Sunday, July 29, 2007

Amelia Oil

It never hurts to repeat a truism when it acts as a kind of constant guide.

I rarely tire of the message: Good wine is best with good food.

Combining exquisite culinary creations with a special bottle of wine is one of the basic pleasures of life. It's an experience that can be relived time after time and each occasion is as novel and rewarding as the last.

So it is with great pleasure that I share with you one of my latest discoveries.

Amelia Oil is a tiny producer of olive oil. Oil that is pressed with nothing less than the kind of love one usually reserves for family.

That's probably because it is family. A family from West Vancouver and a family from Umbria in Italy have joined to produce, package and export an olive oil that really has no equal on this side of the pond when it comes to freshness and integrity.

There's lots to read on their website so I won't repeat a lot of what is there. Safe to say there's a fair amount of false representation among the huge oil producers and one way to protect your buying standards is to seek out a direct link from producer to your table. That's what Amelia Oil is all about.

What's it taste like?

It all comes down to taste. It certainly is fresh. I didn't know how stale my store bought oils were until I got my Amelia Oil a couple weeks ago. I was floored by the strength of the palate. I'm now using a little less oil in my preparations but with great flavour results.
The bouquet is very floral with a hint of candy and nut, the palate is full of vegetal green and grassy flavours, toasted grains and nut in the finish. I've used it in various incarnations but my favourites are:
1.BBQ grilled Tilapia drizzled with Amelia oil and sprinkled with basil from my garden.
2.In a pesto for a crust on ahi tuna
3.With some rustic, grain-festooned bread and Poplar Grove cheeses.

The price is, as to be expected, a tad more than the bargain basement oil you can get in the supermarkets. There is something to be said for an oil you can consume and lubrcate your car's engine with but that's not Amelia oil. If you care about what you put in your body then check out their website and blog.
Amelia Oil

By the way, they're now taking orders for the 2008 oilage.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gewurztraminer July 25, 2007

Gewurztraminer July 25, 2007, originally uploaded by Dexwriter.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Small Wine Movies

Alright it's not sideways, but a fellow in Edmonton has made a couple short, entertaining and informative movies.

Check the sidebar and just click on the video player to watch.

or here

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I get around

Since January, whenever I see the "wine maker needed" flashed on a cloud by a powerful search beam, I respond in the Cruiser.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Days of Wine & Roses Part Two - Keep it Simple Stupid

After determining your winery is a wreck and you'll need umpteen repairs and thousands of litres of new cooperage, there is a way to make your life simpler.

Design a spreadsheet that hinges on tonnage.

If I can do it, you can too.

Create a spreadsheet that automatically calculates all your requirements based on grape tonnage received. This will allow you to see at a glance what your requirements are using accepted industry rates of addition.

How much yeast for the Joe Blow Vineyards Cabernet? Tonnage X average litre yield per ton X grams per hecolitre. That should do it.

Almost all of your factors are available in the catalogs put out by the suppliers around this time of the year.

If this is still trouble for you, drop me an email. I work internationally.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Winery Help Wanted

Township 7 Okanagan is looking for a harvest intern to assist with the crush.
Details at:

Monday, July 02, 2007

Days of Wine & Roses... and Planning. Part One in a series about preparing for the harvest.

  • Hard to believe but our neighbours to the south (California, Texas, other warm climate regions) will be picking grapes for wine sometime next month.
    Here in the north we're not quite that rushed. But by mid-September some early varieties and those destinied for sparkling wine will be starting to come off and make their way to the crush pad.
    If you're a BC winery owner or operator, your vintage plan should be shaped-up by now. You should know where your grapes are coming from, how many tons you can expect, what yeasts and other fermentation aids you'll be using and who will be on your pad this fall. Needless to say, coopers in various parts of the world are putting the finishing touches on your barrels before packing them in containers for the long trip to BC.

    Of course, in the real world, things don't line up quite so neatly.

    A quick message to consumers and other members of the public: The wine makers of the province are trying to enjoy the summer days in a leisurely fashion but it's not all a bucolic paradise of long hours by the water's edge. There's lots of planning to do.

Best to start by having a pre-vintage meeting with your crew. Hopefully some of them were around the previous year and remember what went right and what turned out wrong. From this brainstorming session you can make adjustments as required. Everything from the way fruit is accepted at the winery to how the equipment can be better delegated can be included. This is also an excellent time to address any glaring repair jobs that somehow missed out getting done during the winter and spring.

From your meeting you can begin a list and prioritize as you go. Using as fresh eyes as possible, walk around your production area and note additional items that will require attention.

Think back to the blur that was the last vintage. Where were the bottlenecks? What didn't make it onto the paperwork train? How can you make things faster, safer and better?

Your employees will tell you what is needed. If they can't do it, bring in another winemaker friend that you trust (like me) for a beer and yak about what works for them. A fresh perspective sometimes solves a problem in minutes that kept you perplexed for weeks.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

UTC (winemaking) Safety Meeting

If you happen to be in the Okanagan Valley on Friday, July 6 you are encouraged to drop by the Township 7 campus at 1450 McMillan (road to Naramata) and participate in our ragtag safety meeting.
The meeting will be short. About 5 minutes but there will be plenty of post-meeting discussion.
Beverages and snacks will be on hand. Bring a lawn chair. Managed pets and kids are welcome.
Enjoy the rough and tumble give and take of the local rustics. Meet the wine folk of the area. Brag about the size of your cellar.

Facebook and Wine: Not Quite There.

Couple of my friends are on Facebook and it's kind of fun to read their stuff and see their photos.
One of the applications that pops up once in awhile is the polling application.
You can design your own poll question and fire it "out there". You get full breakdown and analysis moments after it closes.

I decided to give it a try after a few beverages and a whim. Here are the pros, cons and results.

My question was: "There's shrimp on the barbie; you're going to enjoy which of the following wines with them?"

I provided: rose, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, another white and a red.

I also provided my credit card so they could charge me .25 per response and a $1 insertion fee.

My suspicion was that I'd get a weak response and maybe get 25 or 50 answers of the maximum 200 under the polling format rules.

But, lo! I maxed out at 200 after only a few hours.

Response by sex: pretty well equal, 109 female, 91 male.

Response by age: 142 responders were between the ages of 13 and 24 which suggests a large group are restricted from obtaining or consuming alcohol in many jurisdictions.

7 responders were over 35 years of age.

Sauvignon Blanc dominated the male selection at 37% while females were split more evenly among SB, Chardonnay and Rose 28, 24 and 21 per cent respectively.

My takeaway lesson: Facebook had provided a powerful and hassle-free polling tool but you should know their audience. Until the crowd moves from it's high school and college roots I doubt I will be using the poll application for wine questions. Great experiment. Total cost:
$51. Writing it off as market research.

Join the Winery Party

Township 7 is celebrating it's annual anniversary this weekend and next. Sorry about the late notice about the Okanagan venue (ends today) but if you're in the Lower Mainland next weekend. . .
Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8 will feature wine, food and music at the Langley winery.
I'll be on hand Saturday only from 2 to closing.