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Blue Grouse Estate Winery

It's Sparkling Wine Week!

Although we’re just coming off the long weekend, don’t cap those bubbles yet – It’s Sparkling Wine Week!


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Sparkling Wine Week is HERE! Don’t worry if you didn’t get the heads-up, we’ve got you covered! Here are six bubbly ideas to help you celebrate with BC wine all summer long:

Summerhill Pyramid Winery – Cipes Brut

Straight from the Okanagan Valley, the Cipes Brut is organic! With aromas of apple, lime, pear, almond and grapefruit, it has just enough zest to compliment any outdoor summer meal. Buy online here for $26.50.

Singletree Winery – 2018 Merryfield

Named after one of the original families to homestead Singletree Winery’s Abbotsford location, this wine is made in the champagne style with 50-50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It has strong notes of citrus and a creamy mousse. For those that want to indulge during Sparkling Wine Week, try the Merryfield for $34.70, buy online here.

Singletree - Merryfield

Singletree - Merryfield

Narrative Okanagan Crush Pad – XC Method 2018

with grapes from vineyards in Oliver and Summerland, the Narrative XC Method is for those that want to make their Sparkling Wine Week eXCiting! Bubbly, exuberant and filled with creamy toasty notes. The XC Method can make a festive start to a night out or slowly sipped by the campfire. Buy online here for $24.90.

Evolve Cellars – Pink Effervescence 2017

Back by popular demand for Sparkling Wine Week, the recently sold-out (and now re-stocked) Pink Effervescence is flirty, fancy and fun! Made almost entirely from Pinot Blanc, the Pink Effervescence gets it light rose colour from a hint of Merlot Blend. If you like ripe peach and rich berry flavours, the this is the bubbly for you! Contact the winery at info@evolvecellars.com or call 778-516-7728 to purchase this wine.

Haywire –The Bub 2016

The Bub is a must-have for Sparkling Wine Week. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, it has toasty notes that complement its vibrant citrus taste. This bubbly has no sugar added and pairs perfectly with oysters or soft cheese. If you’re planning on crafting up an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board, add the Haywire Bub to your meal and turn your photo into #GOALS (make sure you tag @townhallbrands in your post!) Buy online here for $29.90.

How the BUB got its name…
This sparkling wine is a true labour of love and is a tribute to the lovely Alison Scholefield, known as the Bub, Bubba, Bubster, or Alibubba in her early days.⁠

⁠Alison is the sales ambassador for Summerland winery, Okanagan Crush Pad, representing her family’s wines Haywire, Narrative, and Free Form. Perhaps her future was fated at an early age. Visitors to the Canadian booth at Vinexpo in 1992 might have seen Alison happily colouring under the table while Mom, Christine Coletta, poured Icewine.⁠.⁠Very few mothers get the pleasure of naming a wine after their child. But when your kid happens to have a childhood nickname “Bub” that just seems to fit with “bubble," Coletta looked no further when exploring name ideas for the Haywire sparkling wine.⁠

Haywire - The Bub

Haywire - The Bub

Blue Grouse Estate Winery – 2016 Paula Sparkling

Last but definitely not least, this Brut style traditional method sparkling wine from Vancouver Island has aromas of green apple, toast, and a dash of earthy mushroom. A nicely balanced bubbly that can transform any summer meal. Pair it with a light seafood dinner, citrus dessert, or have it compliment a delicious cheese snack. This wine is a go-to no matter what the occasion is! Buy online here for $32.00.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery owners (Paul and Cristina Brunner) hold the Paula very near and dear to their hearts It was named after none other than...their daughter Paula Brunner!⁠

Blue Grouse Estate Winery Releases Event Calendar

Blue Grouse is the official winery of a Vancouver Island Summer!

If you’re looking for enjoyable events that pair well with a staycation or Vancouver Island visit, Blue Grouse Estate Winery has you covered from sophisticated evenings to family fun.  

Blue Grouse visitors enjoy a glass in the sun. Photo by Derek Ford.

Blue Grouse visitors enjoy a glass in the sun. Photo by Derek Ford.

Summer Kick Off Party!

