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Blue Grouse Winery

The Ultimate Last-minute Thanksgiving Guide for Foodies and BC Wine Lovers

Ready or not, fall is here! That means it is time to dust off the winter coat, find the woolen socks that have moved to the back of the drawer, and prepare for Thanksgiving.

Celebrations are around the corner, so it’s time to figure out who’s doing the cooking, what is going to the served, and which wine will pair well with turkey! We’ve gathered the best Thanksgiving tips from wine writers, and food and lifestyle specialists to cure any seasonal concerns.

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1.    Turkey DOs and DONT’s by Angie Quaale

There’s no Thanksgiving without a well-prepared turkey and stuffing. Angie Quaale, seasonal food expert, owner of Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store and turkey lover will guide home cooks through the whole process of choosing a bird, preparing, stuffing, cooking and cleaning up the mess after. According to her, it is very important to learn how to prepare the bird correctly otherwise there can be a risk of cross contamination with other things in the kitchen. 

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2.    Decorating a Thanksgiving Table without breaking the bank

This is the perfect opportunity to set a beautiful table for your family and loved ones, and it does not necessarily mean spending hundreds of dollars to do it! Natalie Langston, lifestyle specialist has great ideas that will make your table IG-worthy: fresh seasonal flowers, candles, a simple and elegant printed menu, and delicious and affordable Evolve Cellars wines.

With the turkey in the oven and the table set, it’s time to think about the beverages. Pairing a tender and juicy turkey or glazed ham with wine is not as hard as it seems. There are a number of varieties that offer a flavour profile that will match well with both. From rich whites to fruit-forward reds, BC wine has so many options to choose from, and buying local has never been easier. British Columbia is also producing amazing sparkling wines and Chardonnays that will hit the mark for this year’s celebration.

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3.    Thanksgiving Toast with BC Bubbly

To start the party, pop the cork of a tasty sparkling wine. If wine lovers are feeling extra confident, Tim Pawsey even gives tips on how to saber the bottle: chill it in ice and hit at the exact spot for the correct cut, but make sure to do it outside to minimize the mess. Among the great recommendations in his article, some highlights are the 2018 TIME Brut from Time Winery in Penticton, the 2017 Free Form Ancient Method and 2016 Haywire The Bub from Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, the 2016 Merryfield from Singletree in the Fraser Valley and Naramata, and the 2014 Paula Sparkling from Blue Grouse Estate Winery on Vancouver Island.

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4.    Thinking about Chardonnay?

10 Chardonnays to pair with Thanksgiving Turkey

A few BC Wines to celebrate with for Thanksgiving

Perhaps the most common pairing for Thanksgiving turkey is white wine, most specifically Chardonnay. A herb crusted bird pairs well with the buttery taste of most oak aged Chards, and other more fruit-forward wines offer crisp flavours. Wineries in BC are offering high quality Chardonnay with distinct flavour profiles that can please every palate. In the two round ups above, Jennifer Schell and Karl Kliparchuk recommend a stellar line up for this weekend’s celebration. Some of the best bets include TIME Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay from Penticton and the 2016 Coolshanagh Chardonnay from Naramata.

We hope you give some of these suggestions a try, and tag @townhallbrands in social media. We’d love to see how your Thanksgiving is going!

We wish everyone a safe and joyful celebration.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Fantastic BC Wines to try during Dine Out Vancouver 2019

Fantastic BC Wines to try during Dine Out Vancouver 2019

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.

How to Use Events to Build Your Winery Brand

Everyone loves a great time, especially one that involves wine and a gorgeous destination. So why not host an event to attract people to your winery? People who have never heard of your winery before may explore it and taste the wines. Others who already know and love your wine will join you for a celebration and feel more closely aligned with your winery as they enjoy an entertaining experience. Objectives for holding an event are to attract newcomers, retain existing customers, and to ultimately make some sales.

We will start with the simplest idea, which is when people come to the winery and the kind of visitor experience that you give them. Do you offer tours of your production facility or the farm property? Are there opportunities for hands-on experience? Allowing people to get a peek at your production and what you do helps them understand that you are working hard for your finished product; and then they have a greater appreciation for your wine.

Another idea is to hold a fundraiser at your winery for your charity of choice. Fundraisers are a win-win situation for everyone: the people attending feel good about where they're putting their money, you get people into your winery to see what you have (and ideally become a customer), and the charity that you choose benefits from your support and donation.

