Okanagan Wineries Top Wine Regions in World

Okanagan Wineries

Okanagan Wineries: One of the Top Wine Regions around the World

Okanagan Wineries

Okanagan Wineries

Location Villa Orion on Google Maps

Explore on Google Maps the stunning location of Villa Orion (= Orion Consultings Ltd.= the owner).

1. Okanagan Valley is the Wine King in British Columbia

Canadian wine and grape industry reveals a prosperous & expanding $6.8 billion dollar industry (March 5, 2013 www.canadianvintners.com):
• The Ontario Wine Industry generates $3.3 billion
• British Columbia $2.0 billion
• Quebec $805 million
• and $196 million in Nova Scotia.
An additional $459 million is generated elsewhere in Canada.

BC Wine Economy has 212 wineries and over 864 vineyards on more than 9,800 acres of land. Jancis Robinson’s – well known Financial Times wine specialist – conclusions (January 2013) is that Canadian Wines Mature: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201301251.html My three favourite reds were all from BC’s spectacular Okanagan Valley, were wittily named, and were very different. Church & State somehow managed to produce a luscious Coyote Bowl 2009 Syrah that tastes stunningly recognisably of the northern Rhône’s grape but is not overly marked by the American oak in which it was apparently matured. Laughing Stock Vineyards’ Portfolio Bordeaux blend (right), another product of the 2009 summer, is perhaps less unusual in how it tastes, but comes in the cunningly etched bottle shown above. And Joie PTG 2010 was perhaps the single most original wine of the entire shipment, a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir that emulates Burgundy’s Passetoutgrains blend, which has been coming out of the shadows recently, not least because of global warming.

 

Okanagan Wineries

Okanagan Wineries

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2. The History of British Columbia WineMakers

BC wine industry is still dominated by a first generation of serious vintners who brought international credibility to Okanagan wines— wineries like Mission Hill, Jackson-Triggs, the Andrew Peller wineries, Quails’ Gate, Burrowing Owl, Tinhorn Creek and Gray Monk Estate Winery. Just a quarter-century ago, there were only 13 wineries in B.C., none with recognition outside the province. Today, there are close to 240 wineries, a number of which are winning international awards and exporting wines. “Our wines are in Tokyo and Beijing,” says John Skinner, proprietor of Painted Rock Estate Winery and a contemporary of Holler’s Poplar Grove. “It means something there if you are from the Okanagan.” Skinner is quick to acknowledge that all the upstart wineries wouldn’t be enjoying the success they are without the groundbreaking work of the pioneering generation that preceded them. “Painted Rock and the other little wineries that are out there banging the drum, we’re being accepted internationally on the backs of Quails’ Gate and Burrowing Owl and all those guys,” he notes. “They started to hit the quality marks early, giving the Okanagan some international profile.”
Today the B.C. wine industry’s annual sales, including wines made from B.C. grapes as well as the cellared-in-Canada wines from imported bulk wine, total about $400 million. Wine has become a major driver of jobs and investment, including the money being spent on new wineries.
The second careers – the well-heeled newcomers – are shaking up the wine industry. They are passionate about wine and they can spend what it takes to produce world-class wines. But they also bring a hardened business sense to the enterprise, according to Geoff McIntyre, a Kelowna-based CA and business consultant with consulting firm MNP who specializes in the B.C. wine industry: “They like the idea of the lifestyle, but they don’t want to lose money.”
“You are getting a new group of people coming into the wine business,” says Holler, who acquired control of Poplar Grove in 2007. “They are people who have been successful in other businesses. They typically are wine collectors and love drinking wine.” (Holler has 5,000 bottles in three personal wine cellars.) “We need people who say we are going to be a serious winery making serious wines. Probably the best trend that you are seeing is that the people who are coming into the wine business have the capital to be in that business.”
In addition to Holler, the group making second careers in wine after being successful in business includes Laughing Stock’s David Enns, a former financial consultant; Noble Ridge’s Jim D’Andrea, still a high-powered Calgary lawyer; Tantalus Vineyards’ Eric Savics, still a senior stock broker in Vancouver; John Arthur Kenneth Meyer of Meyer Family Vineyards, a former broker (who goes by Jak); Painted Rock’s John Skinner, also a former stock broker; and Mick Luckhurst, a former building supply dealer and developer who owns Road 13 Vineyards. (The Second Careers in BC Wines http://www.bcbusiness.ca/lifestyle/the-second-coming-of-bc-wineries).

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3. At the moment (2016) the Okanagan Valley has 133+ licensed wineries

Okanagan Wineries

Highlights: The Okanagan Valley has a wide variety of wines, depending on whether you’re south, central, or north. Temperatures can differ dramatically within a two hour drive. Often the province’s hot spots in the summer, the area has more degree growing days (days with adequate heat) than some other internationally renowned grape growing regions. True story.

Kelowna & Lake Country (North Okanagan) for bright, fresh white wines and medium-light body reds.

  • Common Grapes: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Marechal Foch, Chardonnay, Riesling, Zweigelt, and sparkling wines
  • Community to Visit: Lake Country
  • Our Top Pick: Arrowleaf Cellars, Pinot Noir

Summerland, Naramata, Penticton (Central Okanagan) for elegant white wines and medium-body reds with structure.

  • Common Grapes: Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, and sparkling wines
  • Community to Visit: you’re in it!
  • Our Top Pick: Okanagan Crush Pad, Haywire Winery, Switchback Vineyard Wild Ferment

Okanagan Falls (South Okanagan) for shimmering white wines and layered red wines with zippy acidity.

  • Common Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer
  • Community to Visit: Okanagan Falls
  • Our Top Pick: Meyer Family Vineyards, McLean Creek Chardonnay

Okanagan Wineries

Oliver & Osoyoos (South Okanagan) for robust, rich red wines and luscious, full-bodied white wines with enough structure to go the distance.

  • Common Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and other harder-to-ripen varieties
  • Communities to Visit: both
  • Our Top Pick: Fairview Cellars, anything with “cabernet”.

