Tasting Room Radio

March 18th. 2023- Guests – Davin De Kergommeaux, and distillery co-founder James Lester


Guests – Davin De Kergommeaux (author/whisky specialist) and distillery co-founder James Lester

Davin De Kergommeaux – Author &  Whisky Specialist

DAVIN DE KERGOMMEAUX is an independent expert who has been writing, talking and teaching about whisky in all its forms and flavours for two decades.


He is the world’s leading authority on Canadian whisky and has been called “Canada’s unofficial whisky ambassador” as well as being named one of the most influential Canadians in Food and Drink by The Globe and Mail in 2016. Davin is the founder and chairperson of the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards!

James Lester –  co-founder Sons of Vancouver Distillery

Jenna Diubaldo  Richard Klaus James Lester

Sons of Vancouver is a small distillery on Vancouver’s North Shore. It was born out of a young, foolhardy desire to follow passions and contribute to a growing community of independent distillers. Best known for the ever-popular No. 82 amaretto, the distillery is now running a growing whisky program and is very excited to bring super flavourful rye whiskies to the Canadian market.

Sons of Vancouver has shifted into whisky-making in a big way, with the goal of changing the standard for rye whisky in Canada. After becoming the first craft distillery to winCanadian Whisky of the Year’ at the 2023 Canadian Whisky Awards, achieving this goal never seemed so possible.

They lead with big flavours, and high-rye expressions, and prefer to bottle their whiskies at barrel-proof. By allowing the whisky itself to guide the blend, each bottling is unique and provides an outlet to highlight the many facets of rye grain achieved through fermentation, distillation, and maturation.

Currently, they release whisky in limited quantities, 2 to 3 times per year. In the very near future, Sons of Vancouver will have whisky on shelves much more often. Until then, sign up for their whisky mailing list to keep current on new whisky releases, tasting events, and more!

Watch out for these releases:

Summer Road Trip Across the Mid West

Marshmallows over a Campfire

Cigarettes on a Leather Jacket


‘2023 Canadian Whisky of the Year – Canadian Whisky Awards

The 3rd limited-release whisky from Sons of Vancouver Distillery, this 100% rye whisky was aged in used American oak, blended and transferred into bourbon barrels, and finally, rested in Virgin Islands rum casks. The rum undertones provide breezy tropical vibes that complement the natural rye spice perfectly.

The nose hits with pit-roasted pineapple and vanilla cigarillo, continuing with pine humidor and under-ripe banana on the palate. It finishes with allspice and demerara sugar, leaving you dreaming of daiquiris on the beach.

One of the founding owners of SOV, James Lester  started the distillery alongside best friend Richard Klaus and partner Jenna Diubaldo



Best of all they also run a 5-day Whisky making school.

Details at https://sonsofvancouver.ca/





Van Wine Festival

Lt. Governors Awards

New releases from


Mt Boucherie

Moon Curser


March 11th, 2023- Okanagan Crush Pad becomes Haywire Wines. Guest is Christine Coletta.


Headline – Okanagan Crush Pad becomes Haywire Wines. Guest is Christine Coletta.



Tasting Room Radio began in 2007 in a studio in a barn on the Naramata Bench.

I announced to myself and the audience that I had a lot to learn but each interview and tasting would take me closer to the promised land.

One of the very first interview friends I made was Christine Coletta who had just launched Okanagan Crush Pad with her husband Steve Lornie.

Christine Coletta


I knew of Chris because of her leadership at Coletta and Associates.   Her specialty was to market new and established wines to an ever-growing base of wine fans. The wineries needed a voice to speak for them. Christine was that voice.

In our first interviews, Christine talked about Okanagan Crush Pad and the need for small Indy wineries to have a facility to access when harvest came. It was a huge success and much-needed in the Okanagan.

At the same time, Chris and Steve (and their wine friends) started to groom, plant, and plan for their own wines under the Haywire label starting with the Switchback Vineyard in Summerland. Certified Organic in 2015.

The first 6 concrete tanks arrived in 2011 well ahead of the concrete “movement” in the valley.

Pinot Noir, Gamay, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay love the Okanagan soil and the concrete allows them to be the lively & vibrant style of wine the Haywire team aims to make. Key to the popularity of Haywire wines is the winemaker Matt Dumayne.