May 18 & 19

Celebrate warmer days ahead with music, food, wine slushys, and new vintages!

·      May Long Weekend (Saturday May 18 and Sunday May 19)

·      11-5pm each day

·      Live Jazz both days from 2-4pm

·      Wine Slushys made from Blue Grouse wines

·      2016 Paula Sparkling Release

·      Charcuterie and food specials all day

·      New vintages and a brand-new label look!

 

Friday Night Flights

June 7 – August 30

·      Winery open until 7pm on Fridays – just drop in

·      Order a flight of 3 wines only, or a food-paired flight from a rotating calendar of chefs

·      Our winemaker Bailey Williamson kicks off, by cooking June 7 – also on July 12 and August 2

·      Farm’s Gate Foods creates the pairings June 14, July 5 and August 23.

 

2nd Annual Father's Day Bocce Tournament

Spend the day with dad drinking wine and overlooking the vines, all while supporting the community.

·      Sunday June 16th from 12-3pm

·      Bocce balls provided

·      All registration fees and $5 per bottle of wine will be donated to Nourish Cowichan. Tickets can be purchased here online or at the tasting room.

A Jazz Evening with Misha Piatigorsky

New York resident and famed jazz pianist Misha Piatigorsky will be gracing Blue Grouse with a cabaret-style piano concert in our upstairs lounge. You won’t want to miss this intimate show. 

·      Saturday June 15, 7-9pm

·      Doors open at 6 pm

·      Tickets are $35 + GST

·      Charcuterie, cheese and vegan boards; wine by the glass or bottle are available to purchase all evening.

Concert in the Vines with Heartwood 

Heartwood is the new and perfect pairing of award-winning singer-songwriters Jack Connolly and Genevieve Charbonneau from our own Cowichan Valley. Jack and Genevieve are outstanding performers in their own right, but when their songwriting talents, charisma and musical chops are combined, the result is roots and folk magic. The duo are joined by a band for this special evening of music.

  • Saturday August 17 from 7:30 to 9:30pm

  • Doors open at 6:30pm

  • Tickets are $20 + GST

  • Wine by the glass and bottle available for purchase all evening. 

Cowichan Wine Festival

The Cowichan Valley Wine Festival is a tasting and touring event showcasing the best of Vancouver Island wine from 11 local wineries.

Kick-off Event, August 23rd: Start the weekend off right and join all the wineries for our evening tasting event at Shawnigan Lake School.   

Winery Touring, August 24th - 25th: Spend the rest of the weekend self-touring Cowichan's fabulous wineries with map and passport in hand. Visit the wineries and collect stamps to fill the passport. Collect all the stamps and you can enter the draw for a grand prize!

Tickets will be available for purchase on the Tourism Cowichan website closer to the event date, or simply purchase a festival glass and passport at your first stop and keep it with you. This glass is your ticket and entitles you to 3 free tastings at all 11 participating wineries!

Wine Slushys at Blue Grouse are incomparable!

Wine Slushys at Blue Grouse are incomparable!

Visit bluegrouse.ca for wine festival happenings TBA!

For further questions about these events or summer at Blue Grouse, contact jenny@bluegrouse.ca or look at the event calendar online.

 

About Blue Grouse Wines:  

In the heart of Vancouver Island is Blue Grouse Estate Winery, a family-owned Cowichan Valley gem. 

The estate-grown wines are made by winemaker Bailey Williamson from transitional-organic vineyards, and a second label, Quill, incorporates Island fruit and Okanagan fruit. Varietal wines include Ortega, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and a traditional method sparkling wine, "Paula" named after winery 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 bluegrouse.ca

Plan a Perfect Vineyard Wedding

Trends and Tips from the Experts on Planning the Perfect Vineyard Wedding

[Duncan, BC] A vineyard wedding offers the perfect earthy-chic ambiance, tied together with old-world charm. Planning it all can be daunting, so we spoke to seasoned professionals who frequently work with Blue Grouse Estate Winery for their tips and trends on how to host a dream wedding set among the vines. Follow these ideas for how to style your own.

