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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!⁠

TIME Winery Captures Big Regional Win

TIME Winery Captures Big Regional Win

TIME Winery Captures Big Regional Win

Best of Varietal and Inaugural Best of Show  awarded to Riesling 2017 in Okanagan Wine Festivals BC Best of Varietals

Must-Visit BC Wineries at the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2019

Must-Visit BC Wineries at the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2019

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is Feb 23 - March 3, 2019. Town Hall Brands is proud to do the PR for TIME Winery, as well as Okanagan Crush Pad, which has two tables: for its Free Form and Narrative labels. These are must-see BC wineries. Let our team know if you need more information or want to meet the people at these brands.

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.

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. 

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[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 encorevineyards.ca

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 www.evolvecellars.com

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.

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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.

It’s Merlot Day! #internationalmerlotday

By Leeann Froese

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

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

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

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

Evolve Cellars

2016 Cabernet Merlot

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

$19.99

 

Pipe’ Dreams

2015 Merlot

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

$22.02

 

Pipe’ Dreams

2014 Reserve Merlot

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

$41.40

 

TIME Winery

2016 Cabernet Merlot (Calgary Flames)

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

$19.99

 

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

4 BC Wineries to Discover at the Vancouver International Wine Festival

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

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

DOWNLOAD a PDF: Four BC Wineries to Discover at VIWF

SummerHill Vineyard

3 Story Starters

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

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

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

Meet the wineries...

1) Haywire 

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

Discover The ‘New’ Okanagan okanagancrushpad.com | @Haywirewine | @OKCrushPad

Industry icon Christine Coletta & husband Steve Lornie built Canada’s first custom-crush facility on Switchback Organic Vineyard. With the input of lauded international consultants Alberto Antonini and Pedro Parra, winemaker Matt Dumayne is turning heads and garnering acclaim for his natural wines made using state-of-the-art concrete tanks, native yeast and minimal additives. With the help of Pedro, the team is working hard to shape a new direction by understanding terroir.

  • Natural wines that celebrate the land
  • Made at Canada’s first custom-crush facility
  • Award-winning leaders in innovation for BC wine
  • Rock star team with international consultants who bring global perspective to Okanagan terroir.

Talk to: Christine Coletta – co-owner, one of Canada’s most astute wine marketers Matt Dumayne – winemaker Pedro Parra – internationally–lauded terroir expert

2) Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Stephen Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winer

Leading the Organic Movement summerhill.bc.ca | @SummerhillWine

Summerhill Pyramid Winery has led the BC organic movement since the Cipes family purchased the vineyard in 1986. The winery was certified organic in 2007, with biodynamic certification for its Kelowna vineyard following in 2012. Winning national and international awards for its pyramid-aged wines, Summerhill is Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine and is BC’s most visited winery. A tireless change maker, founder Stephen Cipes is at the helm of the Okanagan 2020 initiative to transition the entire valley to 100% organic by the year 2020.

  • Committed to organic and biodynamic winemaking since 1986
  • Aims to transition to Organic Okanagan by 2020
  • Pyramid cellar-aged wines
  • Known globally for award winning sparkling wines

Talk to: Stephen Cipes - founder Ezra Cipes - CEO and a BC wine leader Eric von Krosigk - winemaker

3) Evolve Cellars

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, Evolve Cellars

Welcoming Wine Country with Celebrational Approachability evolvecellars.com | @EvolveCellars

Evolve Cellars is a celebration of BC’s next generation, Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, daughter of industry pioneer, and chair of the BC Wine Institute, leads Evolve Cellars in embracing the traditions of BC wine industry to create today’s winery experience. Whether it’s a picnic on the sun-drenched patios with lakefront view or an onsite meal at E Restaurant, Evolve Cellars will leave you with an experiential journey to Okanagan Wine Country. Start yours with a glass of its approachable and affordable wines.

  • Bright, delicious, approachable and affordable BC wines that celebrate BC terroir.
  • An experiential journey to Okanagan Wine Country.
  • Breathtaking lakefront view and onsite E Restaurant.