Matt and Christine

So, now we come to 2023 and lots of changes at Okanagan Crush Pad.

First, the name is now changed to Haywire. The look of the Haywire release has changed as well… New labels and colors.

A modern tasting room has been constructed right next door to the crush pad and the cellar.

The Haywire winemaking facility is also the home for other unique wine labels that found a place at Okanagan Crush Pad.

Free Form, Narrative, Bizou & Yukon, and the new Garnet Valley Ranch. (more on Garnet Valley  later)

While it was great talking to Chris about the name changes and new facility at Haywire it also gave us an opportunity to do what we most love doing…tasting and talking about new Haywire releases.  Here’s the line-up!!

  • 2021 Haywire Pink Bub
  • 2021 Haywire Switchback Pinot Gris
  • 2021 Haywire Chardonnay 2021 Haywire Gamay Rosé
  • 2021 Haywire Gamay          
  • 2021 Haywire Pinot Noir


Check out the new Haywire website – for all the experiences available.




Sons of Vancouver/Davin De Kergommeaux

Van Wine Festival

Lt. Governors Awards

New releases from


Mt Boucherie

Moon Curser




March 4th, 2023 Brad Royale – Kitten Swish . It’s for your Mouth


Brad Royale –  Sommelier and Micro-Negotiant. ( Kitten Swish, Tomato Wheels, latest crushing list)


 “Like the first bottles released in 2012, all are limited-production, with quirky names and labels derived from photos taken by Royale. There’s Call Me, a 2016 Zinfandel from the renowned Stuhlmuller vineyard in Sonoma, California; the label features a rotary phone.

… and Below the Surface, a 2013 Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain, which features a photo of entwined bodies and is a tribute to the unsung heroes behind every bottle: the growers, printers, graphic designers, shippers, importers. “It’s about all that effort that we forget about when we just grab a bottle off the shelf,” Royale says. “This is a tip of the hat toward what goes into making a great bottle of wine.”

Shelley Boettcher  •  Swerve/Calgary Herald

(Cab Franc-Here and Gone)



Brad Royale is Head Sommelier for the Concorde Calgary restaurant group with venues ranging from pinball bars, to bbq smokehouses to very fine dinning at  Model Milk,  Bridgette Bar,  to the restaurant  of the year, Major Tom.  Recently,  he was part of the team that opened a new restaurant Barbarella.

Brad Royale

Kitten Swish

Brad started ‘Swish in 2012 as a micro-negotiant company.  He works with small quantities of wine from estate producers They make the wine,  Brad makes a blend from their stock,  the team bottles it at the winery under the Kitten Swish label. Brad has wine imported into BC and Alberta.


The most recent was Piquette with Rhys Pender MW from Little Farm but he has bottled wines from Hungary (with John Szabo MS), USA, Spain, Germany, France, and British Columbia ( hopes to make a wine from the island next year).  And has a hand in designing the label artwork.  www.kittenswish.com


Tomato Wheels

A brand new project with a partner based in Vancouver, Moirae Choquette.   She heard the Kitten Swish story on a podcast and reached out to  Brad to help her design her own label.  She wanted Lambrusco!  (Don’t we all)  Brad helped her find a fourth-generation vineyard in Emilia Romagna, Italy and the wine began it’s journey.

A brand new order of that Lambrusco is landing right now in Alberta. www.tomatowheels.com


 (Little Farm/Kitten Swish  Piquette)


Brad talks about his current  “been crushing”  list

 – Belargus Anju Blanc (bought the Jo Pithon estate and making hard  Chenin)

Marchesseau Bourguiel (been crushing Loire Valley a lot in general lately…wicked value)

Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner Kellerberg (available in BC to, sick stuff)

– Aubert Chardonnay (recent visit to Vegas my mission was to taste as much as possible…it’s good to have goals)


We cover a lot of ground over the course of this TRR – some of these wines will be harder to find or access from outside Alberta BUT they are well worth the seeking!!

Unlike anything else, you’ll see and taste in your local store.  Promise.