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4. Okanagan Wines = NUMBER 1 in Top 10 Wine Destinations Around the World

(Huffington Post, 4 Nov 2013)
NUMBER 1 = Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
From the Canada/U.S. border, Highway 97 winds its way north from the summer vacation hotspot of Osoyoos, through the region’s viticulture center in Penticton, and past the mountain-framed shores of Okanagan Lake to Vernon. More than 60 grape varietals are grown here, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, as well as a variety of fruit wines. Okanagan wines are truly exceptional, and Penticton is an excellent place to start a tasting tour of the more than 100 wineries in the region.
Okanagan Wineries
Number 2 = Bordeaux, France
Number 3 = Finger Lakes, New York
Number 4 = Mendoza, Argentina
Number 5 = Willamette Valley, Oregon
Number 6 = Tuscany, Italy
Number 7 = Cape Town, South Africa
Number 8 = Napa & Sonoma, California
Number 9 = Barcelona, Spain
Number 10 = Yarra Valley, Australia

5. Okanagan Wineries, 2016 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada (The Nationals)

The 2016 Winery of the Year

Tawse Winery, located in the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario: 5 Gold, 8 Silver, 4 Bronze
Tawse Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Tintern Road
Tawse Winery 2014 Riesling Carly’s Block
Tawse Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Cherry Avenue
Tawse Winery 2014 Sketches Riesling
Tawse Winery 2014 Riesling Quarry Road Vineyard

The 2016 Best Performing Small Winery (10,000 cases and under)

Lake Breeze in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia: 1 Platinum, 3 Gold, 2 Silver
Lake Breeze 2014 Semillon
Lake Breeze 2012 Winemaker’s Series Riesling
Lake Breeze 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
Lake Breeze 2015 The Spice Jar
Lake Breeze 2015 Pinot Blanc

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Top 25 Wineries in Canada

1. Tawse WineryTawse Winery, Ontario: 5 Gold, 8 Silver, 4 Bronze
Tawse Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Tintern Road
Tawse Winery 2014 Riesling Carly’s Block
Tawse Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Cherry Avenue
Tawse Winery 2014 Sketches Riesling
Tawse Winery 2014 Riesling Quarry Road Vineyard

2. Lake Breeze Vineyards, British Columbia: 1 Platinum, 3 Gold, 2 Silver
Lake Breeze 2014 Semillon
Lake Breeze 2012 Winemaker’s Series Riesling
Lake Breeze 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
Lake Breeze 2015 The Spice Jar
Lake Breeze 2015 Pinot Blanc

3. Road 13 Vineyards, British Columbia: 2 Platinum, 1 Gold, 5 Silver, 2 Bronze
Road 13 Vineyards 2014 Syrah Mourvedre
The Similkameen Collective 2013 Syrah Viognier
The Similkameen Collective 2013 GSM
Road 13 Vineyards 2012 5th Element
Road 13 Vineyards 2012 Jackpot Syrah

4. Thirty Bench Wine Makers, Ontario: 4 Gold, 6 Silver, 1 Bronze
Thirty Bench 2014 Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyard
Thirty Bench N/V Sparkling Riesling
Thirty Bench 2014 Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyard
Thirty Bench 2015 Winemaker’s Blend Riesling
Thirty Bench 2012 Benchmark Red

5. Meyer Family Vineyards, British Columbia: 4 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Meyer 2014 Pinot Noir Micro Cuvee McLean Creek Vineyard
Meyer Family Vineyards 2014 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir
Meyer Family Vineyards 2014 Old Block Pinot Noir McLean Creek Vineyard
Meyer 2014 Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard
Meyer 2014 Tribute Series Old Main Rd Vineyard

6. SpierHead Winery, British Columbia: 2 Platinum, 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
SpierHead Winery 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvee
SpierHead Winery 2014 Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block
SpierHead Winery 2015 Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyard
SpierHead Winery 2015 Riesling GFV Saddle Block
SpierHead Winery 2015 Chardonnay GFV Saddle Block

7. Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery, Ontario: 3 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze

Hidden Bench 2013 Roman’s Block Riesling
Hidden Bench 2013 Tete de Cuvee
Hidden Bench 2013 Estate Chardonnay
Hidden Bench 2013 Felseck Vineyard Riesling
Hidden Bench 2013 Locust Lane Pinot Noir

8. Château des Charmes, Ontario: 3 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze

Chateau des Charmes 2014 Gamay Noir Droit St. David’s Bench Vineyard
Chateau des Charmes 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
Chateau des Charmes 2014 Gamay Noir
Chateau des Charmes 2014 Riesling Icewine Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard
Chateau des Charmes 2014 Aligote

9. The Hatch, British Columbia: 1 Platinum, 1 Gold, 6 Silver, 2 Bronze
Black Swift 2013 Long Road Syrah
The Hatch N/V Brut Rose Octobubble
The Hatch 2014 Prima Volta Pinot Noir
Black Swift 2014 Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnay
The Hatch 2014 Screaming Frenzy Meritage

10. Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate, Ontario: 2 Gold, 7 Silver
Jackson-Triggs Niagara 2014 Reserve Riesling Icewine
Jackson-Triggs Niagara 2014 Grand Reserve Gewurztrmaniner Icewine
Jackson-Triggs Niagara 2014 Reserve Vidal Icewine
Jackson-Triggs Niagara 2014 Grand Reserve Vidal Icewine
Jackson-Triggs Niagara 2014 Reserve Gewurztraminer Icewine

11. La Frenz, British Columbia: 2 Gold, 5 Silver
La Frenz 2014 Syrah Rockyfeller Vineyard
La Frenz 2015 Riesling Freedom 75
La Frenz 2014 Ensemble
La Frenz 2014 Malbec Rockyfeller Vineyard
La Frenz 2015 Semillon Knorr Vineyard

12. Moon Curser Vineyards, British Columbia: 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze
Moon Curser 2013 Dead of Night
Moon Curser 2013 Syrah
Moon Curser 2013 Malbec Contraband Series
Moon Curser 2013 Petit Verdot Contraband Series
Moon Curser 2013 Tempranillo Contraband Series

13. Inniskillin Niagara, Ontario: 2 Gold, 6 Silver, 1 Bronze
Inniskillin Niagara 2014 Cabernet Franc Icewine
Inniskillin Niagara 2014 Vidal Icewine
Inniskillin Niagara 2014 Riesling Icewine
Inniskillin Niagara 2014 Gold Vidal Icewine
Inniskillin Niagara 2014 Sparkling Vidal Icewine

14. Church & State Wines, British Columbia: 2 Gold, 9 Silver, 1 Bronze
Church & State 2012 Quintessential
Church & State 2013 Coyote Bowl Series Syrah Second Chapter Vineyard
Church & State 2014 Island Vineyard Pinot Noir
Church & State 2013 Coyote Bowl Series Meritage
Church & State 2013 Coyote Bowl Series Cabernet Sauvignon

15. Trius Winery at Hillebrand, Ontario: 2 Gold, 6 Silver, 2 Bronze
Trius N/V Brut
Trius N/V Brut Rose
Trius 2015 Divine White
Trius 2014 Showcase Vidal Icewine
Trius 2013 Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc Clark Farm Vineyard