Host an event at your winery. Pictured here: Event at Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Host an event at your winery. Pictured here: Event at Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Throughout the year, themed parties are a favourite. Every season offers some fun reason to get together and dress up. From the Academy Awards in the winter, to a cupid’s ball, or a picnic-themed social, to a harvest party or Halloween bash.

For a more informative event, you can invite outside experts to your winery to give a presentation. This is an age of celebrity, so a well-known expert can attract and engage customers.

Hold a seminar. This is a classic way to get people to taste your wine while educating them. You can have a formal, instructional / tutored or guided tasting led by your winemaking team, or maybe a guest sommelier.

The kind of skill set required to coordinate an event is organized, detail-oriented and able to coordinate things in a calm manner. They should know how to budget and understand how to make sure that the cost of the tickets covers the cost of any rentals, wine poured, and staff that is going to work the event.

These are just a few ideas - what are your thoughts? Have we missed any ideas that have been successful for you in getting audiences engaged and attracting them into the winery?

 

Meet Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #withTownHall.  This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are). We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week we introduce you to Paul Brunner aka The Blue Grouch - owner of Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Can you please say hello?

Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse

 

Paul and his wife Cristina purchased Blue Grouse, a beautiful Vancouver Island winery, in 2012. He calls himself 'The Blue Grouch' but we think he is a friendly, funny and welcoming man, who isn't fooling us with talk of being grouchy.

The winery was originally established in 1992. But in 2015, plan your visit: a beautiful new winery building will be open to welcome you. And you will have to come and see for yourself if Paul really is a grouch.

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

 

 

 

October is a Month of Foodtivities

  By Amy Chen

October, perhaps the most delicious month, is home to Thanksgiving, Halloween and now… Pizza Month.

October is Pizza Month

To show support for North American’s growing pizza love, Gerry Durnell, pizzeria owner and founder of Pizza Today Magazine, launched a national pizza-focused magazine in October 1984 and designated the month as Pizza Month. If you don’t already know, Town Hall is all about celebrating the bounty of good food and great wine. When we sat down with our team to plan this special foodie month, we unanimously agreed that any idea we came up with needed to include what we love most: wine. With this in mind and a certified wine scholar on the team (Sujinder Juneja), it only made sense for us to do a series of wine and pizza pairings to share with all of our friends! For the next five #WineWednesday in October, grab a slice of pizza, sit-back, and follow us on our blog to find the perfect wine pairing for that slice in your hand. Let us know if you have a favourite wine and pizza pairing that we can share with our readers. Looking forward to celebrating Pizza Month and #WineWednesdays with you this October.


WEEK 1 (OCTOBER 1)

Pizza Month- Week 1 (Oct1)

October 1st is not only the start of Pizza Month but also World Vegetarian Day. It makes perfect sense for our very first #WineWednesday #PizzaMonth post to pair great wines with vegetarian pizzas. Michael Pollan, in his acclaimed book In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto (Penguin Books, 2009) suggests that as a responsible species, we should “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With a cornucopia of sustainable, locally-sourced and delicious fruits and vegetables to choose from in British Columbia, the possibilities for veggie-themed pizzas are near endless. Here are a couple favourite pairings from two of Town Hall’s sustainably-minded wineries:

Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s 2013 Small Lot Pinot Gris is a certified-organic custom blend from winemaker/viticulturalist Eric von Krosigk, which includes 8% Chardonnay and 5% Viognier, both fermented in oak barrels, plus 2% Pinot Blanc, each of which add gorgeous aromatics and balanced structure. The bright stone fruit and citrus tones of this wine will pair perfectly with pizza topped with fresh sliced pear, caramelized onions, extra virgin olive oil, organic goat cheese and coarse sea salt.

Already well-known for terroir-driven Pinot Gris, Summerland’s Haywire Winery has created quite a stir with their 2012 Gamay Noir, which offers a nose of bright red fruit and sweet earth, leading to flavours of raspberry, strawberry and cherry. Consider pairing with a vegetarian pizza topped with spinach, Portobello mushrooms, sweet and spicy peppadew peppers with a homemade garlic pesto base.

