October 22nd, 2022- Harvest Season Sparkling Wines-


2022 Harvest Season Sparkling Wines

This weeks TRR didn’t start out as a bubble special., It’s just the way the boxes opened.

Mary McDermott – Winemaker Township 7 (Langley and Naramata Bench)

Before she arrived in the Okanagan Mary made sparkling wines at Peller, also spending time at Stratus and Cave Springs. Under her leadership Township 7’s Polaris was named Best Canadian Sparkling Wine at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine world Championships in London in 2016.

We welcome the much respected Mary McDermott. T7

(Mary McDermott)

 In the Township 7 box were

seven stars Rigel  – created from Riesling grown in the Fools Gold Vineyards in North Oliver. That’s the one originally planted by the legendary Richard Cleave. Now farmed by his son in law Mark Antonello. With all those names attached you know that the fruit and the wine will be award winning.

This is a bright and yummy sparkling wine. Perfect for oysters, blue cheese, mushrooms.

Only 399  6 bottle cases made. $36.97

2018 seven stars Equinox sparkling Brut Rose

100% Pinot Noir grapes went into this outstanding sparkling wine. They came from the highly regarded  Stoneridge Vineyard in Okanagan Falls.

It overlooks the Okanagan River and Vaseaux Lake and because its sharing the valley with the river and lake, the heat of an Okanagan Summer isn’t as all consuming here.

Its tempered by the coolness of the elevation and proximity to the river. It shows. Equinox is rich and round.  It’s glorious.   350  6 bottle cases. $57.97

And finally the 2019 Benchmark Series Cabernet Franc.

Produced from the Raju Vineyard in Osoyoos. I love  Cab Franc and this one is Top 10. Fantastic wine.

Cassis, spice, silky and welcoming texture.

Medium to full bodied,  this beautifully balanced blend of Cab Franc and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon can be enjoyed now or celebrated years from now. It’s a wine club exclusive. They are very lucky people.

670 cases  –  $43.97


The second box that arrived was from Noble Ridge, Okanagan Falls.

 Our guest is  Noble Ridge winemaker Benoit Gauthier

It was Merlot harvest day at Noble Ridge. Ben came off the crush pad to walk us through these wines and when done, walked straight out into crush heaven. We thank him for the time. Positive he may not  remember doing this interview.

(Benoit Gauthier Noble Ridge)

 Leslie D’Andrea co-owner of Noble Ridge sent along a note that said  “although we don’t make “champagne” per se, here’s some  examples of  BC Sparkling Wine to celebrate International Champagne Day Oct 28

There’s also another reason for  celebration,  as we participate in the annual ritual of Harvest and begin the cycle anew.”

 The Fizzy One -NV  $24.99

Frizzante style Pinot Gris and Kerner. Full of pink grapefruit and late fall peaches on the nose.  On the palate, ripe berries, pear and light citrus.

 The Pink One – 2018 $39.99

Smashing sparkling Rose. 100% Pinot Noir grapes. Method Traditionnelle . Only four hour skin contact.

The Pink One

The One – 2017 $39.99

A true Champagne style, comes entirely from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir estate grapes. Reflects the terroir around it.

Completely and totally Yummy. Notes of brioche and apple. Engaging texture. Generous and balanced. En Tirage 47 months.

Have a great International Champagne Day Friday Oct 28




New releases from

Hester Creek

Moon Curser

Benjamin Bridge (Nova Scotia)

Sea Cider wins awards



October 15th, 2022- It’s The Bartier Bros Show, starring Michael Bartier!!


It’s The Bartier Bros Show, starring Michael Bartier!!


Just one story today – Michael Bartier – GM and Director of Bartier Bros. Vineyards and Winery (South Okanagan)

What started out as a two segment interview with wine legend Michael Bartier almost immediately became this entire edition of Tasting Room Radio.

Why, you ask? Because he earned it.