16. Henry of Pelham Family Estate, Ontario: 1 Platinum, 1 Gold, 2 Silver
Henry of Pelham 2014 Riesling Icewine
Henry of Pelham 2011 Cuvee Catharine Carte Blanche
Henry of Pelham 2014 Chardonnay Speck Family Reserve
Henry of Pelham 2015 Rosé

17. CedarCreek Estate Winery, British Columbia: 1 Platinum, 7 Silver, 2 Bronze
CedarCreek 2014 Platinum Chardonnay Block 5
CedarCreek 2013 Estate Merlot
CedarCreek 2015 Estate Pinot Noir Rosé
CedarCreek 2013 Platinum Merlot Desert Ridge
CedarCreek 2014 Platinum Pinot Noir Block 2

18. Flat Rock Cellars, Ontario: 1 Platinum, 4 Silver
Flat Rock 2013 Rusty Shed Chardonnay
Flat Rock 2014 Chardonnay
Flat Rock 2013 Gravity Pinot Noir
Flat Rock 2015 Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling
Flat Rock 2014 Pinot Noir

19. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, British Columbia: 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze
Burrowing Owl 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
Burrowing Owl 2013 Athene
Burrowing Owl 2014 Syrah
Burrowing Owl 2014 Pinot Noir
Burrowing Owl 2013 Merlot

20. Gray Monk Estate Winery, British Columbia: 1 Platinum, 1 Gold, 3 Bronze
Gray Monk 2013 Riesling
Gray Monk 2012 Odyssey Rose Brut
Gray Monk 2015 Rotberger Rosé
Gray Monk 2014 Odyssey White Brut
Gray Monk 2015 Ehrenfelser

21. Huff Estates, Ontario: 2 Gold, 2 Silver
Huff Estates 2014 Pinot Noir Reserve
Huff Estates 2011 Cuvee Peter F Huff
Huff Estates 2014 South Bay Chardonnay
Huff Estates 2013 Cuvee Janine Rose

22. Blasted Church, British Columbia: 2 Gold, 2 Silver
Blasted Church 2013 Cross to Bear
Blasted Church 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Blasted Church 2014 Swear to God
Blasted Church 2015 Pinot Gris

23. Peller Estates Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario: 1 Gold, 7 Silver, 3 Bronze
Peller Estates 2014 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc
Peller Estates 2012 Andrew Peller Signature Series Merlot
Peller Estates 2013 Andrew Peller Signature Series Cabernet Franc
Peller Estates 2013 Andrew Peller Signature Series Cabernet Franc Icewine
Peller Estates 2013 Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling Icewine

24. Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, British Columbia: 1 Gold, 11 Silver, 1 Bronze
Quails’ Gate 2014 The Bench Pinot Gris
Quails’ Gate 2013 Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay
Quails’ Gate 2014 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay
Quails’ Gate 2013 Richard’s Block Pinot Noir
Quails’ Gate 2013 The Boswell Syrah

25. Domaine Queylus, Ontario: 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 4 Bronze
Domaine Queylus 2013 Pinot Noir La Grande Reserve
Domaine Queylus 2013 Chardonnay Tradition
Domaine Queylus 2012 Pinot Noir La Grande Reserve
Domaine Queylus 2013 Merlot La Grande Reserve
Domaine Queylus 2012 Pinot Noir Réserve du Domaine

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6. Okanagan Wineries, which were awarded in 2015

Winner Autumn Best British Columbia Wine Award 2014

= Rover Shiraz–Viognier See Ya Later Ranch.

2015 Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines

5oth Parallel Estate (2013 Chardonnay), BC Wine Studio (2012 Siren’s Call Syrah), Blasted Church Vineyards (2012 Holy Moly Petit Verdot), Cassini Cellars (2012 Cabernet Franc Collector’s Series), Church & State Winery (2012 Quintessential), Enrico Winery & Vineyards (2014 Tempest Ortega), Ex Nihilo Vineyards (2013 Pinot Noir), Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Winery (2014 Riesling Icewine), Lake Breeze Vineyards (2012 Merlot), Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery (2010 “The One” Sparkling), Platinum Bench Estate Winery (2013 Gamay Noir Block 28), Red Rooster Winery (2012 Syrah Reserve), Ruby Blues Winery (2014 Commune Viognier), Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery (2014 Mystic River Gewurztraminer).
Okanagan wine tasting - best location.

Ranking in the WineAlign Awards in August 2015: Top 25 Canadian Wineries and Wines