Osoyoos Le Rose

Lt Governors Awards

Sons of Vancouver

Davin de Kergommeaux

Van Wine Fest

Mt Boucherie

Okanagan Wine Festivals

Oaxaca Mezcal and Food






February 25th, 2023-Meet the Makers


Meet the Makers

Culmina & Laughing Stock




It was just another Friday morning when the happy invitation came in from the delightful  Lindsay Kelm.

Come celebrate the harvest season with Culmina Family Estate and Laughing Stock Vineyards.

Join Winemakers Jean-Marc Enixon and Sandy Leier for an elegant afternoon sampling their latest releases and chatting about the 2022 harvest. We also have a couple of special sneak peeks in store, including the unreleased 2020 vintage of Laughing Stock’s signature Portfolio, and 2017 vintage of Culmina’s flagship Bordeaux blend, Hypothesis


Sandy Leier–Winemaker Laughing Stock (Naramata)

Here’s what I knew. I hadn’t spoken to Sandy Leier for years. At the time she was working with the legend Howard Soon at Sandhill and Calona. In 2018, after 15 years as a great team,  she took over from the departing  Howard.  Then a series of projects with Andrew Peller, Gray Monk and Gretzky Wines. Then, this year, a major move to Senior Winemaker at Laughing Stock on the Naramata Bench.  It’s the home of seriously great wines including a Syrah that makes hearts flutter and their red blend Portfolio.  Sandy brings six wines to taste and discover.

(List below)


(tdm and Sandy Leier)

Jean-Marc Enixon – Culmina Winemaker – (Oliver)

(tdm and Jean-Marc)


Jean-Marc Enixon’s wine career took flight in Toulouse, France. JM gained international experience in Sonoma County, China, then  back to France at Chateau Puy Guilhem in  Saillans as senior winemaking director.

At the suggestion of his wife saying something to the effect of   “how about making some new world wine”

Jean-Marc joined the Culmina Team  as Vineyard Manager and Winemaker in 2016.  Today he pours 7 wines.

As good as he is, perhaps his greatest accomplishment is welcoming two new children to the family while in the Okanagan.

“they’re taking French and I’m taking English”

 Sandy, Jean-Marc and I  tasted and talked about Laughing Stock Vineyards.

2021 Viognier

2020 Chardonnay

2020 Pinot Noir

2019 Syrah (new release)

2019 Portofino (new release)

2020 Portofino (unreleased)


Culmina Family Estate Winery

2019 Decora

2021 Unicus

2018 Dilemma

2019 Malbec

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Hypothesis

2017 Hypothesis (unreleased)







Kitten Swish – with Brad Royale

Van Wine Fest

Lt Governors Awards

Mt Boucherie

Okanagan Wine Festivals

Oaxaca Mezcal and Food

Osoyoos Le Rose


February 18th, 2023 Every Chef Needs a Farmer- Every Farmer Needs a Chef!  


Every Chef Needs a Farmer   Every Farmer Needs a Chef!

 The SHOW  

We were invited to the third annual Chef/Farmer gathering.  This year at Church and State Winery in Central Saanich.

It was presented by Buy BC.

The entire concept was created by Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. It’s a great fit because she WAS a farmer when the idea came to her. As Minister, she oversees the  Buy BC program.

It continues to highlight the many unique and engaging products coming from our own backyards. It’s a direct link between consumers and the creators behind each and every label.

(Lana Popham)

Our pal Chef Ned Bell is the chef ambassador for Buy BC.  As long as I’ve known Ned, he’s always been pushing the boundaries between Kitchens and Farmers.  There’s nothing he likes more than uniting and collaborating with other chefs, fishers, farmers, and influencers. The man is a game-changer.

If you’ve ever dined at his Naramata Inn, you’ll know that he’s also one of our very best chefs. His panel was titled – The Future of Food; Sustainable, Indigenous, Farmed, and Wild.

(Ned Bell and TDM)


NOTE:  We couldn’t possibly interview all the Farmers. I think there were over 20 in the room but we will reconnect and do stories on many of them !

Our Special Guests this week are:

 Robert BelchamChef’s Table Society. Chef and Owner Popina

Shawn Dirksen – Owner Northstar Organics. His panel was Selling Food to Our City. Small-Scale Diversified Organic Farming.