Please browse our Blue Grouse Estate Winery photo gallery with photo credits to: Sweet Heirloom Photography

The Bride and Groom   share   a sweet moment on site at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Photo Credit: Sweet Heirloom Photography  

The Bride and Groom share a sweet moment on site at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Photo Credit: Sweet Heirloom Photography 

Food:

Taryn Stewart of Truffles Catering says to impress with cheese cake.

No, we're not talking about any creamy, sweet Cheesecake Factory confections. Cutting-edge, food-loving couples today are opting for fanciful, multi-tiered cakes made out of gourmet cheeses such as chèvre, gouda, and a host of savoury charcuterie board staples.

"The trend is ideal for those that are looking to incorporate unique and distinctive wedding elements to their special day," Stewart shared. The opportunity to pair this with an array of award-winning Blue Grouse wines is surely the topping on the "cake".

Charcuterie from a wedding at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Jeffrey Bosdet photo.

Charcuterie from a wedding at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Jeffrey Bosdet photo.

Rentals:

If you are getting married on Vancouver Island, the tenting, glassware, and more can be arranged by Dave Willie at Black and White Rentals. With more than 25 years of experience supporting Island weddings, Dave notes that gold cutlery, textured ceramic plates, chiavari chairs, and harvest tables are popular. 

Blue Grouse offers indoor and outdoor settings for a ceremony and reception. Here, Blue Grouse Estate Winery's Quill White awaits wedding guests. Sweet Heirloom Photography.

Blue Grouse offers indoor and outdoor settings for a ceremony and reception. Here, Blue Grouse Estate Winery's Quill White awaits wedding guests. Sweet Heirloom Photography.

Event Planning and Florals:

Most couples today choose to have their ceremony and reception at the same venue. This is affordable, and allows a seamless transition from the ceremony to photos, mingling with cocktails, and dinner into dancing. "Staying in one spot allows more time with guests, and less stress for all by reducing travel and logistics," discloses Christine Smart of Smart Events. With a venue as vast and versatile as Blue Grouse Estate Winery, transitions are simplified and complicated coordination is eliminated. 

"Blue Grouse Estate Winery offers a stunning contemporary building which allows traditional table settings and florals to become a focal point", she adds.

The colour tones of the setting at Blue Grouse Estate Winery are natural and very easy to complement. With this in mind, those getting married have creative freedom for picking floral arrangements that are true to their style. Pantone's colour of the year for 2018 is ultra-violet, so purple lavender and pink or cream-coloured roses or peonies are on trend, but any one of your favourite flowers can be incorporated beautifully. 

Rich, jewel-toned blooms blended with cream-coloured peonies and natural greenery carry an air of vibrant sophistication and elegance. Thorn & Thistle photo.

Rich, jewel-toned blooms blended with cream-coloured peonies and natural greenery carry an air of vibrant sophistication and elegance. Thorn & Thistle photo.

Venue

Next to engagement rings and the bride's dress, deciding on a venue is one of the biggest aspects of planning a wedding. Boasting 65 acres of stunning property, Blue Grouse Estate Winery is the ideal venue to make the dream of a vineyard wedding become a reality.

Sweeping valley views on the ceremony grounds at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Photo Credit Sweet Heirloom Photography.

Sweeping valley views on the ceremony grounds at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Photo Credit Sweet Heirloom Photography.

An outdoor ceremony at Blue Grouse Estate Winery can accommodate up to 130 guests, and can be tented. Alternatively, if you want to be indoors, the inside tasting room of the winery can accommodate up to 80 guests for a seated dinner reception.

Concerned about accommodations? The Grouse House offers a luxurious two-bedroom suite that is a convenient location to rent for pre-ceremony wedding party preparations and a beautiful post-ceremony rest. Upon booking your wedding, you will receive $100.00 off of your stay per night at Grouse House

For inquiries about booking a wedding at Blue Grouse Estate Winery and/or a stay at the brand new Grouse House, contact Jenny.

 

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 award-winning portfolio of wines, but also for events, picnics and family adventures.

The inspired winery facility was built 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.

More information, including tasting hours and upcoming events: www.bluegrouse.ca/ 

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

FacebookCover-MothersDay2017
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.

#

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

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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!”