1. Mission Hill Family Estate Winery (BC): 2014 Reserve Vidal Icewine, 2013 Reserve Riesling, 2012 Compendium, 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Quatrain
2. Arrowleaf Cellars (BC): 2013 Pinot Noir, 2014 Riesling Ritchie Vineyard, 2013 Zweigelt, 2012 Solstice Pinot Noir, 2014 Pinot Gris
3. Road 13 Vineyards (BC): 2013 Syrah Malbec, 2013 GSM, 2013 Syrah Mourvedre, 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc, 2012 Syrah
4. Trius Winery at Hillebrand (Ontario): 2013 Vidal Icewine, 2013 Outlier Gewurztraminer Carlton Vineyard, 2012 Red Shale Cabernet Franc Clark Farm Vineyard, 2009 Sparkling 5 Blanc de Noir, 2014 Pinot Grigio
5. Thirty Bench Wine Makers (Ontario): 2013 Riesling Small Lot Triangle Vineyard, 2013 Small Lot Wild Cask Riesling, 2013 Small Lot Gewurztraminer, 2012 Benchmark red, 2014 Riesling
6. Church & State Wines (BC): 2014 Trebella, Coyote Bowl Series 2013 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Lost Inhibitions Red, 2012 Okanagan Merlot, 2012 Meritage
7. C.C. Jentsch Cellars (BC): 2013 Syrah, 2012 Syrah, 2013 The Chase, 2013 Small Lot Malbec, 2014 The Quest
8. Quails’ Gate Estate Winery (BC): 2011 Pinot Noir Clone Selection, 2013 Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay, 2013 Pinot Noir, 2012 Merlot, 2014 Riesling Icewine
9. CedarCreek Estate Winery (BC): 2012 Platinum Meritage Desert Ridge, 2013 Platinum Pinot Noir Block 4, 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Shiraz Cabernet, 2014 Platinum Riesling Icewine
10. Tawse Winery (Ontario): 2013 Riesling Carly’s Block, 2013 Riesling Quarry Road Vineyard, 2012 Estate Chardonnay, 2012 Chardonnay Quarry Road Vineyard, 2013 Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling
11. Haywire Winery (BC): Canyonview 2012 Pinot Noir, Syrah 2013, 2014 Gamay Noir Rosé, 2013 Switchback Pinot Gris, 2013 Canyonview Vineyard Chardonnay
12. Deep Roots Winery (BC): 2014 Gamay, 2013 Syrah, 2013 Malbec, 2014 Pinot Gris, 2014 Frosted Pinot
13. Kacaba Wineyards (Ontario): 2013 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Cabernet Syrah, 2014 Reserve Riesling, 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay, 2011 Proprietor’s Select Syrah
14. Pellar Estates Winery Niagara (Ontario): 2013 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc, 2012 Signature Series Cabernet Franc, 2014 Private Reserve Riesling, Ice Cuvee Rose, 2013 Private Reserve Pinot Gris
15. Tightrope Winery (BC): 2014 Riesling, 2012 Riesling, 2013 Vertigo, 2013 Riesling, 2014 Tip-Toe
16. Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard (BC): 2012 Syrah Hearle Vineyard, 2013 Cachet Limited Edition No.4, 2013 Tempranillo, 2013 Grenache, 2012 Cabernet Frank
17. Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estates (BC): 2012 Reserve Shiraz, 2010 Grand Reserve Entourage, 2012 Grand Reserve Chardonnay, 2014 Reserve Viognier, 2011 SunRock Vineyard Shiraz
18. Creekside Estate Winery (Ontario): 2012 Broken Press Syrah Queenston Road Vineyard, 2012 Reserve Merlot Queenston Road Vineyard, 2013 Reserve Viognier Queenston Road Vineyard, 2014 Riesling Marianne Hill Vineyard, Undercurrent 2011 Syrah Vognier
19. JoieFarm (BC): 2013 PTG, 2014 A Noble Bend, 2014 Re-Think Pink Rosé, 2014 Pinot Blanc, 2013 Riesling
20. Tinhorn Creek Vineyards (BC): 2012 Syrah Oldfield Series, 2014 Gewurztraminer, 2012 Cabernet Franc, 2014 Oldfield Series Rosé, 2012 Merlot Oldfield Series
21. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery (BC): 2012 Athene, 2012 Merlot, 2012 Syrah, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Cabernet Franc
22. Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard (Ontario): 2012 Chardonnay Unfiltered, 2013 County Chardonny Unfiltered
23. Daydreamer Wines (BC): 2013 Amelia, 2013 Marcus Ansems Shiraz, 2013 Marcus Ansems Chardonnay, 2014 Pinot Gris
24. Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery (BC): 2014 Gewurztraminer, 2014 Pinot Gris, 2014 Mystic River Gewurztraminer, 2012 Red Horizon Meritage, 2013 Stoney Slope Riesling
25. Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate (Ontario): 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Entourage Grand Reserve Brut, 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine, 2012 Grand Reserve Shiraz, 2013 Reserve Riesling Icewine.

 

7. Canadian Wineries and Wines from the Wine Access 2012 Canadian Wine Awards, the countdown:

Number 25. Thornhaven Estates Winery, 6816 Andrew Ave, Summerland, Okanagan ValleyOkanagan Wineries
Telephone: 250-494-7778
Email: info@thornhaven.com
Website: thornhaven.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, May to end of October; weekends until Christmas
Established: 2001
Region: Summerland
Proprietor: Jack and Jan Fraser
Winemaker: Jason Fraser, Christine Leroux
The patio is a relaxing stop for wine tourists. Thornhaven draws its grapes entirely from vineyards near Summerland, including five leased hectares, which produce Syrah and the three major Bordeaux reds. As a result, Thornhaven has added several big reds to their portfolio — a Syrah, a merlot and a Bordeaux-style blend called Evolution. The winery also has raised its production of gewüztraminer to about a third of its output, to meet the demand for that wine ever since the winery won the 206 Lieutenant Governor’s Award with the varietal.

Number 24. Southbrook Vineyards, 581 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONOkanagan Wineries
Telephone: 905-641-2548/888-581-1581
Email: niagara@southbrook.com
Website: southbrook.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday, Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, Labour Day to Victoria Day; tasting fees in effect
Established: 1991
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietor: Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier
Winemaker: Brian Hamilton, Ann Sperling
Southbrook has firmly established itself as a showpiece, certified-biodynamic and organic property in the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation. The portfolio includes a range of Triomphe wines — new and age-worthy vintages, as well as older wines. In 2008, Southbrook also launched the impressive Poetica labels, smalls lots (often only one barrel) of chardonnay and cab blends going back to the 1990s. Small-lot Whimsy wines, 10 releases of one to two barrels, will be released in 2012, along with a lovely LCBO white blend called Connect. An excellent range of lightly fortified berry wines (Framboise, Cassis) has set industry standards. The Jack Diamond-designed winery is a must-see.

Number 23. Angels Gate Winery, 4260 Mountainview Rd., Beamsville, ONOkanagan Wineries
Telephone: 877-264-4283 /905-563-3942
Email: tours@angelsgatewinery.com
Website: angelsgatewinery.com
Tastings: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily
Established: 2000
Winemaker: Philip Dowell
Region: Niagara Peninsula
This winery has six estate-owned Niagara Escarpment sites, including the large 40-hectare Kew vineyard. The Mountainview Road vineyard, first planted in the 1950s, with acreage added in 2007, is now appearing on labels. Aussie winemaker Philip Dowell strives for balanced wines. Pinot noir is a specialty, but riesling, cabernet franc and old-vine chardonnay are historically strong. Riesling sussreserve and vidal can be delicious summer bargains. The Archangel series of varietal sparklers was added a couple of years ago. The fine hillside site offers a great vista from the Angel’s Terrace restaurant.

Number 22. Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery, 6094 Black Sage Rd., Oliver, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 250-498-4756
Email: winery@quintaferreira.com
Website: quintaferreira.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, March to October; by appointment November to March
Established: 2007
Proprietor: John and Maria Ferreira
Winemaker: Michael Ferreira
Region: Oliver
It should come as no surprise that this winery is releasing its first port-style wine, a fortified merlot called Porta du Ouro. John and Maria Ferreira came to Canada as children from Portugal. The winery, grandly redesigned to resemble a Portugese quinta, was the packing house when this farm was an orchard. It was replanted with vines from 1999 to 2001. The varieties growing here include young touriga nacional for a future port-type wine.