Jared Qwustenuxun Williams – Indigenous Foods Chef, Writer, and Storyteller

(Jared Qwustenuxun Williams)

Ian Tostenson – President and CEO, BC Restaurant and Food Services Assn

Ian Tostenson and Terry

Michael Verbrugge and Victoria Lake  – Canadian Seafood Processing

Chef Ned Bell – Naramata Inn

Lana Popham – Minister of Agriculture and Food







Meet the Makers

Culmina  and Laughing Stock Winemakers

Kitten Swish – with Brad Royale

Van Wine Fest

Lt Governors Awards

Mt Boucherie

Okanagan Wine Festivals

Oaxaca Mezcal and Food


Osoyoos le Rose









February 11th, 2023- Anthony Gismondi & The National Wine Awards of Canada


The National Wine Awards of Canada – 2022

With Co-Founder Anthony Gismondi.




 Our guest is the highly respected wine writer, reviewer, and industry leader Anthony Gismondi.

Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America’s most influential wine voices. His twice-weekly column in The Vancouver Sun, which he has written since 1989, is read across Canada through Postmedia Network, reaching close to 10 million readers.

His comprehensive wine review website www.gismondionwine.com, one of the first such sites on the internet, features over 30,000 tasting notes, added daily. It is an important resource for trade and consumers in Canada and 114 other countries.

Anthony hosts BC Food & Wine Radio Show the longest-running, weekly wine and food show on Canadian radio for 25 years. The one-hour show is broadcast on 20 radio stations across British Columbia and is available everywhere as a podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and more.

Gismondi is the co-founder of the annual National Wine Awards of Canada, the largest and broadest competition for Canadian Wine since its inception 21 years ago. Anthony continues to run the annual event as co-chair. He is also the editor of the Canada wine section in the world’s best-selling wine book Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. In addition, Anthony is a much sought-after moderator and consultant.


He will occasionally post as ‘The Spitter”


The 21st running of the National Wine Awards of Canada wrapped up on June 23 in Niagara.  After much deliberation and number checking,  the results rolled out on July 15th, starting with Sparkling Wines. 

The rest of the category results were rolled out throughout the rest of July, with the final Platinum, Best Performing Small Winery, and Winery of the Year announcements coming at the end of the month.  (We’ve included links to all the results below)

Co-Head Judges Anthony Gismondi and David Lawrason

The 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada were founded by David Lawrason and Anthony Gismondi, ‘The Nationals’ are the largest and most respected Canadian wine competition.

In 2022, 24 judges tasted 1,890 entries from more than 250 wineries. Canadian wine is indeed gathering acclaim internationally, but ‘The Nationals’ is the most important peer competition local wineries can enter.

With nearly every producer of note in the country competing, making it to the top ten of any category list is special. Getting on the annual list of the Top 25 Wineries in Canada is one of the most sought accolades in the business.


Judges and Admin Staff of the National Wine Awards of Canada

The entries came from eight provinces. British Columbia had the highest representation with 137 wineries entered, Ontario came second with 87, followed by wineries from Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

The wines were all served blind (producer, origin, and price were not revealed) but identified and organized into flights by grape variety or style. The top medalists were tasted in multiple rounds by many different judges.

The judges only tasted a limited quantity of wines each day so their palates could stay fresh and focused, and the wines were served in high-quality glasses at just the right temperature. All this was to ensure that each wine was treated with the respect it deserves.

Finally, after an exhilarating series of announcements on July 29 WineAlign were thrilled to conclude their results with Canada’s Winery of the Year, the Top 25 Wineries in Canada, the Top 10 B.C. Wineries and the Top 10 Ontario Wineries.


Congratulations to all the winners of the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada!





Medal Winners by Category:

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Icewine & Late Harvest
Mead, Fruit Wine & Fortified
Orange Wines (extended skin contact)
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Red Blends
Red Single Varieties – Others
Sauvignon Blanc
White Single Varieties – Others
White Blends






Meet the Maker

Culmina and Laughing Stock

Every Chef needs a Farmer  Every Farmer needs a Chef

Kitten Swish with Brad Royale

Van Wine Fest





February 4th, 2023- Angus An/Kurtis Kolt. Creative pairings at New Fat Mao/Fort Berens Releases  


Angus An/Kurtis Kolt. Creative pairings at New Fat Mao/Fort Berens Releases




Fat Mao—meaning “prosperous cat” in Cantonese—is a casual open-kitchen concept by Chef Angus An, dishing up Thai-style noodle soups plus southeast Asian sides and drinks.

