Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP) proudly announces the launch of a new label, Free Form, in conjunction with the winery earning organic certification for its cellar.
By: 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.
- Fruity candies- Such as Skittles, Starburst
- Nutty chocolate- Such as Aero, Coffee Crisp
- Nutty chocolate and sparkling wine always make a great pairing! The acidity of the wine cuts through the richness of the chocolate leaving a warm and nutty flavour that is not too sweet. When in doubt, just match the bubbles (from your wine) with the bubbles (in your Aero).
- Sour candies- Such as Maynards' Fuzzy Peach, Sour Patch Kids
- 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.
- TIME Cabernet Franc 2014- $19.99
- 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.
Okanagan Crush Pad is Five today!
This winery is located in beautiful Summerland, heart of the Okanagan Valley, and is one of the Bottleneck Drive wineries. The surrounding views are breathtaking and the hospitality and community are so welcoming in this small town.
2. Respecting history to make wines of today
Since constructing its state-of-the-art winemaking facility and visitor center in 2011, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery has been regarded as one of the most innovative wineries in Canada. One of these reasons is because of its return to yesterday's wine making techniques using the science and knowledge of today. The use of concrete tanks and clay amphorae really work to bring out the terroir of their Haywire and Narrative wines, which personify where they are grown.
3. International insights
The Okanagan Crush Pad Winery team has pulled in consulting minds from Alberto Antonini and Pedro Parra, who have used their global perspective to help the Okanagan Valley shine.
4. For the love of the earth and all of its animals
Switchback Vineyard, where Okanagan Crush Pad Winery is located, is certified organic. Garnet Valley Ranch, where vines are grown for Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, is also organic from day one. There are animals onsite, including chickens, ducks, dogs, sheep, cows, worms and bees, which help to keep the biodiversity alive.
5. A dream team
Owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie have assembled an amazing team around them: Christine, Steve, David, Alison, Matt, Julian, Jordan, Megan, Tyler, Theo, Duncan, Kristina, Mike, Lisa, Rebecca, Amy, Rebeka, Paula, Alberto, Pedro, and many more, and we are proud to be part of it!
Congratulations to the entire team at Okanagan Crush Pad Winery on your fifth birthday; we are so proud of all of you.
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 ($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.
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 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.
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.
- Is BC Riesling Special?
- An introduction about the project idea.
- My BC Riesling Review Update
- A brief explanation about the procedures that will be taken to complete this project.
- BC Riesling Review- The Tasting Notes
- Like any wine review, this is where you will find detailed notes about each wine’s flavour profile.
- BC Riesling Review- Let’s Talk About Soil
- Soil is the fundamental. Dig deeper into what is soil and its relationship with BC vineyards.
- BC Riesling Review- Unique Aromas and Flavours Identified
- An analysis and identification of unique aromas and flavours of Riesling from different BC soil.
- My BC Riesling Review- Give Me Some Latitude
- A review how aroma and flavour profiles of BC Riesling varies across geographical latitude.
What’s your experience with BC Riesling? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet us @TownHallBrands to start the discussion.
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 introduce you to wineries in attendance with unique stories and flavours that you will not want to miss. Today, we would like to introduce...
Mt. Boucherie Winery, Kelowna BC
- Enjoy award winning VQA wines produced with 100% percent family-owned grapes from one of the oldest vineyards in the Okanagan.
- Explore the dynamic and diverse list of varietals that Mt. Boucherie boasts.
- Gain insight into the viticulture techniques and tips employed to maintain this historic family-owned vineyard
Led by winemaker Jim Faulkner, this winery offers a diverse portfolio of well-loved reds, whites, and desert wines which allows wine lovers to select a bottle of Mt. Boucherie for any occasion. Incredibly food friendly, the variety of Mt. Boucherie wines available ensures there's a bottle to match any palate, plate and mood.
Their history and passion for wine is yours to enjoy. Your way.
To Learn More:
What you will taste:
- Pinot Gris 2014 $11.95 –Crisp, bright and refreshing on the palate.
- Semillon 2011 $11.57 – You’ll love this wine for how fresh and crisp it is on the palate, with lemony aromas and citrusy flavours combined with granny smith apple.
- Summit Reserve 2012 $21.52 – Aromas of cassis, red currant, raspberry and a hint of coffee. On the palate this full-bodied red offers firm tannins with a rounded and smooth finish.