Number 21. Generations Wine Company (Union Wines): a virtual wineryLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 416-968-7070, ext 234
Email: andrew@vonterra.com
Website: unionwines.com
Tastings: N/A
Established: 2009
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietor: Andrew von Teichman and Allan Jackson
Winemaker: Allan Jackson
Generations Wine Company (Union Wines) is a partnership between famed winemaker Allan Jackson and sommelier Andrew von Teichman. Union is uniquely focused on mastering the VQA blend, bringing together the grapes that grow best in Niagara’s unique soils. Their inital launch was with Union White and Union Red, four-grape varietal blends in both cases. In 2012, they are launching their first rosé and Union Noir.

Number 20. Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery, 2145 Sun Valley Way, Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 250-497-8919
Email: info@wildgoosewinery.com
Website: wildgoosewinery.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, mid-April to mid-October; by appointment in winter
Established: 1990
Region: Okanagan Falls
Proprietor: The Kruger Family
Winemaker: Hagen Kruger
Having outgrown its modest winery, Wild Goose has just undertaken a major expansion that includes a larger tasting room, a new patio deck, a private function room and food facilities, additional wine storage, a new winemaker’s laboratory and more parking for the winery’s many visitors. New releases for 2011 include the winery’s first chardonnay in a dozen years. The winery’s storied Mystic River vineyard grew mediocre chardonnay when Wild Goose bought it in 1999. The winery replaced the vines and only last year made chardonnay when excellent purchased fruit was available.

Number 19. Pentâge Winery, 4400 Lakeside Rd., Penticton, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 250-493-4008
Email: julie@pentage.com
Website: pentage.com
Established: 1999
Region: Skaha Lake
Proprietor: Paul Gardner, Julie Rennie
Winemaker: Paul Gardner
A former marine engineer turned winemaker, Paul Gardner spent 11 years excavating a cellar the size of a maritime dry dock from solid rock to accommodate a winery with perfect storage temperatures. The aircraft-hanger style glass doors at the front enable winery visitors to peer into the cellar or, if they are inside, to look out over the vineyards. Gardner enjoys making small lots of interesting wine. New for 2012 is a ruby-style, port-style wine made from zinfandel grapes.

Number 18. Niagara College Teaching Winery, 135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 905-641-2252, ext. 4070
Email: winestore@niagaracollege.ca
Website: niagaracollegewine.ca
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, May to October; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday to Friday; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, November to April
Established: 2001
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietor: Niagara College
Winemaker: Terence Van Rooyen
Launced in 2000, this is Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery, with many graduates now working in the industry. South Africa native Terence Van Rooyen oversees production of a range of white and red varietals, most from the on-site Donald J.P. Ziraldo vineyard. The new, smaller, experimental Jac Forrer vineyard is testing more than 30 varieties. Although there is an excellent range of wine, the research is key.

Number 17. Huff Estates,2274 County Rd. 1, Bloomfield, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 613-393-5802
Email: info@huffestates.com
Website: huffestates.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, year-round; $1 tasting fee for 2 samples
Established Date: 2003
Region: Prince Edward County
Proprietors: Lanny Huff
Wine Maker: Frédéric Picard
At the crossroads of the County — Highway 62 and County Road 1 — sits this modern, gravity-flow winery. There is a small hybrid vineyard on site, but main plantings of chardonnay, cabernet franc and merlot are near the lake at South Bay. French-born and educated winemaker Frédéric Picard is honing an elegant style in chardonnay, pinot gris and merlot-cabernet franc-based reds from County fruit, as well as riesling from Niagara. Huff pioneered the County’s first sparkler — Cuvée Peter Huff Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay, which was converted to a chardonnay-pinot noir blend.

Number 16. Gaspereau Vineyards, 2239 White Rock Rd., Gaspereau, NSLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 902-542-1455
Email: info@gaspereauwine.com
Website: gaspereauwine.com
Tastings: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, June to October; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily May, November to December
Established: 2003
Proprietor: Carl & Donna Sparkes
Winemaker: Gina Haverstock
Region: Gaspereau Valley
Gaspereau, Jost Vineyard’s sister winery in the Gaspereau Valley, continues to impress with acclaimed winemaker Gina Haverstock’s riesling, l’acadie, muscat and an array of red, including pinot noir, castel, luci kuhlmann and a smooth red blend called Vitis. Its first traditional-method sparklers from riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir were released in 2011.

Number 15. Vineland Estates Winery, 3620 Moyer Rd., Vineland, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 888-846-3526
Email: wine@vineland.com
Website: vineland.com
Tastings: Call or visit website for details
Established: 1984
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietors: The De Gasperis Family, Allan Schmidt
Wine Maker: Brian Schmidt
German winemaker Hermann Weis started Niagara’s riesling revolution with plantings at Vineland Estates in 1979. Ownership has changed three times since, but the Schmidt brothers have been the constant, creating fine, sleek and pure Riesling, chardonnay and ice wines. The range was expanded into sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, gewürztraminer and good-quality reds, including winemaker Brian Schmidt’s great Niagara grape love, cabernet franc. A pinot meunier was added to the mix in 2010. They have ventured into sparkling wine, as well. The restaurant offers one of the best dining vistas and menus in Niagara. There is an excellent retail store and gift shop, plus the gorgeous Carriage House for private functions.

Number 14. Rosewood Estates Winery, 4352 Mountainview Rd., Beamsville, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 866-633-3248/905-563-4383
Email: connect@rosewoodwine.com
Website: rosewoodwine.com
Tastings: 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., daily, May to October; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday to Monday, November to April
Established Date: 2006
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietors: Eugene and Renata Roman
Winemaker: Luke Orwinski
Combining their deep family roots in beekeeping and their love for wine, the Roman family opened Rosewood as the first winery and meadery in Niagara, in 2008. The family’s desire is to craft quality-driven, affordable wines that express the unique characteristics of Niagara. Rosewood wines have performed consistently at awards across the country. Most notably the pinot noirs, of which the 2007 and 2009 vintages won gold medals at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards. Rosewood is also known for making a range of meads, some blended with grape-based wines.

