On the road…
Early July, my family and I travelled to Torroja del Priorat in the province of Tarragona, located in the heart of the Priorat wine region of Spain. We were blown away with the beauty of this area as well as the challenging growing conditions of the vineyard sites. The vineyards are mainly located on terraced hillsides trained in a gobelet (bush vines), while some of the newer vineyards are trellised. The vineyard sites can be found planted between 100 - 700 metres above sea level.
The main red varietals grown in this area are Grenacha (Grenache) and Carineña (Carginan) along with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. The soil is quite unique, with reddish and black slate and quartz.
Torroja del Priorat, surrounded by forest and two main agriculture crops of grapes and olives, as well with a small production of hazelnuts and almonds.
Terroir al Limit vineyard site at approximately 700 metres above sea level.
Terroir al Limit wines.
Mas Martinet vineyard located at 700 metres.
Visit Mas Marinet Viticultors @ www.masmartinet.com
This past July I attended and represented the winery at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration held in Niagara. This event celebrates wine, food and learning about this cool variety. There are a number of events that occur throughout the weekend.
The i4C commenced with The School of Cool panel tastings. The Reserve Chardonnay 2015 was included in Session 3, Raising Chardonnay.
13th Street Winery hosted a lunch, Fizz, Friends and Fromage on the Saturday.
The Blanc de Blancs 2009 R.D. was showcased at the Flights of Chardonnay tasting.
The Cool Chardonnay World Tour Tasting and Dinner was hosted on the last night of the i4C.
Hidden Bench Winery hosted Bubbles on the Bench as a closure to the weekend festivities.
A preview of the Blanc de Blancs 2010 R.D was poured at this event. Look for the release of this wine in October.
The “Vagabond Kitchen” food truck is returning to Blue Mountain for two Saturdays, this summer! On July 28th and August 25th, please join us from 12pm - 3:30pm for some innovative ‘global street food’. Enjoy the amazing food, games, our iconic view, and a glass of wine in our picnic area.
Please note: Vagabond now takes square pay for credit and debit via tap, as well as cash.
Look for additional food truck dates right here!
In the last few years our home in the Southern Okanagan has seen an explosion in fantastic little gourmet food vendors. This summer we thought it would be fun to jump on the food wagon and have our friends from Vagabond Kitchen stop by on a few days throughout July and August.
They will be serving items from their simple but delicious menu, all easily eaten with hands, fingers, elbows or whichever body part you are most comfortable using. Enjoy some lunch, wine, outdoor games and of course our famous view. No reservations required, bring along your friends, while the first date is July 22nd. See our Events Page for further dates and details.
One of the key pieces to sustainability in the vineyard is our use of composting. Typically a large amount of compost material arrives in the spring, where it is windrowed and left to decompose over 1-2 years before it is spread throughout the vineyard. We are always looking for ways to improve our farming practice and connection with this land. Happy Earth Day, and please enjoy this video of Ian explaining our wonderful compost heap.
Fall is one of the most picturesque times of year in the vineyard, and 2015 was no exception to that rule. We had gorgeous weather and an early start to the season with some of the leaves starting to turn early this year. When the vineyard finally erupts from end to end in spectacular colour, there is only a week or so to enjoy it before all of the leaves begin to fall off. It is a precious time of year, and a great time for us here at the winery to enjoy the scenery after harvest.
Ron & Patt Dyck and their legendary restaurant “The Country Squire” in Naramata were the first customers of Blue Mountain Winery. They now own and operate Cannery Brewing alongside their son and head brewer, and this year built a new brewery in Penticton. In 2016 Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars celebrates their 25th vintage. We brought these old friends together for the first time in many years...
There was a lot of talk about the weather in 2015! Record breaking snowfalls in January gave way to an early spring here in the Okanagan, with bud break occurring around April 7, which is roughly two weeks ahead of a normal year according to our winemaker Matt Mavety.
Flowering of the vines continued the two week advance trend, followed by a warmer than average growing season that pushed the start of harvest up the calendar by about 3 weeks. This year we started the harvest on August 13, 2015, picking Pinot Noir for sparkling wine. To give this some context, we would normally start harvesting the same grape around September 5-7.
Cooler weather at the end of August and early September was actually a blessing, and allowed for good maturity and preservation of acidity, and hence the minerality of the wines. The generally hot weather through spring and early summer did create some challenges for our cool climate varietals; however, we were able to select the best harvest dates to preserve the freshness of the fruit and manage the alcohol level in the wines.
With the 2015 vintage in the barrel, so to speak, the pace at the vineyard has slowed back to normal as we maintain and prepare the vineyard for winter...and maybe find some time to start waxing our skis!
Cheers from the Okanagan!
The Mavety Family
Gamay Noir cluster about to be harvested.
Our favourite crew from Mexico back with us for another harvest. These guys are like family now!
Chardonnay ready for the press.
Vineyard Manager Ernst working the tractor.
As the evenings come, there are always plenty of grapes to be processed.
It's like grape bin Tetris sometimes as we shuffle everything around the vineyard during harvest.
End of a day in the vineyard and the tractor is put to rest.
Chef Chris VanHooydonk joined us for our 2015 Harvest Celebration Dinner.
Our wonderful guests for this year's Harvest Celebration Dinner.
Pinot Noir grapes waiting to be destemmed and pressed while the 2014 vintage looks on from the barrels.
Winemaker Matt working the destemmer.
Jean-Marie putting the Pinot Noir into the tank.
Elodie joins us from France for this harvest.
There is no job too small during harvest! Ian Mavety helps with the bins while Matt "supervises."
Photos by Chris Stenberg
In a style akin to “The Judgement of Paris,” which was depicted in the film Bottle Shock, The BC Wine Institute endeavoured to measure the wines of British Columbia against those of the world.
Internationally renown wine writer and critic Steven Spurrier, who spearheaded the original judgement of Paris was on hand after attending the BC Pinot Noir Celebration in the Okanagan.
"For me wine is the three 'P's': the place, the people and the product. British Columbia ticks all these boxes with exuberance, elegance and conviction,” he stated.
Following true to the original Judgement, 12 wines from the region were pitted against 12 benchmark international wines in two categories: Chardonnay and Syrah.
The 2012 Blue Mountain Reserve Chardonnay was scored highest amongst the BC Wines of that varietal and placed ahead of the noteworthy Chardonnay reserve from California’s Robert Mondavi Winery.
“Accolades are nice of course, but we are most happy that our wines are being regarded as international calibre. This is what my family has strived for from day one, and to see the wines from the Okanagan Valley hold their own against some much more established wine growing regions in the world is a tremendous accomplishment for the industry,” noted Christie Mavety, partner at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars.
In the Syrah category, C.C. Jentsch from Oliver, BC bested the entire category from BC and abroad.
Great things are happening here in British Columbia!