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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.

 

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.

2016 BC Grape Harvest In Full Swing

  Would you like images, an interview, or to learn more? Contact Sujinder Juneja for assistance.

According to the BC Wine Institute (BCWI), BC’s cool-climate grape crop is on track for another excellent vintage this year. Hot and dry conditions in the spring led to the earliest bud break on record and the earliest harvest ever for some wineries in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. The low average temperatures and high rainfall allowed BC grapes to have more time to ripen on the vine and to accumulate flavour and aromatic compounds. This contributes to wines that are fresh, complex and balanced with higher acidity that make them versatile food pairings.

On Vancouver Island

Bailey Williamson, winemaker for Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan on Vancouver Island, is expecting another excellent harvest at the Cowichan Valley estate. A strong growing season in April and May, followed by a cooler June and July than the previous year, led to an elongated flowering and fruit set cycle and allowed the grapes to mature and ripen to classic levels. The Blue Grouse harvest started on September 10, beginning with the popular Siegerrebe, an aromatic white varietal which tends to ripen earliest. After that, there will be a break in harvest until the end of September, when the rest of the grapes will be harvested in earnest. Compared to all the vintages since 2012, this year’s harvest started within a week of normal.

bg-winery-01-creditderekfordsmall

In the Fraser Valley

Conditions on the mainland were similar to Vancouver Island. Andrew Etsell, GM and viticulturist of Singletree Winery in Abbotsford notes that with the warm and dry August, the grapes developed beautiful flavours with balanced acids and sugars. Singletree began its harvest on August 25 – one full week earlier than 2015, and the winery’s earliest harvest on record. “We started with our Siegerrebe, which is evolving into one of our most popular wines,” Andrew shares. “We’re also keeping a close eye on our estate Pinot Noir, which we have just harvested for our first-ever estate sparkling wine. Other estate varietals, such as our Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc, will follow after that. This year’s harvest will not yield as much fruit as 2015, yet the fruit will be clean and very high quality."

It's harvest time at Abbotsford's Singletree Winery.

In the Okanagan - Naramata Bench

After an unseasonably warm spring, followed by an early summer, Serendipity Winery’s Katie O’Kell was concerned that the harvest would take place much earlier than normal at her estate Naramata vineyard. However, the cooler, wetter weather moved in, which allowed the grapes to mature a more moderate pace.

Serendipity’s harvest started on August 29 with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and continued on August 31 with Viognier. With a dry and cool climate, the phenolics (flavour and aromatic compounds) will eventually catch up to the brix (a measure of potential alcohol) that is currently sitting in the low 20s.

serendipity-vineyard-4

Okanagan – South

Likewise, Lawrence Buhler, director of winemaking for ENCORE Vineyards, which produces wines under the TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection labels, is also in the middle of an active harvest. Compared to last year, Buhler and his winemaking team saw a two-day early start to the season on August 17. Harvest has almost been completed for the still whites, with additional harvests to take place in the next two to four weeks for red varietals.

Regarding the balance of the 2016 harvest, Lawrence says the reds are maturing well and the cooler weather is excellent for proper fruit development and sugar accumulation in the berries.

Harry McWatters, president and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards said recently to Global Television, “we had record-breaking temperatures in April and the earliest bud break that I’ve seen in my history in British Columbia. This is my 49th vintage in the wine business and I’ve never seen a harvest this early. What it does is even in the fringe areas, where the grower may be pushing their limit as far as what they’re growing or the amount of crop they’ve got, it gives them a bit bigger window to mature that fruit to its optimum level. It’s a good thing.”

Indeed it is, Harry. And although the wineries – from Vancouver Island to the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan – are right in the middle of an exciting harvest, we already can’t wait to taste the finished wines starting next spring.

evolve-vineyard

 

Town Hall Brands: Specializing in wine, food and hospitality

Town Hall Brands, based in Vancouver BC, build brands and promotes them. We offer marketing strategy, graphic design, packaging, promotional campaigns and PR, and social media outreach.

Can we help you with a story? If it comes to a story in need in wine, we can help or send you to the right place.

Meet Tara Clark #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall, we introduce you to a colleague of ours, Tara Clark.

