Friday, March 31, 2006

Chased From The Vineyard!

We we're chased out of the vineyard this morning by a steady rain.
Lots of trades work in the rain but when you're handling pruning shears and standing on slippery ground it becomes a little risky. We've had a good steady week of dry weather and made a lot of progress. So have the vines; buds are getting fuzzier and just beginning to swell. A week from now they may be too fragile to handle but I think we'll get the last dozen rows done without doing any damage.
These are young vines and still require some training. Eventually they will be double cordon but we've elected to keep them all single cordon for one more season.
Will post a few photos over the next little while to illustrate.
Plenty to do inside on a rainy day.
Meeting in a few minutes with another winemaker who is looking to buy some Chard. We have a little extra.
Barrel topping and tank analysis to do as well.
Bottling in two weeks means working through that checklist as well.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Getting Wine & Vine BC Delivered

Often I'm stopped on the street or at the local supermarket and people will say:
"Bradley, how can I get regular updates from your blog?"
There's at minimum two convenient solutions.

I you use a news aggregator like Sharpreader you can copy the shortcut in those big orange buttons you see at the top of my posts.

If you prefer, updates can be delivered to your mailbox by using the handy form found in the sidebar.

Do it today, you'll be glad you did!

Monday, March 27, 2006
...reports on WalMart and the advent of their wine selections.

The Caveman's Wine Blog

The Caveman's Wine Blog
Caveman attended a significant event. I think we should push him for more expansive reviews given his noted expertise and recent discoveries.

Wine caves catching on

Wine caves catching on
I know of a few wineries in BC beginning to take advantage of our naturally hilly topography. This story shows just how far it's gone in other places . . .

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Here's some intelligent wine reviewing . . .

It's not spring/winter everywhere

Originally uploaded by stephanie-sas.
Some muscat (probably picked by now)getting some late season hang time in Mendoza.

Beyond Salmon

Beyond Salmon

Instant Vinters or Wine Entrepreneurs?

Interesting story for those wondering just how some wines get to market...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Riesling the King of Grapes

Christian over at Turn the Screw (click on the header) reports on how riesling really ought to be one of Oregon's premier varieties. The climate is right.
We've been growing good riesling around these parts for some time, but can we do better?
As vineyard properties becomes more expensive and growers start cultivating 'marginal' land, is it time we consider riesling for these areas?
Some of the world's best rieslings come from places where the soil is modestly described as 'challenging' and the climate makes Lynn Canyon or Tofino look arid.
Why not try some down in the bible belt (Langley - Abbotsford south of 40th Avenue or so)? It's long season might be able to cash in on a First Nations summer once in awhile.

Building a Presence in the Wine Industry

How do you get your winery project off the ground?
Many people think that when they are creating a new winery venture that they will have to have investment from deep-pocketed institutions or individuals to get it running. Certainly, to achieve any kind of viable scale, some capital is required at the outset.

But if you consider your wine venture as 'your baby' then you'll have to find a way to accept that you do not own the company - your investors do. And they can control or take it away from you when ever they choose.
Reading Seth Godin the other day prompted me to consider whether a winery could be funded on a parceled basis or project by project. That way you don't sell out. Each wine or however you segment the business is funded separately. When you invest in a motion picture you don't buy the studio - you buy a chunk of a film and your returns vary with each agreement.
I'd be interested in your feedback on this.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Very Busy

Haven't had time to post:
  • very busy in the vineyard trying to keep ahead of Mother Nature. Vines are pushing.
  • learning how to be a currency trader; not going too well.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Good Wine Words Being Said

One of Vancouver's prime wine writer/talkers has some nice things to say about the Township 7 stable.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yes, It's Mass Produced But, Dammit, It's Good.

It's a Chard, unoaked from Goundrey. Yes, it's part of the Vincor deathstar empire of everything, but it is very pleasing.
Fresh and vibrant, full of essential Chard characteristics. Lots of lime and citrus and pleasant nose appeal as well.

It's 12.99
The sku is 60889

Carmenere Might Be My New Favourite Varietal.

Tasted a few Carmeneres at the Vancouver International and this was one of the good ones.
Lots of ripe plum and blackberry. Intelligent use of oak. Plenty of body.
It was 16.99 and another good reason to buy right at the festival store as it isn't listed in this province. If you want to put some pressure on the BCLDB to bring it in the number is 739391.
It's a 2004 so I'll expect to cellar it a few more years.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From the Heart of Washington Wine country

This woman writes out of Walla Walla. The town and not the penitentiary I'm sure.