- Pinot Noir 2012 $16.22 – A lighter red, slightly smoky with aromas of raspberry jam, vanilla bean and candied apple. On the palate strawberry coulis and fresh cherries.
Who you will meet:
Jim Faulkner, winemaker, Mario Rodi, sales manager, will be on hand to answer any questions that you might have.
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
- 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:
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.
In case you missed it, on September 16th, the British Columbia Wine Institute will be hosting Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting and ChefMeetsBCGrape 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 would like to introduce you to a winery in attendance with unique stories and flavours that you will not want to miss. Today, we would like to introduce:
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna BC
- Understand the biodynamic and organic practices that allows this winery to shape a diversified and healthy ecosystem that promotes healthy crops and balanced wines.
- Become fascinated by the history behind the Summerhill Pyramid Winery, including their award winning sparkling wine and the enchanting story behind the pyramind.
- Try the 2012 “OM” Organic Meritage, which just won the gold medal at the 2015 InterVin International Wine Awards.
Founded in 1991, the Okanagan Valley’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery is Canada’s largest certified organic winery, BC’s first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, as well as Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine. Winemaker Eric von Krosigk oversees the portfolio of BC VQA wines that have earned the winery the title of ‘Canadian Wine Producer of the Year’ from the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England. From the vine to the finishing process within the pyramid cellar, a space designed with precision sacred geometry and aligned to the stars to create a structure of stillness and harmony, these wines are crafted with love and great attention.
To Learn More:
What you will taste:
- Cipes Brut $26.95 - Aromas of apple, lime, pear, almonds and grapefruit. On the palate Cipes Brut exhibits crisp acidity, a soft, creamy mousse, and a long finish.
- Cipes Rose $26.95 - 100% Pinot Noir cuvee grown at multiple vineyard locations around the Okanagan Valley that were planted and are maintained specifically for sparkling wine production to express a crisp, bright style. Notes of raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, blood orange, vanilla, almond, and white toast.
- 2014 Summerhill Vineyard Riesling $29.90 - Based on biodynamic principles, this wine was fermented with the ambient yeasts that came in from the vineyard, resulting in an absolutely beautiful natural wine.
- 2012 "OM" Organic Meritage $65.00 - The conditions in 2012 were perfect for the growth and ripening of Cabernet Franc grapes, which was nature’s hint to produce a meritage blend that showcases this under-appreciated grape. A blend of 56% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 2% Malbec, aged in French and American oak barriques.
Who you will meet:
Summerhill's sales manager, Tom Walmsley, will be on hand to answer all of your questions about this majestic winery and their fantastic wines.
By Leeann Froese As we ease back into our work week after a long weekend to celebrate this great province, we reflect on how it has been a long, warm spring and summer across BC.
Weather, growing conditions, watering restrictions and threat of fire all could impact the upcoming grape harvest, depending on which grape growing region you are in.
Could this be one of the earliest harvests on record in BC? How are things looking so far?
Laura Kittmer, media relations manager at the British Columbia Wine Institute states “It's been a very hot summer in BC this year; many wineries are reporting their grapevines to be about two weeks ahead right now, which could mean early wine harvest.”
We checked in with our clients in different parts of the province for an update, which follows.
Let us know if you need more info, photos, or wish to interview anyone quoted below. Amy @ townhallbrands.com / 604-321-3295
Okanagan - Summerland - Okanagan Crush Pad - Christine Coletta, owner
“At Okanagan Crush Pad we are more than half way into yet another great season in the Okanagan. But as we like to remember, it isn’t over until it’s over, and the next three months are the most crucial to shaping vintage. Will we get those cooler fall days with cold nights that allow for hang time that creates the phenolic* ripeness and natural acidity that we all crave? Or will there be a quick, sharp finish to the growing year that leaves us with high sugars, resulting in wines with higher than normal alcohol levels? Time will tell.
An early spring and unseasonably warm summer has challenged viticulturists throughout the valley. We did not get the typical rainfall we expect in June and the rest of the summer has been dry and hot. A careful watch on irrigation levels has been required.