 


WEEK 2 (OCTOBER 8)

Pizza Month- Week 2 (Oct8)

100% Okanagan and 100% to charity. The gold-medal winning (2014 BC Wine Awards) 2013 Rosé from The Girls (produced and distributed by Time Estate Winery) is a food-friendly blend that shows a soft pink colour with an intensely fragrant, floral nose of raspberry and wild strawberry. It’s dry and medium-bodied, with a thread of refreshing acidity. Pizza toppings with a bit of “spice” would work very well with this vivacious charmer – try with your favourite ground meat (spiced and pan-fried before baking), black olives, green onions, fresh BC tomatoes, pickled jalapeños and a mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese.

A new favourite of ours is the just-released 2012 Quill Red blend from Blue Grouse Estate Winery in the Cowichan Valley. It’s a unique and deliciously balanced blend of Cabernet Foch, Marechal Foch, Merlot and Cabernet Libre sourced from Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley. This robust red calls for a hearty pizza with pepperoni, spicy capicola, Italian sausage, red onions and mozzarella cheese with a tomato sauce base.

Both wines are priced at under $20 – you might just want to grab two of each and share with friends.

 


 

WEEK 3 (OCTOBER 15)

Well Seasoned is THE foodie paradise in the Fraser Valley. The store has just celebrated 10 successful years of being the go-to gourmet superstore in the region and has just moved to a brand new location at #117-20353 64 Ave in Langley. Angie Quaale,Well Seasoned’s owner, believes that the best pizza can only be made with the best ingredients and a few key tools.

Angie says the best homemade pizzas are made in the oven with a pizza stone, guaranteeing your pie even heat distribution so that the crust cooks evenly on the top as well as the bottom. You can get a good oneat Well Seasoned for around 20 bucks. She also recommends a pizza ‘peel’ – a handle with a flat wooden carrying surface – to keep the pizza from falling on the floor as it goes in and out of the oven. They are a great investment for any serious pizza maker.

Of course, it’s not even toppings that matter most, but the base that will make the pizza perfect.

Angie suggests always having a package of frozen pizza dough on hand (she uses the ones from local Calabria Bakery). Making your own sauce from canned and peeled Italian tomatoes is always a great idea, seasoned with your own choice of dried herbs and specialty salts. Well Seasoned has plenty to choose from. Be creative. Have fun. Eat Pizza!

Pizza Month- Week 3Need more inspiration? Well Seasoned is offering a “Killer Pizza” class with Chef Carl Sawatsky on October 30 at 6:30pm. For just $60, you can learn to make pizza like a boss.


 

WEEK 4 (October 22)

Pizza Month (Week 4)

This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to a newcomer to the BC wine scene – Kamloops’ Monte Creek Ranch. Their wines are now arriving at select liquor stores and restaurants across the province and we know you’ll be impressed. Amazing flavours, great packaging and a unique history all add up to a sensational experience. Their 2013 Riesling offers mid-week friendly low alcohol, fresh acidity and notes of balanced minerality, along with a crisp lemon/lime citrus and grapefruit finish. Try it with a pizza topped with savoury grilled chicken and pineapple, on a freshly-made crust brushed with olive oil, lemon juice and citrus sea salt. A dollop or two of gooey mascarpone cheese would round things out nicely.

While the debate rages on about what a “signature grape” could or should be for the British Columbia, there’s no doubt that Syrah is often name-checked as one of the front-runners. Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery has been farming grapes throughout the valley since the late 1960s and their passion for the land is evident in each and every one of the wines they produce. Their 2010 Syrah is sourced from family-owned vineyards in the picturesque Similkameen Valley. Aromas and flavours of dark plum, blackberries, leather and black pepper lead a velvety long finish. To balance the rich fruit and spicy notes of the wine, we’re thinking Genoa salami, bacon and ham with a blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheese over a tomato sauce base.


WEEK 5 (October 29)

Pizza Month (Week 5)Ever since we first met Judy and tasted through her wines, we were hooked. The love, care and attention that she and her team devotes to every bottle is earning them accolades beyond our provincial borders. Planning a visit to Naramata? Make sure you stop in to say hi to Judy and her second-in-command, Katie, who are always there to greet visitors with a smile and a glass. We’ve long been fans of their Viognier, and the 2013 vintage shows notes of orange blossom and tangerine with notes of toasted coconut, blood orange and apricot, balanced with refreshing acidity. How about a pizza with a creamy Thai curry sauce base, topped with wild shrimp (Ocean Wise, naturally), red onions, red and orange peppers, pineapple, coriander and mozzarella.

