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Client News

Gluten-Free Version of Ready-to-Eat Cookie Dough Arrives at Langley's Gourmet Food Store

[Langley, BC] Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has released a gluten-free version of their freshly made and fully pasteurized Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough in the popular flavour, Classic Chocolate Chip- a true classic that brings back childhood memories. 

Available for $7.99 in-store at Langley's Well Seasoned or online (ships Canada-wide), each dough is packaged in a single-serve container with two accompanying wooden spoons.

Well Seasoned's Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough has been gaining viral attention and is barely staying on the shelves. To meet customer demands, it was only fair to create a gluten-free version so everyone can enjoy. 

As seen on outlets such as Vancouver is Awesome and The Georgia Straight (and many others), the Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough is unsurprisingly catching fire all around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. It also continues to be at the top of each year's food trends. 

This special Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough allows food-lovers to safely consume the "raw" dough. There are no raw eggs or unpasteurized ingredients - these treats are designed to satisfy the cookie dough craving without the risk. Now with the gluten-free recipe, those with dietary restrictions don't have to take a risk, either. 

Langley's Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has released a gluten-free version of the Classic Chocolate Chip  Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough .

Langley's Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has released a gluten-free version of the Classic Chocolate Chip Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough.

FAQs: 

  • Can I bake the Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough into cookies?
    • No, our cookie dough is made especially for consuming unbaked. It doesn't include ingredients necessary for making baked cookies.
  • Are there added preservatives in your cookie dough?

    • No, the cookie dough is made with fresh ingredients and immediately frozen or refrigerated.
       
  • How should I store my Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough?
    • Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough will last up to 10 days at room temperature or 6 weeks in the refrigerator. If you would like to save your Ready-To-Eat Cookie Dough for later, it can be frozen for about 1 year. Just thaw it for 20-30 minutes and it will be ready to eat again.
  • Is your cookie dough safe to eat raw?
    • Yes, all of the ingredients in our homemade recipes are safe to consume unbaked.

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

 

Blue Grouse Estate Winery ends 2017 with a new look

News Release

[Duncan, BC] Over the past five years, a lot has changed at Blue Grouse Estate Winery, and they are celebrating these changes with a new web look.

Since the Brunner family purchased one of Cowichan Valley's oldest estate vineyards and winery in 2012, they have given the Island winery a complete makeover, with more than $10 million in investments into the vineyard, the creation of a new winery and tasting room, and the addition of onsite accommodation, the Grouse House.

When paired to the lineup of highly-praised Blue Grouse wines, these onsite amenities allow for an amazing visitor experience, including a vast range of wedding and corporate event packages.

With so much happening onsite at the winery, to create what is now the crown jewel in Vancouver Island's wine country, the external web presence required the same attention.

"This new website was created specifically for our online audience of people both old and new to Blue Grouse wines," says owner and proprietor, Paul Brunner. "With a timeline of our history, a new format to highlight our latest vintages and information on our wine club and events, we are proud to present to you a website that has been one year in the making."

For more information on Blue Grouse Estate Winery and to view the new site, please visit: www.bluegrouse.ca 

Winter at BG

 

This season's holiday hours:

Open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am-5pm from now until Dec 23rd.

Closed Dec 24th to 31st and open by appointment only in January.  

 

FREE Shipping in British Columbia:

Take advantage of the exclusive offer for FREE shipping to anywhere in BC, Canada. Minimum six (6) bottles order; 2015 Quill Red and 2015 Quill White only.  Offer valid from November 20th to December 17th. To order or to inquire on availability of wines, please contact 250-743-3834, tastingroom@bluegrouse.ca.

 

A reminder of upcoming events:

  • Holiday Open House on December 17 from 12-4pm: Enjoy some holiday music, complimentary wine tastings for adults, and hot apple cider for kids while you stock up on holiday wines for the season. A few cases of 2014 Paula Sparkling will be available to purchase and some nibbles will be offered to enjoy. Get those last minute stocking stuffers as well! 

 

  • Soup Saturdays: From noon to 5pm, for only $14, going until December 23, visitors can enjoy a bowl of delicious homemade soup made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, fresh True Grain bread, and a 5oz glass of wine. Some of the soup and wine pairings on the menu include: Squash and Apple soup;  2016 Quill Off-Dry White, Leek and Potato soup; 2015 Quill White, and Mushroom Beef Barley soup: 2015 Quill Red. Also, while you're there, ask to try their famous Mulled Wine Recipe.

 

  • Holiday Parties: Consider an indoor picnic in front of a large fireplace alongside catered culinary offerings and tasty Blue Grouse wines. Or the beautiful and festive upper lounge can be booked for parties from 10-35 people. For reservation requests, contact jennyg@bluegrouse.ca.

