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Singletree Welcomes the Harvest with Community Social

According to general manager Andrew Etsell, visitation at Mt. Lehman's Singletree Winery is up more than 100% over last year. "We're not just busy on the weekends, but every day, Wednesday through Sunday. This is because more and more people, especially from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, are realizing there's a new winery literally at their back door. Through tastings at trade and media events, along with strong accolades from wine journalists, the word is getting out there about Singletree." singletree family

Next up for #winelover-s is the winery's first annual Mt. Lehman Community Social, on Saturday, August 20, from 5:30pm until late. It's a free event for the community to connect, socialize, and come together as one. All are invited to bring a favourite dish to share at a potluck, family-style feast, with the Mt. Lehman Community Association sponsoring live music from Langley's alternative folk-rockers, Prairie Dance Club.

New vintages of Singletree wine will be available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle, alongside craft beer on tap from a local brewery, and other non-alcoholic beverages.

Laura Preckel of Singletree says, "We want to bring old neighbours and new friends together. We're inviting the Mt. Lehman community, their friends and family to bring a dish and to raise a glass with us. It's about giving back to our community through sharing. And what a better way to do that than with a glass of wine?"

Indeed, wine lovers are increasingly adventurous and are not only seeking wine that reflects a sense of place, but are interested in unique vineyard experiences.

"We've been holding more winery events, including our popular concert series, and our (usually sold out)  painting parties in the vineyard," says Andrew.

Singletree painting party

The winery is very foodie and family-friendly. Visitors to the tasting room can purchase specially-selected local cheese, charcuterie, fresh breads and crackers from the wine shop, and take them to its newly-licensed picnic area, where they can also enjoy wines by the glass or by the bottle. It's al fresco dining at its best!  Plus - the family lends everyone a picnic basket with glasses, plates and cutlery, to complete the experience. There are always games and toys for kids at the picnic area, and families are encouraged to get up close and personal with the vineyards that surround the winery and tasting room.

"We've also been receiving numerous requests for onsite weddings," continues Laura. "Surrounded by vineyards and farms, with mountains in the background, it's the perfect site for a rustic valley wedding."

Singletree at night

Up next for the winery is arguably the most important event of the year... the HARVEST!

The weather in April and May was extremely hot, which gave an early boost to the vines. Although June and July have been slightly cooler than normal, if trends continue, Singletree can expect another great vintage in the Fraser Valley. Bud break started in the first week of March, four weeks ahead of schedule. Andrew is projecting to start harvest in mid-September. This will be about two weeks later than 2015, but still earlier than average vintages. They'll start the 2016 harvest with their popular and early-ripening Siegerrebe ("get siggy with it"), followed by Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, with Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc to follow. Andrew is carefully watching his two acres of Pinot Noir, which he will use for Rosé and - spoiler alert - Singletree's first-ever vintage of traditional method sparkling wine.

For more on Singletree, visit

Harvest Time in Paso Robles Wine Country a Great Weekend Getaway

By Leeann Froese IMG_6114

As the month of October heads to its mid point we are now in fall's official season, and all that it will bring. With the cooler evenings here in Vancouver where I live and the longer shadows, summer has now slipped away from us like the beach sand through our fingertips.

But the sun keeps making a fighting return, not to yet be outdone by a rainy day or two. It's at this time that we can start to daydream about what autumn might offer, while grasping onto the days of summer. I have an idea for a last-minute fall getaway that I want to share, that was inspired by my summer trip to California with the Wine Bloggers Conference.

Make a fall getaway to California wine country and visit Paso Robles wine country.

Fall is a perfect time to visit because the weather is beautiful, the grapes are ripe and in the midst of being harvested, and from October 17 - 19, 2014, wineries are set to host events.

Harvest20Wine20WeekendHarvest in Paso Robles Wine Country, like in other regions, is a time of excitement shared by winemakers, growers, and tasting room staff alike. It is the culmination of a successful year of hard work in the vineyard, and is a glimpse into what the new vintage holds. Harvest Wine Weekend 2014 celebrates with more than 140 Paso Robles wineries inviting wine lovers to their tasting rooms, vineyards and wineries for tours, special tastings, live music, winemaker dinners and much more.

Wineries get creative during this annual celebration, presenting varied events, educational opportunities and hands-on fun such as wine and bacon pairings, grape stomps, and blending sessions.

As far as visiting, I had been to Napa twice, but never to any other wine regions in California so I was very curious to see what Paso Robles brings. So before Sujinder Juneja and I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara this past July, we spent two days in Paso Robles on a pre-conference excursion.

We left Vancouver on an early morning flight and after an easy stopover in Seattle we flew into the San Jose International Airport by lunch time.

When we was there, it was a whirlwind two days, and we were lucky enough to taste wines from a large handful of wineries, and take in much of the beautiful countryside.

What I was most stricken by, however, was the people we met. As has been my experience in every other wine region I have visited, the hard work and passionate approach by the people of the area are its heartbeat. There was a lack of pretension, a genuine pride in the work being done, and hospitality surrounding the wines being made.

The vintners we met were keen to share their Cabernets, Zinfandels and the smaller production of Rhone based wines.

I loved the beautiful, grassy countryside striped with vines, and the rolling hills that make way to lavender fields and stunning vistas. There is a tranquility to the open skies, and settling into a shady patio with a glass of wine from Paso Robles as you take it all in is the way to go.

If this is not enough notice for you to make a quick getaway, the Paso Robles wineries have an excellent visit planner on their website as well as a mobile app. Start planning your trip to Paso Robles now.

I'll be headed back there in November 2014 for the Wine Tourism Conference, and I can't wait. Stay tuned for more on Paso Robles, the discoverable wine region located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco; there's so much more to share.





Winemaker Tyler Russell of Nelle Winery