Number 13. Lailey Vineyard Wines,15940 Niagara Pkwy., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 905-468-0503
Email: info@laileyvineyard.com
Website: laileyvineyard.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday and holidays, May to October; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, November to April
Established Date: 2000
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietors: Donna and David Lailey, Tonya Lailey and Yves Starreveld, Derek and Judith Barnett
Winemaker: Derek Barnett
Highly regarded, environmentally conscious grower Donna Lailey was one of the first to plant red vinifera in what is now the Niagara River sub-appellation, providing winemaker Derek Barnett with a great source of concentrated fruit. Barnett’s small-batch winemaking reveals intense, complex, well-structured reds capable of considerable aging. Impromptu is the flagship: a blend of syrah, petit verdot and malbec. Recently, Barnett has begun experimentation with Canadian oak. Crisp, dry riesling, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are always worth exploring, too. Barnett also makes some of Niagara’s best pinot noirs in several tiers and his 2010s, released in 2012, are stunning, especially the Lot 48 pinot.

Number 12. Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estates, 38691 Highway 97 N., Oliver, Okanagan ValleyLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 250-498-4500/866-455-0559
Email: okanaganestate@jacksontriggswinery.com
Website: jacksontriggswinery.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, May to October; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., November to April; four complimentary tastings
Established: 1981 (as T.G. Bright & Co.)
Proprietor: Vincor Canada
Winemaker: Derek Kontkanen, Brooke Blair
Region: Oliver
Now the Okanagan’s largest winery, this was opened in 1981 by T.G. Bright & Co., a predecessor company to Vincor. After the 1994 formation of Vincor, Jackson-Triggs was created as the national brand, named for two of Vincor’s founding partners. During the past year, the winery has changed its labels. The Black Series labels replace Proprietors’ Reserve; the Silver Series is a new mid-tier VQA range; the Gold Series replaces Proprietors’ Grand Reserve and includes the ultra-premium VQA wines, as well as single-vineyard wines like SunRock, and all ice-wines.

Number 11. Henry of Pelham, 1469 Pelham Rd., RR #1, St. Catharines, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 877-735-4267/905-684-8423
Email: winery@henryofpelham.com
Website: henryofpelham.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, June to October; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, November to May
Established Date: 1988
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietors: Paul, Matthew and Daniel Speck
Winemaker: Ron Giesbrecht
Founded on ancestral land by the late Paul Speck Sr. and his wife, Bobbie, Henry of Pelham is co-owned by three brothers: Paul Jr. (president), Matthew (viticulturist) and Daniel (sales and marketing) — the siblings in a successful brand called Sibling Rivalry that was followed in 2011 by the upscale Family Tree white and red blends. Veteran winemaker Ron Giesbrecht has maintained a high standard, leading the winery to the No. 2 spot at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards in 2011. There isn’t a weak link among the more than 30 labels, with the chardonnay, cab-merlot blends and dessert wines among Niagara’s best. Cuvée Catharine sparkling wines have developed a solid quality and following.

Number 10. Inniskillin Wines Niagara, 1499 Line 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 905-468-2187/888-466-4754 ext.5400
Email: inniskil@inniskillin.com
Website: inniskillin.com
Tastings: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, May to October; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, November to April; $1 tasting fee for table wines, $5 minimum tasting fee for icewines
Established Date: 1975
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietors: Constellation Brands Canada
Winemaker: Bruce Nicholson
An era ended in 2006 with the departure of founding partners Karl Kaiser and Canadian industry driving force Donald Ziraldo. Winemaker Bruce Nicholson keeps Inniskillin in the forefront, garnering countless awards. The focus on table wines has turned to riesling, chardonnay, cabernet franc along with pinot gris and pinot noir. The Legacy series wines continue to highlight the best single varietal of any given vintage. The East-West Series combines fruit and winemaking talent from the Okanagan Valley and Niagara.

Number 9. Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, 3303 Boucherie Rd., West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley
Phone: 800-420-9463/250-769-4451
Email: info@quailsgate.com
Website: quailsgate.com
Tastings: 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., daily, July to early September; 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., daily, May, June and September; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, October to April; complimentary tastings; $5 fee for a tasting flight, credited to purchase of 2 or more bottles of wine
Established Date: 1989
Region: Kelowna
Proprietors: Tony Stewart and the Stewart family
Winemaker: Grant Stanley
Grape growers since 1960, the Stewart family says they imported in 1975 the first pinot noir vines for a commercial vineyard in Canada. Their pinot passion remains unabated. Quails’ Gate, which started as a farm winery, now considers itself Canada’s largest producer of premium pinot noir, with about 12,000 cases a year. The winery, which grows seven or eight clones of pinot noir in its estate vineyard, has begun making small-lot releases of Dijon clone pinot noir. In 2012, the winery releases 230 cases of clone 828, a new clone the winery planted in 2006.

Number 8. Van Westen Vineyards, 2800A Aikins Loop, Naramata, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 250-496-0067
Email: vanwestenvineyards@shaw.ca
Website: vanwestenvineyards.com
Tastings: Tuesday and Saturday, by appointment
Established Date: 2005
Region: Naramata Bench
Proprietors: Robert and Tammi Van Westen
Winemaker: Robert Van Westen
The Van Westen family has grown apples and cherries near Naramata ever since Jake Van Westen, owner Robert’s father, moved to the area from Holland in 1954. Since Robert launched this winery — the family has grown grapes since 1999 — he has given every wine a name starting with V, sometimes with amusing results. The winery’s viognier icewine is called Vice. In 2012, the winery is releasing 43 cases of unsulphured cabernet franc called Vulture — inspired by the turkey vultures that hunt on the winery property.

Number 7. CedarCreek Estate Winery, 5445 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 250-764-8866/800-730-9463
Email: info@cedarcreek.bc.ca
Website: cedarcreek.bc.ca
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, May to October; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, November to April; complimentary tastings of three wines; $5 for Platinum series tasting
Established Date: 1987
Region: Kelowna
Proprietors: Senator Ross Fitzpatrick and Gordon Fitzpatrick. In February 2014 they announced the transfer of ownership of CedarCreek Estate Winery from the Fitzpatrick family to the von Mandl family. With this, two of the region’s pioneering winemaking families have come together with a shared vision for the Okanagan Valley, one that will continue the Fitzpatrick family legacy for generations to come.
Winemaker: Darryl Brooker, Dominic McCosker (assistant)
Launched as Uniacke Estate Winery, this became CedarCreek after the Fitzpatrick family bought it and relaunched it in 1987. To mark the winery’s 25th anniversary in 2012, CedarCreek is releasing a proprietary red from the 2007 vintage called The Tradition — a blend of five Bordeaux varieties with 20 percent syrah. Winemaker Darryl Brooker also expresses his Australian heritage with the winery’s first release of a shiraz/cabernet blend from the 2010 vintage. As well, the winery has increased its production of Platinum Viognier from 53 cases in 2010 to 500 cases in 2011.