Bountiful crop sets with large cluster formations and small berry size should result in some excellent wines next year. The early spring start will guarantee that most crops will finish on time and viticulturists will surely be pleased about that. With veraison** starting we anticipate a late September /early October harvest. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that the weather continues to co-operate as we eagerly anticipate yet another outstanding year.
As far as water use goes, vineyards used significantly less water than tree fruits, and vineyards with drip irrigation, even less than vineyards with overhead irrigation. Our home organic vineyard, Switchback Vineyard, used seven inches of irrigation water a year compared to the standard 19 inches. At this point the Okanagan is on water restrictions, but this is an annual occurrence and nothing out of the ordinary as is being experienced in the lower mainland.
From the forest fire situation, there has been absolutely zero impact from fires and smoke in our area. A few people have said on social media that they are concerned that the smoke can impact the harvest. This kind of talk is a little on the sensational side as smoke would have to be within close proximity (not 50 km away) and for an extended period of time (not a day or two) to have any impact on grape quality.”
Vancouver Island - Blue Grouse - Bailey Williamson, winemaker
At Blue Grouse we hope to have drip irrigation throughout the whole vineyard by next season; we have been irrigating where we can, and it shows a marked difference in the vine health.
Smoke has not been an issue for us as the fires are not burning close by or the smoke is blowing the other way.
Our issue is that vineyard labour has always been a huge issue and will be for the foreseeable future. In a small grape growing region it is even more of a challenge because there is no labour pool to draw from: seasonal, foreign or otherwise.
Very often we pick the grapes based on disease pressure, and hope for phenolic ripeness. At this moment the extreme heat has given way to more seasonal averages which could very well have us harvest a bit early, but not super early. If the rain holds off and the grapes are a week ahead of usual we could be picking in the sun rather than the rain. This would be a great boon for both quality and morale.
I generally don't like to count my chickens before they hatch, and Mother Nature always has a trick or two up her sleeve, so I am cautiously optimistic, and hopeful."
Okanagan – Naramata – Serendipity Winery – Judy Kingston, owner
“At Serendipity we are lucky that there are no water restrictions on agricultural properties in the Naramata bench.
The smoke cover here was far less than in most parts of the province, almost to the point that it was less than normal. We had maybe five days of smoke, and the kind of smoke damage that CedarCreek and St Hubertus had in 2003 is not anticipated at this time. That was a rare occurrence.
We have seen few if any 40 degree days on the Naramata bench, we had a few that were kissing 40 degrees. The south valley has seen a few. We haven’t seen the vines shut down yet, but we have in past seasons. At this point, veraison is just kicking in, showing up in our Pinot Noir field and our Syrah field. Southern regions have veraison in full-swing.
Everyone needs to take a reminder that grape vines are one of the most adaptive species out there. They can withstand stress or difficult conditions.
This year’s harvest looks great. We knew at the beginning of the season that it was going to be an early start to the growing year and a hotter year, so we have taken measures to make sure that the grapes mature properly and not too quickly. Without careful farming practices, there could be a risk that the brix*** accumulate in the berries faster than the phenolics do. This year’s harvest could be fantastic, but it is impossible to say how the harvest is going to be until the grapes are in the press. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
We look forward to picking the Pinot for bubble in the last week of August. Katie is looking forward to harvesting in shorts and a tee shirt, as we anticipate harvest for our regular table wines to start in early September, well ahead of schedule.”
Fraser Valley - Singletree - Andrew Etsell, viticulturist
"This year has the potential to be the best year I have seen in a decade. The grapes are 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. At Singletree our Siegerrebe is already at verasion and the lack of rain has made mould a non-issue. This is the first year I have seen the Fraser Valley grapes keeping pace with the Okanagan. The only issue I foresee is that with so little rain our tonnage will be down from last year, but the quality of grapes will be far superior to what we have seen in the past from the Valley."
Kamloops - Monte Creek Ranch - Galen Barnhardt, winemaker "The 2015 at Monte Creek Ranch season got off to a roaring start, bud break arrived 10 days early and an unbelievably hot start to the summer has pushed us 2.5 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule at veraison. The period between veraison and harvest is the most crucial by far, we are hoping for more moderate temperatures so that phenolic ripeness will occur before sugar levels get too high.
