Since 1978, the Vancouver International Wine Festival formerly known as the Playhouse Wine Festival has been creating opportunities for British Columbians to meet principles/winemakers and owners of some of the most renowned wineries in the world and 2014 is no exception. Throughout it all the BC wine industry has grown up and is now a major player at the table pouring their wines for the world to taste.
This year the feature country is France and the wine focus is bubbly something we do very well in Canada. Our winemaker Matt Mavety was featured in a group called vine stars. Sharing the spotlight with Michel Chapoutier, Thomas Perrin and Clovis Tattinger along with Okanagan Falls Winery neighbour Jak Meyer. The Vancouver International Wine Festival is one of the very best wine festivals in the world and runs February 24 - March 2, 2014. Get your tickets if there are any left and enjoy!
Here is the write up Matt received as a vine star:
Matt Mavety, Winemaker,Blue Mountain As a member of a family-run winery in the Okanagan Valley, Matt Mavety grew up in the vineyards, beginning in earnest when he was 14. The Mavetys use only grapes grown on their picturesque estate to produce their wines, and the diversity of the land allows them to grow varietals including Pinot noir, Gamay noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc
Banville & Jones Wine Co. was founded in 1999 by two sisters, Lia Banville and Tina Jones. Considering their Italian heritage, Lia and Tina were always interested in wine. Their dream of opening a private wine store in Manitoba became a reality when the Manitoba government continued the semi-privatization of the wine industry in 1998. Lia and Tina had a passion for wine and wanted to extend that passion to the consumers of Winnipeg.
Banville & Jones started their dream boutique in a 3800 square foot store on Meadowood Drive in Winnipeg. In November 2005 the store had outgrown its roots and moved to its own stand alone, 3 storey, state of the art facility on St. Mary's Road in St. Vital.
This Tuscan-inspired boutique has all of the best elements of a world class wine store. There are more than 3000 sku's of wine, gifts and gourmet items from every corner of the world. The retail floor boasts the most advanced wine retail shelving system with proper UV filtered lighting in every corner of the building. Our Specialties Cave is completely temperature and humidity controlled, perfectly designed for our rarest specialty wines.
Arriving in Friendly Manitoba in the last year are a selection of wines from Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. If you haven't had a chance to check out their website you should. They write an informative blog and share some interesting insites. The store also produces its own Magazine called The Cellar Door. Check out who's on the cover of Issue 15. http://www.banvilleandjones.com/cellardoor.php
Gold Medal Plates is the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Celebrated in eleven cities across Canada in 2013, Gold Medal Plates features the premier chefs in each city in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each city, and subsequently nation-wide at the Canadian Culinary Championships.
Every year for the last 4 years, Canadian Olympic Atheletes, Chefs and Artists from across Canada have gathered in Kelowna in early February to cook and raise money to support Canadian athelete's dreams of making the podium. This year there is extra excitement as many of our atheletes will be heading to Socchi to chase Olympic gold. For the chefs from each of Canada's provinces it is their chance to shine and bring the best of their region to celebrate with the rest of Canada.
For nearly a decade, Chef Kelly Cattani has been honing her craft in some of Winnipeg’s finest kitchens. Today, she is the Chef-de-Cuisine of Diversity Food Services at the University of Winnipeg, overseeing both the on-campus and catering operations.
A graduate of Red River College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Chef Cattani is a founding member of the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Culinary Federation’s Junior Chefs, and was a leading organizer of Manitoba’s Centrex Iron Chef competition.
Passionate about authentic, fresh food, prepared creatively and with integrity, Cattani took top honours at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition and is excited to represent Manitoba at the national event in Kelowna, BC, in February. She will not only be representing her province but will also be pairing her gold medal plate with Blue Mountain's own 2011 Pinot Noir.
Chef Kelly Cattani has provided two great recipes for you to try:
This will be the first in a series of profiles on cheesemakers and cheeseries in British Columbia. Check each month for some amazing artisan cheeses and the wines that pair well with them. Enjoy!
