5 Ways to Enjoy #BCWineMonth
1. Tour Your Local Wine Route
Wine tours are some of the best ways to try out many wineries in one afternoon. Either book a tour guide to take you with friends or designate a driver and follow one of the many routes in British Columbia. We’ve got a great wine route right here in Kelowna, just a short 15 minute drive from Downtown. Cruise along the Lakeshore Wine Route and stop at Tantalus Vineyards, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, St. Hubertus Winery, and of course, CedarCreek! These four wineries represent some of the oldest, established wineries in the region and really showcase the diversity of what our unique Lakeshore terroir has to offer.
2. Play a Fun Wine Game with Friends
Want a fun way to learn more about wine and get to know your friends? Host a gathering and ask everyone to bring a bottle of their favourite BC wine in a paper bag. Don’t let anyone reveal what the wine is and play a guessing game! Go around tasting each one and suggest flavour notes, varietals, regions, and of course, which BC winery it might be from! May we suggest bringing a bottle of our cult-favourite 2016 Gewürztraminer? This lesser known varietal has a full-bodied palate with a spicy finish. It may just stump some of the wine lovers in your group!
3. New Spring Releases!
Spring is the time of Aromatic Whites and Rosés and many wineries across BC are releasing their 2017 vintages. We’ve already released our 2017 Pinot Gris and 2017 Riesling, with more on the way in May, like our highly-coveted Platinum Block 1 Pinot Noir Rosé and Estate Ehrenfelser!
4. Up Your Wine Knowledge
Attend a private, sommelier-led tasting like our Platinum Experience Tasting and learn more about the process behind what’s in your glass, but also how to get the most out of each sip. At CedarCreek, your private tasting also includes a cellar tour, so you can see first-hand how your wine is made, and a cheese and charcuterie board to share with friends to help you perfect the art of food & wine pairing.
5. Support Your Favourite BC Winery
This is an easy one – got a favourite winery in BC? Support them. Pick up a few bottles for yourself or as gifts and showcase just what you love about BC wine. And don’t forget to Tweet, Instagram, or Share about why you love them, using the hashtags #BCWineMonth and #BCWine! Many wineries in BC are locally-owned and family run like us, and supporting them brings a very real smile to those in your community!
British Columbia is an incredible wine region, gaining more and more respect and popularity the world over. There are so many reasons to support your favourite BC winery this month, and every month, but the most important one is the wine itself. Learn the stories behind the wine, then simply sit back and relax with another sip.
Spring at CedarCreek
It’s official, spring has arrived in the beautiful Okanagan Valley and with it some exciting changes here at CedarCreek winery. In the vineyards, our team has started pruning in anticipation of the season’s first bud. While in the cellar, we have just completed the bottling of our upcoming Spring releases and we can’t wait to share them with all of you – such as our highly-coveted Platinum Block 1 Pinot Noir Rosé!
At the winery, we’re also preparing for some fun and new events to give you the opportunity to revel in Springtime at CedarCreek. Beginning, with a Recruitment Open House for those who want join the CedarCreek team and be a part of the wonderful new changes coming to our Kelowna winery. On Thursday, March 22nd, you’ll have the opportunity to present your resume and sit down for an on-site interview from 2-6pm. This is truly an amazing time to get involved in the winery from the ground up and be a part of the grand re-opening taking place later this summer.
For those looking to enjoy our winery as a guest, we have a number of experiences to offer this Spring. Starting with a not-to-be-missed, intimate 3-course Winemaker’s Dinner, hosted by CedarCreek winemaker Taylor Whelan on April 13th and April 27th. A canapé reception will begin at 6pm, followed by a behind-the-scenes cellar tour and barrel sampling of our upcoming Platinum release wines. The evening will culminate with a 3-course dinner in our intimate wine shop, featuring our highly-awarded 2013 The Last Word.
In honour of the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, we are hosting a Spring Open House May 3rd – 13th where you can enjoy complimentary tastings of our new spring releases and have a look at the exciting changes in store for our new Tasting Room and Restaurant. Additionally, the Lakeshore Wine Route is hosting its annual Unleased event in support of the BC SPCA. Visit Tantalus Vineyards, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, St. Hubertus Winery, and, of course, CedarCreek Estate Winery with your dog for treats and fun activities and stamp you “Pawsport” for a chance to win a grand prize! At the wineshop, we’ll be featuring two complimentary canapé-paired wine tastings at each winery.
Of course, during the spring season you can come in any day of the week for a wine tasting or Flights and Bites, a seated taster which features your choice of three wines, with a cheese and charcuterie board. And walk-ins are always welcome!
It may be hard to believe, but summer is also just around the corner. In anticipation, we’ve already released our Sunset Yoga series partnering with Oranj Fitness beginning July 3rd. Reserve your spot for Tuesday yoga and wine throughout the summer. Experience a spirited yoga class overlooking the awe-inspiring landscape of Kelowna’s wine country. Classes will take place in our outdoor pavilion, followed by a glass of CedarCreek wine paired with nutritious salads, charcuterie, and stunning sunset views. Stay tuned for more information on other upcoming Summer events.