Talk to: Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond – oversees the winery; chair of the BC Wine Institute Nadine Allander – winemaker Tristan MacLaggan – hospitality director

4) TIME Winery

Harry McWatters

Complete Winery Experience in Downtown Penticton timewinery.com | @TimeWinery

Led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 50-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. Harry has done many firsts in his career: founding the BC Wine Institute, introducing VQA to BC, and bringing Meritage to Canada, for a few. Throughout his career, he has celebrated that winemaking is about time and place. Now the TIME is to innovate and do another “first”: a heritage theatre is being revitalized into a fully-functional winery and experience centre in downtown Penticton.

  • Winery home of Harry McWatters, pioneer of BC wine industry since 1967 — this year marks his 50th vintage!
  • Fully operational winery in the heart of downtown Penticton, in the former Penmar theatre.
  • Makers of Meritage wines.

Talk to: Harry McWatters – president, grandfather of the industry Lawrence Buhler – winemaker

These are only a few ideas; let us help you with stories.

To arrange interviews with the winery principals, for images and more information, please email Genevieve Dufresne or Amy Chen or call the Town Hall Brands office at 604-321-3295

 

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.

These applauded BC wines call for an Encore!

Hot Client News! Encore Family Shot

We're taking a moment heading into the long weekend to #raiseaglassto one of our amazing clients and their winemaker Lawrence Buhler. The results of the NorthWest Wine Summit are in and it's safe to say that ENCORE Vineyards, parent company of Evolve Cellars, McWatters Collection and TIME Winery, and their winemaker deserve a round of applause for their recent landslide of awards.

The Superlative Awards

"Best" Category - Evolve Cellars Riesling 2015

Evolve View and Wine-Chris Stenberg-6599

Jerry Mead Awards:

Best Value Wines: Evolve Cellars Rosé 2015, Evolve Cellars Riesling 2015

Gold

Evolve Cellars

  • Riesling 2015
  • Rosé (Merlot & Pinot Blanc) 2015

McWatters Collection

  • "HMC" Chardonnay 2013

HMC Family

TIME Winery

  • Meritage (39% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc) 2013

ckstenberg-8824Silver

Evolve Cellars

  • Gewürztraminer 2015

McWatters Collection

  • “Meritage” 60% Cabernet Sauvignon (three clones) 20% Merlot (two clones), & 12% Cabernet Franc (one clone) 2012

TIME Winery

  • Cabernet Franc 2014
  • Chardonnay 2013
  • Meritage (white blend: 68% Sauvignon Blanc, 32% Sémillon) 2014

Bronze

Evolve Cellars

  • Cabernet Merlot 2014
  • Pinot Blanc 2014
  • Pinot Gris 2015
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2014

 

ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., is a progressive Okanagan-based company, and home to TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars, and McWatters Collection.

The ENCORE team is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 49-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond is the ENCORE director of sales and marketing, offering lifelong wine industry insight. Lawrence Buhler is ENCORE’s director of winemaking, who has experienced more than 16 vintages in Ontario, British Columbia, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. He will oversee the company’s growing portfolio of premium British Columbia wines.

Congratulations winemaker Lawrence; the Town Hall Brands team awaits your encore!

Meet Dino Pascoa #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 Dino Pascoa.

Dino Pascoa withTownHall

After more than 20 years in the restaurant business Dino joined the wine industry in 2007 and trained through the ISG Sommelier certification as he made the move to sell wine from all over the world. He is a sales representative with Vancouver-based agency The Wine List.

Next year Dino will celebrate his 10th year in wine sales. Over the past decade he has proven his expertise in wine, food and service, and has a strong reputation for loyalty and a desire to go above and beyond for his customers. He prides himself on the solid relationships he has created.

We are pleased to work with Dino via our client ENCORE Vineyards, parent to Evolve Cellars, McWatters Collection and TIME Winery.

A side note about these wineries - their wines are featured all weekend at the 10th Anniversary of the Chefs' Table Society of BC Spot Prawn Festival.

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

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

Meet Justin Darnes of Drinks Undressed #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 Justin Darnes.