Moms I'd Like to Drink Wine with

These two may be 'unsophisticated' by their own admission but they're genuine

The Wine Nazi -

The name sucks but the site is worth checking out.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Riesling Stunner - Vancouver Wine Festival Tasting #2

Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Kabinett

When there's Riesling like this one it's no wonder the Germans consider it the king of grapes.

Lush peach and stone fruits mix harmoniously on the palate. The aroma are all honeysuckle, fig and some cardamom. A wicked good finish and plenty of balance between acid and sugar.

Picked up two for myself.
Not available in the BC Liquor stores unless there's remainders from the festival at the Cambie store or other specialty locations.

Not quite all WINE

Back after a great weekend on Apex.
Don't forget, if you're within shouting distance, the World Cup Freestyle FINAL event will be this weekend at Apex. Lots of Olympic medal winners in aerials, moguls and half-pipe.

At left, Summerland's Kristi Richards at the Olympics.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Inside a dirty tank . . .

Inside a dirty tank . . .
Originally uploaded by Dexwriter.
DE filtered an 04 Merlot/Cab Sauv blend today and tipped the empty tank over on it's side to make an internal inspection hence the gloves. I found these nasty cysts inside the patient. Used my trusty utility knife. (Homeyland Security forbids me to show it). Planning to bottle this mid-April.

FedEx Attempts to Simplify Wine Shipping

At least someone is trying to make things work.
It's a great idea if it works.
Anyone out there care to comment on their experience with this service?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Merlot, merlot, merlot and some more merlot.

Joined a number of colleagues at the Summerland Research Station for some Merlot tasting this morning.
As I posted earlier, the plan is to see if a scientific survey of trained tasters will reveal similar charactistics in a wine that can be attributed to terroir.

The subject wine was barrel samples of 2004 Merlot from various wineries.

Despite being wine makers and such, lots of the tasters were complaining of palate fatigue fairly early on.
Kudos to the staff and scientists at the station for a well-organized and executed session. Information from the proceedings will be made available in the coming months.

Is This Wine Item For Real?

Techies and wine types: Can you tell me if this story is the real McCoy?
Besides the lame-o hospital scenario - are there other applications for this technology if it is real?

And what do you think of this? Is it really necessary? The first line of the intro says -
...have trouble remembering what wine you drank last month? Or last night?
Maybe it's because you had too much?

What about a scribbler and a pencil?

Has Wine Terroir Emerged in the Okanagan?

Mike's photo stream

I'm off to the research station at Summerland this morning to particpate in a tasting event to determine the if terroir is a factor in Okangan Merlot.
The point will be to try and determine if terroir is making an impact on this varietal and, if so, is it geographically determined.
Y'know - is this place better than that place for growing grapes and making wine?
I'll post more on the experience shortly

Monday, March 06, 2006

Wilf's Wine Press

This fellow needs a little encouragement. He's retired, ferrchrissakes, so we know he has the time.
He's a good wine writer who needs a push. Take some time to fire a comment or two his way.
Ask him if he's got any tours planned.

Fermentation vs. Wholesalers and the 3 Tier System.

Click on the title and see how Tom goes after those carpetbaggers!

Alright, maybe it doesn't have much to do with what happens in Canada but maybe it does?

Isn't the U.S. three tier system (producer, wholesaler/distributor, retailer) a lot like the Canadian system of producer and provincial liquor control board?

Except the Canadian version sees the provincial board scooping the lion's share of the cash because most of the time it acts as distributor and retailer.

Isn't it time something changed in our neck of the woods? Right now, wineries can sell directly to restaurants but the transaction has a real "big brother" smell about it with lots of paperwork and plenty of coin paid to the government for the privilege of selling your own product.

Shouldn't the government butt out? Without playing the social conscience card?

"We need the cash flow to fund social programs to respond to the damage caused
by alcohol in our society".

Does anybody really believe all the revenues (or even a sizable portion) collected in this scheme actually go to alleviating the ills of alcoholism? Worse yet, rumour has it the BC board is looking at ways of getting more of the cut from wine producers who now sell direct to restaurants and other licensees.

Whether it's the U.S. system or the Canadian system, ham-handed politics keeps the cash flow racing into the government trough.

And the answer is . . . . 158 Wineries

A few posts back I asked you to guess how many wineries in BC there were when you combine the existing with the ones in "pre-approval".

(Sounds like some junk mail credit card solicitation)

When I migrated to the land of the sunshine tax in '96 there was probably about 40.

Quite a few of you already had the answer. Either you are very savvy or you read the same material I did. Which I can't recall where it's located.