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.

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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! 

Blue Grouse Estate Winery Offers Bed & Bottle Retreat

Client News Grouse House now open for reservations

Blue Grouse Estate Winery announces the highly-anticipated opening of Grouse House, an exclusive 'Bed & Bottle' retreat for wine lovers, exquisitely set within the heart of the historic estate vineyard.

Grouse House at Blue Grouse Winery

Located within minutes from the quaint seaside community of Cowichan Bay and less than an hour from downtown Victoria, the Cowichan Valley wine experience has never been better.

The two-bedroom suite sleeps four, making it ideal for couples or a small family. A modern kitchen is the perfect place to create meals made from the treasures picked up at the Duncan Farmers Market. The panoramic outdoor patio space offers a barbecue and a place to lounge while enjoying a complimentary bottle of wine from Blue Grouse Estate Winery.

Other amenities include luxurious linens and towels, a gas fireplace, air-conditioning and complimentary WiFi. The Grouse House is perfect for wedding and honeymoon stays, family adventures, or small corporate retreats. Escape today and enjoy the very best that Island wine country has to offer.

For available dates and rates, email stay@bluegrouse.ca

Book online at www.vrbo.com/997490

Photos of the Grouse House for media found here.

Grouse House accommodation on Vancouver island

About Blue Grouse Estate Winery:

Family-owned, sustainably-farmed and award-winning, Blue Grouse Estate Winery is located in Duncan, in the heart of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. The winery and surrounding vineyards are a sought after destination not only for sampling the winery's portfolio of award-winning wines, but also for evens, picnics, and family adventures.

The inspired winery facility was but with many sustainable elements including locally-sourced construction materials, the use of geothermal energy, onsite water collection and treatment, as well as other features that reduce energy consumption.

The Blue Grouse tasting room is open year round with season hours. For the hours when you plan your visit, visit bluegrouse.ca.

If you have any additional questions about Grouse House, please feel free to contact us at Town Hall Brands. 

 

 

Call for aid to victims of Peru flooding

Posted by Leeann Froese Lend a Heart for Peru

Town Hall Brands is based on the west coast of Canada in a rain forest environment, and so we are no strangers to seasonal rain. At times the precipitation can be heavy and we sometimes see some flooding, but never even close to the scale of what is happening in Peru.

It's with that shocking reality of how good we have it here and those that need our help so much, we must share this news from our BC one clients and also share that they are inspiring others to take action - Leeann

Blue Grouse Estate Winery appeals to the public to help those affected by the rains and flooding in Peru. People are encouraged to donate here: gofundme.com/DonationsForCrisisInPeru

peru-floods-1

An Island Winery with Strong Peruvian Ties

Peru is special to the owners of the winery. The Brunner family, who purchased the pioneering Island winery in 2012, call Peru home for half of the year. Cristina Brunner is Peruvian and has deep roots, with many family members there. Paul and Cristina's daughter Paula, 22 and currently studying in Scotland, has established the online fundraiser with the goal of raising £5,000.

Paula, having experienced a mudslide or "hauyco" first hand, knows how terrifying the experience can be. She has leaped to help; saying "Peru is a poor country; it is my country, and from my heart I want to help."

Effective immediately, and until the end of April, all Blue Grouse Estate Winery tasting room fees collected will be donated to the cause, and the Brunner family will match those donations.

A State of Emergency in Peru

Due to the effects of 'El Niño', which have been exacerbated by climate change, the country of Peru has seen some of the heaviest rains in its history since December. Over the last two weeks, flooding has intensified. Torrential rains have triggered destructive mudslides along the coast of Peru from north to south, and the death toll has reached at least 75 people. A state of emergency has been declared across half the country and at least 100,000 people have been left homeless.

The highly unusual rains follow a series of storms that have struck hard along Peru's northern coast. This has damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 homes, collapsed 117 bridges and paralyzed countless roadways. The running water treatment systems are clogged, leaving people with limited access to safe drinking water.

The Brunner family's GoFundMe proceeds will go directly towards helping families and communities affected by the floods to overcome the challenges they are currently facing in the areas of food, water and clothing.

The damage is tough to grasp. The sheer volumes of water that whip away the hillsides, railways, roads and bridges,is captured for the world to see live.

This video from Climate State provides a compilation of video footage of the disaster:

Mobilizing a Community

And the Brunners have inspired action in others.

When Summerhill Pyramid Winery owner Stephen Cipes saw what Blue Grouse was doing, he too leaped into action.

Cipes has a long history of being a friend to people from all over the globe. He says, “Let's do something wonderful for those brothers and sisters who need it most! Rapidamente!”