Though there have been many water restrictions in the province, we are fortunate that grapes are quite drought resistant. We practice deficit irrigation within our own vineyards and typically only use 20% of our water license in any given season. We have also been quite lucky and have avoided any smoke taint so far - a bit of recent rain should help matters. If Mother Nature can play nice for another six weeks then we should have a phenomenal harvest."
So there you have it; no one has a crystal ball, but things are looking good so far for the 2015 BC grape harvest.
*Phenolic - are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in grapes, which give a wine its profile; includes tannins that occur in grape skins, seeds and stems as well as other complex chemical compounds that will help to define a wine’s character
**Veraison – a grape-growing term meaning when the grapes change colour – the onset of ripening in the grapes.
***Brix – the measure of sugar
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 Bailey Williamson.
Bailey is the winemaker at Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard, located on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley.
Bailey has been with Blue Grouse since he and his family relocated to Vancouver Island in 2012, and before that he was at Road 13 in Oliver BC.
At Blue Grouse, Bailey oversees the production of a small portfolio of estate-farmed wines, including special and less common varietals that grow fabulously in the Vancouver Island climate, including Ortega, Bacchus and Siegerrebe.
He also makes a lineup of wines called Quill that are special blends made from grapes grown on both Vancouver Island as well as in the Okanagan.
These days, as everyone in western BC is reveling in the blossoms and preparing to welcome spring, Bailey and the Blue Grouse team are working hard preparing for the re-opening of the winery in a brand new, beautiful building set to open this summer. (Plan your visit to Cowichan now.)
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 two people: Jordan Kubek and Matt Dumayne, winemakers at Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland. Can you please say hello?
We've interrupted them in the middle of their hard work at harvest.
Jordan makes the sparkling wines at Okanagan Crush Pad, including the Bub and Baby Bub. Every time you enjoy a glass of that delicious sparkler you can envision the winemaker.
Matt, the chief winemaker, makes Haywire wines as well as the wines for the winery's custom crush clients.
A NOTE ABOUT MATT
According to one wine critic, Matt puts the 'wild' in Haywire's 'wild ferment'. Matt is originally from New Zealand, so he sports a nice accent, and he also has a bushy blonde beard and many tattoos. Is this why he is 'wild'? Maybe. Or it could be because of the work he is doing in the cellar - things not yet done in the Okanagan, with natural winemaking, orange wine, and the use of clay amphorae, to name a few...
Wine and dine with Chief Winemaker, Matt Dumayne, at Swirl Wine Store in White Rock for a winemakers dinner.
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Place: Swirl Wine Store White Rock – 15222 North Bluff Road, White Rock, BC
Tickets: $99 | purchase tickets by calling Swirl Wine Store White Rock at 604.531.0038
To start: Butter Roasted Squash Tartlet with Crispy Schinkenspeck paired with Haywire The Bub
First course: Curried Bacon Broth with Clams and Whitefish paired with Bartier Bros Semillon
Second course: Smoked Chicken Crepes Rainbow Carrots & Leeks paired with Haywire Switchback Pinot Gris
Third course: Crouque Monsieur paired with Haywire Rosé
Fourth course: Elk and Onion Ravioli paired with Haywire Gamay Noir
Fifth course: Honey Ginger Poached Pear paired with Haywire Baby Bub
To finish: Lieutenant Governor’s Award Winning Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir with a little treat
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 week we introduce you to Lionel Trudel of Trudel Photo.
Lionel is a big city photographer who escaped the big city.
He now lives on an acreage in the rural Southern Okanagan with his family and he can be found shooting all things advertising for clients everywhere.
By Leeann Froese
I recently made a vineyard visit to one of our clients, Okanagan Crush Pad, in Summerland British Columbia, and share some of the updates.
For full disclosure: this is a special place to me personally, in that I have been a part of this company’s team since the vineyard was planted, and I even have a row named after me: Row 38! (If you visit – take a #selfie with ‘my’ row and send it to me!)
The vineyard, called Switchback Vineyard, provides Pinot Gris grapes for Haywire wines. In 2007 winery owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie planted the 10 acre vineyard to one clone, all Pinot Gris, with the idea that they were going to value add to their land and sell all of their grapes to one buyer. They were not planning to be winery owners or get into the business of making wine.
What actually happened over the next few years is that they did create their own wine: Haywire. First, virtually, then eventually under their own brick-and-mortar winery Okanagan Crush Pad, which has been constructed adjacent to the Switchback Vineyard.
