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Shipping Wine: Not in Canada

Date: Mon, Sep 22, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

This topic has been hot in the press lately. Another writer, Craig Pinhey, weighs in on the subject.

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Naramata Tailgate at Township 7: Post Mortem

Date: Sun, Sep 14, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Another sold out event saw wine fans and wine folk mingle at Township 7. About 400 sipped offerings from the 20+ Naramata Bench wineries, ate some great food and listened to the band.

I was late to the party due to other engagements but Elaine Davidson managed to take a few shots at the beginning of the show.
Great weather and great work by all the winery staffs and volunteers.

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Here's the Lost Dog

Date: Thu, Sep 11, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

A dog wandered in to Township 7 winery yesterday.
Animal Control won't tell us where it lives (privacy issues).
Licence 1022. 24 hours and ticking.
Anybody want a geriatric golden retriever?

Click here . . .

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From 1WineDude to Another

Date: Sat, Sep 6, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

I've been on this wierd winning streak lately.

First there was the stove top espresso machine and matching cups,

then their was the mini-weather station.

Then this

I submitted a food and wine pairing idea and ...

I scored!

This fine garment is courtesy of

You'll want to get one of your own.
Visit his site for details. Just click on the shop tab at the top of the home page.

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100 Things You Can Eat

Date: Mon, Sep 1, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Wine is always best with food and friends. Every once in awhile it's good to remind yourself of that point after you've been to yet another wine tasting event and the most exotic or interesting thing you could chew on was perhaps melba toast.

My friend Sonadora over at Wannabe Wino put this up on her blog. It serves to send the brain back into the memory files and recall the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of these things may be calling out for a wine match. Others, not so much.

I had a bit of fun with it and I hope you do too. Had to search a few terms to determine if I actually had consumed them or not.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. Bold wasn't working for me so I switched to colour.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. Or use an asterisk.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper* I am at the age where I would experience discomfort for days.
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
(I ate a couple ants when I was 12 on a dare)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu* Probably not. Not going to roll those dice.
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin Dude, this dirt! Supposed to aid digestion.
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

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Party Mixer: It's a Safety Meeting

Date: Fri, Aug 22, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Our euphemistically termed gala is happening on Friday, around 4, on September 5.
The universal community of wine types, professional, amateur, fans, local, visiting: we congregate on the hallowed ground of the Penticton Township 7 crushpad to nibble, sip and chat.
If the weather is poor we squeeze into the barrel room.

We bad. We usually have a couple of these through the summer but . . .
This is the only one this season.

Reading this means you are invited.

Check in here,


Hope you can make it!

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New Winery Grand Opening - Hijas Bonitas

Date: Fri, Aug 15, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

One of the newest wineries in the Okanagan Valley is having their grand opening all weekend.

Hijas Bonitas in Summerland is rolling open the doors and inviting the public to drop by.

There's barrel tastings and helicopter rides and, of course, the fanastic scenery.

Lawrence Hopper and family will be on hand to welcome you. It's in north Summerland. Watch for the signs and balloons. The event is on all weekend with live music and food.
I had the opportunity on Thursday to pull a few barrel samples for the VIP reception.
It was a great afternoon.

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Wine From A Fisherman

Date: Wed, Aug 13, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

I walked the rows in my local liquor store, searching for my wine past. I was looking for labels that I cut my wine teeth on. Those old standards that might be still there taking up shelf space.


For Wine Blogging Wednesday.

The monthly themed wine tasting by the planet's wine bloggers is celebrating four years of internet exchange. Today's theme: go back to your past. Find the wine that turned you into a winophile.

I thought back as best as I am able and I kept coming back to Paul Masson Pinot Noir which I ordered with considerable gravity at the Cliff House in Bellingham, WA, slightly underage and awash in the approving gaze of my equally naive co-horts. If it was good enough for Orson Welles, it was good enough for us.

Then there was that big date when I was 16. Stuart Anderson's Black Angus on Robson in Vancouver. I was out with Roberta. We has a bottle of Mateus.

I had also drunk many swigs of bubbly "Duck" wines. But I didn't really care if they were wine or not.

I suppose I could count the bottle of '61 Chateau L'Arossee that I won in 1981 and drank in 1984.

(Interesting, woody, elegant, faded fruit) But that didn't rock my world.

The wine that ultimately lifted the top of my head was 1979 Puligny-Montrachet I drank in 1983. But that's not what this is about. As far as I am concerned, this is about the everyday wine you drank on a regular basis because you thought it was good wine.

Now to see if it actually still is good wine. Or, is it as bad as you may assume?

I chose Gustav Adolf Schmitt Fisherman Riesling. A 2006 Rheinhessen qualitatswein that is pretty close to all the fresh, accessible whites I started on. They were very affordable. Even today, this wine was only around $10. But, really, shouldn't it be Fisherperson?

This was the wine that showed me how wine could be marketed. In fact, it was a kind of viral marketing.

I was working at a new restaurant in Surrey, British Columbia. A national fast food chain wanted to break into the upscale sit-down market so they came up with this concept called the Haven that they plopped down into the mud and cow pastures and tract housing and car dealers and gas stations that was North Surrey.

A wine salesman came in and led us all through a how-to-taste and how-to-sell wine seminar just before the grand opening. Then he created an incentive plan to sell some wine.


I could name the guy but:

A) I might be wrong and

B) It's still illegal to run such a promotion as it was then.

Basically, he told the dozen or more assembled servers that every time they sold a case of Fisherman, we'd get a bottle, or something like that. The weekly winner would be even more richly rewarded. He told everyone, in the same room and at the same time and subtly suggested that better waiters would win.