Located at 170 Upper Bench Road South in Penticton is the new cheesery of long time cheesemaker Shana Miller. The cheeses made from 100 % pasturized cow's milk from D Dutchaman Dairy in Sicamous, BC are hand crafted on site. Shana makes 8 different washed rind, brie and blue cheeses. Personal favourites are the Okanagan Sun squared and the Italian Gold. All of the cheeses are gluten and additive free. Phone 250-770-1733 www.upperbench.ca/cheese
Wine and Cheese Pairings
Pinot Gris & Italian Gold - Like a summer in tuscany, garlic, sun-dried tomatos and herbs shared with a crisp pinot gris with enough body to hold the texture of this cheese. Summer in a glass.
Chardonnay & Gold - With a firmer texture, a medium bodied Chardonnay that has a subtle buttery component will compliment this wash rind cheese.
Sparkling & U & Brie - Nothing washes away the creaminess of a silky cheese like the scouring bubbles of sparkling. Match up the luxury of this creamie brie with the racy acidity of sparkling brut. Perfect anytime.
The cheese is available at restaurants and fine cheese merchants throughout British Columbia. Use their handy outlet locator for a retailer or restaurant near you.
http://www.upperbench.ca/where-to-buy/ Or visit Shana at the cheesery:
April through October 31st: open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
November 1st through December 22nd: open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Holidays: We will be closed December 23rd, 2013 to January 5th, 2014.
January through March: open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Looking to purchase Blue Mountain wines in Calgary? We recommend paying a visit to J.Webb Wine Merchant. J.Webb have been selling Blue Mountain's wines for more than 13 years.
Since its inception as one of the first private wine stores in Calgary, J.Webb has always sought to distinguish itself from the typical liquor store. J Webb’s philosophy is based on a simple idea: outstanding service and wonderful wines. It harkens back to the past when these were central themes to a successful merchant.
The staff at J.Webb are not just retailers, but people who enthusiastically live and breathe wine. They travel, they taste, they learn and are continually challenging themselves to improve. Wine is not a product, it is a passion to be shared with their patrons.
This kind of passion has gone on for some two decades and you can witness the success of this approach on the shelves: a wonderfully diverse collection of extraordinary wines.
J.Webb is not about mass production wines it is about relationships with quality family producers. J.Webb is committed to work as directly as possible with its producers and therefore eliminate any unnecessary costs.
J.Webb is more than an assortment of bodies; it embodies a philosophy and a passion. It is a place where you can discover something new, something unusual and without doubt, something wonderful.
Visit their website for more info.
c157 1600 90th ave SW
Glenmore Landing Shopping across from Safeway
2507 17th ave SW on the Crowchild trail turn off
If you've driven up Vancouver Hill on the way to wine touring on the Naramata Bench and ever wondered what that glut of parked cars is just as you leave town, it's definitely the hungry patrons of The Bench Market.
No longer the best kept secret in Penticton, this place is a busy favourite spot for locals and visitors alike. Great sandwiches and salad, and arguably the best coffee in Penticton, The Bench has been hopping since it opened.
Fresh baked goods are a favourite, as are Eggs Benny on the weekends. While there are some seriously good meat sandwiches happening here on many occasions, there are plenty of vegetarian options perfect for lunches in the hot Okanagan sun.
The Bench Market
368 Vancouver Avenue
(Arctic Char entree at Raudz)
One of the original "farm to table" concept restaurants in the Okanagan, Raudz has become a perennial favourite place to eat in Kelowna. In fact, it has become a favourite for diners throughout the valley attracting patrons from places as far away as, oh say, Okanagan Falls.
Building on a stellar reputation built in some of Canada's best luxury hotel restaurants including the Pointe at the Wickaninnish Inn, Chef Rod Butters has put together an exceptional dining experience in Kelowna with partner Audrey Surrao.
(Crab Cappuccino at Raudz)
Food at Raudz is reasonably priced with entrees falling between $14 and $30, and is sourced as much as possible from local and sustainable sources.
The wine list is entirely local and selected from top wine producers across the valley. We are proud to have our Pinot Noir and Brut Sparkling featured amongst some of our other favourites from the Okanagan.
If you're looking for a great place to eat in Kelowna, definitely stop in at Raudz. Get there a little early to stake out a table or seats at the bar.
Raudz Regional Table
1560 Water Street
Wine touring has become a popular past time here in the Okanagan Valley, and with that has come the rise of a number of wine touring companies offering a ride to wine lovers around the valley.
