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!
A few of our favourite pictures of Spring 2015 at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, Okanagan Falls. If you have any great pictures of Spring in the Okanagan, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them on our facebook page.
Image on right by Andrea Johnson
May marks the start of another exciting tasting room season at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. We are now open seven days a week, daily from 11am - 5pm. If you haven't visited the winery yet, this is the year to come see us. We highly recommend packing a picnic lunch and spending a little time taking in the stunning scenery at the winery. Surrounded by vineyards and well off the beaten track, bask in the view of McIntyre Bluff and enjoy the sunshine Blue Mountain is well known for.
If you can't plan lunch, our neighbours down the road at Liquidity Bistro will be happy to feed you. Across the way there are a couple of other great spots to grab a bite. Wild Goose Vineyards last year opened the Smoke N Oak Bistro where you can enjoy southern BBQ. On the other side of the valley, enjoy the stellar views from See Ya Later Ranch looking north up Skaha Lake. Their outdoor patio is a great place to while away an afternoon.
With no shortage of great places to eat and excellent wineries to visit your trip to Okanagan Falls is a destination in itself. Make a day of it, call your friends and come see us.
See you soon!
Good fishmongers are hard to find so when Codfathers opened in Kelowna about 25 years ago, Chef's in the valley breathed a sigh of relief. Originally founded by the Bishop family, the market has been owned and operated since 2002 by Jon and Anne-Marie Crofts, who emigrated from the south of England.
The trade of "fishmongery" was fast becoming a dying art across Europe and North America, due to the rise of big box stores and bulk trade in seafood as a commodity. Both Jon and Anne- Marie believe passionately that Seafood should not be treated as just another mass produced protein, and that it should have special status as one of the few remaining foods that have to be hunted and gathered, sometimes at considerable risk to the fisherman. The place for modern fishmongers in the world is to show these wild gems the respect that they deserve, and use their mongering skills to ensure that fish is presented and prepared to the highest standard, so that they make it to the plate in prime condition.
The Codfathers site has a great collection of recipes for every imaginable seafood and fish. Be sure to check it out: http://www.codfathers.ca/recipes.php
As a family business Codfathers has always been aware of the importance of conserving our amazing ocean resources and using them thoughtfully so that future generations can enjoy them too. This concern culminated in our decision back in 2006 to become partners with Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean-wise program. After being accepted for the program, they are proud to be the first full-service fish market in Canada to embrace Ocean-Wise. For information on this program please visit the Ocean-Wise website at http://www.oceanwisecanada.org/about. All seafood items in their store are clearly labeled with the Ocean-Wise logo if they are considered sustainable by Vancouver Aquarium's team of biologists (the vast majority of their products are).
Also, for products where there are no Ocean-Wise alternatives they always source the most sustainable option available. In addition they have committed to promoting and encouraging small artisanal fisheries, and wherever possible providing the names of the boats/fishers, the area where they are caught and the method of catch used, to their customers.
Codfather's also has a great fish and chip shop onsite. Stop by for lunch and sample the catch of the day!
2355 Gordon Dr
Monday - Saturday: 9am to 6pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm
Pinot Noir is one of the wines we are most well-known for at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. We produce two tiers of Pinot Noir: the Estate Pinot Noir, which we normally release at the end of February and the Reserve Pinot Noir (formerly Stripe Label), which we normally release at the end of April. We also produce the Reserve Pinot Noir in Magnum format (1.5L). Be sure to join our mailing list to be notified of these wine releases.
Viticulture and Vinification:
The grapes for our Pinot Noir are grown on 8 to 30 year old vines with a wide selection of clones including 113, 114, 115, 375, 667 & 777 (see the map below for the location of the clones on the farm).
The winemaking process
We de-stem and lightly crush the grapes into open-topped fermentation tanks, with a small portion of whole clusters adding to the intensity of the flavour and enhance the mouth feel. During the 16-20 days' maceration period, we practice manual cap management, with punch downs twice and up to three times daily. We then drain and press the Pinot Noir into French oak barrels, where it remains for 10 months.
In 2013 100% of the vintage got fermented with wild yeast. Wild yeast fermentations starts by itself when wild yeast strains – originating in the vineyard / site (harvest equipment, transport bins, the surface winemaking equipment) - start fermenting. Wild yeast can take up to a week to begin the fermentation because their initial populations are small compared to an inoculated fermentation. Using Wild Yeast is a very risky process, but our winemaker, Matt has done a lot of experimenting and have found great success using wild yeast. This helps to express the unique terrior of our estate.
Winemakers Notes: Estate Pinot Noir
Light garnet colour with red and black fruit. Vanilla and toast complement cassis and black cherry flavours, and spicy, velvety tannins fill out the Pinot Noir. Its balanced structure will allow the wine to age for 6 to 7 years.
Winemakers Notes: Reserve Pinot Noir
The Reserve Pinot Noir is a rich, ruby-coloured wine complex layers of red fruit, spice and integrated oak. The wine could age 7 to 8 years.
In the Shuswap area of the North Okanagan is a productive organic goats cheese company called Happy Days.
Happy Days Dairies mission is to produce premium quality, 100% Canadian, Goat and Organic cow dairy products with the utmost care and attention given to farmers, animals, customers and business partners. Each one of their dairy farmers is committed to treating their animals humanely with access to clean bedding, dry and warm shelter, open air barns, access to the outdoors, pastures, fresh clean air, high quality nutritious and natural food, clean and fresh water. They encourage their goats and cows to engage in their natural behavior by placing them in social groups where they can live in a herd to run and play.
Happy Days Dairies vision is to be the leader in producing 100% Canadian Goat Dairy and Organic Cow Dairy products without compromise on quality, service and the humane treatment of their animals.
Here are some interesting wine and goat cheese pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc - The crispness of this wine is a perfect accompaniment to the soft creamy Okanagan Goat Cheese - This soft unripened cheese is available in several flavours, including: Plain, Garlic and Parsley, Lemon Pepper, and Olive Oil and Rosemary. Try it in summer salads or on crackers with this elegant wine.
NV Brut - The saltiness of this cheese lends itself to the effervescence of the Brut Sparkling. On a crostini or with salad, bubbles and feta are an interesting match. Goat Cheese Feta - available in crumbles or brine. Fresh and tangy.
Pinot Gris - The rich butteriness of Pinot Gris will capture the nuttiness and depth of character in this Organic Gouda - mild flavoured with a semi firm texture & creamy taste with a hint of nut on the finish. Grate on salads, add to pastas or enjoy on its own with some crackers and jelly.