There is nothing quite as inspiring as Spring. Living in the Northern hemisphere can really get to a person, darker days, colder nights, and often, running out of your favourite wine! We usually come across a wine in our travels that we just can’t live without and that poses all kinds of problems, like the fact that they are great wines that represent great value and this is the kind of wine that sells out early. So when Spring comes, so do new vintages and we are uber-excited to start the sampling of the great vintage we just had – 2014. And, as an added benefit, 2014 also produced the most wine by far of any Okanagan vintage – so more to go around!
B.C. is currently on the cusp of a new direction in wine consumption. Domestic wine sales have been steadily increasing and last year, for the first time, surpassed import wine sales! As more vineyards are planted and wineries built, production increases (although this varies according to specific vintages) along side demand and I doubt very much B.C. will ever go back to the days where imports dominated the shelves. In just a few short years pioneers like Harry McWatters (Sumac Ridge founder), Adolf Kruger (Wild Goose Vineyards), Stephen Cipes (Summerhill Pyramid Winery), Prudence and Beat Maher (formerly of Red Rooster now Ruby Blues Winery) and myriad of others have created such a stir in Canada and abroad that even the Queen of England has taken notice. This year marks a quarter century for Wild Goose and the Okanagan now has many vineyards with age behind them – the older the vines the better the wine, in most cases. One of my favourite wines is a Gewurztraminer from a 35 year old Naramata vineyard – hey, we’re growing up!
So get out there and hit those tasting bars – early! I find touring in the Spring is by far the most prolific. That is often because the crowds don’t arrive until much later so if you want a more personal experience, go wine touring in the off season. I like the Spring Wine Festival because the crowds are much smaller, there’s lots to do and you are more likely to get a chance to talk with the owner or winemaker or both. The Fall Wine Festival is by far the most attended – it is necessary to book a year in advance for many events.
In other wine news: The first sub-appellation has been given the go ahead by Victoria – Congratulations Golden Mile in Oliver! Known for many years for its fantastic wine growing – this region’s got character!