Oh yeah!?

Well, we sold it, we drank it, we strategized with our bus crew.

On some nights, looking around the 300 seat restaurant, you'd think that was all we had.

"Yes, sir, prime rib is the special tonight. Very good, sir, rare it is. Might I suggest a bottle of Fisherman Riesling? Excellent with your chosen dish, sir. Goes well with the lady's poached sole, as well."

We'd be cruising our sections, glance over at the neighbouring server and up would come a hand (or two) to signal his running total.

'Six? Shit. It's only 7 o'clock. He's full of it.'

The competition was fierce, open-ended and rife with emotion. There was hell when the bartender ran out.

"Whadaya effing mean, Clyde? How can you be out? Go get some!"

When the competition ended there was a visceral let-down. What was fun about selling it when there was no competition? Truth was, we still sold it out of reflex and the fact we had trained the regulars to order it and, I think, they liked it.

So this year's version?

A sharp hint of sulphur that did not blow off but was not particularly off-putting. It diminished and allowed peach and apple aromas to emerge. There was a slight fuel/mint background to the nose. The palate had some tropical bits like pineapple and passion fruit. Not as much apple or stonefruit as I would have imagined. The acidity and slight sweetness were well balanced. I suspect some kind of mouthfeel manipulation because there was slight 'coating' sensation in the finish. As Wannabe Wino might say, it clocks in at 11% alcohol.

On my ground-breaking, innovative new 1,000 point rating system: I give it a 633.

Worth having again. Simple, better very cold, drink with food and don't let your wine friends see you. Like riding a moped or dating a .... never mind.

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VinoCamp: Geeks and Winos!

Date: Mon, Aug 11, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Next Saturday (August 16) in Vancouver the first ever Vinocamp will get underway at UBC's botanical gardens.

The tech/web/internet crowd that also loves wine is putting this together. While you don't have to be a geek to enjoy the day, you'll certainly have company if you are.

Use the links to check out their site and to find registration information. As they say in their tagline,
This is definitely not the wine festival.

See you there!

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Naramata Bench Tailgate Party

Date: Fri, Aug 1, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

The 5th annual Naramata Bench Tailgate Party is coming up September 13.
The venue has changed from last year. This year it will be at Township 7's rough n' ready location at 1450 McMillan (Naramata Road).

If you're used to the manicured lawns and elegant setting of previous events at Red Rooster then I'd advise a reality check. T7 is a bit more 'rustic'. There is no doubting where you are at when visiting Township 7: this a working winery and vineyard. Dress for it. Leave the heels at home, lover.

No matter how 'basic' the setting might be, it should be quite a party. There's more than 22 wineries on the Bench now. They promise a rollicking good time. Tickets can be purchased online at

NO PARKING AT SITE: All guests will be shuttled to and from Township 7 as part of their ticket purchase.

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Wine Work/Job for Harvest

Date: Fri, Aug 1, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Township 7 will require a healthy, strong individual to join our crew for harvest season.

This is a temporary, full time position that would suit a person entering the wine production field or someone with limited experience to this point.

Candidate should look forward to long hours, "outdoor" working conditions and shift work. The ability to lift and manage 23 kg is required.

Must be legally entitled to work in Canada, be available September 15 through November 30, 2008 and have fluent command of English, written and oral.


Send you CV.

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Golden Beaver or Pompous Ass?

Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

It's tough to choose. Over in NY's Finger Lakes they've got a Pompous Ass. Here in BC we've got a Golden Beaver.

They both use cartoons in their logo.

Thanks to Lenn for the head's up.

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Exceptional Okanagan Falls BC Vineyard For Sale

Date: Sat, Jul 19, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Properties like this are rare. Mature vineyard with Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Viognier and others in full production. Beautiful 'southwest' style home and many service buildings. Right on Oliver Ranch Road with plenty of winery and agri-tourism potential. About 30 acres and about 2/3 in vines.
For more information, contact me directly.


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Wine Grapes of British Columbia

Date: Fri, Jul 18, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Colleagues, friends, fans and members of the general public often ask me -
Just what are you growing up there?
So, in an effort to shed some light on this dark secret, I will now reveal the top grapes by tonnage grown in BC. Almost all the grapes are grown in the Okanagan Valley, but there are significant acreages on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and in the Lower Mainland portion of the Fraser River Valley.
These figures are supplied by the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) and are for the 2007 growing season.

Merlot 3258
Chardonnay 2479
Pinot Gris 1687
Pinot Noir 1532
Cabernet Sauvignon 1390
Gewurztraminer 1339
Pinot Blanc 1307
Other (< 60 tons) 1125*
Riesling 979
Sauvignon Blanc 977
Cabernet Franc 777
Syrah/Shiraz 613
Gamay Noir 486
Ehrenfelser 228
Semillon 202
Auxerrois 189
Marechal Foch 170
Bacchus 124
Chasselas 104
Chancellor 103
Muller Thurgau 102
Icewine Riesling 99
Chenin Blanc 84
Viognier 84
Vidal Blanc 75
Zweigelt 67
Madeleine Angevine 61
Kerner 42
Pinot Meunier 41
Optima 38
Verdelet 14

*In the other category there are a lot of hybrids and some vinifera. Petit Verdot, Pinotage, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Muscat are just a few of the smaller tonnage titles.

While there are no 'native' grapes indigenous to the area, there are some tasty Saskatoon berries just up the mountain behind my house right now.

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