From his beginnings in the wine business  Michael Bartier has constantly moved forward. Learning his wine making trade at Washington State and UC Davis.

When he did start making wines – for others – he twice won white wine of the year in Canada. He specialized in Chardonnay. Then shifted to making red wines and won two Lieutenant Governor’s awards for his reds.

On to the famous Hawthorne Mountain, back home to Township 7 and Road 13.

And so, after years of making brilliant wines for others, It was only a matter of time before Michael would be making his own wine and best of all he did it with his brother Don.  Both Bartier Bros were raised in the Okanagan. In 2009 they launched Bartier Bros.

Don and Michael – The Bartier Bros

I wanted to talk to Michael about the state of BC winemaking, the effect of climate change, how close winemakers came to not growing wine this year because of the wet and cold Spring. The Sun showed up just in time. It was close. How close?  Have a listen.

Michael brings us new releases ready for tasting and a Brut  tease that’s coming soon. Plus the new Bocce Court & food plans for next year.

They are open 12-4 every Saturday until Nov 12.

1) 2021 Rosé $18.99

2) 2021 Grüner Veltliner $24.99

3) 2021 Chardonnay  $22.99

4) 2020 Cabernet Franc – $29.99

5) 2020 Orchard Row – – $29.99

New Brut – Peach, flint, fresh bread.  $34.99



 New Releases from 

Hester Creek

Township 7

Noble Ridge

Moon Curser

Benjamin Bridge (Nova Scotia)



October 8th 2022- Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!


Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!



 Tasting Room Radio has been celebrating Canadian wine and food for 15 years.

We could not have stayed the course and grown without  the support of our segment sponsors

Thus, each year we make a point of making a feature fuss about our neighbors.

Thing is, we’d be doing feature stories on them anyway because they’re all winners.

When we decided to have a sponsor for each segment we had one bottom line

“if we have to talk about someone for a year,  let’s make sure we like them!  As great people and as singular artisans”!

 We are honored to welcome our in show  neighbors into the feature spotlight (in the order in which they became available)

Jason Parkes CustomsJason Parkes  (Founder) and Develyn Barker (Dreamer and Doer)  West Kelowna, BC

Jason Parkes and crew

Their story just keeps on growing.

Came on board as The Hatch Winery. Well named, as they released well-crafted and accessible wines but they also “hatched” a series of new labels,  all heading in different wonderful directions.

The Hatch, Gobsmacked Series, Hobo Series.

Then came Black Swift, Crown and Thieves, The Hatching Post, Truck 59 Cider House, and SmokeShow BBQ plus  wines such as  Screaming Frenzy, 14 house beers, The Angel Share rooftop restaurant, The Broken Hearts Club speakeasy (house band is Proper Man, also home to Hangover Church, etc)

They have created their own JPC Wine Trail – a 5-hour adventure you will talk about and might even remember.

…And the wines? Bigger and better every season!  Beautifully crafted and pushing the boundaries – much like the people who make them!

JPC is one of the great success stories in BC wine. Best of all, they did it their way!  Rock on!

(there is no known photo of Jason Parkes but he did send this message “wine is just yeast poop”

Unsworth Vineyards – Dan Wright (Winemaker) Christle Pope (Manager)  Cowichan Valley, Van Island

Mere minutes from our home in Mill Bay, it’s also top of mind when we think, “it’s time for wine and dine”

The Turyk Family have created a beautiful destination is perhaps the most gorgeous small farming valley in the area.

Dan Wright  Winemaker

The bonus is , the wines are outstanding and the restaurant is hugely popular.

They have just received a Silver Medal and  91 points for their 2019 Pinot Noir from Decanter Magazine. A first for Vancouver Island winemaking.

The new owners have their own family roots deep into the history of Napa and Sonoma. One of the first decisions was to let the Unsworth team carry on making better and better wines and the second was to start production on a new vineyard outside Duncan.

