Top Top

wine

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!


FaceBookCover-SparklingWineWeek.jpg

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!⁠

Lesley Brown Joins Okanagan Crush Pad Sales Team

Lesley Brown Joins Okanagan Crush Pad Sales Team

The team at Okanagan Crush Pad Winery is pleased to announce that Lesley Brown has joined its team as vice president sales and marketing, to lead the company’s Vancouver based HQ Wine & Spirits division. 

Go Haywire with Pink Bub this Valentine's Day

Go Haywire with Pink Bub this Valentine's Day

To mark Valentine's Day, Okanagan Crush Pad sparkling winemaker Lynzee Schatz made a very limited quantity of delicious Haywire Pink Bub using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

2018 Vancouver Events

Want to stay in the loop for all of YVR's biggest food and beverage events this year? Look no further. We'll also be including dates and deadlines for industry-related topics. Don't forget to check back frequently as this calendar will be updated all year! (Note: Past events will be moved to the bottom of the post.)

Valpo&Prosecco-20170612-234[1].jpg

Upcoming Events:

May 24: Dockside Restaurant Spring Patio Tasting

May 25 - June 3: Vancouver Craft Beer Week

May 29: Chicha and Strange Fellows Beer Dinner

May 30 - June 2: TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) Conference

May 31: Spot Prawn Boil Dining Series

June 12: Chef Meets Truck 2018

June 19: Western Living's Foodies of the Year

June 20: Wines of Provence Lunch & Learn

June 23: Chef Meets BC Grape (Okanagan Falls) 

July 21: The Deighton Cup

August 23: Dîner en Blanc Vancouver

September 1: Vancouver Cheese and Meat Festival

September 17: Wines of Germany Tasting

Past Events: 

January 1: Registration opens for IVSA New Product salons

January 19: BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch Penalty Schedule Review

January 23: IVSA New Product Salons (Vancouver)

January 23: Taste the World

January 30: IVSA New Product Salons (Victoria)

February 1: Tickets go on sale for California Wine Fair 

February 24 - March 4: Vancouver International Wine Festival

March 10: BC Uncorked Food and Wine Festival

March 20: IVSA New Product Salons (Victoria) 

March 26: IVSA New Product Salons (Vancouver) 

April 6- 7: BC Distilled (dinners) 

April 9: California Wine Fair (Vancouver)

April 10: California Wine Fair (Edmonton)

April 12: California Wine Fair (Calgary)

April 13: Wine for Waves

April 14: BC Distilled (main tasting) 

April 22 - 24: BC Hospitality Summit

April 23 - 24: Grocery and Specialty Food West Show

April 24: Bloom Wines of BC Tasting (Victoria)

May 3 - 10:  Wines of New Zealand (various activities) 

May 7: Wines of Greece (various activities) 

May 10: Wines of BC Spring Release (Calgary) 

May 17 - 18: Top Drop Vancouver

Raise a Glass of Sparkles from Prosecco Superiore DOCG This Season

Prosecco pic.png

[Conegliano, Italy] Sparkling wine is synonymous with holiday gatherings and good cheer. Tiny bubbles dancing in your glass immediately create a sense of celebration.

This holiday season, pop open a bottle of Prosecco Superiore DOCG, and discover why this legendary Italian sparkling wine is the modern benchmark for affordable luxury.

Not all Proseccos are the same – while all Prosecco comes from Northern Italy, the name “Prosecco Superiore DOCG” on the bottle signifies the top quality and highest standards in the vineyard and winery, as well as concentrated flavour and balance within each festive sip.

While being immensely enjoyable on its own, Prosecco Superiore DOCG is versatile enough to pair with almost any cuisine. It is produced in fully sparkling (spumante) and lightly sparkling (frizzante) styles. The wines tend to be dry, but sweeter examples are available.

The very best Prosecco Superiore DOCG grapes are grown approximately 50 km from Venice, on the cool, steep hills in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene of Northeast Italy. This area is so precious that it is a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The Glera grape is the most widely used, showing floral notes of citrus, apple and pear. The grape is perfectly-suited to Charmat sparkling wine production, the best for preserving the varietal aromas of the grapes, keeping their primary scents as unaltered as possible; translating into a wine that is fruity and floral.