In the time since becoming grape growers the couple has learned a lot more about how they want to farm their property, and now Switchback Vineyard is on its way to becoming certified organic; yet it did not always start out that way. Under consulting Italian winemaker Alberto Antonini’s guidance, the winery team changed the way they farm and stepped up its game to make better wine. After conventionally farming the vineyard for its first few years, the team switched to organic growing practices, and applied for certification in spring of 2014.
They’ve said goodbye to herbicides. Instead, they’re controlling weeds with tilling, beneficial cover crops and the addition of baby doll sheep to graze in between rows. Also, they have stopped mowing the grass between rows. While this makes the vineyards look “weedy”, it lets ground cover grow and it reduces vigour on the vines.
Ducks & chickens have been added, and they live in the “Okanagan Chicken Pad”, which has got to be the nicest chicken coop one has ever seen. Made by winery owner Steve Lornie, the chicken, sheep and ducks happily coexist in a beautiful wooden coop that has incorporated repurposed wine barrels.
These critters are charming, but they have jobs. Chickens provide beautiful and delicious eggs, provide manure to fertilize and they eat insects. The ducks do the same. Baby doll sheep graze ground cover and also provide manure - all animals contributing to a whole farm approach.
The winery is also practicing integrated pest management, inviting beneficial insects to take up residence so they can eat any insects that eat grapevines. Recently a swarm of bees was discovered on one of the grapevines, so they were harnessed and put into a hive. Now the vineyard has built-in pollination (and perhaps honey one day soon?) and in addition to the bees, ‘insect hotels’ have been erected: a few cute small ones, and one large one, created as a DIY project involving children.
The overarching idea is to have minimal intervention between the growing and winemaking, to keep things as natural as possible to make the wines without any chemical intervention. This practice requires a lot of attention and despite all the focus, the vineyard rows look rather wild and unkempt. It's interesting and cute to see the animals running around between the vines, but these animals, insects as well as the many birds in the area all show that there's a very alive ecosystem in play and that the grapes are being tended for lovingly.
It has been a three-year process to get to the point of being able to seek certification, but the result is amazing wine that is gentler on their land.
I raise a glass to that.
Client NewsOkanagan Crush Pad's Latest Wine Release is Dynamite
TNT, the 3rd Wine From Okanagan Crush Pad's Okanagan Wine Campus Series, Released
The wine from Sommelier @terry_threlfall is released by @OKCrushPad #bcwine
The Story: November 6, 2013 [Summerland, BC] BC's Okanagan Crush Pad, producer of Haywire and Bartier Scholefield announces the release of 150 cases of BC TNT ($22.90) made by 2012 Sommelier of the year, Terry Threlfall.
TNT is the third wine release from the winery's Okanagan Wine Campus program. Threlfall's Chardonnay is named TNT after Terry Nicholas Threlfall, but of course the wine's name does offer a fun play on words.
Threlfall shares, "Yeah, that's a little cheeky, hey? First of all, my initials are TNT and a favourite reference for me from those that know me well. Secondly, do not expect an oak-bomb here - this wine is aged in steel and concrete. Where it does detonate is with its exuberant pure fruit, minerality, and vibrant natural acidity."
The TNT Chardonnay is pale yellow with a tinge of green; this wine has aromas of bright citrus fruit and apricot, with hints of green apple and a chalky minerality. Multiple layers of complexity from concrete and native fermentation keep this wine changing every time one smells it. The weight is amazing, with a lively, tangy acidity that is bolstered by a lovely, gentle creaminess and elegant fruit. A salty mineral character helps round out the refreshing finish. TNT cries out for a plate of freshly shucked BC oysters. Dynamite, one might say...
Okanagan Wine Campus, created in 2011 by Okanagan Crush Pad, is a mentorship program that provides the person named Vancouver's Sommelier of the Year a chance to make a small lot wine using the grape variety and style of wine they wish. In 2012 Vancouver Magazine, Vancouver International Wine Festival and California's Sunset Magazine each named Terry Sommelier of the Year. So when harvest 2012 occurred, Threlfall visited Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland and worked alongside chief winemaker Michael Bartier to create the wine.
