South Okanagan wineries to aid in Oliver area slide relief

With the slide in the Oliver area last month, the South Okanagan Winery Association is pulling together to help those affected. Below is a press release that they sent to me. If you are going to be in the area, please drop in and participate in the event.


July 7, 2010

In Short:

This June a mudslide tore through the Southern Okanagan Valley, destroying the homes and livelihoods of many of our neighbours. In answer to the disaster, The South Okanagan Winery Association is proud to announce its participation in the Mudslide Crisis Relief Committee’s fundraiser during Oliver Township’s “Sunshine Days” on July 17. We invite everyone to come down to the Oliver Community Centre around noon to enjoy the festivities, including: A beer (and cider!) tent, water slides, live music, and a once-in-a-lifetime raffle for some of the best wines the Southern Okanagan has to offer. Come for the fun and stay to watch the wineries beat the pants off of anyone who dares to accept their Tug-O-War challenge! Think you got what it takes? Sign up at Oliver Parks and Rec.

More Information:

The Mudslide that wreaked havoc on Southern Okanagan homes earlier this year left many lives in disarray. In response, the communities of Oliver and Osoyoos have come together to create the Mudslide Crisis Relief Committee to raise money for mudslide victims. The first major event is during the Sunshine Days festival in Oliver.

Saturday, July 17, join The Wineries of the Southern Okanagan at the Oliver Community Centre at 12:00pm where we will be part of a beer garden on the tennis courts. Cider, beer and food will be available with all proceeds going to the Mudslide Crisis Relief Fund. Other organised activities include: kids water slides, live music and a raffle for wine donated by wineries around the Southern Okanagan.

But what kind of mudslide charity would it be without a mud Tug-O-War? Road 13 has partnered with Stoneboat Vineyards and has challenged any local winery to dare face them and their mighty team of vineyard grunts; a call that has been answered by the powerhouses at Tinhorn Creek and others. The rules are simple: 10 person teams amalgamated from smaller wineries, or in-house from larger companies, going head-to-head over a pit of mud. $10 per person or $100 per team with all funds going to charity. Teams can register by picking up a form at Oliver Parks and Rec before July 15.

About South Okanagan Winery Association (SOWA)

The wineries of SOWA formed their association based on a unified vision of promoting the unique emerging identity of the region south of McIntyre Bluff. For all of them, this terroir is the source of the premium wine growing region in Canada.

The area is geographically bounded and sculpted by two north-south mountain ranges and hallmarked in the northern extremity by the dramatic cliffs of McIntyre Bluff. These wineries and vineyards express the namesakes of the land: the sage, the creeks, lakes, the historic and aboriginal influences, all decidedly regional.

You are invited to enjoy the unique experience that each winery of the South Okanagan Association offers, from the welcoming wine shops to patios restaurants and unique accommodations. Stretching from the landmark McIntyre Bluff to the Osoyoos border, the land is unparalleled in scenic adventure and award winning wines.

The South Okanagan Winery Association is rooted in a passionate and unified vision of nurturing our unique and emerging identity; our pride in our craft; our characters; and our terroir.

SOWA Members

-Burrowing Owl -Jackson-Triggs

-Cassini Cellars -Nk’Mip Cellars

-Desert Hills -Oliver Twist

-Dunham & Froese -Quinta Ferreira

-Fairview Cellars -Road 13

-Gehringer Brothers -Rustico

-Golden Beaver -Silver Sage

-Hester Creek -Stoneboat

-Inniskillin -Tinhorn Creek

Winemaker’s Dinner with Le Vieux Pin

I don’t normally post on my blog about an upcoming Winemaker’s Dinner, but today I make an exception. I’ve sampled some of Le Vieux Pin’s wines from previous tastings, and I think that they are exceptional. I heard about their upcoming dinner, which will be held on Thursday, May 20, so I wanted to share the info with you, to give you a chance to sample their wines, paired expertly with food from Executive Chef Wayne Harris at the Shangri-La Hotel here in Vancouver.