At the Kelowna winery, watch for wine and dessert features, with partial proceeds collected to go to Peru as well.

Heavy rains expected until the end of April

Blue Grouse Estate Winery owner Paul Brunner notes “Let's get some perspective on the seriousness of this problem. If you were to superimpose Peru over Europe there would be continuous floods, landslides and heavy rains from Amsterdam all the way down to Rome. That’s the Pacific Ocean side of Peru’s tragedy!

Now let’s look at the Amazon (Brazil) side of Peru. These same events are affecting an area from Munich down to Sarajevo, with heavy rains are expected to last well into April. Your help is needed and appreciated!”

map

 

Notice from Global Affairs Canada

And as a last note, and public service announcement:

Global Affairs Canada shares the following notice to Canadians

Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the departments of Ancash, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura and Tumbes due to flooding, landslides, and mudslides resulting from heavy rains.

The Government of Peru has created an interactive map indicating the affected areas. Widespread damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges, is causing disruptions to transport and communications. The Government of Peru has declared a state of emergency for the main highway (Carretera Central) connecting Lima to the east. All major airports in Peru are operating; however commercial flights could be suspended without warning.

Free evacuation flights from some affected areas are being offered by the Peruvian Air Force; consult their Facebook page for flight schedules. There are shortages of food, potable water and fuel in the affected areas. Other regions of Peru, including Lima, are rationing potable water or have limited access to water. Water- and insect-borne diseases may also become a threat. Medical facilities in affected regions are overburdened. There remains a high risk of further flooding throughout the region, as rainfall is predicted to continue until mid-April.

If you are in the affected area, ensure you have adequate emergency supplies and an emergency kit. For assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada in Lima or local authorities at IPeru (01-574-8000; iperu@promperu.gob.pe). Monitor local media for the latest developments and follow the instructions of local authorities. Verify your travel plans with your airline or tour operator.

We encourage you to stay connected with the latest travel advice and advisories, via the web at http://travel.gc.ca, our mobile TravelSmart application, available at http://travel.gc.ca/mobile, and our RSS feeds at http://travel.gc.ca/rss. You may also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/travelGoC or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/travelGoC.

For emergency assistance after hours you may communicate with the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa (EWRC) by calling the Embassy and following the instructions. You may also reach the EWRC directly by dialing (collect call where available), +1-613-996-8885 or toll free 001-800-387-3124 or by email at sos@international.gc.ca

Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Lima at 319-3200 or lima-cs@international.gc.ca.

 

Mirabel Pinot Noir "of wondrous beauty" publicly launched

Mirabel Vineyards

Note from Leeann Froese:

If you follow us on social media, you will note that our design team has been working on a beautiful new label with an illustration from Darrell Underschultz, for the Reimers, a lovely Kelowna couple, for their new Mirabel Vineyards Pinot Noir.

This limited release Pinot made by Matt Dumayne is both bold and silky at the same time, and with only a few cases made, is sure to go quickly.

We are very proud to also handle the publicity for this new wine, and here is the official press release.

Mirabel Vineyards Announces Debut Release Reimer Family focused on terroir-driven Pinot Noir

Doug and Dawn Reimer are pleased to launch their inaugural Mirabel Vineyards wine with the release of the 2015 Pinot Noir, sourced exclusively from their South East Kelowna hilltop estate and vineyard overlooking the Okanagan Valley.

Mirabel, meaning "of wondrous beauty", perfectly represents the Reimer family's stunning South East Kelowna hilltop estate and vineyard overlooking the beautiful Okanagan Valley.

The sustainably-farmed Reimer Family Vineyard was planted in 2006 on a steep hill with both southwesterly and northwesterly aspects. Grapes were planted at high elevations over complex soils. Analysis of the terroir suggested the estate was best planted to specific clones of Pinot Noir, to be blended together for optimum colour, flavour, acidity, tannin and length. The yield is cropped at a low 2.5 tons per acre and harvested by hand. One-and-a-half acres of Chardonnay will be planted this spring.

The family's commitment to quality is realized with this first vintage release of 237 cases of a luscious, elegant, sustainably-grown Pinot Noir.

The 2015 Mirabel Pinot Noir ($70.00 for 750ml, $160 for 1500ml Magnum) was aged 11 months exclusively in French oak (30% new). Gentle handling, including gravity transfer from barrel to bottle, helped to maintain the subtle texture, rich fruit, soft spice and generous length. As the Reimers do not yet have a winery, this wine was made at Okanagan Crush Pad by chief winemaker Matt Dumayne.

Mirabel Vineyards was founded through Doug and Dawn's shared love of travel, and the belief that the creation and sharing of wonderful food and incredible wine is one of life's greatest joys. Following a vacation to the Okanagan in 2004, the couple purchased an exclusive piece of property that was ideal for growing grapes. The fruit was previously sold to other wineries, but it will now be reserved for the Mirabel Vineyards label.

Initial praise for the Pinot Noir includes a review from noted BC wine authority John Schreiner, who described it as having "great purity of fruit". A saignée-method Pinot Noir Rosé and a Chardonnay will be released later this year. 

"We believe that what is in the bottle is more than just wine; it is a place and time; a snapshot of the vineyard. We invite you to join us, as we pursue our dream." - Doug and Dawn

Those seeking access to these limited-production wines are invited to sign up at mirabelvineyards.com.

If you are a member of the trade seeking an allocation, please contact info@mirabelvineyards.com.

For media, or anyone who wants to know more about the Mirabel Vineyards story, download the information kit HERE.

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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

 

What Foods Will Trend in 2017?

Wish you had a crystal ball to predict 2017's hottest food trends? BBQ champion and culinary expert Angie Quaale of Langley's Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has compiled a list of her predictions of the foodie fads for next year. 1. Reduction of Food Waste

  • Using everything from bones to vegetable stems, tops, and peels, Quaale suspects that this eco-friendly trend will skyrocket in 2017.

2. Coconut Flour

  • This item is going to gain popularity, and not just for people with gluten sensitivity. It is delicious and will appear in kitchens as a more widely used flour option.

3. Soup

  • From simple bone broth to zesty gazpacho, soup's popularity will contribute to the reduction of waste while simultaneously feeding your soul.

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

4. More Veggies

  • Meat isn't going anywhere in 2017, but veggies as sexy sides are going to get more attention - especially if they're charred.

Simple Roasted Roots

5. Fried Chicken

  • There are many types of fried chicken, but Quaale predicts that the Nashville Hot variety will specifically be more visible next year. This particular variation is super crisp and soaked in hot sauce - not for the faint of heart.

Pretzel Crusted Oven "Fried" Chicken

6. Avocados

  • Avocados keep getting bigger and bigger - and not size. They are showing up in breakfast and as the main feature in desserts, used to thicken sauces and add texture and richness to countless dishes. Avocados aren't going anywhere in 2017, especially Mexican because they are available every season of the year!

Avocado Fries. You're Welcome!

7. Big Bowls

  • Soups, salads, noodles, acas - big bowls are easy to eat, and can usually be made well ahead of time, making them super convenient. They are also usually fast and fresh.

8. Craft Cider

  • Step to the side craft beer, craft cider is hot on your heels!

9. Iced Tea

  • In 2017, Quaale foresees the rise of this classic beverage brewed from real tea, tweeted naturally with honey and fruit juices; also made into cocktails.

10. Pimento Cheese

  • The caviar of the south. If it isn't a trend in 2017, it should be and it will be in Canada soon... it is too delicious not to start popping up!

What are your food predictions for 2017? Let us know below!

So your child has collected too many treats...

halloween-treat-and-wine-quoteBy: 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.

Halloween and wine pairing

  • 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.

Leave a comment below or tweet us your pairing @TownHallBrands, using the hashtag #WithTownHall.

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

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

2016 BC Grape Harvest In Full Swing

  Would you like images, an interview, or to learn more? Contact Sujinder Juneja for assistance.

According to the BC Wine Institute (BCWI), BC’s cool-climate grape crop is on track for another excellent vintage this year. Hot and dry conditions in the spring led to the earliest bud break on record and the earliest harvest ever for some wineries in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. The low average temperatures and high rainfall allowed BC grapes to have more time to ripen on the vine and to accumulate flavour and aromatic compounds. This contributes to wines that are fresh, complex and balanced with higher acidity that make them versatile food pairings.

On Vancouver Island

Bailey Williamson, winemaker for Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan on Vancouver Island, is expecting another excellent harvest at the Cowichan Valley estate. A strong growing season in April and May, followed by a cooler June and July than the previous year, led to an elongated flowering and fruit set cycle and allowed the grapes to mature and ripen to classic levels. The Blue Grouse harvest started on September 10, beginning with the popular Siegerrebe, an aromatic white varietal which tends to ripen earliest. After that, there will be a break in harvest until the end of September, when the rest of the grapes will be harvested in earnest. Compared to all the vintages since 2012, this year’s harvest started within a week of normal.

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In the Fraser Valley

Conditions on the mainland were similar to Vancouver Island. Andrew Etsell, GM and viticulturist of Singletree Winery in Abbotsford notes that with the warm and dry August, the grapes developed beautiful flavours with balanced acids and sugars. Singletree began its harvest on August 25 – one full week earlier than 2015, and the winery’s earliest harvest on record. “We started with our Siegerrebe, which is evolving into one of our most popular wines,” Andrew shares. “We’re also keeping a close eye on our estate Pinot Noir, which we have just harvested for our first-ever estate sparkling wine. Other estate varietals, such as our Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc, will follow after that. This year’s harvest will not yield as much fruit as 2015, yet the fruit will be clean and very high quality."

It's harvest time at Abbotsford's Singletree Winery.

In the Okanagan - Naramata Bench

After an unseasonably warm spring, followed by an early summer, Serendipity Winery’s Katie O’Kell was concerned that the harvest would take place much earlier than normal at her estate Naramata vineyard. However, the cooler, wetter weather moved in, which allowed the grapes to mature a more moderate pace.

Serendipity’s harvest started on August 29 with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and continued on August 31 with Viognier. With a dry and cool climate, the phenolics (flavour and aromatic compounds) will eventually catch up to the brix (a measure of potential alcohol) that is currently sitting in the low 20s.

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Okanagan – South

Likewise, Lawrence Buhler, director of winemaking for ENCORE Vineyards, which produces wines under the TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection labels, is also in the middle of an active harvest. Compared to last year, Buhler and his winemaking team saw a two-day early start to the season on August 17. Harvest has almost been completed for the still whites, with additional harvests to take place in the next two to four weeks for red varietals.

Regarding the balance of the 2016 harvest, Lawrence says the reds are maturing well and the cooler weather is excellent for proper fruit development and sugar accumulation in the berries.

Harry McWatters, president and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards said recently to Global Television, “we had record-breaking temperatures in April and the earliest bud break that I’ve seen in my history in British Columbia. This is my 49th vintage in the wine business and I’ve never seen a harvest this early. What it does is even in the fringe areas, where the grower may be pushing their limit as far as what they’re growing or the amount of crop they’ve got, it gives them a bit bigger window to mature that fruit to its optimum level. It’s a good thing.”

Indeed it is, Harry. And although the wineries – from Vancouver Island to the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan – are right in the middle of an exciting harvest, we already can’t wait to taste the finished wines starting next spring.

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Town Hall Brands: Specializing in wine, food and hospitality

Town Hall Brands, based in Vancouver BC, build brands and promotes them. We offer marketing strategy, graphic design, packaging, promotional campaigns and PR, and social media outreach.

Can we help you with a story? If it comes to a story in need in wine, we can help or send you to the right place.

BCWI Colour 2016

British Columbia Wine Institute's Fall VQA Tasting, Colour, is on the horizon. An event for trade and media to mingle with winery principals and winemakers while tasting new releases. Later on, at "ChefmeetsGrape" the public will be able to taste the new vintages, accompanying delicious food pairings from hot restaurants.

TRADE: In order to plan your strategy for tasting your way through the day, Town Hall Brands is going to give you the inside scoop on each of our PR clients that are attending and what you can taste from them.

Since the tasting will be organized alphabetically (we hope), let's start at the top:

Evolve Cellars

Evolve Cellars

Evolve Cellars, located in Summerland, offers a lineup of wines that are fruit-forward and approachable.  Believing every choice has intention Evolve encourages everyone to #raiseaglassto those who inspire them.

Principals attending: Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond, director of sales and marketing

Wines being poured:

  • Pink Effervescence - NEW bubbles!
  • Effervescence - NEW bubbles!
  • Pinot Blanc 2015
  • Riesling 2015
  • Cabernet Merlot 2015

Okanagan Crush Pad

smallOKCrushPadsept2015-Mike West kneeling in Switchback Vineyard-credit Taryn Liv Parker

Located in Summerland, Okanagan Crush Pad is home to Haywire and Narrative Wines. The winery team's aim is to produce distinct, terroir-focused super-premium wines from the Okanagan Valley.

Principal attending: Christine Coletta, owner

Wines being poured:

  • Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2014
  • Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2013
  • Narrative XC Method NV
  • Narrative Rosé 2015

Serendipity Winery

Serendipity-Vinessmall

Nestled among the rolling hills of the picturesque Naramata Bench, a visit to Serendipity is about discovery, surprise and warmth. The journey began in 2005 following a serendipitous turn in the road made by owner Judy Kingston, and continues with each new vintage of wines crafted to be paired with food and shared with loved ones. Judy, a former lawyer, brings her smarts and wit to the wines and their labels. Each bottle has a story.

Principal attending: Judy Kingston, owner

Wines being poured:

  • Next Step 2012
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Rosé 2015

TIME Winery

Wine making is about time and place, and that’s what TIME Winery proves with each new vintage. As what will be Penticton's first urban winery, spearheaded by industry pioneer and icon Harry McWatters, these wines are complex yet approachable.

Principal attending: Harry McWatters, owner

Wines being poured:

  • Cabernet Franc 2014
  • Meritage (white) 2014
  • Meritage 2013
  • McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2013

These applauded BC wines call for an Encore!

Hot Client News! Encore Family Shot

We're taking a moment heading into the long weekend to #raiseaglassto one of our amazing clients and their winemaker Lawrence Buhler. The results of the NorthWest Wine Summit are in and it's safe to say that ENCORE Vineyards, parent company of Evolve Cellars, McWatters Collection and TIME Winery, and their winemaker deserve a round of applause for their recent landslide of awards.

The Superlative Awards

"Best" Category - Evolve Cellars Riesling 2015

Evolve View and Wine-Chris Stenberg-6599

Jerry Mead Awards:

Best Value Wines: Evolve Cellars Rosé 2015, Evolve Cellars Riesling 2015

Gold

Evolve Cellars

  • Riesling 2015
  • Rosé (Merlot & Pinot Blanc) 2015

McWatters Collection

  • "HMC" Chardonnay 2013

HMC Family

TIME Winery

  • Meritage (39% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc) 2013

ckstenberg-8824Silver

Evolve Cellars

  • Gewürztraminer 2015

McWatters Collection

  • “Meritage” 60% Cabernet Sauvignon (three clones) 20% Merlot (two clones), & 12% Cabernet Franc (one clone) 2012

TIME Winery

  • Cabernet Franc 2014
  • Chardonnay 2013
  • Meritage (white blend: 68% Sauvignon Blanc, 32% Sémillon) 2014

Bronze

Evolve Cellars

  • Cabernet Merlot 2014
  • Pinot Blanc 2014
  • Pinot Gris 2015
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2014

 

ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., is a progressive Okanagan-based company, and home to TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars, and McWatters Collection.

The ENCORE team is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 49-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond is the ENCORE director of sales and marketing, offering lifelong wine industry insight. Lawrence Buhler is ENCORE’s director of winemaking, who has experienced more than 16 vintages in Ontario, British Columbia, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. He will oversee the company’s growing portfolio of premium British Columbia wines.

Congratulations winemaker Lawrence; the Town Hall Brands team awaits your encore!

Okanagan Crush Pad partners with PNE Prize Home Lottery

Okanagan Crush Pad is proud to partner with the PNE Prize Home Lottery to raise funds for variety of non-profit programs. This year’s Grand Prize Home features one of the biggest Prize Homes yet, with a large open concept and patio space perfect for entertaining. It is adorned with stylish furniture, modern appliances, an outdoor hot tub and sauna and a floor-to-ceiling wine cooler.

Global TV's Kristi Gordon infant of the home's wine cooler

This West Coast modern home will be perched on a breathtaking lake view property right on the Naramata Bench, looking across Okanagan Lake to Summerland.

Overlooking Summerland from across Okanagan Lake

How fitting that Okanagan Crush Pad, a Summerland winery, located on a 10-acre Switchback Organic Vineyard, is playing a role in the grand prize package. The winner and new neighbour will receive a personalized VIP tour and tasting at the winery to welcome them to the community and give them a chance to fill their wine cooler.

In Summerland, the winner will get a chance to enjoy a unique winery experience. At Okanagan Crush Pad, a spectacular guest center and private upstairs tasting lounge are built into the heart of the winery, offering an in-depth view into the art of winemaking. Visitors wander past large concrete tanks, clay amphorae, sparkling wine cages, barrels and a small still, to learn how vineyard inspired natural wine and spirits are made. Here time-honoured, generations-old winemaking techniques are married with the most advanced technology with stunning results.

And the wines: the critically-acclaimed Haywire and Narrative wines celebrate the distinctive beauty and exceptional growing region.

The PNE is on now until September 6 and the exhibition’s crowd favourite has people dreaming of what life would be like if their winnings swept them away to the rich landscape of valley vineyards and desert hills of the Okanagan.

Tickets can be bought at the fair, or onsite here.

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.

Veneto Wines on the rise in BC

The Veneto region of Northern Italy, much like British Columbia, is an intersection of countries, communities and cultures. It is also one of the world’s most dynamic and history-rich wine centres. For the past few years, the complimentary Veneto wine regions of Valpolicella DOC and DOCG wines and Prosecco Superiore DOCG have joined forces to invest resources in trade and media events in Western Canada. Now consumers across BC are taking notice.

Recent sales statistics at BC Liquor Stores confirm growth in consumer demand for wines from both regions. Consistent with global trends that confirm sparkling wine is the hottest growth category, sales of Prosecco sparkling wines have risen 15% since April alone, and an impressive 22% from May 2015 to April 2016. A recent article from Business In Vancouvernoted that sales of Italian sparkling wine in BC have increased 132.5% between 2011 and 2015, while the Prosecco category specifically has risen by 143% in that same period.
The Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore represents the 20% of the Prosecco's world and is produced in the historical area of prosecco production where you get the best expression. In 2015, the sales in Canada of Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG recorded +7.4% compared to 2014.

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By contrast, sales of Valpolicella wines are on a more gradual curve, rising 3% from May 2015 to April 2016 at BC Liquor Stores, yet in recent months have increased by a dramatic 16%, on the heels of Italy as the featured country at the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival in February.

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The 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival featured Italy as the theme country. Last year, Italy surpassed France to become the world’s largest wine producer, according to the European Union. As of March 2015, Italian wine is second only to the USA in the value of imported wines to British Columbia, based on figures from the BCLDB.

BC wine lovers are purchasing these wines because they offer unbeatable value for money, with diverse flavour profiles that make them versatile with West Coast food pairings. Also, the two Veneto regions are embracing environmentally-sustainable winegrowing methods, which resonates strongly with British Columbians. These two regions are the ones to watch, becoming darlings on local wine lists as well.

In Valpolicella DOC and DOCG and Prosecco Superiore DOCG, life revolves around the grape. Together, the two areas showcase a balanced representation of the best of Northern Italian wines. Each region offers what the other does not, making them the perfect pairing.

Value and Quality

The wines of Valpolicella are known for their freshness balanced by natural acidity, moderate alcohol, elegant texture, versatility, and for their authentic expression of terroir. Within Valpolicella, there are five main styles ranging from fresh, fruity and affordable Valpolicella Classico, to complex and full-bodied Amarone della Valpolicella, which are generally more expensive, and able to age gracefully in bottle. In between are Valpolicella Ripassos, which are medium-bodied, food-friendly wines of moderate price, perfect for everyday enjoyment. Flavours within the wines range from fresh raspberry and cherry, to notes of dark chocolate, sweet earth and dried fruit.

Prosecco wines are made using a fermentation process known as the Charmat, or tank method, which adds the sparkle. This process is much less costly than the traditional Champagne, or bottle-fermented, method, which allows most Proseccos to be affordably-priced between $20-30 in British Columbia. A luxurious value, Prosecco wines reveal notes of tropical fruits, pear, citrus and green apple.

smallphoto credits_Consorzio di Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene, foto di Arcangelo Piai

Fabulously Food Friendly

Giulia Pussini, event manager of Consorzio Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco, which represents producers from the historical area of Prosecco production and Olga Bussinello, director of Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella agree it's no surprise that British Columbian consumers like both types so much, since they are known to be "wines of pleasure", with the power to tell the story of the regions they come from through the history, tradition, and innovation of the families and people who work there. It's about passion. It's about love. And that's something that everyone can understand. "Prosecco Superiore," says Giulia Pussini, "is so approachable and versatile that it is great as an aperitif or with light cuisine such as seafood, sushi, and other spicy foods."

Sustainability in Action

A key initiative for the Valpolicella region in 2017 is a five-year pilot project with a sharp focus on sustainability. The initiative, which shows leadership within the European Union, encourages producers to eliminate chemical use (herbicides, pesticides) in the vineyard and the winery, reduce energy usage, and improve waste management.

In 2008, a project was launched for the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene in Prosecco to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with certification expected in 2017. The champions of this project point out the unique position that the region has held as both a cultural landscape, and a leader of agricultural innovation, specifically within the field of sparkling wine.

"Valpolicella wines," concludes Bussinello, "could easily be paired with Asian cuisine, beef tenderloin with white truffles and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese fondue, porcini mushroom risotto, or aged cheeses.”

Ultimately, the wines of Valpolicella and Prosecco Superiore DOCG appeal to BC wine drinkers as they offer something for everyone, each at modest price points, while bringing something unique to the dinner table.

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.”

ENCORE Vineyards to bring urban winery to downtown Penticton

  Town Hall Brands Client News                           Contact Sujinder Juneja 604-367-6745

Urban Winery Coming to Downtown Penticton

Former PenMar Theatre complex to take on new life as a winery & hospitality centre

[Penticton, BC] - ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., home to TIME Winery, McWatters Collection, and Evolve Cellars, announces it has purchased the former PenMar Theatre Complex (361 Martin Street, Penticton) and will be transforming it into an urban winery, the first in the South Okanagan.

The subjects have now been removed on the sale, paving the way for ENCORE to begin modifications on the building that will see it ready for wine production of the 2016 vintage.