Oliver’s legendary Sundial Vineyard was planted on the Black Sage Bench in South Okanagan in 1992. For more than 20 years, the vineyard has produced some of the most sought-after and award-winning wines in the province, based mostly on Bordeaux varietals. TIME Estate Winery, launched by vineyard owners Harry McWatters and Bob Wareham continues the tradition of producing premium fruit under direction of viticulturist Richard Cleve. The 2011 Meritage (Red) is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It offers classic aromas of red berries, black cherries and pepper with a character that suggests rose petal and sage. Inspired by the artisan thin crust pizza from Summerland’s Local Lounge • Grille, we suggest a pizza topped with olive oil, arugula, roasted local garlic and braised short rib.

Thank you to everyone that followed along with our #PizzaMonth wine and pizza suggestions. Were you inspired to try these recipes yourself or do you have other suggestions to share? We’d love to hear from you. Send a photo, write us an email or leave a comment below. Happy eating!

Celebrating Our Women In Business #WithTownHall

  By Amy Chen

Happy Business Women's Day! 

TH Business Women Flashback 65 years today, the American Business Women’s Association was founded by Hilary A. Bufton Junior with a mission to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to support each other personally and professionally. Thirty years later in the 1980s, president Ronald Reagan officially declared September 22nd as a national holiday to recognize gender equality and the contribution that women make in the business world.

Now, why is this important to Town Hall (and maybe you, too)?

According to Canadian Statistics:

  • Number of Canadian women in business is drastically growing
  • Self-employed women grew by 6.4%, accounting for one third of all self-employed persons
  • On average, women in business do not make as much money as men
  • Women perceive more barriers doing business than men
  • Love is what drives majority of women entrepreneurs in their business

With a number of our clients and team members being women, we want to celebrate Business Women’s Day by highlighting the leadership and dedication of our Town Hall women in business. Most of all, we invite you to help us celebrate and recognize these incredible women for their hard work and achievements. They inspire us and allow us to take great pride in the work that we do for them. Thank you ladies for everything that you do! Here’s what ten of our empowering Town Hall Women in Business shared when we asked them their greatest challenge and reward as women in the industry:

 

Angie Quaale Angie Quaale, owner, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store

Challenges: “I don't think I face specific challenges because I'm a woman. I know plenty of male and female entrepreneurs. Their challenges are unique to the business, and not their gender.”

Rewards: “Meeting food producers that raise or grow food. The passion involved in that process is completely inspiring to me.“  

 

Christine Coletta Christine Coletta, owner, Okanagan Crush Pad

Challenges: “I didn’t really face many as the wine industry is made up of family business with many dynamic women taking lead roles. It was not a male dominated environment and neither was the restaurant industry, which was my previous career. Frankly, the biggest challenge was the confusion over my name, which is when I officially started using “Christine” to avoid receiving calls and mail addressed to Mr. Coletta. The assumption was that I was a male… I quickly set that straight.”

Rewards: “Watching the growth and knowing that I played a vital role in changing the direction of the BC wine industry along with the many people that became my friends. It was hard work, but we shared some wonderful experiences and have great war stories to tell.”

 

Darnelle MooreDarnelle Moore, owner, Eastside Fitness

Challenges: “One of the biggest challenges is to let people know that a female operated fitness business does not mean we are for women only. To let people know that women can and do lift some pretty heavy weights (and they don't "bulk up" when they do so) and that men don't have to lift heavy weights all the time to improve their health/fitness. They could benefit from movement pattern corrections, which might involve some pretty basic "unloaded" body weight exercises. One of my pet peeves in the industry, regardless of the fact that I'm a woman, is that the fitness industry is categorized under "Recreation and Entertainment". To me, that implies fitness is not taken seriously as a preventative health measure! I would love to work towards changing this officially!”

Rewards: “I think seeing people move beyond their original fitness goals, beyond the obvious ones like losing weight or running a 5km to where they realize the real benefits of a full, balanced exercise regime.  Seeing people become stronger (physically and mentally) and in a place where they enjoy working out. I especially love when I see a client make a self-correction in a movement pattern we have been working on. It's a sign to me that they are aware of how their body is connected.”

