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.
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
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!
There is a hidden gem in Okanagan Falls…try heading down to Dogtown Coffee Co. for breakfast and a coffee to jump start your day before an exciting day of touring the Okanagan Falls wineries. They have a great breakfast menu to choose from, such as: fresh baked pastries, omelettes or even a morning wrap.
Dogtown is all about local fare; they carry a local coffee roaster, Lone Tree Coffee from Summerland, and showcase local artists throughout the year.
As well they have a second location in Penticton, Dogtown Café & Urban Market that opened early December 2014. Check out their facebook page to learn more about what they are doing at this location.
Dogtown in Okanagan Falls
5121 HWY 97, Okanagan Falls
Open Monday - Friday 7am – 3pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm
The Okanagan Valley a spectacular place to visit in the summer, but for those of you that do not know we have a handful of excellent mountain resorts. You can enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, classic or skate skiing and snowshoeing throughout the valley. If you plan to visit the Okanagan Valley I would like to recommend three resorts.
You will find Apex Mountain Resort 33 kilometers west of Penticton, approximately a 30 minute drive from Penticton. You can enjoy the following activities at the mountain resort, such as: the Tube Park accessed via a lift, cross-country skiing at Nickelplate Nordic Centre, with 56 kilometres of groomed trails for both classic and skate skiing, and snowshoeing is another great adventure. You can always contact Hoodoo Adventure Company regarding tour and rental options.
Big White Ski Resort is located 56 kilometres from Kelowna. For those of you that will be flying into the Kelowna airport you can take advantage of the Airport Shuttle. View here for a map.
Some fun Mountain Facts:
- Summit: 2,319m (7,606 ft.)
- Village Centre: 1,755m (5,757 ft.)
- Westridge Base: 1,508m (4,950 ft.)
There are also a handful of activities that can be found at the resort such as:
Ice climbing, tube park, snowmobile tours, ice skating, snowshoeing, dog sledding, horse drawn sleigh rides, cross country skiing and there is a spa!
Silver Star is located just outside of Vernon at the north end of the valley, considered a one stop resort in the Vernon area. If you can believe it, Silver Star is BC’s third largest ski area. Some of the fun winter activities outside of downhill skiing or snowboarding are as follows: rock climbing, horse sleigh rides, ice skating, snowmobile tours, snowshoe tours and much more.
We would love to hear about all of your fun adventures. Have a fabulous winter season!
Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wines goes through a primary fermentation in the tank and a second fermentation in the bottle. Once the wine goes through its second fermentation in bottle it is left to age on its lees, the dead yeast cells. At this time, the sparkling wine continues to age for several more years resulting in a toasty, yeasty characteristic.
Next we need to disgorge, remove the yeast cells from the wine and then it will be ready to drink. This is when we will date the disgorgement date on the label and it is titled R.D.
This special aging on the lees allows the wine to maintain a unique combination of freshness and liveliness, while developing delicate and complex aromas. Sparkling wines benefit from a prolonged maturation on its lees reinforcing the aromatic subtlety and complexity of the final wine.
Below is our disgorging line. The first image shows all of the sparkling bottles with their necks down in a glycol bath. Whereas the next image is the bottling line where the dosage is added.
Next time you pick up a bottle of sparkling wine please go ahead and take a look at the label and look for the disgorgment date!
It is our third official season for the tasting room to be open with no appointment necessary. We are now open daily from 11am to 5pm for you to drop by to taste and purchase our wines.
I am very fortunate to have a handful of knowledgeable staff to guide you through your wine tasting of Blue Mountain wines and make helpful recommendations for visits to other wineries, events and activities to partake in while visiting the Okanagan Valley.
I would like to introduce you to some of the personalities behind the tasting bar at Blue Mountain for the 2014 season!
How did you become interested in wine?
Angela Grant - Although I did take my first wine course over 10 years ago as part of the Hotel and Restaurant Management Program, I think touring the Okanagan really peaked my interest when I saw how much soil, climate and the wine making process can change the way each varietal tastes.
Chantelle Bruwer - I studied Marketing Management in Stellenbosch, South Africa. In my final year of studies I met my (now) husband, Ernst - who's passion for wine & the wine industry had an influence on my career choice.
Heidi Astles - As a former flight attendant, I travelled extensively, and was fortunate to experience different wines from around the world.