Tara ClarkAs you can tell from her photo Tara is fun, fabulous and full of energy!

But she's also a savvy business owner at Tara Clark Consulting, where she specializes in Digital Marketing for luxury leisure and fine wine clients that are hand picked and reflect her values and passions in life.

Tara works with Town Hall's PR client, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, as their Digital Marketer. Which means we are lucky enough to work with Tara where she provides collaborative digital marketing strategies and executes the plans with efficiency and effectively.

While it is still early in Tara's career, she was the Social Media Award Recipient in October 2015 for her work with Blue Grouse through Social Media is Simple blog. This is just the beginning for Tara and Town Hall is happy to count her as part of our network.

Working with fine wine brands Tara is a known #winelover (another reason we all love her) and as such is WSET Level II certified.

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

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

Meet Pedro Parra #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese Well  its FriYAY - and a new week to bring you an amazing person #withTownHall!

If you are new to reading this blog or new to our company – we want you to know that we are proud that we have a big network, and we are continually meeting new and interesting personalities.

This week #withTownHall, we are rolling in on #featurefriday to introduce you to an international terroir specialist, Pedro Parra.

Pedro Parra, Coolshanagh and Okanagan Crush Pad, terroir specialistPedro is a soil and terroir consultant from Chile.  To keep it simple, he assesses vineyard soil and determines which grape varietals will grow best based on soil type and composition. This includes digging pits and truly understanding the soil since different soil types yield different results in finished wine.

Pedro's clients are mainly located in Chile, Argentina, and Italy, but he also works in Sonoma, British Columbia, Armenia, Uruguay, and Burgundy.

In BC, Pedro works with three of Town Hall's PR clients. Beginning in 2012, he joined the Okanagan Crush Pad team as their terroir consultant and been apart of their journey ever  since helping them continue to move forward in crafting pure Okanagan wines. In 2014, Pedro assessed the soil of Coolshanagh Vineyard and noted the vineyard's soil was in the top 15% in the world. Along with the vineyards in the Okanagan, Pedro consults with the Blue Grouse Estate Winery team in Cowichan Valley on their winemaking.

In this position, he has dug over 20,000 pits around the world to help winemakers create the best wine possible, because it's not about the soil-it's all about the wine. When Pedro chooses his wine he considers soil type & region over varietal.

With all that being said will you help us say hello to Pedro?

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

 

What a year of personalities #withTownHall

  By Leeann Froese

Welcome to the #withTownHall #2015recap!

If you are a regular reader, you will know that each week we introduce a person we have encountered #withTownHall!

So as we end the year, let’s re-meet some amazing people:

Featured-in-2015-allDid you miss a post, or are you curious to know more about someone above? Click their posts to read about them:

Ezra Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Crystal Kwon, Citizen Relations & Vancity Buzz

John Biehler

Alison Scholefield, Okanagan Crush Pad

Welbert Choi, Forage

James Melendez, James the Wine Guy

Mark Hicken, Vintage Law Group

Bailey Williamson, Blue Grouse Winery

Tyler Harlton, TH Wines

Hootsuite Owl, Hootsuite

Annika Reinhardt, Social Bites

Clement Chan, Torofuku Modern Asian

Degan Walters, SmokySweet

Cristina Brunner, Blue Grouse Winery

Jeff Kralik, Drunken Cyclist

Glen Korstrom, Business in Vancouver

Julie Van Rosendaal, Dinner With Julie

Darnelle Moore, Eastside Fitness

Sam Hauck, My Vancity

Blue Grouse Estate Winery, team

Jim Irving, BC Hospitality Foundation

Jeremy Schacht, Ampersand Distilling

Tori Klassen

Mijune Pak, Follow Me Foodie

Brian Webb Homoculture

Chris Pritchett, UBC Thunderbirds Baseball

Swearing Minion, Despicable Me

Christine Campbell, Girls Go Grape

Kayla Koroush, Barrel Thief

Joshua McVeity, Photographer and Fred Lee, Man About Town

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, Local Lounge | Grille, Encore Vineyards