Travelling to taste these wines in person?

Wine lovers, you will want to attend Vino In Villa, the most important annual event devoted to Prosecco Superiore DOCG. The 21st annual festival is set within the heart of the hilly Prosecco Superiore region, and celebrates the area’s wine, food, culture and terroir.

In the wine trade?

In 2018, ambassadors from the Consorzio Tutela Del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco will be pouring their wines at:

·       Prowein (Düsseldorf, Germany) – March 18-20, 2018 (Hall 15, F21)

·       Vinitaly (Verona, Italy) – April 15-18, 2018

Photo assets available here.

To find out where these wines are sold in Canada, please contact:

Amy Chen | amy@townhallbrands.com or Maddie Clerides | maddie@townhallbrands.com

Town Hall Brands 604-321-3295

Small but mighty: BC wineries fight for Canadian Wine for All

Small but mighty: BC wineries fight for Canadian Wine for All

Five small BC wineries, intervening on behalf of a coalition of more than 100 BC wineries, had their day in court on Thursday, December 7, during a rare two-day hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Canadian Man Sues Airline for not Serving Champagne

By Leeann Froese

THB-PressForChampagne.jpg

A lack of knowledge in the wine world has landed Sunwing Airlines into some trouble. As reported in dozens of news outlets, and also in the Drinks Business, the airline is being sued by a man from Quebec who was served sparkling wine instead of champagne, which was promised in the promotional materials for the flight, that listed 'Champagne Service'.

At the time of this news share this lawsuit was not certified yet, so it'll be interesting to see where this goes. Aside from the litigious nature of this action that is creating a big reaction in the wine world and also all over the web, it made me think.

The heart of this issue is mainly about truthful advertising, but the use of the word Champagne in the airline’s marketing materials also could just be a copy writer’s mistake.

Anyone educated in wine knows that only wines produced in the Champagne region in France can be called Champagne just like only fortified wines made in Portugal can be called Port, and there are other examples that go on, including the capitalization and one-word writing of Icewine here in Canada. (As a marketing agency with a specialization in packaging & marketing wine, we know these things and would never let something like that get to print or into promotional materials.)

The word Champagne has become generic over time for any bubbly wine, just like Band-Aid for bandages or Kleenex for facial tissues, but what we need to remember is that these are all registered names for brands.

But how would a marketing person outside the wine industry know about the legality of Champagne? I guess the lesson here is if you're going to be talking about wine in relationship to your business, make sure that you know what wording to use.

This is creating a reputation hit to Sunwing, who now must defend itself in controversy, instead of promoting holiday vacation packages. Never fun for a PR team.

After the lawsuit was filed, Sunwing's website has been updated and now states that the passengers instead of 'Champagne service' will receive 'a welcome glass of sparkling wine'.

 

Raise a glass to these two women who balance motherhood and winery work

FacebookCover-MothersDay2017
FacebookCover-MothersDay2017

There is no one more brave, strong or influential in our lives than our mother. We know how much mothers do for us. They wear many hats. Our mothers are teachers, housekeepers, rule enforcers, book keepers, landscapers, nurses, chefs, counselors, taxi drivers and more. Not only are they all of these things, but their job never ends. 

We checked in with two amazing ladies we work with, to learn what motherhood means to them and how their role at the winery may be similar to their role as a Mom...

Laura Preckel of Singletree Winery, and her family
Laura Preckel of Singletree Winery, and her family

Laura Preckel, Singletree Winery, Abbotsford, BC

Our Q: Is your role at the winery anything like motherhood?

Laura: Yes. I take care of the weddings and events. Each bride and groom that comes and books with us is like having a new baby. My job is to guide them, just as I would in motherhood. My brides need to know what rentals they need, what deadlines to meet. I try to ensure all my brides have everything they need from me to have the most magical wedding and the best experience possible. In motherhood, I try to ensure my kids have a memorable childhood. I provide them with the tools to have a successful, fulfilled and happy life. 

Our Q: What is your favourite thing about being a mom?