The future looks very bright for Unsworth Vineyards – so we have much to talk about!

Moon Curser Vineyards – Beata and Chris Tolley (Owners/Founders) Osoyoos, BC

At the very bottom of the Okanagan Valley is Osoyoos. It’s right up against the US border and surrounded by some of the very best vineyards in Canada.

One of them is Moon Curser. It’s the winemaking passion of Beata and Chris Tolley. It’s also their home.

Well, it was,  until they just had to move off-site to get a break from the daily weight of farming. It’s a hard road,  no whining is allowed.

Chris Tolley

In wine circles, they’re famous for the amazing varietals they make – several are the only ones being made in Canada.

However, what they do make are wines judged to be as good as anything in Canada.  That’s how they were named The WineAlign  Best Small Winery in Canada in 2019.

We’ll be talking Arneis, Viognier, Roussanne Marsanne, Carmenere, Dolcetto, Malbec, Syrah, Contraband Syrah, Border Vines, Tannat, Tempranillo and Touriga National.

Beata Tolley

There’s more. Next time we’ll talk about their bubble program featuring Eclipse, Moonlit and their Heist Rose.

Four of those wines can only be found through their wine club. Giddy Up!

Hillside Estate Winery  – Kathy Malone  (Senior Winemaker)  – Executive Chef Evan Robertson (The Bistro at Hillside)  Naramata Bench, BC

Kathy Malone


That describes Kathy and Evan, and the rest of the team at Hillside and especially Hillside Estate itself.

A much-honored winery with an atmosphere that comes from being one of the first three wineries in the area and always being a benchmark for Naramata Wines.

Hillside made a commitment years ago to only use grapes farmed on the Naramata Bench.

This conversation was important. To get caught up with Kathy’s latest releases, growing conditions in 2021, and then what dishes Chef Evan recommends from his menu to pair with each wine.

We talk  Cab Franc, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Ottonel, Viognier, Syrah,   Merlot – Hidden Valley Vineyard

From the kitchen,  Evan teases us with Tomato Capresse, Panzanella Salad, House-made fresh pasta, Gnocchi, 50oz Northern Gold Beef Tomahawk.





Noble Ridge

Bartier Bros.

Township 7


Hillside Virtual Tasting

Bill Jones Fall Forage




October 1st, 2022- Van Wine Fest Part Two  (plus 2 special guests)


Van Wine Fest Part Two  (plus 2 very special guests)


Walking into the Vancouver Wine Festival at the Convention Centre, as an interviewer,  is like working the field at an All-Star Game.

Familiar wine star faces and voices are everywhere.

I think I did a dozen interviews and these are the last three.  However,  I needed one more, So I decided to re-run one of my all time favourite interviews.

Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

From our coverage of the 2019  VanWineFest on Tasting Room Radio we present California wine royalty.

Gena Gallo and her winemaking husband Jean Charles Boisset.

Not just talking about their wines but about surviving cancer, raising their twin daughters and their love of Vancouver and the wine fest.

Wine Fest Part Two includes interviews with

Tony Holler – Owner of Poplar Grove (Naramata Bench)

Tony Holler & crew

Ray Signorello – Owner of Signorello Estate  (Napa)

Ray Signorello

Mark De Vere – Master of Wine.  Robert Mondavi Vineyards (Napa)

Mark de Vere. Mondavi

Gina Gallo, Vice President, Winemaking – Estate Wines. E. & J. Gallo

Gina Gallo, JC Boisset, TDM

Gina Gallo, JC Boisset, TDM

Gina Gallo developed a deep respect for the land early on. After studying winemaking at the University of California at Davis, Gallo became an apprentice winemaker at E. & J. Gallo Winery, under the careful guidance of her grandfather Julio. Today, as the winemaker behind the Gallo Signature Series, she carves out specific blocks on Gallo’s most sought-after vineyards to hand-craft limited batches of wine.