Kristina Manning, Monthlyclubs.com

Frank Morgan, Drink What You Like

Courtney Buryta, Vancouver Canucks

Natalie Langston, Freelance Media

Eagranie Yuh, Edible Vancouver and Wine Country

Crystal Henrickson, University of British Columbia

Madeline Puckette, Wine Folly

Steven Spurrier, Decanter Magazine

Jennifer Schell, BC Food and Wine Trails Magazine

Amy Chen, Town Hall Brands

Ann Luu, CTV Morning Live,

Jackie Gidda, Mt Boucherie Estate Winery

William Ho, Fairchild Radio

Skip & Judy Stothert, Coolshanagh

Mary Halpen, Best of Bridge

Ron Wilson, Cheap and Cheerful

Justin Darnes, Drinks Undressed

 

Do you know someone who we should feature #withTownHall? Introduce us. And leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter

 

Behind the Scenes: The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker

By Leeann Froese In case you missed it, our #withTownHall person this week is Jennifer Schell, international best selling author of two collaborative cook books... go say hi here.

We are super proud that Jennifer's newest book, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker-By the Sea, was released last Thursday, October 8th and features a few of Town Hall's clients, including winemaker Bailey Williamson from Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Cowichan Valley.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery's philosophy is "What really matters?" and this relates directly to their new facility, the experience they create at the winery and the wine making process. Bailey's process in creating Blue Grouse wines is working harder in the vineyard and playing shepherd to the grapes through the process from vine to bottle, letting the natural state shine through in the final product.

We wanted to share a few behind the scenes shots from the cookbook photo shoot for you.

Bailey Williamson, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, winemaker & model

Up close and personal with Blue Grouse Quill Red 2012 & 2013 Ortega

The amazing producers and Jennifer on Jericho Beach.

Jennifer Schell at her book release.

Want to see even more?

For more behind-the-scenes action from the book and photos from the book launch, head over to Town Hall's Facebook page were we've uploaded an album for you to enjoy!

Meet Jennifer Schell #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall, we introduce you to Jennifer Schell.

Jennifer Schell with Town Hall Brands. Barbara Jo's Book for Cooks

Jennifer is a food and wine writer, columnist and editor of BC Food and Wine Trails Magazine, member of Les Dames d'Escoffier, author of the international best seller The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook and the brand new The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker - By the SeaIn her second book you'll be able to learn from our clients Bailey Williamson, winemaker at Blue Grouse Estate Winery in the Cowichan Valley, Harry McWatters, from TIME Estate Winery, and multiple member chefs from The Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia.

Jennifer has made her work about celebrating the people behind the labels and recipes, so today take a moment to say 'hello' and help celebrate her.

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

Town Hall Clients & Top Drop Vancouver

By Kathleen Beveridge Top Drop Vancouver is two weeks away.

This celebration of terrior-influenced and handcrafted wine is only in its second year its impact is large inviting trade and consumers to participate for the love of wine. By bringing 33 honest wines and their principals directly to Vancouverites this is a wine event that educates about wine regions, biodynamic farming and natural wines. All hot topics in the wine industry at this time.

Enjoying Top Drop Vancouver 2014

Along with supporting wine education, tasting, and alternative farming practices Town Hall has two clients connected with Top Drop Vancouver. Proceeds from the event will go to our amazing charity client the BC Hospitality Foundation, which provides financial assistance to those in the hospitality industry facing a major medical crisis.

In conjunction with the Top Drop tasting event there are various dinners being hosted, Paula Sparkling Wineincluding one at Edible Canada featuring our winery client Blue Grouse Estate Winery and a rare chance to taste their 2012 Paula sparkling wine.

Learn more about Top Drop Vancouver here.

Buy tickets for Edible Canada’s dinner here.

Celebrating Canadian Cuisine on Food Day Canada

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

And we share it @FoodDayCanada with #CanadaISFood #FDC2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Coolshanagh

Evolve Cellars

McWatters Collection

Monte Creek Ranch

Mt. Boucherie Winery

Okanagan Crush Pad

Serendipity Winery

Singletree Winery

SpierHead Winery

Summerhill Pyramid Winery

TIME Estate Winery

Meet Jeremy Schacht with Town Hall

By Leeann Froese It's Saturday - that means it's time to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall, we introduce you to Jeremy Schacht.

