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Vancouver Island Winery Continues to Lead the Way

Vancouver Island Winery Continues to Lead the Way

In 2012, when Paul Brunner and his family took over the pioneering Blue Grouse Estate Winery on Vancouver island, they could not have predicted what they would undertake over the next seven years. 

Investments include major upgrades to the winery and property, going organic, and now, this season, the evolution of Blue Grouse includes a label refresh

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.

Victoria Pub Wins The Irish Pub of the Year in North America

Celebrating a Meeting Place of Friends at Irish Times in Victoria, BC

Photo Credit: Mister Pixel Photography

Winery owners Judy and Skip Stothert love celebrating their family traditions. When they started Coolshanagh Winery in the Okanagan, they didn’t hesitate to name it “Coolshanagh”, a Celtic word that belonged to Judy’s side of the family.

“Coolshanagh” means a “meeting place of friends.”

For generations, Judy’s family started using the word “Coolshanagh” under letterheads and soon enough, her cousins named their houses as Coolshanagh. This soon became a family tradition and carried through to multiple generations in celebration of the friendship between family and friends.

Although not entirely certain, the Stotherts share that the word “Coolshanagh” originated from Judy’s grandfather in Ireland and then eventually landed in Canada with his immigration to Newfoundland and Victoria.

When the Stotherts heard that Victoria’s Irish Times Pub won Irish TimesThe Irish Pub of the Year in North America (chosen from 16,000 Irish pubs worldwide), they were ecstatic! This achievement follows Irish Times’ wins from previous years: Top 10 Irish Pubs Outside of Ireland in 2015; Best Pub in the City (8 out of last 12 years).

The Stotherts are fortunate that their Coolshanagh Chardonnay is listed by the bottle at Irish Times Pub. However, that wasn’t the celebratory aspect. It was how impressive and honourable this accolade is and the perfect fit between Coolshanagh and Irish Times Pub. It’s almost serendipitous.

Tracing back to family traditions, Coolshanagh originated from Irish roots then eventually arrived in Victoria, like Irish Times. Irish pubs are known for their unique, cozy and friendly ambiance. This, like Coolshanagh, makes a perfect place for the gathering of friends.

Join us in celebrating this beautiful friendship between Coolshanagh and Irish Times by visiting the pub the next time you’re in Victoria!

How Impressive Was This Award for Irish Times Pub?

16,000 Irish pubs worldwide were screened for this award, including UK, Ireland, Europe, North America and more.

  • Irish Times Pub was shortlisted in six (6) competing categories:
  • Best Irish Pub of the Year in North America
  • Best Bar Person
  • Best Marketing Campaign
  • Best Chef
  • Best Food Experience
  • Best Craft Beer Experience

Congratulations to our friends!

- From Skip and Judy of Coolshanagh

 

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.

Meet Ezra Cipes With Town Hall

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 #withTownHall please meet the CEO of Kelowna's Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Ezra Cipes.

If you like this post please feel free to share it so others can meet him too!

Here I am in paradise at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna on a summery sunshiney day with the amazing Ezra Cipes #withTownHall

In addition to running Canada's most visited winery as its CEO, Ezra has a thriving talent as a musician, and that's what he was doing before he returned to the family business to oversee operations at the family run winery.

Earlier in his adult life, Ezra worked as a touring and session musician and became a published songwriter, but despite his love for music, he felt the call back to the vineyard. Home on the family farm, Ezra initiated a half acre permaculture garden, selling vegetables and herbs to Summerhill's onsite Sunset Bistro. After reconnecting with the winery and the land, Ezra knew he needed to assume a greater role at the winery.

Now, Ezra is responsible for day to day operations, marketing, and leadership. He has completed courses in vineyard management and in permaculture design.

And despite all of this, Ezra still creates music and performs occasional gigs on the side.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share something really cool that we saw last week: this is a music video of a song that Ezra and his brother Ari Cipes did that was created by their friend Elsie Kay (also a talented musician herself!) and I think you should just sit back and enjoy this before you take a moment and say hello to Ezra.

Can you please say hello to Ezra with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter so more people can meet him too!

 

Meet Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse With Town Hall

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 Paul Brunner aka The Blue Grouch - owner of Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Can you please say hello?

Paul Brunner of Blue Grouse

 

Paul and his wife Cristina purchased Blue Grouse, a beautiful Vancouver Island winery, in 2012. He calls himself 'The Blue Grouch' but we think he is a friendly, funny and welcoming man, who isn't fooling us with talk of being grouchy.

The winery was originally established in 1992. But in 2015, plan your visit: a beautiful new winery building will be open to welcome you. And you will have to come and see for yourself if Paul really is a grouch.

Can you please say hello to Paul with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter.