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Pondview Estate Winery - Welcoming Niagara Wine Country

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Pondview Estate Winery Niagara Peninsula

 

Author: Laura Milnes


Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you 

My name is Laura Milnes and until very recently I was a wine writer focused entirely on the Okanagan, a stunning micro region located in beautiful British Columbia. I have often wondered whether this niche was worth pursuing - globally, wine production from the area is a drop in the bucket.

Over time, I realized how privileged I was to have worked so closely with such talented winemakers in this stunning locale. Versing myself on the Okanagan opened many doors, enabling me to leverage a unique set of knowledge, while concurrently introducing award winning producers to a wide audience of wine enthusiasts. The Okanagan is an incredibly unique region, with unparalleled diversity from north to south, offering winemakers the ability to grow grapes of all kinds.

In recent months I have relocated to Toronto. Acquainting myself with the wine regions in Ontario has become my new niche. I’ve noticed a palpable rivalry between the provinces - not so much consumer driven - instead, wineries at the behest of government levies, preventing a healthy cross provincial representation of product. This however, is slowly changing, as wineries and consumers alike are expressing interest in drinking not only what is local, but also nationally produced.

Which brings me to the great work of my mutual Canadian Wine Ambassador, VJ Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Kascadia Wine Merchants. We met a year ago at the hatch winery, where a relationship was quickly established, predicated on our shared adoration of BC wine. I especially loved that VJ was working so hard to bring Canadian wine into other markets, to promote what is so special about Canadian wine, and showcase the caliber we’re capable of producing.

With my knowledge of BC wines and recent move to Ontario, VJ saw a great opportunity for me to announce Kascadia’s expansion in the Ontario market with the addition of Pondview Estate Winery to their portfolio.

Pondview is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just an hour and a half south of Toronto. Lakeshore plains predominate the area, with long, gentle slopes forming the landscape. With warm days, cool nights and a moderating effect from both Lake Ontario and Niagara river, it makes for a perfect home to grow grapes.  (winecountryontario.ca)

Sandy loam - comprised mainly of silt and clay - make up the terroir, great for drainage.

Pondview has called Niagara-on-the-Lake home since 1974, having immigrated to the area from Sicily in 1965. A family affair - dating back three generations, brings extensive experience and knowledge from their time growing grapes in Italy. Lou Puglisi has been passed the torch, and now carries on the family tradition. He has embraced this traditional art form and has cultivated some of the finest wines in the Niagara wine region.

 

 

Their 50 acre vineyard located within the Four Mile Creek sub appellation is lovingly referred to as "Bella Terra".

Kascadia is thrilled to welcome Pondview Estate Winery to their portfolio. Wines that will be on offer include the 2015 Vidal Ice wine, 2015 Cabernet Franc Ice wine and the 2018 Cabernet Franc rosé.

Find out more about Pondview Estate Winery here: www.pondviewwinery.com

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Charcuterie Board Tips and Tricks

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Creating your own charcuterie  board is similar to a choose your own adventure story with no rules. There are no cooking skills required and no need to get hung up on making it look like it's been plated for a food and wine magazine. What's important is that its memorable for an array of flavors and it is tasty!

For the ultimate wine experience, we recommend you enjoy your wine while  grazing on the salty and savory elements of a charcuterie board. Perseus Winery in the Okanagan has the perfect tips for your ideal board. Keep reading to become a charcuterie expert!

 

Recipe Credit: Perseus Winery

Prep Time: 20 minutes

As our charcuterie classes at Perseus winery have not slowed down in popularity, we thought we’d share some of our favorite tips on creating the perfect board! Look no further for your new favorite wine pairings for the upcoming warm weather. Charcuterie boards are a great way to put out a casual (but beautiful) option for those summer evening get togethers.

 

 

What you'll need:

  • A board (we love our branded ones from John Rousseau Designs in Summerland!)
  • Selection of protein - Cured and fatty meats are ideal (Capicola, Mortadella, Prosciutto, Genoa Salami, Pepperoni). Looking for a vegetarian protein? Add an assortment of nuts or grilled and sliced Portobello mushroom
  • Cheese Please! 3 cheese selections offer a variation of flavor combinations. One is a crowd-pleaser, one is unique, and one is mild. . Go for a soft and creamy cheese such as Brie; a firmer style cheese such as cheddar, Gouda or Gruyère; and a hard grating-style cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano. Vegan cheeses are a great alternative to traditional dairy
  • In season fruits and vegetables (great for adding color!)
  • Crackers and / or a fresh baguette
  • Dips - we love putting cups of hummus on our boards
  • Olives and other small pickled or sweet 'fillers'

Start with your meats and cheeses - decide if you'd rather cut them into bit size pieces, or simply place it on the board with a small knife nearby.

We suggest working from the edges of your board inwards, as this can provide a barrier for smaller items on the board that may roll off easier.

Cut your fruit and vegetables and arrange it in the middle of the board - don't forget to leave room for crackers or bread on the side!

If you find  that you have run out of room, crackers and baguette slices look great in a basket beside your board,

Fill empty spaces in with nuts, dips, and olives! Either lay these out or put them in small bowls throughout the board.

Lastly, don't worry about getting everything on your board all at once! Keeping some items prepped and put aside makes filling up the board throughout the evening easy. Enjoy!

 

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The Wine Varieties You Should Be Drinking from the Okanagan

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Author: Laura Milnes


Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you
 
I've worked in the wine industry for most of my adult life - I've graduated a few times over, in terms of knowledge, general awareness and wherewithal of quality, style and regional focus.

Having worked in tasting rooms, wine festivals, vineyards and cellars, you get a lot of people demanding extremely specific styles of wine that may not necessarily be available in the region they are visiting- and this is definitely the case in the Okanagan.

There's an assumption since we're the not so far neighbor of the North, (Napa, specifically), we produce very similar styles. As such, I often get a lot of requests for suggestions of big meaty, fat Cabs and other similar stylistic expressions. Simply put, the Okanagan does not produce wines of this style. If you've had a big, juicy, velvety Cab - most likely it's been manipulated (additives to give the perception of a full bodied wine) to appease the general public's palate.

Don't misconstrue what I'm saying here - the Okanagan produces gorgeous styles of wine - but when you drink varieties that thrive here - they're not in the same vein or style of wine of our southern counterpart.
Here is a snapshot of wines I guarantee you'll love with input from gang bangers in the industry. They may not be the varieties you were expecting, or drink on the regular - but I can guarantee you'll be a convert once you give them a try.
 
 
The Hatch - Jason Parkes, Winemaker + Andrew Melville, Marketing Director
Jason's take: 
"Go on an adventure with what you feel is the variety you think you like and learn about it. If a cat digs a Pinot Gris, try it from Lake Country, Westbank, Summerland, Silkmakameen and Osoyoos. This way, you can learn what style of Pinot Gris you dig. Once you learn what climate you like, you may learn that other varieties from that climate also tickle your fancy - this will teach you about your palate. You'll learn what acidity, and phenolic ripeness you like. Sounds crazy, but the point is, there are few places in the world you can taste differences in only a few hours of travel. A bit geeky - so maybe tell them to drink grappa."

Andrew's take:
"Anything but Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and other Rhone Reds. Drink Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Gamay. Spend your money, and go get your hands on Syrah. And then drink more Riesling. If you can't get Riesling, just get some Ehrenfelser."
 
Kitsch - Grant Biggs, Winemaker 
"Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah are my favorite from the Okanagan. Other than those four, I'm pretty fond of whatever wine happens to be in my glass at any given moment. Don't over think it, wine is meant to enhance an experience, not be the experience."
 
Rhys Evans - Township 7, Assistant Winemaker
"The breadth of options are endless. Riesling and Gruner Veltliner show well from producers in Lake Country. I think there will always be a place for Cabernet Franc. They are delicious and pretty unique here in that they stand alone. The warmer "cool climate" regions are doing well with Cab Franc, so I think it will only get better here. I would love to see a more aggressive move into Rhone varieties and styles - Syrah, Marsanne, Rousanne. The variation in climate, soils, aspects and pockets from north to south, is like nothing else anywhere around the world."
 
 
Jasmine Lee Black - Van Westen Vineyards, Assistant Winemaker
"Over most of the Okanagan, I would say the varietal I am most excited about is Cabernet Franc. I adore Loire Valley Cab Franc, and many of the Ontario versions. The Okanagan versions, are much different than these two examples, but I have come across some from down South all the way up to Northern Naramata that I'm into. There are some awesome pockets for other varietals but I have seen great of examples of Cabernet Franc from a more broad space in the valley."
 
Micheal Alexander - Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Assistant Winemaker
"I would say Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot do well here. There is no shortage of killer, long lived Merlot in the valley."
 
Bill Eggert -  Fairview Cellars, Proprietor and Winemaker 
"The biggest strength of the Okanagan is its diversity of varietals and styles. Riesling tonight, could be Chardonnay tomorrow. Pinot is good for sipping, Cabernet Franc and lamb, Merlot and pulled pork, Syrah and moose, bubbly Chenin Blanc and that special gal (or guy), Sauvignon Blanc and oysters - need I go on. Diversity. Most awesome. We've got it all."
 
Jak Meyer - Meyer Vineyards, Proprietor
"What is becoming our signature? Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah, obviously Merlot and Pinot Gris are two of the most planted, but I don't think they get the same international recognition."
 
Bradley Cooper - Black Cloud Winery, Proprietor and Winemaker 
"A great route of exploration would be to try all the things "Pinot" based, both red and white. There's going to be some distinct, and unique plays, on each variety. Pinot's, in general, are well suited to BC growing regions with few exceptions. We should be drinking other BC examples of other varieties. Anywhere north of OK Falls there will be good Pinot sites for noir, gris, blanc etc."
 
 
The beauty of BC, and the Okanagan specifically, is our diversity. What thrives in the north will be a completely different story in the south, and differ yet again everywhere in between. We're an incredibly special region despite our size. Consider these varied suggestions next time you're visiting the Okanagan, or picking up a bottle of wine to enjoy - the choice is truly endless. 
 

Read more about Laura Milnes at  Silk + Coupe 
Instagram: @silkandcoupe
Twitter: @suzywinemaker
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Meyer Family Vineyards – Top BC Wine Exporter

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Author: Julian Park

BC Wine Trends
Your First Source for the Best Value BC Wine

Background

After a decision to change careers and enter the wine world Jak Meyer and Janice Stevens-Meyer spent three years searching for the perfect vineyard site in the Okanagan Valley.  

In 2006 they purchased a small 1.62 Hectare vineyard on the Naramata bench. In late 2008 they purchased a 6.9 Hectare property in Okanagan Falls. Their business philosophy is to hire the best winemaker and viticulturists and focus on small lot single vineyard wines using traditional  Burgundian methods.

They produce less than 6000 cases annually from mature 18 to 20-year-old vines, they strive to produce the finest wines possible. Meyer is one of a small group of BC wineries focused on terroir and sub-appellations to make exceptional wines (2).

The 2013 McLean Road Vineyard Pinot Noir was nominated in the April Decanter as one of the best Pinot Noir in the World outside of Burgundy and receiving a Highly Recommended rating.

Vineyards

Meyer Family Vineyards thrives on having each wine reflects the single vineyard of its origin, the soil, the climate, the slope. 

The carefully selected grapes are grown on three main vineyards:

1. McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, BC

This is the home vineyard where the tasting room is located. The vineyard has a predominantly steep southerly aspect with the soil comprised of alluvial and glacial deposits making up a mix of gravel and sandy loams.  

The largest of these blocks has a steep southerly aspect for capturing the full range of the sun, the second block has a gently sloping westerly aspect giving a slightly higher temperature from the afternoon sun and the third and coolest of the blocks has a north-west aspect.

Varietals grown include Chardonnay – 3.5 acres; Pinot Noir – 8.5 acres planted and Gewurztraminer – 4 acres.

2. Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, BC

This vineyard is located on a terrace that has a gentle northerly aspect with the soil comprised of alluvial deposits making up a silt loam overlying a clay loam. The fifteen-year-old vineyard has 4 acres planted with Chardonnay vines.

3. Reimer Vineyard, Kelowna, BC

This vineyard has a moderately steep northwesterly aspect with the soil comprised of alluvial and wind-blown deposits making up a silt loam overlaying a gravel loam. The 6-acre vineyard is planted with 100% Pinot Noir; a mix of French Pommard and Dijon clones.

Chris Carson – Winemaker

Chris returned to Canada in 2008 after eight years spent in New Zealand, California and Montrachet. He brings his expertise in crafting award-winning wines. Chris is hands-on in the vineyard, following the grape from pruning to harvest and creating excellent wines.

He especially loves the heartbreak grape, Pinot Noir and supervised the planting of 9000 new pinot vines at the McLean Creek Road Vineyard. A graduate of Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand with his Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, Chris Carson brings with him his extensive enthusiasm and skills in all areas of winemaking and production.

The Wines

Meyer Family Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir 2017 The fruit is sourced from three different vineyards in the Okanagan Valley; our estate vineyard on McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls; Teasdale Road Vineyard in South East Kelowna and a vineyard in Kaleden, BC. The combination of these three different vineyards each having their own unique aspect, elevation and soils has produced a well-rounded Pinot Noir that showcases the Okanagan as a whole.

Meyer Family McLean Creek Rd Pinot Noir 2015 At the winery the fruit was gently de-stemmed via gravity into small open top fermenters (with 15% kept as wholecluster) and allowed to cold soak. After cold soaking, an indigenous yeast fermentation began lasting two weeks and peaking at 32 degrees Celsius, with gentle hand plunging of the must done throughout. After a post-maceration period, the wine was transferred to 100% French oak barrels (25% new) where it remained for 11 months. A natural malo-lactic fermentation occurred in late spring.

Clear and medium ruby colour.  Clean, medium intensity, primary aromas of violet, strawberry, black plum, hint of black pepper, secondary aroma of vanilla. On the palate, dry, medium acidity, medium tannins that are soft, primary flavours of ripe raspberry, wild strawberry, black plum and vanilla, medium finish.  An outstanding wine; well balanced, good length, intensity and concentration. 

Meyer Family Okanagan Valley Chardonnay 2017  The wine is a blend of our two estate vineyards; Old Main Road vineyard planted in 1996 on the Naramata Bench, McLean Creek Road vineyard planted in 1994 in Okanagan Falls and JAK’s sister Terry Meyer-Stone’s vineyard on Anarchist Mountain in Osoyoos, BC. This Chardonnay is a blend of many separate small batches picked through the dates listed above; the unique terroirs of the three vineyard sites yield a wine with elegance, finesse and length.

Meyer Family Rosé  2017 The Pinot Noir was sourced from our estate vineyard McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls; Parminder Hans’ vineyard on Teasdale Road in East Kelowna and Windy Ridge Vineyard in Kaleden, BC. The combination of these three vineyards with each having their own unique aspect, elevation and soils have produced a rosé wine with great complexity while still maintaining our stylistic elegance and finesse. Crafted using the saignée method, our 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé is a blend of indigenous ferments from multiple plots. Only 12-hours of skin contact, this dry Rosé is fresh and bright making it a natural accompaniment to summertime. Drink this wine now or through 2021.

You can find the complete listing of wines and their tasting notes here.

Export Prowess

I had the opportunity to discuss with Jak Meyer how he was able to successfully develop such a strong export channel for Meyer Family Vineyard wines.  Here is a summary of the Q&A.

  1. How were you able to achieve the full corporate listing in 169 Marks and Spencer stores in the UK? This came about due to Marks and Spencer coming to BC looking for a Canadian wine. I was introduced to them due to the fact that I was already exporting to the UK through Ellis of Richmond and interested in export markets. It is still shocking how few BC wineries are actively pursuing this market! I met with them and we negotiated a deal to be able to provide the wine and the label and at a price that made us both very happy.
  2.  Any info you can share on how you successfully entered the other 6 markets.  Not sure if China is one of the Markets, but I would be really interested in this story? Again my interest in exporting is twofold. One to expand our sales channels and have some diversification. I always said the day that there is an earthquake in Vancouver half the BC wineries will be out of business overnight. Secondly, I was tired of hearing the comments of either “oh you make ice wine or didn’t know you made wine in Canada”. I felt it is important to get our wines outside of BC in order for the rest of the world to know about them. The distributors I have found have been from continually looking for opportunities and people interested in importing our wines. I expect to grow our US distribution and add a distributor into Norway this year. Our agent in China is an ex-Vancouverite who I knew already. He was starting out with a small firm and I was interested in working with him and growing slowly.
  3.  What distributors are you employing? We have been with International Cellars since about 2010 who represent us for Western Canada. I have distributors in Quebec and Newfoundland. I self-distribute to Nova Scotia and Ontario. I have distributors in each of the export countries we deal with as well.
  4. Any comments on the keys to success for exporting BC Wine? It is like any other sale to any other person. You have to be willing, actively looking and patient. I have gone from banging on doors to getting a call every month or two unsolicited asking if we are interested in exporting. I can definitely feel the momentum shifting and interest growing.

Future Plans

 “We are now in the 6,000-7,000 case per year range. It is my interest to increase sales to about 10,000 cases which we have the capacity for now.  However, I am only interested in increasing our higher end single vineyard premium wines. I am fully aware this is a slow growth but is also a very loyal and long-term approach. We feel the greatest opportunity is direct shipping and marketing our BC Wine across Canada by way of online sales and our wine club.”

By Jak Meyer

I would definitely recommend a trip to Meyer Family Vineyards the next time you are travelling through Okanagan Falls.

Sources:

  1. Background information and BC Wine tasting notes provided by Meyer Family Vineyards.
  2. Anthony Gismondi: B.C. Pinot Noirs snapping at Burgundy’s heels

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Twitter: @BCWineTrends

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Wine Not?!

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Aside from any myths that one glass of wine after dinner everyday will either lengthen your lifespan or shorten it, have you ever wondered which wine you should be drinking depending on the day of the week?

Let’s look at what our top choices are for any given day of the week.

Laying in bed the first two minutes after your alarm has gone off on Monday, you meditate on your first move of the day. Whether it’s remembering to feed your dog, or throw your work shirt in the dryer to take out the wrinkles -  you are on it! Envisioning the end of your day, the next 10 hours feels much more bearable if you're ending it with a glass of a big, bold, juicy, red wine. We love the pepper in the lusciously full and intense 2015 Painted Rock Syrah which gets us fired up. You are now in the zone - "Monday you are mine!”

Tuesday is sluggish. You anticipate the day to be kind of boring... But that bottle of Pinot Gris that you’ve seriously been planning to pair with salmon, which by the way you happened to pick up over the weekend. Hmmm… “2016 50th Parallel Pinot Gris, I’m going to save you from being trapped in that that bottle tonight. You’re welcome.”

Wine down Wednesday. - enough said. “Be a friend and pass me my glass please. And remember to fill it up with something light and fruity!” We recommend the 2016 Meyer Family Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir.

Yes way rose`! The only thing we throw back on a Thursday is our 2017 Meyer Family Vineyards Rose`! This accompanied with good friends, a light and flirty playlist like our Summer Spritzer on Spotify, and perhaps another bottle following the rose? We usually stick to white wine if we started with white, but with rose we swing both ways. We love to night cap and have our grand finale with the 2015 Painted Rock Red Icon. Voted the Gold Medal winner at the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada, this commanding red blend invites you in with rich aromas of blackberry, dark plums, cassis and sweet spices. Absolutely going to sleep happy tonight!

TGIF! We have been looking forward to Friday all week! After an exhausting week of adult responsibilities, going wine tasting on the couch sounds pretty good right now. Catching up on a binge worthy T.V. series and indulging in take out comfort food, treating ourselves to a glass of the luxurious 2015 Painted Rock Cabernet Franc is our first choice.

It’s Saturday and we are most likely in the mood to hit up a patio nearby for sunshine and enjoy good banter amongst great friends. “But before we head out, how about we meet at our place and have a glass of red to start the night!?” With some light music, 4 or 5 of your closest allies hovering around your kitchen island and a well dressed charcuterie board, the rich and fruitful 2014 50th Parallel Pinot Noir has everyone asking “where the hell did you get this devil of a wine?! We need more!”  .

Sundays are for family. We don’t budge from that. Whether we are meeting for brunch, lunch, dinner or all of the above, we save Sundays for something special and we bring out the bubbly - Meyer Family Sparkling Brut. Mimosa’s anyone? For a light afternoon chat on the patio, and spicy nuts for a snack, the light litchi, bits of orange and a hint of spice in the 2016 Meyer Family Gewurztraminer is a delightful pairing. 

So those are our top picks for each day of the week. Now by no means are we saying you should drink everyday. But hey!... if the French are doing it, why can’t we!?

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