Justin Darnes of Drinks Undressed #withTownHall

Justin Darnes is one of Vancouver's cocktail masters and currently managing the bar at Mission in Kitsilano.

Justin has also created his own YouTube channel, 'Drinks Undressed' where he creates cocktails that are easy and cheap for the masses to replicate at home or when hosting a party. So far there are 22 episodes with no signs of stopping.

In January, you'll be able to see Justin take wines from our clients Evolve Cellars, Serendipity Winery, and TIME Estate Winery and incorporate them into various cocktails.

With all this in mind, can you please say hi to Justin? Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.

Newly released: What makes Riesling a “BC” Riesling?

By: Amy Chen XEFP_hiE_400x400

As the world’s 20th most grown grape varietal, Riesling is said to have originated from the Rhine region of Germany during the 15th century. Over time, Riesling made its way to Canada, where it is most commonly used to produce stunning Icewine in Ontario and table or sparkling wines, like the Summerhill Cipes Brut, in British Columbia (BC).

Every wine lover knows the importance of terroir in influencing the taste and flavour of a wine. Even if BC is a relatively young wine region, it still has its unique terroir that defines this region.

According to the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI), there are currently 440 acres of Riesling grapes planted throughout vineyards in BC. Regardless of the winemaking style, BC’s Riesling is fairly balanced and acidic.

The general flavour profile for Riesling ranges from fruity flavours of pear, apple, stone fruits, to herbal, citrusy, and floral notes. Minerality and petrol is occasionally tasted in older vintages. It’s also dry to sweet with a light to medium body.

This seems like a wide spectrum of tasting notes for Riesling. So, is there a more specific and distinct flavour profile that is unique to BC Riesling? What makes BC Riesling special?

Acclaimed wine, food and travel writer, Karl Kliparchuk of MyWinePal began to explore this question from the angle of soil. Karl collected BC Riesling (mostly from 2014 vintage) from 35 wineries in various wine regions of BC, including samples from our clients: Evolve Cellars, and Haywire / Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, Monte Creek Ranch in Kamloops, Mt. Boucherie Winery in West Kelowna, and Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna.

Evolve 2014 Riesling

Evolve 2014 Riesling ($16.99)- Lime juicy with floral notes and a touch of honey sweet. Well balanced citrus and peach, smooth and full-bodied with a seamless palate. Pairs well with crab cakes, other seafoods, Asian cuisine (think red curry), or sweet and spicy dishes.

OCP Mike Bernardo Riesling Cabinett 2014

Mike B Riesling Cabinett 2014 ($25.00)- This Riesling was made in a stainless steel tank and a concrete egg to build complexity and showcase a bright acid and mineral style. This wine stopped fermentation naturally, leaving a touch of sweetness which balances the wine magically. Lemons, lime, and pure fresh Okanagan minerality all lead to a bracing zing that only Riesling can deliver.

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Riesling ($16.99)- This classic Riesling beauty entices with a brilliant green gold colour and aromas of kiwi, lime rind, wet stone, and honey. Mouth watering acidity and a long, flavourful finish that will make you crave more. Harvested October 13th, 2014.

Mt Boucherie 2013 Riesling

Mt. Boucherie Winery 2013 Riesling ($16.00)- An off-dry white. Refreshing stone fruit, apricot, peach and a hint of citrus and green apple on both the nose and the palate. Pair with smoked salmon, fish tacos or a broccoli and apple salad.

Summerhill 2014 Organic Riesling

Summerhill 2014 Organic Riesling ($22.95)- This classic version under-went a cold stabilized stop of fermentation resulting in a balanced, off-dry wine with low alcohol. Pair with egg dishes such as quiche, frittata or omelette. Also try pairing with seafood, salads and tapas style meals or just enjoy as a sipping wine with friends.

His months-long analysis included an extensive comparison of the tasting notes, soil and geographic region of Riesling throughout BC.

The body of work that Karl developed is unlike anything done in the past, and is such a gift to both the wineries who have been evaluated, as well as the industry at large.