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I was happy to meet Jeremy last year when Sujinder and I visited Ampersand Distilling.

Ampersand Distilling Company is a new, family owned craft distillery located on a five acre organic farm in the Cowichan Valley.

Those who know me know I love #gttime, so when Sujinder and I were on Vancouver Island working we made a detour.

We were impressed by Jeremy and his talents with distilling, and the gin is delicious. Check it out at the Duncan Farmer's market or schedule a visit the next time you are visiting Blue Grouse Estate Winery.

Please help us and say a big hello. Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Meet Blue Grouse Estate Winery With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese It's Saturday - that means it's time to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them. This week #withTownHall for something a little different, we introduce you to Blue Grouse Estate Winery.

We do this because today is their grand reopening!

Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse

 

A selfie with Blue Grouse

Family-owned, sustainably-farmed and award-winning, Blue Grouse Estate Winery is located at 2182 Lakeside Road, Duncan, BC within the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

The new winery and surrounding vineyards are a sought after destination not only for sampling the winery's award-winning portfolio of Island wines, but also for picnics and family adventures.

The inspired new winery facility was built 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 mechanical heating and cooling.

The new Blue Grouse tasting room is open daily from 11AM to 5PM from June to October. Call 250-743-3834 or email tastingroom@bluegrouse.ca for winter hours, group bookings or just to say hello.

Please help us congratulate the team on their new winery opening and say a big hello. Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Meet Cristina Brunner With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese It's Saturday - that means it's time to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall

This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week #withTownHall we introduce you to Cristina Brunner.

Cristina Brunner

Cristina is an artist who hails from Peru, and she, along with her husband Paul, owns Blue Grouse Estate Winery, located in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Cristina is looking forward to the brand new Blue Grouse winery to be open May 23, and invited you to come and visit her there this summer.

And whether you already know Cristina or not, please help us support her and say a big hello.

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

 

Start your summer sipping at a gala gathering of BC wineries

See you at the BCWAS 10th Anniversary Gala Event! Happy #WineWednesday, British Columbia!

FaceBookCover-Cheers1Help the BC Wine Appreciation Society celebrate its 10th Anniversary, at a gala tasting overlooking the city. A whopping 48 BC wineries will be on hand to offer a true taste of the varied terroirs of BC.

April 16 at the Diamond Ballroom. Tickets are $49 and selling fast!

We are proud because many of our clients are going to be there to offer the attendees a taste, and, we will also have a Town Hall table! Come and visit us and taste wines from

40 Knots Winery

Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Mt. Boucherie Winery

Serendipity Winery

Singletree Winery

TIME Estate Winery

Join us at our table and meet Andrew Etsell from Singletree – Fraser Valley’s newest winery as well as Judy Kingston from Naramata's Serendipity.

Our lovely clients SpierHead will also be there, hosting their own table, so be sure to say hello to them and have a taste.

Below are all the details:

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 Event Information

  • What- BCWAS 10th Anniversary Gala Event
  • Date- Thursday, April 16th, 2015
  • Time- 7:00pm to 10:00pm
  • Location- Diamond Ballroom, 1495 West 8th Avenue, top floor of Masonic Centre
  • Ticket Price- $49.00 per person. Tickets available online.

What to expect?

  • Discover & Sip- Taste more than 95 SKUs from wine regions across BC, including the Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Naramata, West Kelowna and many more.
  • Scenic View- Enjoy beautiful scenery of Vancouver as you mingle with like minded wine lovers inside the Diamond Ballroom.
  • Meet & Greet- You will have the opportunity to meet winery principals from select wineries.
  • Take home your tasting experience- Tasted a wine that you like but don’t want to order a whole case from one winery? No problem. Bring your credit card and you can buy as few as 3 bottles of wines from any winery to make a mixed case.

Winery Regions to Discover:

BC wineries have so much to offer and these amazing vintners are making the trip to Vancouver to help the BC Wine Appreciation society kick off this milestone of 10 years of celebrating the wines of BC!