The Wine Guy's Blog: Trouble comes in threes so what's next ?

The Wine Guy's Blog: Trouble comes in threes so what's next ?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I thought TA was titratable acidity?

A lot of you have heard of Cleavage Creek wines. Did you know the model search for the 2006 vintage had started? Have you got what it takes?

You may ask . . . WHY does BC wine cost so much compared to, say, Chile?

As an appetizer to the title subject, perhaps you'd like a little poll to wet your appetite.
Vote without looking down too much then scroll for the answer.

I recently heard a conversation between a grower and winery owner. Guess how much per ton the grower wanted for his average merlot for 2006?
$975 ?
$ 1075 ?
$1300 ?
$1800 ?
$2325 ?
$ 2500 ?
$ 3000 ?
$ 3500 ?
$ 3850 ?
$ 4200 ?
Free polls from







Scrolling, scrolling over the bounding main ...!






All right.

$4200 a ton.

I'm still trying to figure who is doing this. And why? What kind of freakville business plan is this?

We pay about $2000 /ton for Merlot.

Rule of thumb: Knock the last two digits off the ton price to approximate the retail value of a bottle on release. So $42 for a brand new winery with no track record? Over $85 on a restaurant list?

Those are big balls.

I guess everyone wants to be instantly rich. While in Chile and Argentina there are folks working the grapes for about $9.00 (US) a day. That'll keep your costs down.

Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) Tasting Result #1

With hundreds of wines to choose from it's not easy to spot the winners in the short few hours one has to work the room.

But here's one. Or two.

Casas Del Bosque (Chile)
Casa Viva Pinot Noir 2003
#207670 (BCLDB)

Sorry about having to turn your head sideways.
Sideways . . . Pinot Noir . . . get it?

Here's a great entry level Pinot. Full of vibrant fruit characterized by strawberries and rhubarb, good pie cherry on the nose, judicious use of oak and assertive tannins. At 13.7 % alcohol it may have more bite than necessary but still performs well. Best with food. I took a risk and scooped the last 4 bottles available to our session. I was only going to take two but I felt spiteful when I was denied my other two previous selections by earlier shoppers.

BIG TIP: This house also has a 2005 Pinot Noir at $19.95 that I tasted at the show but it wasn't in the shop for sale. The product code is 86611. It's a stand-out already and may approach the Sokol Blosser I will write about soon. Find and buy if you can.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Vancouver WIne Festival Results

First, let it be known that I attended a "trade" portion of the show so some of the items I tasted were perhaps not available to everyone who showed for the regular event.

If a crowd is any measure of success then the Vancouver International Wine Festival trade day was a success with lots of buyers and restaurant people filling the aisles.

From Australia (above) to Germany (at left) to the U.S. and from home (BC); there was plenty to taste from around the world.

France was the theme region and so the French wines were heavily represented and grouped en masse.

I'll be publishing some tasting notes from time to time over the next week so check back often.
One of the oddest moments of the festival came when I realized I was spitting tastes of $180 per bottle Champagne as I had to drive 300 km. at the close of the tasting. Odd at first but I got used to it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just how many wineries are there?

Why not try to guess the answer?

Lots of new wineries in BC. If you add the established ones to those in "pre-licensing", how many do you think there are? Answer on Monday!
Free polls from

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Award Winning Wines Packaged!

Nothing is quite like the feeling that I get when a wine I've made is in the bottle.

All the time the wine is in tank or barrel is seems a little bit unfinished. It seems more vulnerable to outside influences.

There's closure, pun intended, when the cork or cap is in place.

So today, after a week's delay and some down time on the line, I finally bottled the Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Un-oaked Chardonnay from the 2005 vintage.

They are all excellent wines and destined to win many accolades. My friend in PR told me this.

Vancouver Playhouse Festival Friday

Heading to Vancouver Thursday for the wine tasting on Friday. Bringing camera and will take notes. Will try to post a report by Sunday at the latest so check back.

Best deal in awhile: Say you buy a couple cases of wine at the on-site store. BCLDB will deliver them to your local government store free of charge. Beats lugging them out to the car and travelling around with them, tempting the thieves or fate as you continue to make with the celebrations as such.

Corker Continues to Trouble

We're bottling but we're not happy about it.

The corker is still functioning but it's making a strange sound. This means something is not right, but to us laypeople, it can't be determined exactly what.

We're also not happy with our tech support so we are in the process of talking with a new group which will ultimately result in a lot of our equipment requirements being satisfied by them as well.
You can't beat Randy and Randy for service. Check out their stuff