Laura: Being a mom is scary! I say to myself all the time, am I doing this right thing? My favourite thing though is when I get hugs, cuddles and they say "I love you." Nothing makes my heart melt more. When my son reaches up to hold my hand, I know I made the right decision to become a mom. I never really knew how motherhood would change my life. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. I love my little creatures and family more than anything in the world. 

Jenny Garlini, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, and her family
Jenny Garlini, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, and her family

Jenny Garlini, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, Duncan, BC 

Our Q: Is your role at the winery anything like motherhood? If so, how?

Jenny: Yes. I’m behind the scenes making things happen.  There are so many things that I do in my role at the winery that no one knows that I do.  From ordering lunch for a team meeting to keeping track of inventory at four different locations, to submitting PST returns.  

It is the same as motherhood – all the behind the scene jobs….making lunches, signing up kids for camps, getting rid of the outgrown clothes and toys, etc. 

Making the home and winery run smoothly- that is my job.  

Our Q: What is your favourite thing about being a mom?

Jenny: Knowing I can always make my kids feel better.  They come to me for hugs, cuddles, kisses on ouchies, or a talk.  My words and comforts make their tears go away.  Nothing is better than that.

#

These two ladies provide only a small window into the work of working moms, all over the world. Happy Mother’s Day to all the super awesome, inspirational, hard working moms out there.

And to the dads who are raising children by being both a Mom and Dad, Happy Mother’s Day to you too! 

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

 

TOWN HALL BRANDS JOB POSTING: Agency Administrator and Marketing Assistant

  TH-Hiring

JOB POSTING: Agency Administrator and Marketing Assistant

UPDATED November 20:

Thank you to all who have submitted applications.

We will contact only those selected for interviews.

Good luck, and thank you for your interest in Town Hall Brands.

 

posted October 17, 2016

BACKGROUND:

Town Hall Brands is a full service agency specializing in beverage, food and hospitality. Services include strategy, branding and graphic design, packaging, media relations, social media outreach, and special events. With a specialization in beverage, food and hospitality, we deliver projects that inspire and celebrate the good life.

We are hiring for an agency administrator and marketing assistant:

town-hall-brands-admin-marketing-job-posting

Please download the posting above.

If you want to work in east Vancouver with a small team of professionals, send us your resume with salary expectations.

Please send a cover letter and resume by November 18, 2016 to Amy@townhallbrands.com

We hope to find a person who would like to grow with us. Thank you for your time in reviewing the post for this position.

Only those selected for interview will be contacted.

Five Reasons to Love Okanagan Crush Pad Winery

Okanagan Crush Pad is Five today!

5glass

1. Summerland

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.

The view from Okanagan Crush Pad.

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.

_ltp5159

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.

 

14457483_1164251366961450_7393452582593729622_n

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.

ocp-chickens-sbv

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!

14500342_1165269270192993_4773192746410873691_o

Congratulations to the entire team at Okanagan Crush Pad Winery on your fifth birthday; we are so proud of all of you.

WBC16: Connection & Engagement

By Sujinder Juneja We’ve said this many times before, including in a post directly following the 2015 event, but the Wine Bloggers Conference is more than just a conference, it’s a community. I’ll come back to this idea of “community” in a moment.

Leeann and I from Town Hall Brands attended the 2016 showcase in Lodi, California (August 11-14). This was my fourth conference in a row, and Leeann’s fifth. For the first time though, I was honoured to be asked by conference founder Allan Wright to moderate a panel discussion in front of an audience of 300 or so bloggers, journalists and other wine professionals. Gulp! Yes – I was thrilled to be asked and I was also nervous as heck. But more than that, I knew right away that I wanted to make it special, for both the audience and the panellists themselves.

Sujinder at WBC16

My panel was a dream. I got to moderate the Panel of Wine Blog Award Winners, featuring five winners of the 2016 Wine Blog Awards. The awards have been in place since 2007 (the year before the first Wine Bloggers Conference), honouring excellence in online wine writing. This year’s panellists included Sophie Thorpe from Berry Bros. & Rudd, Mary Cressler from Vindulge, Jill Barth from l’Occasion, Susan Manfull from Provence Wine Zine, and Jerry Clark who received Best Blog Post of the Year.

