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.
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.
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.
The end of summer in British Columbia marks a time to celebrate the beautiful colours and flavours of our local fall grape harvest. On September 17, the British Columbia Wine Institute is hosting its annual Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting Event to bring together 90 passionate BC wineries and local trade in exploring the bountiful wine growing regions of BC, while tasting the bursting flavours of BC VQA’s fresh new releases. Talented winemakers and winery team members will be onsite to unlock your palates with a cornucopia of flavours that will lead us into the Fall. There’s really no better way to celebrate the season than with like-minded wine enthusiasts who share the same passion, industry, goals and stories.
Whether you are a winemaker, sales specialist, winery owner, media, or wine buyer, this is a must-attend trade only event that provides an easy, one-stop opportunity to connect with prospective suppliers, industry partners, and media on the latest trends, insights, products, and winemaking techniques.
But with more than 350 BC VQA wines on showcase, how can you make the best out of a mere four-hour tasting event? Read on for some tips from our team...
Do your homework.
o Find out which wineries will be at the event
o Research the wineries
o Make a list of the people, wineries, and products you want to see
o Jot down questions you have for the principals
o Allocate total time you want to spend at the event and at each individual booth
o Bring your business cards, a fresh palate and open-mind to share your passion with like-minded wine enthusiasts
To start, we have highlighted a few winery clients in the room with unique stories and flavours that you will not want to miss.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna, BC
“A gathering of farmers, winemakers, artists, environmentalists, visionaries, and wine enthusiasts who think outside of the bottle to create organic wines with a story.”
- Experience the debut tasting of 2013 Summerhill Vineyard Riesling
- Understand the benefits of biodynamic farming in creating a diversified and healthy ecosystem that promotes healthy crops and balanced wines
- Become enchanted with the history of Summerhill, including their leading sparking wine program and learn the story behind the magic of the pyramid
Founded with the 1991 vintage, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, in the Okanagan Valley, BC, is Canada's largest certified organic winery, BC's first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, and 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. The winery, owned by the Cipes family, is also home to the Sunset Organic Bistro, a two-hundred seat restaurant with a panoramic view of Okanagan Lake, serving food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill's own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden.
More background reading on Summerhill Pyramid Winery's organic and biodynamic farming practices can be found here.
Who to meet:
Ezra Cipes is proud to carry on the family legacy at Summerhill Pyramid Winery as CEO. Like his father Stephen, Ezra has a multitude of passions and talents. At Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Ezra Cipes is responsible for day-to-day operations, marketing, and leadership. He is a talented musician, and has completed courses in vineyard management and in permaculture design.
What you will taste:
- 2008 Cipes Blanc de Noirs $34.90 - A magical transformation to sparkling white wine from black grapes
- 2013 Summerhill Vineyard Riesling $29.90 - Made with 100% estate-grown biodynamic fruit. Fermented with wild yeasts from the vineyard.
- 2013 Alive Organic White $19.95 – Supremely versatile, every day white wine.
- 2011 Alive Organic Red $24.95 – Bold, deep and smooth.
Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerland BC
“Home of Canada’s first purpose-built custom crush facility with signature wines fermented and aged in concrete wine tanks.”
- Enjoy the sparkles and bubbles of The Bub while meeting the Bub herself, Alison Scholefield
- Taste Haywire’s signature Rosé – Summerland in a glass
- Learn about Canada’s first custom-crush facility and concrete wine tanks
Haywire is an old Canadian term that refers to wire once used for baling hay, which tended to tangle in a chaotic way. It is also an apt description of winery owner Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie's transition from the city to owning a vineyard and winery. The learning curve was steep, but as the first wines hit the market (in 2010) it became apparent that the journey was the reward. Since planting the 10-acre Switchback Vineyard, Christine and Steve have gone on to open Canada’s first purpose-built custom crush facility (Okanagan Crush Pad Winery in 2011) and have now begun planting the first 20 acres of vines at their 312-acre Garnet Valley Ranch. Haywire is committed to crafting wines that tell the story of the new Okanagan.
Who to meet:
Alison Scholefield is arguably the youngest winery principal you will find in the room and she has been in the wine industry since birth. Now as the winery ambassador and sales team liaison for Haywire and Okanagan Crush Pad, it’s her job to communicate with customers, the public and wine club members. You can ask her about where to find the wines, and anything that’s happening at the winery. Also find out why Haywire’s sparkling wine ‘The Bub’ was named after her.
Rebeka Eriksson and Amy Hollenbach are Haywire’s friendly, skillful and customer-oriented sales agents. From the wine cellar to the retail floor stock, these two have everything you need to know about customer needs. Whether it’s product knowledge, wine pairings, customer service, promotional tactics, or purchasing opportunities, Amy always has new and innovative insights for you to take home.
What you will taste:
- 2013 Haywire White Label Pinot Gris $19.90 – Bursting with citrus notes, intriguing sweet and savoury herbs.