Julie Planiden - Growing up in the Okanagan, wine was always in my backyard so to speak. Then I married a chef and had the opportunity to travel and live in many parts of Canada. During these years I had many amazing food and wine experiences.
Kornelia Brieke - In the 80's I met Albert Le Comte who introduced me to Gewurztraminer and I have loved wine ever since.
Favorite wine region in the world?
Angela Grant - Call me biased but I love the wines from the Okanagan! Unlike many other wine regions in the world, there are less guidelines, allowing wine makers to be creative and I love how the orchard fruits shine through in them.
Chantelle Bruwer - I'm going to be true to my roots... South Africa. Some of my favourite wine regions in South Africa include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, the Overberg, Walker Bay, Elim, Constantia & Cape Point.
Heidi Astles - I would have to say Australia, my husband and I have visited all of the wine regions there. We especially enjoyed the Yarra Valley, which is just east of Melbourne.
Julie Planiden - Although I have travelled, I have not visited many wine regions. So on my bucket list are Champagne, Sancerre, Burgundy, Oregon, Tuscany, Australia, and South Africa.
Kornelia Brieke - Alsace Region - Rhine in Germany
Favorite Grape Varietal and why?
Angela Grant - Pinot Noir, it makes my favourite red, can be made into sparkling and also Rose.
Chantelle Bruwer - Shiraz, my love for this varietal started when I worked at Raka winery in South Africa.
Heidi Astles - Gamay Noir - It is a great red to drink in its youth, slightly chilled. Pair it with red meat, or a rich flavourful fish like salmon.
Julie Planiden - Lately I have been drawn to Chardonnay. I think it is a versatile grape variety, extremely food friendly, think halibut, buttery popcorn, lobster, or nothing at all. I appreciate that it has so many incarnations, fully oaked, stainless steel fermented, lightly oaked, malolactic fermentation, the list goes on.
Kornelia Brieke - Gewurztraminer as it has nice tropical fruit flavours, spice and sometimes smokiness. It goes great with lots of foods.
Have you ever hiked in the Okanagan Falls area before? Our go to hiking guru Sue Mavety sure has! My aunt Sue has spent a number of years hiking around the hills in the Okanagan Valley.
How long have you lived in Okanagan Falls? What attracted you to the area?
12 years. I visited the Okanagan a lot as a child and with our children when they were young and we wanted to leave the Lower Mainland area.
What do you enjoy most about hiking around the Okanagan?
The weather is normally dry as compared to hiking on the coast where I used to live. And you get some lovely views without having to climb really high to get out of the dense vegetation that is on the coast.
Do you hike with an organized group and if so what is the name of the club?
Yes I belong to the Penticton Adventurers Club. (I am president at the moment) We are a hiking/social club for people over 55 years of age. We have over 100 members, about 70% of which are hikers. We hike 2-3 times a week and our hikes range from rambles too strenuous in difficulty.
What time of the year is your most favourite time to go on a hike?
I enjoy hiking at all times of the year, they each have their own special attributes. We hike the lower trails in the valley in the winter, but I love the snow and we do a lot of snow-shoeing with the club as well. The flowers in the spring and summer are beautiful and there are so many different varieties to see. The golden colours of the grasses in the fall are also wonderful. And we have seen deer, mountain sheep, bear and moose on our hikes.
What hikes would you recommend in OK Falls?
Being in a small town hiking is really at your doorstep. The KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) is always an interesting "walk" as opposed to a hike. There is lots to see along the lake and you can go north from OK Falls to Kaleden (just over 4km one way) or you can head south down the river all the way to the south end of Vaseux Lake (this is long probably close to 8km one way from the town site of OK Falls). It is also different from the northern route as it is along the river most of the way.
The hike up Peach Cliff area gives some wonderful views of the valley both north to Penticton and south past McIntyre Bluff. You do not even need to go to the top to get some great views. There are many trails but they are not signed or flagged. They are animal trails that we humans have now used enough that they are very apparent. There is also an old mine in the area with some tunnel openings and an old quarry filled with water where they did some open-pit mining. An old rapidly deteriorating shed with core samples is also in the area. We usually see deer and often mountain sheep in this area as well.
Thank you for sharing with us Aunt Sue!!