also took home Gold and Silver medals.


Winning results for ENCORE Vineyards:

Full results for 2018 British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Awards available online

"With the talent in our BC wine industry, the quality of BC wines continue to increase. This makes us especially thrilled to have won Wine of the Year in addition to other awards for both TIME Winery and Evolve Cellars. We thank the judges and our BC wine community for your support. Let us raise a glass to you!" -Christa-Lee McWatters, marketing director, ENCORE Vineyards. 


About Encore Vineyards:

ENCORE Vineyards Ltd. is a progressive Okanagan-based wine company that owns and manages TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars, and the McWatters Collection. The experience of the ENCORE Vineyards team is unmatched in the Canadian wine industry landscape.

TIME winery is a fully operational winery, tasting bar, and guest experience centre located in the heart of wine country in downtown Penticton. The McWatters Collection is a small, exclusive offering of wines; a legacy label that celebrates the McWatters family and its role in forming the BC wine industry, and Evolve Cellars offers approachable, bright, delicious and affordable wines at a welcoming guest experience at its stunning, lakefront Summerland location

The team is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 50-vintage veteran of the BC wine industry. Christa-Lee McWatters (daughter) is the director of sales and marketing while Darren McWatters (son) oversees company logistics.