Whichever experience you choose at the winery, you are always welcome and we hope you relax and enjoy this beautiful spring season ahead!
Staff Profile: Winemaker, Taylor Whelan
Taylor Whelan first started working here at CedarCreek in 2011, before becoming our winemaker in 2016. Taylor is something of a rarity in the Canadian wine industry; a born-and-raised Canadian winemaker under the age of 35 with hands-on experience from wineries in BC and Ontario, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. It’s no surprise then that Taylor is serious about wine; his goal in winemaking is to bring out the most character from individual vineyard blocks to make premium, terroir driven wines. These endeavors are bringing about a new and exciting chapter in CedarCreek wines, one that includes several new Platinum single-block wines to be released this summer. But if you put all the serious winemaking aside, Taylor is a laidback guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously – as exemplified in these “tough” questions we threw at him, like “what’s your favourite beer?”
Which CedarCreek wine is your current favourite to drink?
What do you do to relax?
Garden, read, and cook. My ideal Sunday is to get up early, hit the garden and do what needs to get done, put on The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright and grab a book, then in the afternoon, I will find a cool wine and collect ingredients to cook a meal to pair with it. All with my lovely wife, of course.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
Very difficult to answer – Chinese is what I am focused on right now. I do love cooking coastal BC seafood, however, as it is always such a challenge to cook perfectly, which is usually a ‘cook until you think it is not quite ready, then pull it off the heat’ situation. I’m working on a great recipe for Octopus Nicoise Salad which coincidentally goes great with the CedarCreek Platinum Rosé.
Who do you admire?
Wade Davis. I first got onto him when studying Biology in Victoria. He is a BC boy as well and has worked as a writer and photographer, as well as held the position of ‘Explorer in Residence’ at National Geographic. Pretty cool title. He seems to have an incredible amount of integrity and passion for his work, which is the study of cultures and how they interact, specifically with plants. Check out his Massey Lectures or the book ‘Serpent and the Rainbow’ for more on him.
You’re a fan of craft beer, which brewery is your favourite?
Being from Vancouver Island I have a soft spot for places like Hoyne and Driftwood, but right now I think I am really liking some of the Four Winds beers we can get in Kelowna. I recently tried the Fortunello which was just an excellent experience all around.
Taylor and the CedarCreek team will be participating in the 2018 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Stop by and say hi in the International Festival Tasting Room March 1 – 3rd or at the sold-out Decanter World Wine Awards seminar on Saturday, March 3rd.
Top 5 Gifts for Every Type of Wine Lover
Need help finding that perfect gift for the wine lover in your life, but want to give a little more than a bottle of wine, we've got the gifts for everyone on your list and the wine pairing to go with them!
The Do-It-Yourself Type loves new discoveries - give them the gift of repurposing
their CedarCreek wine bottles with bottle lights.
For an added bonus, Jancis Robertson's The 24-Hour Wine Expert
will let them be a do-it-yourself wine expert too!
The Luxurious Host
For the luxury seeker and best host you know,
a beautiful and elegant bottle stopper will be just what they need.
A bottle of our 2016 Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay
is the perfect festive white wine to pair with this gift.
The Book Lover
For those that can't get enough of words,
a beautiful wine journal to help them record all their thoughts on their favourite wines,
and John Schriener's Icon: Flagship Wines from British Columbia's Best Wineries to help them get started.
And why not gift them the Icon wines from CedarCreek that Schriener mentions in the book:
2014 Platinum Block 2 and 2014 Platinum Block 4 Pinot Noir
All gift ideas can be found in our Wineshop, open daily from 11-5pm or call in to order a special gift basket or wine pack for your loved one.
TO PLACE AN ORDER
call 778-738-1027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (please include contact information)
Staff Profile: Platinum Club Manager, Leigh Varga
Leigh Varga is CedarCreek’s own Platinum Club Manager. Well-known for being highly enthusiastic and friendly, Leigh is most excited when talking about food, wine, and travel. Since Leigh started in 2013, the Platinum Club has grown exponentially. She has bright plans for the future of the wine club, which starts with hiring an assistant to help her pack all the Platinum Club shipments! Growing up in the Okanagan, Leigh is passionate about the Valley and loves spending time both downtown Kelowna and out in the mountains.
First, what is your favourite glass of wine?
In the Summer, our Platinum Block 1 Pinot Noir Rosé (which I am really regretting not buying more of now that it is sold out) and in the Winter, our Syrah!
What’s your go-to local hang out?
There are too many great spots to just pick one! As soon as the weather warms up in the Spring, I head straight to the Hotel Eldorado patio. It’s such a great spot to people watch and has that quintessential ‘beach town’ feel that I love about Kelowna summers. I have really enjoyed the recent addition of Red Bird Brewing downtown when I need a little break from vino. As well, I’ve become slightly obsessed with the new Waterfront Café that it’s getting embarrassing how often I am there! They have all of my favourite things: an awesome brunch menu, perfectly baked pastries, an amazing selection of cheeses and fresh baked bread that I don’t need to go anywhere else!