Here is a copy of the invitation to attend this event:

Thursday, May 20th at 7pm in MARKET by Jean-Georges at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver
Amuse Bouche followed by a four course dinner, prepared by Executive Chef Wayne Harris and paired with Le Vieux Pin’s current releases.

Le Vieux Pin will be bringing a barrel from their winery in Oliver to showcase a future release.

A majestic old pine tree stands in our vineyard: Le Vieux Pin. It speaks to the earth and rain and the clean clear air of the South Okanagan. There we have created a winery inspired by the architecture and style of France.

Our goal is to make wines that capture the essence of the French tradition; but with the fruit and character of the New World: elegant and focused, with great intensity of fruit. Low-input viticulture is the method we use to get there. Sustainable and organic practices, deficit irrigation, high-density planting and extremely low yields will allow the vines to show us who they really are deep down to the roots. The pine tree stands alone.

Seating is limited $95.00/seat
Please make your reservation with our Hostess Team


Hester Creek wine tasting

Last evening I was selected with a few other bloggers to sit down with Rob Summers, the wine maker from Hester Creek Estate Winery, in downtown Vancouver. Rob comes originally from the Niagara region in Ontario working for larger wineries, and has moved to the Oliver area in BC in 2006, to work for the boutique winery, Hester Creek. It sounds like he really enjoys all the hands-on work and the wonderfully dry Okanagan climate. Hester Creek is one of the oldest wineries in BC.

Hester Creek Estate winery, besides having 95 acres of vineyards for producing wine, also has 6 villas for visitors. I’d say one of the most famous visitors from last year staying at a villa, is the renowned wine writer, Jancis Robinson. The villas and new winery buildings opened up last year, so if you have seen the winery from August 2009 or older, you haven’t seen their latest and greatest operation.

We went through 3 white and 3 red wines. The first white was the Pinot Blanc 2008. This is Hester Creek’s best selling white, along with their Pinot Gris. The Pinot Blanc was pale lemon colour with a slight green tinge. Light aromas on the nose. Some spice, some apple, some honey. Light in body with a light apple flavour and medium acidity. An easy sipper. The next white was their Semillon Chardonnay 2008. This is a 50/50 blend. This wine had some lemon, some sweetness, some waxiness and greenness on the nose. Medium body with slight roundness in the mouth. Apple and lemon flavours. The final white of the evening was their Trebbiano 2008. Trebbiano is the second most planted grape in the world, and is used in the production of cognac. It is known for it’s high level of acidity. This one had light green apple and floweriness on the nose. Light body, with almond and apple flavours, and good acidity. The acidity made it a nice pairing with some of the hard cheeses they had for us to nibble with the wines.

On the red side, we tried their Merlot 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot 2008, and the Reserve Cabernet Franc 2006. The first two wines were not overly extracted in colour, giving them lightness in body. The Merlot 2008 had a very wild nose, with sausage, smoke, plum and cherries. I quite enjoyed nosing this wine. On the palate it had medium tannins, with plum and cherry flavours and a slightly oaky finish. The Cabernet / Merlot 2008 is their best selling red. This wine is light garnet in colour, not an overpowering nose. Red fruits with a bit of sausage aromas. On the palate there were cherry flavours with light tannins. The final red wine of the night, and my favourite, was the Reserve Cabernet Franc 2006. Cabernet Franc doesn’t get the limelight that Cabernet Sauvignon gets, but if it is made well, is an exceptionally nice wine to drink. This wine being reserve level was deeper garnet in colour. Vanilla and cedar on the nose. Firm tannins, with a round mouthfeel. Red cherry flavours, with medium length and cherry finish.

Again, thanks to Rob Summers for leading us through this tasting. If you are out in the Okanagan, drive down to the “Golden Mile” in Oliver and visit the Hester Creek winery. I did record the tasting, and will be posting it on hopefully soon. Enjoy!