Flavourful made-from-scratch broths and locally sourced noodles are accompanied by smaller dishes of B.C. seafood, house-made tofu, and seasonal vegetable salads. Chef Angus recommends customizing your noodles with your choice of spicy sauces, oils, and tangy vinegars to personalize your own fun, comforting, and interactive meal.


“Fat Mao is an ode to the small storefronts handed down through several family generations that specialize in making one single dish over and over,” explains An. “I want our guests to pull up a stool and enjoy a bowl of their favourite noodle soup with a good novel for years to come.”


While the small and focused downtown menu features many fan favourites from the original Fat Mao, it will also offer a handful of tempting dishes from ceviche to rotating flavours of shaved ice that are exclusive to the new location.

Debut highlights include braised brisket noodles served with Asian celery and fried garlic; Nam Ngaio—a Northern-style tender pork-rib noodle dish with pork-blood cake, red cotton tree flowers, and fermented soybean; Albacore tuna ceviche with aromatic herb dressing and crispy taro; and Thai-tea shaved ice for a sweet finish, served with grass jelly and condensed milk with Thai iced-tea panna cotta.

 (Fat Mao Noodles –  Downtown Vancouver)

Angus An – Chef. Author. Restaurant founder.

The list of award-winning restaurants created and launched by Angus and his wife Kate is truly impressive.

Gastropod (Top 200 in the World – Zagat)  Rebranded to Maenam (best Thai 8 years running- Top 25 in  Canada & 2016 VanMag Restaurant of the Year)

Now, Angus and Kate have created Longtail Kitchen/Fat Mao/Freebird Chickenshack/Sen Pad Thai/Popina Canteen and  Fat Mao Noodles.

AngusAn KurtisKolt

Kurtis Kolt –  Has enjoyed consulting on the wine program at Maenam in Vancouver along with leaping into random adventures with chef/proprietor Angus An through various pursuits, from James Beard House dinners to pop-up Sherry bars. Now Angus has opened a second Fat Mao location in downtown Vancouver and he’s fully on board.

It’s a tricky food and wine room in that customers are in and out quickly. There’s simply not time to choose,  open and pour wines so Kurtis gathered together fine wines in cans and MagBags. This is like the food and wine version of a high-wire circus act. Every dish is an orchestra of flavors and textures. The challenge for Kurtis is – which of the many flavors and spices do you want to pair your wines with?

As for the wines…

Sharply priced wines ($6-$21) are available at Fat Mao Downtown in a wide variety of serving sizes: by-the-glass in three, six, or nine ounces; and by the can in 250 mL (5 oz) single-servings, 375mL (12+ oz) ‘half bottles’, and 473 mL (16 oz) equal to a couple of glasses. Notable wines featured on the current list include selections from British Columbia’s JoieFarm, Orofino, Birch Block, and Averill Creek, plus contemporary Californian gems like Ferdinand Albariño and Matthiasson’s Barbera-driven ‘Tendu’ Rosé.

Loved this conversation – It Rocked, just like Fat Mao.

Visit fatmaonoodles.com and follow @fatmaonoodles on Instagram for more information and up-to-date specials.



Rolf De Bruin  Co-Founder & Co-Owner Fort Berens Estate Winery   (Lillooet)

#3 Best Small Winery in Canada

Heleen and Rolf  / Fort Berens


It’s a routine I’ve been engaging in for many years now. Checking in with Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet.

As I drove through the Lillooet area one year on a trout fishing trip, I could hear Harry McWatters distinctive voice in my ears…

keep an eye out on that rangeland, could be a fine place for vineyards”  Harry was right.

For 12 years now Rolf De Bruin and his wonderful wife Heleen have been leading a hard-working vineyard and wine-making team out on Highway 99 between Whistler and Cache Creek/Kamloops.  High Country.  Cold in the Winter. Usually the hottest place in Canada in the Summer.  They have winemaking essentials.  Lots of land, heat, and water.