Jean-Charles Boisset, Proprietor, Boisset Collection

Jean-Charles Boisset was born into the world of wine in Vougeot, Burgundy, France. Under his leadership, the Boisset Collection operates 24 wineries in California, France, and Canada. Decanter magazine has included him on its “Power List” of the 50 most important people in the wine world each year of its publication since 2007.

His many honours include Meininger’s International Wine Entrepreneur of the Year, “Innovator of the Year” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and the first-ever French-American Partnership Award from the French America Foundation.




  • Scorched Earth

  • Bartier Bros.

  • Township 7

  • Hillside  Estate

  • Napa/SF

  • Thanksgiving Wines

  • Noble Ridge 




September 24th, 2022 – The return of the Vancouver Wine Festival: Part One


The return of  VanWineFest Part One…


After  a series  of historic events far more important than a wine gathering,

we welcomed the 43rd annual Vancouver Wine Festival back into our lives.

The pandemic required a different gathering this year.

Smaller crowds,  masks not mandatory but fully encouraged.

Fewer wineries and participants made for a calmer and quieter convention center. We liked it.

Many of the participants who were scheduled to attend and pour last year returned with some wines a year older and lots of new fresh wines from 2021.

There was an unmistakable joy in the room.

Joy, for having survived the pandemic.   Joy, to seeing friends and exchanging stories about the past two years.

It was a beauty.  People shook hands. They hugged! Almost like the life we used to know.

So… let’s celebrate with the first of two specials at this year’s VanWineFest from the floor of the Vancouver Convention Centre..

Many thanks to Harbour Air for getting me there and back. Also Meriha Beaton – Milk Creative. John De Vries, FMFM  and Corey Wood.

Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

Here’s the line up! We have sit down interviews with

Harry Hertscheg. Exec. Director


Harry Hertscheg – Executive Director VanWineFest 

Lynzee Schatz – Winemaker at TIME Family Wines (Penticton)

Ross Baker – Winemaker at LA FRENZ (Naramata)

Dan Irving – Bread and Butter Wine (Napa)

Mike Raffan – General Manager Township 7 (Naramata)

Howard Soon – Chief Winemaker  Vanessa Vineyards (Similkameen)

Taylor Whelan – Winemaker Cedar Creek (East Kelowna)

Mark Kuspira – Soft Crush Imports (Calgary)




  • VanWineFest Part Two
  • Tony Holler – Poplar Grove
  • Mark De Vere – Robert Mondavi Wine
  • Ray Signorello – Signorello Wine
  • Scorched Earth
  • Bartier Bros.
  • Township 7
  • Hillside  Estate
  • Napa/SF
  • Thanksgiving Wines



September 17th, 2022-a vertical pour from Clos Du Soleil and 3 new releases from Hester Creek


This week – a vertical pour from Clos Du Soleil and 3 new releases from Hester Creek



The invitation was just too good to pass up.

Michael Clark,  Winemaker and GM of Clos du Soleil Winery  in the Similkameen Valley was coming to Chambar Restaurant in Vancouver to pour two verticals of his wines.

Michael Clark

Best of all, he brought his Similkameen neighbour,  Master of Wine and co-owner of Little Farm Winery, Rhys Pender.

Rhys & Michael

First tasting was with Capella, their flagship white wine. A classic blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

The grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed and lightly crushed, then cold-soaked for several hours prior to pressing. The wine is fermented entirely in barrel (500L French oak puncheons), with the majority of the fermentations being spontaneous with wild yeast. In some years a portion of the barrels are allowed to go through wild malolactic fermentation as well. The wine is then aged on the lees for 9 months, with occasional lees stirring. Only the best lots are then blended for inclusion in Capella. The wine is filtered prior to bottling, but otherwise entirely unmanipulated.

Capella has truly earned a place in my wine world as one of my go-to favourites. That’s what happens when  wine becomes a treat for yourself and others. We tasted 2006/2009/2012/2017/2019/2021

The other vertical tasting was with their red icon Bordeaux blend Signature.