Within my job in communications, yes, I do get to talk about wine and winemaking all day long, helping to celebrate the stories behind the labels of our passionate winery clients. But any success we have with the media comes down to the relationships and connections we build with the writers, editors, and producers that help share our client achievements. Within this panel and within the audience itself, I wanted to make sure to build that same connection and engagement.

First step: Google “how to moderate a panel.”

Check. This gave me the structure I needed to follow.

Second step: Arrange for some one-on-one time with each of the panellists in advance so that we could get to know each other better and to flesh out ideas for discussion.

Check. This, to me, was the most valuable part of the panel, as it connected us in a way that the audience could see, and that we could feel onstage. In each of our private discussions, we shared ideas, laughs and stories that solidified our personal connections, making us part of that community I mentioned earlier.

I will share that I was personally impressed and inspired by each of the very deserving award-winners, and what I was able to learn from each of them was a gift. Here are some of the gems that I took away from each of them:

WBC Panel Selfie

Sophie Thorpe: Maybe it’s the Brit in me (my mom is from Reading, England) but I LOVE Sophie’s dry sense of humour, which you can see both on the BB&R blog and on her own, Raised on Champagne. She taught me the subtle excellence of opening the curtain to show the personality behind the writer, and how to let her readers know that they’re in on the joke, shared just between you and them.

Mary Cressler: Mary’s love of wine, photography, food and her family (not necessarily in that order) are infectious. The first time I saw Mary’s photos… the light, the texture, the delicious mouth water-inducing amazing-ness of her work, I knew that better was possible. It will take me some time to get even close to Mary’s talent, but she motivates me to try.

Jill Barth: Once you start reading her blog, L’Ocasion, you won’t stop until hours (maybe days) later. In fact, I whiled away about 45 minutes just prepping to write this little intro! Arguably, that is what made Jill a double award-winner this year: the ability to draw in her readers in such a way that they are sucked down this wine-filled rabbit hole of stories and adventures.

Susan Manfull: ‘P’ for Provence and ‘P’ for Passion. Susan has a heart of gold, which is easy to tell by speaking to her, or by reading her work. The tender care that she puts into each article is wonderful. Our first phone call could have gone on for hours, it was such a joy to speak to her.

Jerry Clark: One of my favourite pieces of wine writing, Jerry’s award-winning piece was evocative and emotional. He invited us into an intimate world, which all of us, including non-wine lovers, can relate to. His thrilling use of the written word remains incessantly inspiring.

Overall, the greatest thing I took away from these talented people is that a gifted wine writer, especially an award-winning wine blogger, is one that gives of themselves, that opens up in a personal way, revealing details not only about their subject - whether it be about a particular wine, an international travel adventure – but one who shares details about themselves. It is this, among many of the other things I learned above, that I hope to incorporate into my own blog when it launches this Fall.

See you in Sonoma at WBC17!

Disclosure: In exchange for a reduced rate to the Wine Bloggers Conference, attendees are required to write at least three blog posts about the conference either before, during or after.

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 www.singletreewinery.com.

Naramata Winemaker Brings International Experience To BC

Note:Katie O'Kell is available for interviews. To schedule, please contact Sujinder Juneja | 604-367-6745 .

Serendipity Winery’s Katie O’Kell has just returned from a three-month stage at New Zealand’s ultra-modern Delegat Wine Estate, where she worked harvest for the 2016 vintage. This new winemaking experience falls on the heels of O’Kell earning her winemaking certificate from UC Davis in California, where she received an impressive 100% on her final exam. O’Kell brings this newly-acquired knowledge and experience to the cellar at her family-owned, Naramata-based winery.

In Bloom

Katie New Zealand Crew

Becoming a winemaker was not O’Kell’s first career choice, but this role has evolved naturally since her mother Judy Kingston purchased the land on what would become Serendipity Winery in 2005.

O’Kell was born and raised in Toronto and received her BSc in Biology with a specialization in microbiology and pathogens at Hamilton’s McMaster University. After ruling out medical school, O’Kell was accepted into law school, but during a break between her undergrad and the start of the next session, she traveled to Naramata to assist her mother. She had already spent a few summers helping at the winery, so knew what she was getting into… almost. O’Kell ended up loving the work at the winery so much that she deferred her law school acceptance and stayed on at Serendipity full time since 2011.