Rolf has been planting additional vineyards and we’re now starting to see more Reserve Estate wines in Spring and Fall.  One day, all the wines will come from the estate.  That’s the plan, Stan.

Right in the middle of the pandemic, they managed to find, hire and transport a new winemaker/viticulturist Alex Nel.  All the way from South Africa.

Alex Nel Winemaker

Keep in mind that the 2021 growing season included “the heat dome”. In Lillooet, they dealt with the highest temperature ever recorded in June, then came the wildfires.  The vineyards managed to avoid the fires but they essentially shut down to survive The Sun and rebounded when the heat normalized.

When the town of Lytton was ravaged by wild fires, Fort Berens created a Pinot Gris release from one of the vineyards that the fires didn’t damage.

100% of the monies raised went to support industry partners through Lytton Strong When a silent auction and corporate sponsorship dollars were added,  a total of $164,000 had been raised.

They immediately started rebuilding the Lytton outdoor pool, where the community always gathered. (did I mention it’s the hottest place in Canada?)  Good people!! Congratulations all.




Here are the latest releases from Fort Berens


  •  Meritage 2020 (available now)
  • Cabernet Franc 2020 (available now)
  • Pinot Noir 2021 (available now )
  • Riesling Reserve 2021 (will be released in March 2023)
  • White Gold 2021 (will be released in March 2023)








Van Wine Fest 2023

Haywire releases

The Mezcal of Oaxaca

Okanagan Wine Festivals

Lt Governors Awards

January 28th, 2023: A Spirits Special – The Five Bottle Bar Book and Single Malt 006 from Eau Claire.  


A Spirits Special – The Five Bottle Bar  and Single Malt 006 from Eau Claire.




Eau Claire Master Distiller Caitlin Quinn.

Caitlin Quinn


This edition of TRR started with the arrival of a handsome  bottle of  Eau Claire Single Malt Whisky 006 (Bottle 1681)


It’s the sixth single malt release from Eau Claire Distillery’s award-winning whisky program and their  first six-year-old batch release.

Aged in New European Oak (Hungarian), Ex-Bourbon (American) & Ex-Sherry(French)barrels. They made 3000 bottles total. $109 in Tasting Room.

This is such a sip to celebrate.

Caitlin and I talk about the aroma notes of caramel, berries and Granny Smith Green Apple

Taste of Butterscotch,  Cloves and spice.

Think about it – Caramel and Butterscotch in a sip.

With a long finish.

There’s also a reference under style I Liked – Moreish.

I thought it referred to the historical  Moors.  Caitlin replied  

“No. It means more please!”


Two interesting points Caitlin makes…

This Single Malt won Best Canadian Single Malt Whisky of the Year –

New York International Spirits Competition – 2022


Because of the extremes of cold in Winter and heat in Summer in Turner Valley, the cellaring of these spirits makes them age more rapidly.

I think the Turner Valley malted barley helps.

Thank you Mother Nature.


Caitlin also tells us about what’s coming later on this year.




The Five Bottle Bar – Reference Book from Author and Ampersand co-founder Jessica Schacht

When the book arrived I knew we had another spirits feature show.

Jessica presents  a collection of cocktail recipes that rely on just five bottles to build your bartending style with ease and confidence.

Five bottles around which your inner bartender can emerge with skill, savvy and a little flare for the dramatic when it’s called for.

Jessica Schacht believes with a little curation and mastery of the basics, we can succeed at elevating the everyday and cultivating a good cocktail hour.

Jessica Schacht – Author

The bottles? 

Gin, Whiskey, Sweet and Dry Vermouth, and Campari (plus bonus recipes for Bubbly). The setting: living room, backyard, window seat, and the wild beyond.

The mixologist? You!!

In this beautifully photographed collection, Jessica Schacht, co-founder of Ampersand Distilling Company, presents her take on classics (like the G & T, the Old Fashioned, the Martini, and the Negroni), collections (sours, punches, and such), and contemporaries (a few inventive new drinks to pique your creativity).

There’s a chapter of zero-proofs in part inspired by the abundance of new alcohol-free spirits on the market now, and another dedicated to keeping your vacation drinks game classy, from the airplane to the B&B to the beach.