Signature is their flagship blend of red Bordeaux varieties, with most vintages including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Each variety and vineyard block is harvested separately, by hand, at optimal maturity and then gravity-fed to concrete tanks, where it is spontaneously fermented with indigenous yeast.

After a moderate post-fermentation maceration the wine is pressed in a basket press, and then aged for approximately 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, where it undergoes spontaneous malolactic fermentation. A rigorous barrel-selection process is used to determine the final blend. The resulting wine is bottled entirely unfined and unfiltered.

We tasted 2007/2009/2010/2013/2016/2017/2019.

 The Clos Du Soleil vineyards are primarily located on the upper bench of the southern Similkameen Valley, which has an arid, hot, desert-like climate, with rocky, mineral-rich soils that produce truly distinctive wines of ripe fruit character, fresh acidity, herbal notes and striking minerality.

Rhys Pender is the perfect co-host for this tasting as he has always tried to convince BC wine fans to cellar their special whites and enjoy them years later. Rhys has also taken part in these same varietal pours back home in Cawston with Michael and  brings with him the history of the wines and the vineyards.

Rhys Pender

@Clos du Soleil Winery

@[email protected]

 Our Second guest is Winemaker Mark Hopley of Hester Creek (Golden Mile)

A wonderful winemaker,  Mark Hopley would like all of us to know about three new releases.

Mark Hopley

2021 Ti Amo

Prosecco inspired, its primarily Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Semillon. $21.99

This clean sparkling wine bursts with fragrant honeysuckle and orchard blossom notes. The inviting palate shows light Okanagan pear and candied citrus, with a light touch of sweetness. A perfect sparkling wine for entertaining,  brunch or desserts. At this price, its perfect for larger gatherings, weddings and receptions.

2019 Old Vine Brut $34.99

Made from rare Old Vine Pinot Blanc vines on the historic Golden Mile Bench Vineyard (Thank you Joe Busnardo)

This second vintage displays  light honey hued tones with fine, active beads. Bright lemon, brioche and ginger aromas. A fresh and inviting palate invites the joy of lemon zest and fresh biscuits, ending with a clean, and long finish.  Beautifully balanced blanc de blanc Brut. This is the wine to  celebrate with,  enjoy with an olive tapenade, spot prawn ceviche or fresh Pacific oysters with a Meyer lemon ginger mignonette sauce. Loved this bubble. It’s such a delight, you’ll find yourself smiling and giggling. Which, considering our times,  is never a bad thing. Highly recommended. Cellar up to 10 years.

2019 The Judge $49.99

What a beautiful  wine. I fell in love with this Bordeaux blend the first year they made it – 2008.

Made from the oldest vines on their property.

41 Merlot/31 Cab/28 Cab Franc. Barrel aged 24 months. Primarily French oak (New and Neutral)

Winemaker Mark Hopley judged from the best lots in their  cellar to make this iconic wine. Generous aromas of toasted caramel, dark chocolate, fresh blackberry, leather and sagebrush. The fabulous palate expresses ripe cherry, rich cocoa and savoury characteristics with a round, huge finish. A richly textured wine that pairs well with braised short ribs, thick rich stews or full-bodied cheeses.

Can be cellared up to 10 years.

Join Hester Creek  throughout next  weekend at the winery for daily live music, vendors, vineyard tours, and food trucks!   Special features for Friday, September 23rd  Food Truck – Pit Stop Smokery  ~ 12-4pm Vendors ~ 12-4pm Petit Pétale Flower Farm South Okanagan Snacks Live Music by the talented Ari Neufeld ~ 1-4pm ​patio & lawn

@Mark Hopley




Bartier Brothers

Township 7









September 10th, 2022 – 812 Wines.  20 Platinum. Here’s 5 of the very best 2021 BC Lt. Governors Winners.