If you weren’t a Wine Club Manager, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a Wine Club Manager, I would most likely be working the travel industry. I’m an avid traveler and try and sneak away as much as possible. I actually enjoy the planning and researching part just as much as the actual traveling and love helping friends and family plan their vacations.
What is your favourite hiking spot in the Okanagan?
I definitely can’t pick only one favourite hiking spot so here’s my top three.
- Big White in the Summer – This hike and the view at the top is stunning! The trails are well marked, there is a great spot to stop and enjoy a picnic, you can go for a refreshing dip in Rhonda lake if you need to cool down, you can take the chair lift down and the best part, the well deserved cold beer in the village after.
- McIntyre Bluff in Oliver – This is an absolute must if you live in the Okanagan- I highly recommend it in the Spring when all of the wildflowers are in bloom! The trailhead starts just behind Covert Farms Winery and is a lovely 10km hike with a very rewarding view of the surrounding vineyards, orchards and lakes.
- Pincushion Mountain in Peachland – This has been my go-to hike for many years. It’s challenging but the view at the top is breathtaking and so worth the climb up. My reward when I’m done, is sitting by the water at Bliss Bakery in Peachland and enjoying a breakfast croissant (or two…)!
What is your favourite wine & cheese pairing?
This is a tough one because I love all cheese and all wine! But many years ago when I was traveling through Spain, I admitted to my server at a restaurant that I had never tried Manchego cheese. A few minutes later he brought me a whole plate of it along with a huge glass of Tempranillo and said it was his favourite cheese and wine pairing and he was spot on, it was heavenly!
Wine Knowledge: Tannins & Red Wine
As the weather grows colder, a complex glass of red wine sounds even more appealing on a snowy evening. Red wine varietals such as Syrah and Pinot Noir are the perfect pairing to cozy sweaters and warm fire-sides. The structure of these red wines, especially in our CedarCreek Estate Syrah 2015 and Platinum Block 4 Pinot Noir 2014, makes them particularly complex and comes directly from the tannins of the grapes. But how exactly does a tannin work to make these wines stand out? We thought we’d share a bit of wine knowledge on how tannins affect the taste of red wines.
Tannins are a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. Tannins are typically expressed as a bitter taste on the tongue and a drying sensation in the mouth. The level of dryness and bitterness results from the winemaker’s choices of fermentation and aging, as well as the intended cellaring potential of the wine. Much of the tannic quality of red wines is determined by how long the juice of the grapes is soaked with the skins, seed, and stems. This process is implied in the word itself, as “tannin” derives from the process of using plants to tan leather. Think of a soft leather couch you love to curl up on in winter or your favourite suede boots – tannins are often associated with the feel of fabrics due to the textural sensation on the tongue. Tannins can feel silky, velvety, grainy, and/ or grippy.
For our Estate Syrah 2015, the grapes were fermented for 24 days on skins in stainless steel tanks followed by 14 months aging in French oak barriques. Our Syrah is 100% harvested from our Haynes Creek Vineyard in Osoyoos, British Columbia, making it a single vineyard wine. It occupies a unique position in this mostly-flat vineyard as the six acres of Syrah are planted on a westward slope of 15° that runs steeply down towards Osoyoos Lake. At mid-day, the heat is oppressive, yet Syrah vines love the heat, basking in the west-facing sun. The heat of this 2015 vintage, along with the fermentation process, are reflected in the tannins on the palette that structure the big rich, ripe fruit flavours and extends the length of the finish of this wine. A warmed Camembert with a Currant and Cherry compote is the perfect appetizer for this wine. You can enjoy our Syrah now or cellar until 2020 to discover a new level of tannic complexity.
On the other hand, in our Platinum Block 4 Pinot Noir 2014, the well-structured tannins are partially drawn out by using whole clusters of grapes (25% in this vintage). Whole cluster fermentation can only be done in years with near-perfect growing conditions to ensure that the stems do not impart a bitter taste on the wine. 2014 was a textbook year, and the resulting texture of this wine is particularly firm, yet the whole cluster fermentation adds a beautiful floral note to the wine. After 13 months aging in French oak barrels, the resulting wine has a lush, velvety sensation on the palate complimented by rich dark fruit and spice characters, but with plenty of structure on the finish. A warming squash and root vegetable winter meal pairs well with this wine. Enjoy now or cellar until 2021.
More from the Journal...
Video: A day with CedarCreek's Winemaker, Taylor Whelan, visiting our Desert Ridge and Haynes Creek vineyards in Osoyoos, BC.
Winemaking History in the Okanagan: Join us as we take a look back at winemaking history in our own backyard, from Kelowna's first winery to the first Okanagan Fall Wine Fest and more!