"It was an absolute pleasure to work with Michael," says Threlfall. "His patience in describing some of the more technical parts of the process was legendary. I learned a huge amount about the winemaking process and the difficulties of trying to make a wine in as natural a way as possible. Also, I picked up so much while spending time with Michael and Alberto Antonini (who was in town), touring various vineyards of the Okanagan -- they were both inspirational in sharing their thoughts and experiences about the history, current state and future of viticulture in the Okanagan."
The proceeds from the sale of TNT Chardonnay will be given to the BC Hospitality Foundation wine scholarship fund to support students who are pursuing their higher level wine education certification. To date, $10,000 has been awarded to 11 individuals with further scholarships. Okanagan Wine Campus projects to date include Kurtis Kolt (2010), Owen Knowlton (2011), Terry Threlfall (2012), and Samantha Rahn (2013).
As of the time of this notice, TNT Chardonnay is available by contacting the order desk at 250-494-4445 ext 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, located in Summerland, BC, is home to Haywire and Bartier Scholefield wines, and also makes wines for other BC vintners who are seeking to establish their own wineries. Haywire wines are directed by winery owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, while Bartier Scholefield is a collaboration between OCP's chief winemaker Michael Bartier and wine advisor David Scholefield. The winery team focuses on crafting natural wines that are pure expressions of the vineyards they were grown on. The winery is open seasonally June 1 to September 15 and by appointment off season. For more information visit www.okanagancrushpad.com.
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View the TNT information kit here. (To download the kit, RIGHT CLICK on the link).
PRESS RELEASE October 21, 2013 Media Contact: Leeann Froese | Town Hall - 604-321-3295
More Concrete Tanks for Okanagan Crush Pad
Old practice made new again bears wines 'Raised in Concrete'
Suggested Tweet: New concrete fermenters debute @okcrushpad, celebrating their 2nd birthday. http://bit.ly/OCPconcrete
(Summerland, BC) Okanagan Crush Pad Winery (OCP) just celebrated its second birthday at the end of September. To celebrate, the winery received a very heavy package, just in time for 2013’s harvest.
Six 4,400-litre concrete tanks, weighing a total of 39 tons, arrived from Italy to join six 2,000-litre black egg-shaped concrete tanks that the winery purchased from a supplier in Sonoma in 2011.
The new tanks had a long journey, which started at the Nico Velo factory in Vicenza, Italy, before arriving at their ultimate resting point in Summerland, BC.
Nico Velo, established in 1943, makes all types of concrete prefabricated structures, from bridge columns to wine tanks, and offers first class workmanship.
The decision to purchase the concrete tanks from Nico Velo came at the urging of Okanagan Crush Pad’s consulting winemaker, Alberto Antonini, who uses the same tanks at his Poggiotondo winery in Tuscany, and is very impressed with the results. OCP winemakers Michael Bartier and Matt Dumayne concur with the idea of using concrete fermenters. Concrete had been used for centuries in winemaking, but was more or less abandoned with the arrival of stainless steel. These modern day concrete tanks take a forward- thinking approach to the old world practice.
“Okanagan Crush Pad is my first experience using concrete tanks, and I am very impressed with the results. We now have just over 38,000 litres in concrete tank capacity,” notes Dumayne. “They have excellent fermentation kinetics such as temperature retention. The conical shape of the tank moves the fermenting juice around in a vortex, which produces wines with enhanced depth, complexity and roundness of tannins. We have found that the resulting wines have a complexity and an enhanced creamy mineral character.”
To date, Okanagan Crush Pad has made and released several wines that were fermented and aged in concrete, including the 2011 and 2012 vintages of the Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris and the recently-released and much anticipated 2011 Haywire Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir. These wines were made in Canada’s first temperature controlled egg-shaped concrete fermenters. Each wine that was created in concrete carries the “raised in concrete” trademark on the front label.
Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, located in Summerland, BC, is home to Haywire and Bartier Scholefield wines, and also makes wines for other BC vintners who are seeking to establish their own wineries. Haywire wines are directed by winery owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, while Bartier Scholefield is a collaboration between OCP’s chief winemaker Michael Bartier and Scholefield family member David Scholefield. The winery team focuses on crafting natural wines that are pure expressions of the vineyards they were grown on. The winery is open seasonally June 1 to September 15 and by appointment off season. For more information, visit www.okanagancrushpad.com.