812 Wines.  20 Platinum. We present  5 of the very best 2021 BC Lt. Gov Winners.


 The press release said..

A panel of judges from Canada and the US tasted more than 800 wines, and awarded gold, silver, and platinum medals to 90 British Columbian wineries”

I know most of these judges. They cannot be fooled or influenced. They take great pride in getting the winners right. 12 of the 14 judges have been guests on Tasting Room Radio. I pay attention to what they have to say.

On and off the air.

Congratulations to all the wineries and to Tim Pawsey – Winner of the Harry McWatters Award.

There simply wasn’t time to talk to all 20 Platinum winners but we were able to stalk and corner…



Wine of the Year winner David Patterson – GM & Winemaker of Tantalus 2018 Old Vines Riesling (East Kelowna)

David Patterson


Grant Stanley – Winemaker at Spearhead Winery. . (East Kelowna) 3 Platinum Pinot Noirs

Grant Stanley


Lorin Inglis – GM at ENRICO Winery (Cowichan Valley) 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris

TDM and Lorin Ingles


Jeff Hundertmark – Head Winemaker Mt Boucherie  (West Kelowna) 2020 Original Vine Semillon/2018 Reserve Syrah

Jeff Hundertmark


Gaurev Maan – Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine (Frazer Valley)

The Mann Family


Elan Morris – GM OK Wine Festivals. (Kelowna)

Here is the complete 2021 Platinum List – Congratulations All.

  • Arrowleaf Cellars – 2019 Riesling
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – 2019 Syrah
  • CedarCreek Estate Winery – 2020 Platinum Home Block Rosé
  • Chain Reaction Winery – 2019 Tailwind Pinot Gris
  • ENRICO WINERY – 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris
  • Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Winery – 2018 Estate Riesling Icewine
  • Kismet Estate Winery – 2018 Cabernet Franc Reserve
  • Liquidity Wines – 2020 Rosé
  • Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine
  • Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Terroir Collection Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc
  • Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Perpetua
  • Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2020 Original Vines Sémillon
  • Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2018 Reserve Syrah
  • Silhouette Estate Winery – N/V Boyd Classic Cuveé
  • Silkscarf Winery – 2017 Syrah-Viognier
  • SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Saddle Block
  • SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Cuveé
  • SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Golden Retreat
  • Tantalus Vineyards – 2018 Chardonnay
  • Three Sisters Winery – 2019 Rebecca

The full list of medal winners can be found on the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society website.




Hester Creek

Bartier Brothers

Victoria Wine festival

Clos de Soleil Vertical Pour

Township 7







September 3rd,2022-The Return of Top Drop / 2022


Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

The Return of Top Drop / 2022

“The one wine tasting  of the year you shouldn’t miss”



 Like all other events in our day-to-day lives, there was no Top Drop during the pandemic.

However, Top Drop wine fans are a very loyal bunch and I never thought for a minute that there might never be another Top Drop.

Why the loyalty?

“The one wine tasting  of the year you shouldn’t miss”

Western Living Magazine


Kurtis Kolt and his partners have dedicated themselves to finding and inviting wineries that display a sense of place and craft.

Kurtis Kolt

A great many are organic and all farm sustainably. Some are large but many are small and finding them is like finding a prize.

The participants are so thoroughly vetted, that it makes the invited list feel like an all-star game.

The two-day event took place May 10 & 11 in the very comfortable surroundings at The Roundhouse in Yaletown. 40 local and  international wineries pouring!

As usual, I couldn’t get to everyone in the room. But I did stalk and talk to :

Bella WinesJay Drysdale (Naramata Bench) A stellar sparkling wine house focused on single-vineyard expressions. Especially Gamay.

Creek & Gully CiderAnnelise Simonsen and Alyssa Hubert (Naramata Bench) A family farm, 65 acres of Organic Apples. They seek and fully welcome apples deemed “undesirable”

Ciders are proudly unfined, unfiltered, and ambiently fermented in the bottle and can. We also talk about saving Okanagan orchards.