 

Jenny Garlini Jenny Garlini, office manager, Blue Grouse Winery

Challenges: “My biggest challenge right now is splitting my time between my kids and my work. I have two kids that are four and six years old, and I want to be involved with school/preschool as much as I can. The other big challenge working for a small business is that you have to wear many hats. It has been a big challenge to not only manage a tasting room, but also make sure bills are paid, schedules are done, edit a website, put out a newsletter, start a wine club, make sure the lawns are cut, and the list goes on and on.”

Rewards: “Seeing the whole picture. I love being a part of each aspect of the winery that I listed and more! I get to see and make decisions on things that will make Blue Grouse grow and be successful. I love seeing the sales grow, new wine club members signing up and knowing that we have made a new customer that will love our place in the Cowichan Valley as much as I do.”  

 

Judy Kingston Judy Kingston, owner, Serendipity Winery

Challenges: “Getting the farm started is my biggest challenge as a woman in the winery industry. As most would know, the farm is a really male dominated industry. So, when I first moved from Toronto to start Serendipity, there were a lot of non-believers. I was a Torontonian, a lawyer, and a woman that had no idea how to drive a tractor nor did I know anything about farming.”

Rewards: “Since Serendipity started, my biggest reward is proving everyone wrong. I succeeding at farming and transformed from the Toronto, lawyer woman that everyone doubted to the farmer and owner of Serendipity, 2013 Winery of the Year from New York International Wine Competition.”  

 

Judy Poole Judy Poole, branch manager, Poole and Associates Wealth Management

Challenges: “The biggest challenge working in this industry has been balancing the expectations of the various firms that I worked for, especially in a male dominated industry and with the unique way that I, as a woman, work with clients. My philosophy puts building trust and truly understanding client’s needs first, but the corporations put sales results first. Fortunately, I have found an independent home at Raymond James where my philosophies fit.”

Rewards: “Without question, the biggest reward has been watching my clients’ lives evolve, helping them to navigate the rough waters of life! Children have been born, grown up, educated, marriages, divorces, and widowhood. I've been at this a LONG time!”  

 

Marina Knutson Marina Knutson, owner, SpierHead Winery

Challenges: “I co-own a winery with my husband so my challenges are no different than his. The ongoing challenge I see is balancing roles as husband and wife while owning a small business and continuing to be parents of four children.”

Rewards: “It’s always a success to see my wines do well and win awards. Also, I’m pleased to see more women wine makers as equal partners. This means I have more opportunities to meet new groups of women in the hospitality and wine industry. Prior to the wine industry, I was an occupational therapist, so another reward is being able to learn more than I ever thought.”

 

Pinki Gidda Pinki Gidda, wine shop manager & marketing, Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery

Challenges: “As a family-run business, we have to do everything ourselves and wear many hats. While it’s a great learning experience that I am able to get my hands in everything, it is slightly challenging at times because I often wish I have more time to spend with my customers, rather than working behind the scenes.”

Rewards: “One of my biggest reward is meeting people from all over the world and seeing our business grow with everyone’s support.”  

 

Tarrah MacPherson Tarrah MacPherson, vice president of operations, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Challenges: “I don’t really feel any significant challenge as a women in the industry. The support I have received coming on board here at Summerhill has been tremendous. My environment has been collaborative and inclusive right from the start. And this is the mantra we are passing on to our teams to be successful.”

Rewards: “Well, to start, I love my job. I feel really good about the achievements we are making as a team and as a company. As an organic winery contributing to the sustainability of our planet, we feel we are pioneers among our peers. As the worldwide wine industry continues to trend upwards, we feel we are well positioned to continue as a leader in our industry. A really great place to be.”

 

Leeann Froese We will end with our own Leeann Froese, owner, Town Hall Brands

Challenges: “The biggest challenge is living up to my own pressures – trying to oversee the business, family, volunteer obligations and carve out time for myself. It’s a challenge for me to be a leader in these varying aspects while still trying to look ahead and grow.”

Rewards: “My biggest rewards come when I hear from clients saying what a difference we have made for them, how we are vital to their teams, or from press saying that some of our best practices are their favourites. And I get huge satisfaction from the smiling faces of my team. I push them, hard; to work to output their best and learn and grow, and hope that they are happy with their role and work.”

Do you know any of these women or know a woman in business you would like to recognize? Let us know or give them a big high five and thank you.