The restored building will be home to a brand-new winery production facility, including a crush pad, barrel cellar, custom fermentation hall, lab, warehouse, and administrative offices. When open to the public, the visitor experience will include a tasting bar, a small plates lounge, a 40-seat outdoor patio, as well as a retail wine shop.

An onsite commercial kitchen will give the winery the ability to host public and private events. Banquet facilities and other offerings are being planned for the future.

In keeping with the community's desire to showcase local performing arts, ENCORE will maintain one of the theatres as a 75-seat movie, performance and event space for concerts, private functions and non-profit uses. Ultimately, this destination, multi-purpose winery, bistro and theatre will help to attract visitors to the area and assist with the revitalization of the downtown.

The PenMar is a historic site with a long history of arts and culture. Built in 1956, the theatre closed in 2012 after its then-current owners, Landmark Cinemas, moved into a multiplex location. An organization named the PenMar Community Arts Society attempted to raise enough money to restore the building, but was not able to raise the funds required. ENCORE Vineyards, who coincidentally contributed to the society's fundraising efforts, is pleased to be able to help preserve this historic building and contribute to the community.

Harry McWatters, president and CEO of ENCORE Vineyards says, "We are excited to share the next chapter of ENCORE Vineyards with our Penticton neighbours. Our aim is to create a downtown destination that the South Okanagan can be proud of, while preserving the legacy of this vibrant cultural landmark."

About Encore Vineyards:

ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., a progressive Okanagan-based company, is home to a number of wine brands, providing a host of wines and hospitality service. The ENCORE team has developed an unparalleled opportunity for investors to participate in the growth of its existing enterprise, substantial brand expansion, and premium brand acquisition opportunities. By consolidating certain operating, management, and marketing and sales strategies of multiple wineries, ENCORE will improve financial returns in what has the potential to be a high-margin industry. Learn more at encorevineyards.ca.

ENCORE has amassed an impressive team, poised to help define the next generation of Okanagan winemaking via its production of premium wines in the Okanagan Valley. The company is known for its labels including TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection. In 2016, ENCORE Vineyards expands, with new projects that further celebrate the spirit of the South Okanagan.

The ENCORE team is led by president and CEO Harry McWatters, a 48-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond is the ENCORE marketing director, offering lifelong wine industry insight. Lawrence Buhler is ENCORE’s director of winemaking, who has experienced more than 15 vintages in Ontario, British Columbia, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. He will oversee the company’s growing portfolio of premium British Columbia wines.

Summerland Winery Okanagan Crush Pad Heads to Europe for Prowein

We've got some big news for one of our BC wine clients! Summerland's Okanagan Crush Pad will be making its first foray into the European market, debuting at ProWein Dusseldorf March 13 to 15.

OCP-Switchback-Vineyard-Building-Sunset-Credit-Lionel-TrudelEstablished in 2011, Okanagan Crush Pad's reputation has grown quickly in regard to their efforts in organic growing and natural wine making. Owner Christine Coletta credits international consultants Italian winemaker Alberto Antonini and Chilean soil expert Pedro Parra for the winery's vision. While Antonini has been working with the winery since 2010, Parra joined the winery team in 2012 in order to choose and design a new vineyard site, Garnet Valley Ranch. Its first harvest will be this year.

OKCrushPadsept2015-107“We are all on the same page with respect to the direction we are traveling. The real heavy lifting falls to our viticulture and winemaking teams who have followed the road map drawn by Antonini and Parra perfectly,” notes Coletta.

OCP-Concrete tanks Credit Lionel Trudel

The winery is capable of 35,000 cases annually and initially developed as the first purpose-built custom crush winery in Canada. While Okanagan Crush Pad crafts their portfolio wines Haywire and Narrative exclusively in concrete tanks, they also choose to focus on small lots of premium wines.
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The winery team aims to craft wines that showcase the natural beauty of the Okanagan Valley and so additives such as yeast and nutrients are not used, except in their bubbles.  “We want the wine community to discover what excites us about our growing region, and we feel Prowein is an excellent place to start,” said Coletta.
 
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Representing the winery at Prowein will be owner Christine Coletta, her daughter Alison Scholefield, winery business partner David Scholefield, and brand ambassador Michael West. The natural wines from Haywire will be showcased, made from grapes grown on Switchback Organic Vineyard, as well as their Ancient Method sparkling wine from the Narrative roster.

NOTE to those headed to Prowein: go see Haywire with all the Canadian wineries, who will be located in Hall 9/D48.

Take a photo of yourself with the winery principals or the wines and send it to us on social media @townhallbrands. Tag it #gohaywire #prowein - we can't wait for you to meet our amazing clients!