To better guide you through understanding BC Riesling, Karl divided his research into several parts, all of which offer an impressive and comprehensive insight into this aromatic varietal in BC.

What’s your experience with BC Riesling? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet us @TownHallBrands to start the discussion.

Colour BC and ChefMeetsBCGrape To Showcase Evolve Cellars

On September 16th, the British Columbia Wine Institute will host Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting and ChefMeetsBCGrape at Canada Place to showcase VQA wines of British Columbia. To learn more about these two events, please visit our earlier post here. On each day leading up to the events, we will to introduce you to wineries in attendance with unique stories and flavours that you will not want to miss. Today, we would like to introduce...

Evolve Cellars, Summerland BC

Evolve Cellars

  • Learn about industry pioneer Harry McWatters’ new lifestyle brand winery which focuses on producing fresh, fruit-forward, crisp, approachable, and well-balanced wines.
  • Try the fresh, clean, and crisp award winning 2014 Pinot Blanc.
  • Use the hashtag #RaiseAGlassTo to share your experience tasting Evolve Cellars' wine selection during the event.

Evolve Cellars was born from the concept of the celebration of self, your successes and growth in life. This winery, and winemaker Lawrence Buhler, know that the Okanagan Valley has evolved to produce some of the best wines on the planet and intends to gently transform the fruit that mother nature creates in this beautiful region to create wines that are fresh, fruit-forward, crisp, approachable, and well-balanced.

See what makes this winery, with its beautiful design and breathtaking vineyard overlooking the Okanagan Lake, the perfect place to raise a glass to friends and family and mostly importantly, yourself.

To Learn More:

www.evolvecellars.com | Twitter: @evolvecellars | Instagram: @evolvecellars

What you will taste:

  • Pinot Blanc 2014 $14.99 -Granny Smith apple, white peach, and pear - fresh from the orchard. Mingling melon and tropical fruit flavours that linger with minerals and grapefruit.
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2014 $15.99 -Tropical fruits with lime and nectarine. Bright, lively citrus and summer fruit flavours of melon, nectarine, and pear.
  • Pinot Noir 2014 $19.99 -Easy drinking, fruit-forward with pleasing aromas of cherry. This dry, harmonic blend of black cherry and a touch of vanilla leaves a lingering, soft finish.
  • Cabernet Merlot 2013 $18.99 - Pretty and seductive, with a spicy nose of black cherry and cassis. Soft and complex, with mouth-filling flavours of plum, cherry, and wild red berry from start to finish.

Who you will meet:

Lawrence Buhler, director of winemaking, and Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, director of sales and marketing, will be available to answer any questions you might have.

Meet Christa-Lee McWatters Bond #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 Christa-Lee McWatters Bond.

Christaleemcwattersbond

She's been in the BC wine industry ever since she was born, and loves every aspect of promoting British Columbia's wine and food.

After growing up in her family's winery, Sumac Ridge, which is now owned by Constellation Brands, Christa-Lee went on to open a restaurant with her husband Cameron Bond which is now one of the most popular restaurants in the Okanagan Valley, Local Lounge | Grill.

And if that isn't enough, her hands are very full of these days as she is the marketing manager for Encore Vineyards, which is the parent company to TIME Estate Winery under construction in Oliver BC, her family's legacy label the McWatters Collection, and the brand-new Evolve Cellars in Summerland BC.

Please help us say hello to Christa-Lee?

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

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

BG-FoodWine

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

Look out for these BC Wineries at Bloom

by Ali Harris

Celebrate the arrival of fresh, local, home grown wine and sunny spring time, with the annual Bloom: Wines of British Columbia Spring Release Tasting.

Explore more than 90 BC wineries showcasing over 360 BC VQA wines! The event is sure to provide a wonderful overview of the capabilities of BC's terroir.

We encourage trade and media who are attending to stop by the tables of our clients, and we have provided you with a bit of intel about each.

A note to Journalists: we can help you with any interview requests for the visiting winery principals.