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards – Gordon Fitzpatrick. (Summerland) Focused on traditional method sparkling wine. From 40 acres of vines separated into 12 smaller blocks.


Hedges Family Estate –  Christophe Hedges (Red Mountain. Washington)  Farmers first, winemakers second, the Hedges Family were pioneers of the modern Washington Wine Industry. Christophe leads the next generation.

Lightning Rock Winery – Jordan Kubek Winemaker (Summerland) Creating electric, joyous and juicy wines. Jordan and Tyler desire to express each vineyard in the glass.

Martin’s Lane WineryShane Munn Winemaker (East Kelowna) Pinot and Riesling only. Vineyards are farmed and certified organic. Gravity-fed winery. Outstanding wines and winery.

Okanagan Crush PadDarryl Brooker New CEO and Matt Dumayne.  Winemaker. (Summerland) What a success story is Okanagan Crush Pad. Creating their own wines Haywire, Narrative, and Free Form. Concrete tanks, native yeasts, and no messing with the wines. New plantings deserve your attention.

Orofino – John and Virginia Weber. Winemaker & Co-owners (Similkameen Valley) Minimal intervention in the solar-powered, strawbale winery. Premium wines that John described as “gulpable”. From beautiful Rieslings to knockout Syrah plus  outstanding vineyards in a spectacular valley. It all adds up to Orofino!

Terravista Vineyards – Nadine Allander Winemaker (Naramata Bench) Producers of small-lot specialty white wines including Spanish varietals: Albarino and Verdejo plus French beauties Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.  A tribute to the vineyards and those who planted them.

Ursa Major WineryRajen Toor Owner/Principal. (South Okanagan. Black Sage Bench) Organically farmed vineyards on prime land. Working with many varietals but especially Bordeaux grapes to see if they can showcase a different side of the grape.  Much buzz about this winery.

Owen Knowlton – Stable House Award-winning  Award winning Wine Sommelier and Director.

Pouring Wines of Bordeaux


Kurtis Kolt – Co-Founder of Top Drop Vancouver and Wine Educator


  • Hester Creek Bubble
  • Bartier releases
  • Victoria Wine Festival
  • Fall Reds
  • Regenerative Farming
  • Benjamin Bridge – Nova Scotia

















August 27th, 2022 Making Award Winning Wines at “The Fort”



Making Award Winning Wines at “The Fort”





Just how well is Fort Berens Winery doing this year?

#3 – Top 10 Small Wineries in Canada

#6 – Top 10 BC Wineries

#8 – Top 25 Wineries in Canada

1 Platinum Medal and 94 Points for their 2020 Pinot Noir

3 Gold Medals and 92 Points for the 2019 Merlot Reserve  and small lots  2021 Gruner Veltliner

2 Silver Medals and 90 points for the 2019 Cab Franc Reserve and 2021 Pinot Gris.


Lillooet is a new and emerging wine region in BC’s growing wine industry. Fort Berens is the first winery in Lillooet and features close to 40 planted acres of vineyards.

I guess you can tell that we’ve been keeping an eye on the winery and region as Co-founder Rolf de Bruin joins us for his 6th visit.


As soon as The Nationals were announced Rolf was ready to talk about the 2021 Spring and Summer releases. These were the Heat Dome Summer wines, with the highest temperature ever recorded in June. Followed by wildfires in the area.


Rolf also told us the tale of how winemaker Alessandro  (Alex) Nel made his way from making wines in  South Africa to Fort Berens in Lillooet.

Alex Nel


Here are the wines we taste and talk about:

2021 Riesling $21.99

2021 Pinot Gris $21.99

2021 Chardonnay $22.99

2021 Rose $21.99

2021 Small Lot Dry Riesling $24.99 (new)

2021 Small Lot Gruner Veltliner $24.99 (new)

The ultimate goal of Rolf and his team is to be 100% Lillooet VQA.  The 100% Lillooet wines above are Chardonnay, Rose, Small Lot Dry Riesling, and Small Lot Gruner.