Adopting the role of ‘second in command’, O’Kell wears many hats: at the winery, vineyard, and at the wine shop. While she prefers to spend time in the cellar, she has also conducted tastings, acted as a sales representative for the winery, delivered cases of wine to stores and restaurants, and has managed the popular wine club as well as on-site winery events. But since winemaking is her greatest passion, she knew that she needed more than just hands-on experience to truly make her mark.

California Dreamin’IMG_3921

Most budding winemakers recognize that the winemaking certificate from California’s UC Davis is one of the most thorough and respected programs in North America. For the past 18 months, taking breaks only during the BC harvest, O’Kell worked in her spare time to complete the program, designed for those that already work in the industry. The course focuses on quality control and sensory analysis, viticulture, the history of winemaking, and the biology of wine. O’Kell attended video lectures three times per week, successfully handed in weekly quizzes, and completed a new winemaking assignment every two to three weeks, with a final exam for each course. Averaging 95% on her course work, O’Kell scored 100% on her final exam, which she completed in March 2016.

The Land of the Silver Fern

O’Kell wished to further expand her range of experience beyond the Okanagan’s borders, hoping to work a harvest in another wine region. She initially set her sights on Australia so that she could work a harvest during spring in the Southern hemisphere and return in time for the fall vintage in BC. Eventually, she chose New Zealand as its climate and grape varietals are very similar to British Columbia. Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the pear tree, her mother had also trained at a winery in New Zealand. Ultimately, O’Kell chose Delegat Winery in Blenheim, within the Marlborough region on the South Island, the centre of New Zealand’s wine industry. She was interested in working at an ultra-modern facility that processed varietals similar to those that she worked on at Serendipity, including Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. She also wanted to learn processes that are not widely used in BC, including environmentally progressive clarification and filtration methods.

“I specifically requested to be put on the flotation team at Delegat,” O’Kell says. “It’s a process for removing suspended solids in the wine, using micro-bubbles of food-grade nitrogen injected into the must. It allows a winemaker greater control over the degree of desired clarification, and can improve the efficiency of filtration and water usage. It’s a new technology that’s just beginning to be implemented in the Okanagan, and I want to make sure we’re ahead of the curve.”

Since mid-March 2016, O’Kell worked 12 and-a-half hours a day, with one day off every eight, with a crew that consisted of 12 full time staff, along with 66 international winemakers from France, the Ukraine, the USA, Australia, and Russia; which gave her additional insight on winemaking techniques from across the globe.

“There were some international winemakers finishing up their PhD studies while I was there,” O’Kell notes. “Even though I was focused on one aspect of winemaking, I spent as much time as I could learning about their particular areas of expertise. For example, I learned a lot about new methods of extraction in red wines, efficient cellar management techniques, as well as creative solutions for pump overs, racking, and how to effectively manage tank space. These ideas will be integrated into the work that Bradley [Cooper, Serendipity’s head winemaker] and I do in the cellar this vintage.”

While on this group international experience, each of the visiting winemakers brought a bottle of wine from their home country for comparison and discussion. O’Kell shared Serendipity’s terroir-driven 2014 Rosé, a blend of white and red grapes from her estate vineyard, purpose-planted exclusively for rosé wine.

Home Sweet Home

O'Kell in front of Serendipity Winery's emblematic cellar door.

Now, armed with valuable international experience and her winemaking certificate, O’Kell plans to fully-integrate what she has learned to the winemaking program at Serendipity, while sharing new tips and tricks with her fellow winemakers on the Naramata Bench. Working alongside Bradley Cooper, O’Kell is putting the final touches on the first vintage of Sparkling Truth, a traditional method sparkling wine made from the 2014 vintage, which has been O’Kell’s pet project. Watch for the Sparkling Truth to be released in August 2016.

Looking forward to the forthcoming harvest this fall, O’Kell says, “I have had the privilege of working with many young winemakers from around the world, and I am inspired by their techniques, and I’m looking forward to bringing new methods and practices to the table at Serendipity. After all, I’m a scientist at heart, and experimenting with new ideas is the most exciting thing about what I do.”