In addition to the recipes The Five-Bottle Bar supplies a solid foundation in bartending basics. Tools, techniques, suggestions on glassware and garnishes, the condensed history of spirits, and tips for setting up your minimalist bar cart.


Jessica also recommends The Five Bottle Bar – by region.

For British Columbia:

Ampersand Gin

Stillhead Rye Whisky

Imperative Dry vermouth

Esquimalt Wine Co. Sweet Vermouth

The Woods Amero


Jessica Schacht is the cofounder of the multigenerational family-run Ampersand Distilling Company and author of the History Glass column in the Cowichan Valley Voice. She is grateful to live in the Cowichan Valley in the home she shares with her husband and sons.

This is a fun, engaging read.

We intend to reconnect with Jessica when the heat of The Sun finally returns to our lives.








Fort Berens new releases

Okanagan Wine Festivals

Lt. Governors Awards

Vancouver Wine Festival

Fat Mao Downtown

Angus An and Kurtis Kolt






January 21st 2023 Kimberly Hundertmark – New GM at Okanagan Wine Festivals


Kimberly Hundertmark – New GM at Okanagan Wine Festivals/Winter Festival events start Sunday


It was perhaps 12 years ago when Jason Priestley and I were shooting Hollywood and Vines TV with producer Chad Oakes. Our journey took us to Niagara and their yearly wine festival.

Our host was Kimberly Hundertmark, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festivals. Immediately,  we were hitting the ground running, just to keep up.

While Kimberly watched over our television interviews and necessary production, she was also leading the team members who were running her festival events.

We were much impressed with Kimberly’s drive and leadership. She had created a framework that turned Niagara’s Wine festivals into “don’t miss” events.

Kimberley Hundertmark

We also got to meet her husband, winemaker Jeff Hundertmark.

Between events we answered questions they had about BC Wines and how the future was looking out West.

Something clicked because in 2017  they said a long goodbye to their friends in Niagara and showed up in the Okanagan Valley.

Geoff to continue making wines and Kimberly taking on wine and hospitality teamwork.

It was only a matter of time before the valley realized what they had in these two delightful and driven people!

Jeff is now the head winemaker at Mt Boucherie and Rust Wine Co and Kimberly had been named the new GM of Okanagan Wine Festivals.



This feature interview with Kimberly is more like a celebration.

Not only is she going to make the Okanagan Wine Festivals better than they’ve ever been, she’s going to lead the reimagining of what those wine and food festivals will look, smell, sound  and feel like.


2023 starts with the reimagining of the Winter Wine Festival


The Okanagan Wine Festivals will partner with Predator Ridge to deliver  a Burgundy inspired event Sunday  January 22  featuring festival partners well known for their  Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.


The Grande Finale takes place January 27 and 28 with event partners in Penticton and Oliver.


SensationAn Eve for the Senses on January 27th  at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and will feature wine and culinary pairings!


On Saturday, January 28th,  the Okanagan Winter Wine Festival will move south to The District  Wine Village in Oliver.

The afternoon’s programming will include District partners as well as festival wineries  showcasing curated experiences as part of the TASTE Passport.   

Each TASTE Passport includes six vouchers which are redeemed for an elevated tasting  experience from the participating beverage partners. This is a one stop tasting experience  unique to the Winterfest program.

“The launch of the Okanagan Winter Wine Festival is long overdue. The Okanagan Valley’s  wine industry is positioned to help build shoulder season visitation alongside our partner  stakeholders.

Extended visitation and audience reach has a substantial impact on local  economy, particularly during the winter months. The time is right, and the Okanagan Wine  Festival is committed to a festival re-imagined” says Kimberly Hundertmark, General Manager.


All tickets are available through thewinefestivals.com.



We welcome Kimberly Hundertmark (and the guy she brought with her)


Mark deVere Mondavi Ambassador/ Master of Wine

Second guest is Mark deVere.  Master of Wine representing Robert Mondavi Wines at the 2022 VanWineFest

For those who may not know, the very first winery that signed on for the very first VanWineFest was Mondavi.

Robert himself attended.

Whoever speaks on behalf of this world famous winery had best  come equipped with stories,  insights and deep history.