Winery: Evolve Cellars photo
Located: 
Summerland
Who you will meet: Harry McWatters (founder), Christa-Lee McWatters Bond (founder), Steve Jones (hospitality) 
What you will tast
2012 Cabernet Merlot 2014 Rosé 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Pinot Blanc
Need to know fact: Evolve is the newest winery on Summerland's Bottleneck Drive. In fact, it opened to the public on May 16th! Led by Christa-Lee McWatters Bond and Harry McWatters, their goal is to gently transform the fruit that Mother Nature creates, into wines that can be enjoyed by all.

Winery: Mt Boucherie Family Estate WineryMTB-Patio
Located: Kelowna
Who you will meet: Jim Faulkner (winemaker)
What you will taste:
2013 Riesling
2013 Gewürztraminer
2012 Pinot Noir
2012 Merlot
Need to know facts: At Mt. Boucherie Winery, there’s a wine country experience for everyone. Whether it’s a picnic, yoga or a family-style dinner in the vineyard, you’ll want to bring a friend because everything is better in two. 

Winery: Okanagan Crush Pad
Located: Summerland
Who you will meet: Christine Coletta (owner), Amy Hollenbach (sales), Alison Scholefield (brand manager) and Rebeka Eriksson (sales)
What you will taste:
2014 Haywire Rose
2013 Haywire Switchback Pinot Gris
2013 Haywire Pinot Noir
2012 Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir
Need to know facts: Okanagan Crush Pad is the first in Canada to extensively use concrete tanks, and wines that are fermented and aged in concrete carry the Raised in Concrete™ designation. See what differences you think the use of concrete makes!

Winery: Serendipity Winery IMG_1843
Located: Naramata Who you will meet: Judy Kingston and Katie O'Kell (owners)
What you will taste:
2013 Pinot Grigio
2013 Rose
2012 Voignier
2010 Devil's Advocate
Need to know facts: Judy Kingston makes her every wine with food pairings in mind. Be sure to stop by and try their wines and chat about the stories behind each wine... because there's a story in every bottle. 

Winery: Singletree Winery
Located: Abbotsford View More: http://typeaphotography.pass.us/onetree Who you will meet: Andrew Etsell (owner)
What you will taste:
2013 Pinot Noir
2014 Siegerrebe
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
2014 Pinot Gris
Need to know facts: Singletree Winery is committed to showing the world what the Fraser Valley is capable of. The winery was named for a single harness yoke that was commonly used in the late 1800s. The Singletree was an essential tool that allowed fertile land in the Mt. Lehman area to be cleared to make way for farms.

Winery: SpierHead Winery
Located: Kelowna
Who you will meet: Marina and Bill Knutson (owners) What you will taste:
2013 Pinot Noir
2013 Chardonnay
2014 Riesling 
2014 Pinot Gris
Need to know facts: This small winery flies under the radar for many, but keeps capturing accolades and awards in every competition entered. For example, the 2014 Pinot Gris was just given 90 points from Beppi Crosariol!

Winery: Summerhill Pyramid WineryIMG_2646
Located: Kelowna
Who you will meet: Ezra Cipes (CEO)
What you will taste: Cipes Brut
2012 Organic Pinot Noir (first public debut!) 2014 Alive Organic White (first public debut!) 2012 Alive Organic Red (first public debut!) Need to know fact: Summerhill Pyramid Winery is fully committed to organic practices. Summerhill-Pyramid-Credit-Aaron-BarrAsk them about their nitrogen generator or their on premise pyramid cellar which is second only to the Great Pyramid of Egypt for alignment and precision!

 

 

Winery: TIME Estate Winery
Located: Oliver
Who you will meet: Harry McWatters (founder), Christa Lee McWatters Bond (brand manager), Steve Jones (hospitality)Time-Harry
What you will taste:
2012 Meritage
2014 White Meritage 
2013 Cabernet Franc
2013 Sundial
Need to know fact: TIME Winery is the next big winery project in the South Okanagan desert, with Harry McWatters, grandfather of the BC wine industry, coming out of ‘retirement” to make wines from the province’s most awarded vineyard. The visitor centre will open in 2016 but hard hat tours are available.