Number 6. Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery, 4152 Locust Ln., Beamsville, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 905-563-8700
Email: info@hiddenbench.com
Website: hiddenbench.com
Tastings: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, April to October; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, November to March; tasting fees in effect; tutored tastings $15/person
Established Date: 2005
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Proprietors: Harald Thiel
Winemaker: Marlize Beyers
Hidden Bench vaulted to stardom upon opening in summer 2007, placing second overall in the Wine Access 2007 Canadian Wine Awards. Harald Thiel has set up a first-class, small-batch winery to create terroir-driven wines from the sustainably farmed Locust Lane and Felseck vineyard sites at the winery, as well as an old-vine Rosomel site purchased in 2004. Winemaker Marlize Beyers oversees a portfolio that includes several varietals and tiers. They are all medal contenders, but the top blends — Nuit Blanche White Meritage and La Brunante Red Meritage — have set new standards in Ontario. Watch for 2009 estate chardonnays and pinot noirs to be released in 2012 along with the 2010 rieslings.

Number 5. Road 13 Vineyards, 13140 316A Ave. (Road 13), Oliver, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 250-498-8330/866-498-8330
Email: winery@road13vineyards.com
Website: road13vineyards.com
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., daily, April to October; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday, November to March
Established Date: 1998
Region: Golden Mile
Proprietors: Mick and Pam Luckhurst
Winemaker: Jean-Martin Bouchard
This winery, formerly known as Golden Mile Cellars, was making less than 1,000 cases a year when Pam and Mick Luckhurst bought it in 2003. Renamed and aggressively expanded, the winery now makes about 25,000 cases a year. In 2011, Quebec-born J-M Bouchard became winemaker, succeeding Michael Bartier. While continuing Bartier philosophy of producing large-volume blends, he introduced a number of varietals. Road 13’s releases in 2012 include single-vineyard pinot gris and gewürztraminer, viognier, chardonnay, late-harvest chenin blanc and a Jackpot viognier/roussanne/marsanne.

Number 4. Church & State Wines, 31120 87th St., Oliver, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 250-498-2700
Email: info@churchandstatewines.com
Website: churchandstatewines.com
Tastings: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, April to October; otherwise, by appointment; $8/person tasting fee
Established Date: 2002
Region: Black Sage
Proprietors: Kim Pullen
Winemaker: Jeff Del Nin
Church & State’s elegant new winery on the Coyote Bowl vineyard, designed by architect Robert Mackenzie, anchors the winery’s focus on its Black Sage Road vineyards. The vineyard at the original Brentwood Bay winery on Vancouver Island is dedicated primarily to making sparkling wines. Winemaker Jeff Del Nin and proprietor Kim Pullen share a taste for red wines that are big and plush. The white wine portfolio had expanded to include a Rhône blend called TreBella and an Alsace blend yet to be named.

Number 3. Painted Rock Estate Winery, 400 Smythe Dr., Penticton, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 250-493-6809/604-306-1107
Email: sales@paintedrock.ca
Website: paintedrock.ca
Tastings: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, May 15 to Oct. 15; Winter, by appointment; $10 tasting fee, waived with purchase
Established: 2007
Proprietor: John Skinner
Winemaker: Michael Bartier and Alain Sutre (consultants), Gabriel Ries (cellarmaster)
Region: Skaha Lake
Painted Rock, which began selling its wines in the fall of 2009, has racked up numerous awards, including top B.C. winery in the Wine Access 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. Based on a Skaha Lake Bench vineyard, the winery is owned by former investment adviser John Skinner and his wife, Trish. The wines are crafted by a team that includes Bordeaux consultant Alain Sutre, consulting winemaker Michael Bartier and cellarmaster Gabe Ries.

Number 2. Nk’Mip Cellars, 1400 Rancher Creek Rd., Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, BCLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Telephone: 250-495-2985
Email: info@nkmipcellars.com
Website: nkmipcellars.com
Tastings: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, January to June; 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., July to early September; and to 5 p.m. from early October through December; two complimentary tastings, $3 for four more samples.
Established: 2000
Proprietor: Osoyoos ndian Band, VIncor Canada
Winemaker: Randy Picton
Region: Osoyoos
Nk’Mip Cellars was North America’s first aboriginal-owned winery, in a joint venture between the band and Vincor. Grapes come from the winery’s own vineyard and from nearby Inkameep Vineyards, which was established in 1968 and was one of the south Okanagan’s earliest vinifera vineyards. Nk’Mip winemaker Randy Picton has access to personally selected blocks of premium vines, making wines that include a $50 icon Bordeaux red called MeR’R’IYM (pronounced mur-eem) which means marriage.

Number 1. Tawse Winery, 3955 Cherry Ave., Vineland, ONLuxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion Penticton
Phone: 905-562-9500
Email: info@tawsewinery.ca
Website: tawsewinery.ca
Tastings: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily, May to October; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., weekdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., weekends, November to April; $2 tasting fee, 3 samples for $5, waived with purchase of 2 bottles of wine
Established Date: 2001
Proprietor: Moray Tawse
Winemaker: Paul Pender, Rene van Ede
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Tawse is one of Niagara’s great success stories — the first Ontario winery to be named Winery of the Year at the Wine Access 2010 Canadian Wine Awards, and the first to win five gold medals. It repeated as Winery of the Year in 2011 and collected six more gold medals. Toronto financier Moray Tawse has invested in a spectacular six-tier, gravity-flow winery. More than 80 hectares of vineyards are now farmed. Niagara College graduate Paul Pender does the day-to-day work. Pinot noir and chardonnay are the focus, but riesling, cabernet franc and merlot are also excellent. In the last few vintages, focus has shifted to several single-vineyard bottlings. The less-expensive Sketches wines provide some of the best value in Niagara, especially the rosé and riesling.

7. International Value Wine Awards 2012: Best Value Canadian Wines

To what do we owe this present day Renaissance of pleasant surprise and coast to coast quality? Passionate industry professionals for sure. We can thank the winemakers, marketing specialists, expatriate wine pros arriving in droves and especially the expert farmers and growers. A sea of grape-driven humanity, forging a template of success but also working together, towards a common goal.
Terroir is the great catch word for wine. A vine’s home determines its potential, its structure, its sense of place. Micro-climates, soil, geology, altitude, slope and vegetation all contribute to the make-up of a wine forged from that specific parcel, lot or locale. If you are from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria or anywhere else where wine has been made for centuries, well then there is nothing new or revelatory about this train of thought. If you are from Nova Scotia, British Columbia or Ontario, the discussion exudes relevance.
Defining geology and terroir in its sub-appellations is neither easy nor much discussed (as compared to Ontario), yet the wines of the sun-drenched shelf of land on the eastern slopes of Lake Okanagan’s Naramata Bench are surely ready to explode onto the scene.
It was nothing less than fortuitous for me to taste a Naramata Bench gem at the hands of a generous dinner guest. Without the tie of an unobstructed coast to coast railway carrying wine to and fro, Canadians are mostly shut out from their out-of province wine brethren and sistren. The most glaring unifying obstacle is the issue of guarded provincial borders (Michael Godel).