We've compiled a list of some of the tour groups that we've seen come through the winery over the summer. Now if only we could get out of the tasting room and out into the vineyards to visit some of our neighbours.
- Top Cat Tours
- Okanagan Wine Shuttle
- Uncorked Okanagan
- Okanagan Wine Country Tours
- Grape Escapes
- Wine Your Way
- Desert Country Wine Tours
- Grape Friends Lounge & Tours
- Wine Tours Gone South
- Sunshine and Wine Tours
- Experience Wine Tours
And of course if you want to do it in style you can always travel by helicopter.
However you do decide to see the wineries of the Okanagan, please be sure to arrange for safe transport, and be sure to drink some water along the way. We look forward to seeing you in OK Falls!
How did you become interested in wine?
It all started with tasting it, enjoying it at wine festivals and simply having a good time. I wanted to know more about the beverage which is not only a great pairing to food but also an awesome companion for good times with friends and family.
And then I pictured what a lot of people dream of: Overlooking my own vineyards one day. Thanks to my twin brother who started studying viticulture, when I was still thinking about the idea of getting into the wine business I got inspired and have started to turn my passion into a profession. Cheers to wine ;)
Favorite wine region in the world?
I definitely need to see a lot more wine regions to answer this question appropriately. However, so far I enjoyed the D.O. Penedès in Spain. I enjoy Cava - the fresh uncomplicated Spanish sparkling wine and I like the pride of the local people for Cava. Besides this I loved the atmosphere of a little community called Aniane close to Montpellier in the wine region Languedoc Roussillon in the south of France. There are lots of wine regions in the world to discover and I am just about to experience another amazing one in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley!
Favorite Grape Varietal and why?
Red or white? ;) I am generally passionate about wine and I love it’s diversity. “Anything but Chardonnay. No matter if it’s oaked or unoaked” was what I used to answer. However, I experienced it is not only the variety but also the winemaker and his philosophy what can make the difference. I am a big fan of Pinot Noir. It is not easy to cultivate, takes a lot of attention and comes with a nice fruit and acidity. It is also very versatile - as a single varietal wine or in a blend for example in Champagne, Pinot Noir always takes a big part. It is an elegant variety which is not bold but comes with a strong personality. However, I also like full bodied varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or crisp white varieties like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc with a bit more acidity and minerality. And then there is Pinot Gris. Smoother, creamy and nice peach flavors.
Red, white, rosé and sparkling wine ;) It would probably be the wine I enjoy drinking without even thinking about the wine itself because the company I am having it with is that great. HonestIy I can’t think of my favorite wine from any particular wine maker or region. I enjoy whites which are gently matured in French Barriques or white wines with a nice crisp taste. I love Tempranillo from the Rioja, Chianti and other full bodied reds for example from Chile or the South of France. I think it also depends on the season, the mood and the occasion. I discovered that taste is actually an ongoing process which is constantly changing almost like evolution. However, that’s what I love about wine…its so versatile and there is always something new to discover.
What you like best about being in the Okanagan?
Besides the beautiful drive next to the lake and vineyards every morning on my way to work it would be: new impressions and experiences in a different culture. It’s a great privilege to live and work at a place where people go for holidays because it is that awesome. I really appreciate being here and the best: It feels like holidays.
What you miss most from home besides your family?
What do you hope to learn from your experience at Blue Mountain Winery?
To clear up some clichés about Canadian (BC) wines when I am back home. Canada is mostly pictured with hockey, the Rockies, and forests but not with wine and if it was wine then its ice wine. Discovering a new wine region and specially one that is not very famous in Germany and Europe is a great opportunity. I hope to learn more about different and innovative marketing tools and activities being used and to experience Canadian customer needs.
What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now?
Still enjoying the wine business as much as the first day I decided to get into it.
To provide people with sparkling wines they enjoy.
Winemaker anywhere in the world that you most admire and why?
My brother. For the passion and ideas he puts into producing our own sparkling wine.
Favorite wine memory?
Les vins de Gérard Depardieu ''Le Bien Décidé'' Aniane Rouge in the Summer of 2011 in Aniane