In 2012, when Paul Brunner and his family took over the pioneering Blue Grouse Estate Winery on Vancouver island, they could not have predicted what they would undertake over the next seven years.
Investments include major upgrades to the winery and property, going organic, and now, this season, the evolution of Blue Grouse includes a label refresh
Get out your stretchy pants, Vancouver, because the 17th annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival kicks off today!
Over the next 17 days (until Feb 3) Vancouverites will be able to try dishes and drinks from the best chefs and producers in the region and we have a handful of BC winery clients whose amazing wines are featured in menus around town.
[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 Lornie, Okanagan 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: okanagancrushpad.com.
Celebrating a Meeting Place of Friends at Irish Times in Victoria, BC
Photo Credit: Mister Pixel Photography
Winery owners Judy and Skip Stothert love celebrating their family traditions. When they started Coolshanagh Winery in the Okanagan, they didn’t hesitate to name it “Coolshanagh”, a Celtic word that belonged to Judy’s side of the family.
“Coolshanagh” means a “meeting place of friends.”
For generations, Judy’s family started using the word “Coolshanagh” under letterheads and soon enough, her cousins named their houses as Coolshanagh. This soon became a family tradition and carried through to multiple generations in celebration of the friendship between family and friends.
Although not entirely certain, the Stotherts share that the word “Coolshanagh” originated from Judy’s grandfather in Ireland and then eventually landed in Canada with his immigration to Newfoundland and Victoria.
When the Stotherts heard that Victoria’s Irish Times Pub won Irish Times' The Irish Pub of the Year in North America (chosen from 16,000 Irish pubs worldwide), they were ecstatic! This achievement follows Irish Times’ wins from previous years: Top 10 Irish Pubs Outside of Ireland in 2015; Best Pub in the City (8 out of last 12 years).
The Stotherts are fortunate that their Coolshanagh Chardonnay is listed by the bottle at Irish Times Pub. However, that wasn’t the celebratory aspect. It was how impressive and honourable this accolade is and the perfect fit between Coolshanagh and Irish Times Pub. It’s almost serendipitous.
Tracing back to family traditions, Coolshanagh originated from Irish roots then eventually arrived in Victoria, like Irish Times. Irish pubs are known for their unique, cozy and friendly ambiance. This, like Coolshanagh, makes a perfect place for the gathering of friends.
Join us in celebrating this beautiful friendship between Coolshanagh and Irish Times by visiting the pub the next time you’re in Victoria!
How Impressive Was This Award for Irish Times Pub?
16,000 Irish pubs worldwide were screened for this award, including UK, Ireland, Europe, North America and more.
- Irish Times Pub was shortlisted in six (6) competing categories:
- Best Irish Pub of the Year in North America
- Best Bar Person
- Best Marketing Campaign
- Best Chef
- Best Food Experience
- Best Craft Beer Experience
Congratulations to our friends!
- From Skip and Judy of Coolshanagh
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
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!”
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; firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 email@example.com
Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Lima at 319-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.