These days the storyteller is Mark deVere Master of Wine and Mondavi Ambassador.





Crush Pad becomes Haywire –

New Releases


Five Bottle Bar

Fort Berens

Black Swift and Jason Parkes Customs

Van Wine Fest




January 14th, 2023 New Releases from Township 7 and Hester Creek


New Releases from Township 7 and Hester Creek



We have several friends on board this week.

Mary McDermott – Winemaker at Township 7 (Naramata and South  Langley)

Mary McDermott

Mark Hopley and Adair Scott – Winemaker (Hester Creek) and Executive Chef (Terrafina Restaurant – Golden Mile)

They bring with them tales of the 2022 vintage season and the resulting harvest. How can we forget the miserable Spring? Wet, foggy, windy, and with no sign of Sun. I kept hearing cautionary remarks that “if we don’t get Sun soon there will be no growing season”.

The Sun did show itself in a big way and the season turned out to be over the top. Depending on where you were growing.


Mary McDermott brings three of her new releases today


  • New winter releases
    • 2020 Provenance  Series Chardonnay SRP $25.97 (half in French Barriques and half in Stainless Steel) Rich. Intense. Vanilla/Peach/Spice
    • 2020 Provenance Series Cabernet Sauvignon SRP $33.97 2 vineyards. (French Oak. 1/3 new) ripe black fruit  and cherries, caramel.
    • 2020 Benchmark Series Pinot Noir SRP $41.97 Handpicked in OK Falls. (Neutral French Oak) Dark fruit and tannins. Earthy.

  • New for Township 7 in 2023 – planting more Pinot Noir at their South Langley vineyard for the popular Seven Stars sparkling wines.
  • new releases coming out – seven stars 2019 Polaris Blanc de Blancs, plus several others this spring and later this summer
  • new events coming up: Love is Blind Valentine’s weekend (Feb. 11 & 12th) at both South Langley and Naramata Bench wineries
    • blind wine tasting of four wines (choose from sparkling, all white or all red) includes charcuterie and sweets,
    • only $36.97/person, contact is  [email protected] for reservations or bookings available online shortly)



Mark Hopley Winemaker at Hester Creek Estate  (Golden Mile)

Adair Scott – Chef at Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek


Chef Adair Scott Hester Creek


Any opportunity I get to pair food and wine in an engaged conversation is a good day.

As Mark was taking us through the growing/vintage  season I had a thought to ask Chef Adair about how that same season affected his menu and recipe choices.

Many guests have talked about how the best pairing is if the grapes, fruit and vegetables are all grown in the same soil it’s a win/win.  Well,  these two artists get to pair like that every season.

As Mark took us through the wines, Chef paired his menu choices to create a seamless dining experience.

Winemaker Mark Hopley presented his next three releases

Mark Hopley Hester Creek

2021 Character Red. Handpicked Oliver fruit. A much-loved blend of Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. There’s a unique Merlot clone in there as well, originally from Italy. (Thank you Joe) 8 months in American and French Oak. Blueberries, blackberries, white pepper, and sage on the nose.

Palate bursts in your mouth with a  blend of cherry, acidity, smoke, and vanilla.  Here’s the best part – priced under $20 (BC + taxes)


2020  Old Vines Merlot.  A Golden Mile Estate Exclusive. Handpicked, hand sorted, soaked on the skin for 3 days, aged 18 months in French barrels.

The result? On the nose cocoa, cherries, and plum. The palate combines dark fruit and cocoa. Layers of “everything”. Lots of tannin, acidity, and texture.$27.99(BC + taxes)

2020 Old Vine Cabernet Franc.  These over 50-year-old vines have established what they are and what they’ll produce. Those roots have grown deep in the Golden Mile soils which produce beautifully concentrated fruit.  Aged 8 months on mostly French Oak. Anise and ripe blackberry on the nose. The palate presents ripe blackberries, vanilla, toast, and a beautiful balance. All elements get a chance to shine. An amazing $27.99 (BC+ taxes)

My thanks to Mark and Chef. See you in the Spring.





The Five Bottle Bar

Eau Claire Distillery

Blue Grouse

Victoria Whisky Fest

Kimberly Hundertmark – New GM

At Okanagan Wine Festivals