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

Serendipity Winery & DinnerPartyYVR are the perfect pairing

serendipity dpyvrOn Saturday, April 9, 2016, Serendipity Winery will support the charitable DinnerPartyYVR (#DPYVR) for the fourth consecutive year. The Naramata winery is generously donating their BC VQA wine to simultaneously-hosted dinner parties across Vancouver with over 500 anticipated home cooks and diners. 100% of ticket sales from each dinner is donated to a charity of the hobby chefs’ choice. To date, Serendipity has helped participating hobby chefs raise more than $30,000 for charities across BC. Founded in 2013, DinnerPartyYVR has connected hundreds of hobby chefs, diners, charities, and partners around dinner tables across Vancouver for great conservations, marvellous meals, and a whole lot of fun. This year, more hobby chefs than ever will be invited to host dinner parties in their homes while raising funds for their favourite charity. 100% of ticket sales are donated. After dinner, everyone gathers to celebrate at an after party featuring live entertainment, treats and more opportunities to mix and mingle with new friends and charity representatives.

What: DinnerPartyYVR (#DPYVR)

When: Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dinner: 6:00 - 8:00 pm with over 500 anticipated home cooks and diners

After Party: 8:30 - 11:00 pm @ location TBD

Tickets are on sale now at dinnerpartyyvr.com. There you can search the various dinners and locations and buy tickets, which will move quickly. Every year to date has sold out in advance, so don’t delay.

“We’re thrilled to again be supporting DinnerPartyYVR,” says Judy Kingston, owner of Serendipity Winery. “It’s a wonderful experience meeting all the hobby chefs and pairing one of our wines to suit their meal. Giving back to the community is what we’re all about.”

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.

serendipity dpyvr 2

Meet Ron Wilson of Cheap & Cheerful #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 Ron Wilson.

Ron Wilson Cheap and Cheerful #WithTownHallRon Wilson has worked in television and radio for more than thirty years, and has a life long passion for wine. This is how we came to meet Ron.

In the past he hosted a morning radio in Edmonton for CBC Radio One. This included weekly wine segment with one of Canada's foremost wine experts, Gurvinder Bhatia of Vinomania Wines. Ron was a willing participant to taste along.

Now settled in Vancouver, Ron's always on the lookout for great wines at a great price. Which is why one year ago he launched the his website Cheapandcheerful.ca.

On this very helpful site, Ron recommends only wines which he has personally tried and tested. They must all cost $25.00 or less without sacrificing the taste.

We are delighted that Ron has given coverage to many of our wine clients.

And in addition to this, Ron is a nice guy - he gets involved with varying charities in his community, including the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and QMUNITY, and is always quick to smile and say something nice.

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

Meet Madeline Puckette #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 Madeline Puckette.

Madeline Puckette Wine Folly

A true #winelover, Madeline is the talented genius behind Wine Folly. We choose to feature Madeline today as this week she released her #WineFollyBook aptly titled “The Essential Guide to Wine”.

Wine Folly is a culture site offering articles and videos that connect people to the world of wine. Madeline and her Wine Folly team are based in Seattle, but they travel the world over for wine.

Madeline’s roots as a graphic designer are very apparent with the website’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to consume infographics. This, paired with her extensive credentials as a wine expert and wine writer, makes Wine Folly an essential guide for the new generation of wine drinkers.

I first met Madeline in Portland at the Wine Bloggers Conference in 2012, just as Wine Folly was starting to be a thing of note. She has come so far in a few short years and her progress has been nothing short of amazing. She has won critical acclaim for her humorous and clever way of educating and demystifying wine, and is a person featured in the 2015 Wine Enthusiast magazine 40 Under 40 list. #gogetit Madeline!

To Madeline: I am hungrily devouring your book and I know I am with people all over the world when I offer you my heartfelt congratulations on the launch!

Leeann Froese of Town Hall Brands reads the #winefollybook

Everyone, please say hi to Madeline and congratulate her on the launch of the Wine Folly book.

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

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.