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonRed Rooster 2010 Cabernet Merlot
91 Points

Based around a blend of 58% cabernet franc, 27% merlot and a smattering of cabernet sauvignon and malbec, what impressed me most was the great balance in this glass. Cherry, blackberry, tea leaf and spice on the nose go well with a rich palate, “just-right” tannins and a touch of earthiness on the finish. Drinking great now.
• Reviewed: July 30, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2010
• Varietal: Cabernet – Merlot
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonArrowleaf 2011 Pinot Gris
89 Points

Here’s a very nice example of what pinot gris can deliver in the Okanagan Valley. Expressive and pleasant, it presents some beautiful pear aromas and good balance, with good length and a round feel that retains good freshness as well. A touch of minerality on the finish gives it a nice bit of extra dimension.
• Reviewed: August 1, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2011
• Varietal: Pinot Gris
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonGanton & Larsen Prospect Winery 2010 Townsend Jack Unoaked Chardonnay
89 Points

The high-spirited Townsend Jack is a nifty value. A blend of chardonnay from four vineyard sources, this charmer mingles grapes from both warmer and cooler sites, bringing ripe citrus, green apple and crisp pear flavors. Dry, clean and filled with fruit, this Okanagan gem really embodies the easy-drinking delectable nature of unadorned chardonnay. Try with pizza bianca, chicken fajitas or shrimp and garlic pasta.
• Reviewed: July 30, 2012
• Price Range: $5-$15
• Vintage: 2010
• Varietal: Chardonnay
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonMike Weir 2008 Riesling
89 Points

This shows the best of what Niagara has to offer in riesling, with a flinty initial nose that reminded judges of some Mosel producers. Look for signature lime and floral notes, great body, gripping acidity and excellent length. A lovely wine — it would pair well with summer salads, smoked salmon, lime-stuffed roast chicken, grilled rich fish or barbecued pork.
• Reviewed: July 31, 2012
• Price Range: $5-$15
• Vintage: 2008
• Varietal: Riesling
• Region: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonTherapy Vineyards 2011 Artist Series Riesling Kerner
89 Points

The addition of 25% kerner added to this blend lends expected intense, floral aromas to the nose of this wine. Judges loved the pear, mango, herb, mineral and floral characters. There’s a hint of spritz on the palate, with a touch of sweetness. Juicy lemon and green apple fruit flavors are balanced by the ideal level of crisp acidity.
• Reviewed: July 30, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2011
• Varietal: White Blend
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonWild Goose Vineyards 2011 Pinot Gris
89 Points

Wild Goose has been delivering solid, expressive pinot gris for years and the 2011 vintage is no exception. There are lovely aromas of red delicious apples and some very appealing spicy notes. It shows crispness when you take a sip, combining tastiness with freshness in a very friendly, satisfying way.
• Reviewed: October 22, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2011
• Varietal: Pinot Gris
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonHillebrand NV Trius Brut
89 Points

The Trius Brut is as reliable as they come. The nose is incredibly expressive — mineral, red apple, toasted nut, butter, pear and light floral notes all come through. Made from a A 70-30 chardonnay-pinot noir blend, red apple and lemon drive the palate on this crisp, slightly chalky bubbly. Some of those nutty, toasty notes sneak in through on the mid-palate for balance and depth.
• Reviewed: August 1, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: NV
• Varietal: Sparkling Blend
• Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonSumac Ridge 2009 Private Reserve Cabernet-Merlot
89 Points

This cabernet-merlot blend has a fruity, aromatic nose, with notes of graphite, raspberry, plum, white pepper and vanilla. The palate is juicy and silky with light to medium tannins. There are hints of cassis, blueberry and blackcurrant. This Old World-style blend develops nicely as it spends time in the glass.
• Reviewed: November 12, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2009
• Varietal: Cabernet – Merlot
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonVineland Estates 2009 St. Urban Riesling
89 Points

Light petrol, lime, lemon rind, petroleum jelly, green apple, matchstick and orange aromas around found on the nose of this riesling from Niagara. It is fresh, tart and juicy on the palate, with green apple, lime, slate, petrol and lemon flavors. This is made in a very brisk, tart style, but with good delicacy that should improve in the bottle over the next two to five years.
• Reviewed: July 31, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2009
• Varietal: Riesling
• Region: Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Calliope 2011 Viognier
89 Points

The runaway favourite with the judges, Calliope has all the indicators of fine viognier. There are white blossoms, apricot, tropical citrus and subtle herb notes on the nose and surging flavours of white peach, lemon pepper and tangy lime. This has a lovely balance of acidity and juicy fruit that swell into a soft and lingering finish. Try it with equally exotic flavours like jackfruit curry, sockeye salmon ceviche or coconut cream risotto.
• Reviewed: July 31, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2011
• Varietal: Viognier
• Region: British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonGray Monk 2010 Pinot Auxerrois
89 Points

This is quite a rare grape for the Okanagan Valley, but a consistent performer for Gray Monk. It starts a little shy on the nose, with only medium aromas of pear, apple, lemon, grapefruit pith and subtle floral notes. It is on the palate that this wine gets exciting. It is dry and medium in body, with refreshing, crisp acidity and intense flavours of stone fruit, orange zest, blood orange, baked apple and tropical fruit. Some baking spice and pith notes are found on the long finish. Pair with smoked sablefish, Alsatian onion tart, lemon chicken or Chinese takeout.
• Reviewed: July 31, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2010
• Varietal: Pinot Auxerrois
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Luxury Retreats Canada, Villa Rental Orion PentictonGray Monk 2011 Ehrenfelser Gray Monk Vineyard
88 Points

There is not a lot of Ehrenfelser in the world and even in BC where it grows well, the numbers are dwindling. So this wine is a bit of a treasure. The nose has baked apple and pear, tropical fruit and floral notes. On the palate there is medium sweetness and medium acidity giving a soft, rich baked fruit character along with citrus, mango and a medium length finish.
• Reviewed: October 12, 2012
• Price Range: $15-$25
• Vintage: 2011
• Varietal: Ehrenfelser
• Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

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