- 2012 Haywire White Label Pinot Noir $22.90 – Gently aged in old French oak barrels. Loaded with bright cherry aromas and flavours.
- 2012 Haywire Pinot Noir Rosé $19.90 – One taste and you’ll vote it ‘Best BC Rosé of the Year’.
- 2012 Haywire ‘The Bub’ Sparkling Wine $24.90 - Filled with love and sparkles. A lively expression of Okanagan freshness and a tribute to the lovely Alison.
Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery, West Kelowna, BC
“Our roots run deep. We have been here since the beginning of the Okanagan wine industry and are proud to own and manage some of the oldest vineyards in the valley.”
- Taste award-winning VQA wines while celebrating the bounty of family-grown vineyards
- Meet witty and talented winemaker, Jim Faulkner to learn the inspiration behind every wine bottle
- Gain insight into viticulture techniques and tips on maintaining a historic family-owned vineyard
Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery's award-winning wines reflect the bounty of the Gidda family's 100 percent estate-grown grapes, family-owned and operated since 1968. Mt. Boucherie has evolved from a masterful grape grower into one of British Columbia's premier wineries, which opened its doors in 2001. Mt. Boucherie's goal is to produce the finest white, red and dessert wines for every palate. Led by winemaker Jim Faulkner and his team, the winery produces a diverse and delicious range of reds, whites and Icewines. 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.
Who to meet:
Jim Faulkner has lent his passion and exquisite palate to the cellar at Mt. Boucherie since 2009. As a wine enthusiast, Jim studied business at Calgary’s SAIT Polytechnic in addition to the winery assistant program at Okanagan University College. With decades of experience in winemaking and an eye for the unique terroir on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan Valley, Jim has created many award-winning wines for Mt. Boucherie, many of which he credits to be from the high quality of vineyards, welcoming environment, and supportive team efforts.
Don Pfeffer is Mt. Boucherie’s well-versed and personable sales agent that always puts the need of the client first. With extensive experience in the winery industry, Don never fails to pair you with the glass of wine that will take your taste buds and dining experience to a new level.
What you will taste:
- 2012 Pinot Noir $21.00 – Lighter red. Slightly smoky with aromas of raspberry jam, vanilla bean, and candied apple.
- 2010 Family Reserve Syrah $25.00 – Well balanced. Aromas and flavours of black pepper, dark berries, and liquorice highlights.
- 2013 Pinot Gris $16.00 – Fruit forward with aromas of fresh pears, apple and melon. Citrus and honey on the palate.
- 2013 Ehrenfelser $17.00 – Refreshing white with tropical notes of mandarins. Bright acidity on the finish.
SpierHead Winery, Kelowna, BC
“Big things come in small packages - this is what SpierHead is about. All of our wines are hand-harvested by a small, dedicated team to deliver rich, yet elegant flavours and aromas to your tasting experience.”
- Discover why SpierHead has been gaining so many accolades of late – from BC and across the country.
- Experience their pride and joy – Pinot Noir sourced from their estate vineyards in South East Kelowna.
- See if you can spot winery owners Bill and Marina Knutson around the room – they’ll be happy to share details on their wine club and how to be part of very special winery-only events.
SpierHead Winery is named for its stunning location along Spiers Road on the benchlands in South East Kelowna. Part of the East Kelowna Wine Trail, SpierHead has been turning heads since opening in 2010, and was named “Best New Winery” at the 2012 BC Wine Awards. The winery’s focus is on wine produced from a combination of sustainably farmed, estate-grown grapes, and premium fruit sourced from vineyards in the Okanagan.
Who to meet:
Lisa Hill is SpierHead’s account lead from Christopher Stewart Wines & Spirits. Knowledgeable and attentive, Lisa brings with her an extensive portfolio in the winery industry. Whether you are a retailer, winemaker, or wine sommelier, Lisa loves to share her tasting experience with you. Chances are, you will walk away with insight on a new wine and trend you’ve never tasted.
Winery owners Bill and Marina Knutson In addition to dealing with SpierHead affairs in Vancouver, Bill and his wife Marina spend 50 - 75 days per year in Kelowna, where Bill finds that there is never any shortage of tasks to be done in the winery and vineyard.
What you will taste:
- 2012 Pinot Noir (White Label) $22.00 - All but sold-out, the well-received 2012 will give you a lead-in to the much-anticipated next vintage.
- 2013 Chardonnay $23.00 - Full cluster pressing and low temperature fermentation. Hints of apricot and cool climate orchard fruits.
- 2012 Riesling $22.00 – Clean, crisp fruit and terroir-driven flavours. Refreshingly honest approach.
- 2013 Pinot Gris $20.00 – Rich, well balanced. Plenty of freshness to match its tropical flavours.
And… if you are NOT attending this tasting, but want to meet or know more about any of these clients, then contact us info at townhallbrands dot com.
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.