They are open daily for tastings and the Kitchen at Fort Berens is also open daily.  Check out their Wine Club and Newsletter


2021 Vintage Previews from:

Dwight Sick – Winemaker and GM at Seven Stones Winery in the Similkameen Valley

Galen Barnhart – Monte Creek  Winery  in Kamloops /Thompson




Bartier Brothers

Hester Creek

Benjamin Bridge – Nova Scotia

Victoria Wine Festival

Township 7



August 20th, 2022 A Haltwhistle Cheese & Wine pairing with Unsworth Wines – A  Feature Special  


A Haltwhistle Cheese & Wine pairing with  Unsworth Wines :   a feature special



 This weeks guests:

Kirsten Thorarinson and Cory Spencer – co-founders of Haltwhistle Cheese

Kirsten Thorarinson and Cory Spencer

Karen Newington – Tasting Room Manager Unsworth Vineyards

 As the Sales & Operations Manager, Kirsten makes sure that the farm runs efficiently. She frequently delivers cheese to mongers and chefs and is often manning their stand at Vancouver Island farmers’ markets.


Cory is the cheesemaker. He oversees he entire process from caring for the animals to aging the cheese. He also looks after their herd.

“Treat yourself to a taste of Europe in your own backyard. Here at their  family farm in the Cowichan Valley, they make all their  raw-milk cheeses by hand–using the same Old-World methods as European farmstead cheese makers. Their artisanal cheese pair well with wine, honey and good company.”

 I know almost nothing about cheese. Apparently I’m not the only one

Here are three questions Kirsten and Cory have been asked at Saturday markets.

“is your Gouda processed cheese?”

“what are your cheese curds made from?”

“do you milk your goats?”

The whole idea of putting Haltwhistle and Unsworth together was to answer the questions about pairing.

What do you pair with Feta?

It helps that Karen Newington is not only the Tasting Room Manager at Unsworth, she also worked at Haltwhistle for 4 years.

Karen Newington. Unsworth

Here  are the cheeses:

 Fromage Frais – Fromage Frais is a rich and spreadable cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It has a somewhat tangy flavour and distinct buttery notes, thanks to its high butterfat content. This decadent cheese pairs well with bread or crackers.

fromage frais

Tadwick – This traditional English-style cheddar is one of our best-selling cow’s milk cheeses. Made from unpasteurized milk, Tadwick is mild yet flavourful when young (3-7 months). The longer it matures (8-12 months), the more it develops its signature sharp flavour and pleasant tang.


Thombury – This rustic farmer’s cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. It has an earthy and milky flavour and is based on the Tomme-style cheeses made in the French Alps. To develop its natural rind, Thombury is carefully tended to for 3 to 6 months.


Tomme de Vallée – Our signature cheese and one of our best-sellers. This natural-rind cheese is inspired by the traditional Tomme-style cheeses from the French Alps. It is made from unpasteurized goat’s milk and gently aged for 3 to 6 months, giving this rustic farmer’s cheese an earthy and rich flavour.


Feta – This traditional Greek cheese has a firm and crumbly texture. It is made from unpasteurized goat’s milk and aged in brine (a salty solution) for 2 to 3 months, which lends the cheese a slightly salty and tangy flavour.

Feta cheese

The Unsworth wines being paired and poured are:

2021 Rosé with Fromage Frais $26.90

2021 Rosé

2020 Gamay Pinot Noir with Tadwick $26.90

2020 Chardonnay with Thombury $30.90

2020 Pinot Noir with Tomme de Vallée $38.90

2020 Saison Vineyard Pinot Gris with Feta $25.99


Do your own taste test. It’s a ton of fun!






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