On May 25th the The British Columbia Wine Institute held BC VQA Spring Release tasting. This wonderful annual event featured almost 100 of BC's 200 plus wineries. The British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) was created by an act of the provincial legislature, the BC Wine Act, in 1990
Once again the event was held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Vancouver Harbour. The only question I had as I entered the door to the ballroom was, where do I start? My first thought was to see Poplar Grove Winery,one of BC's most popular wineries. At the Naramata Bench tasting their table was so busy I never had the opportunity to reach them.
On the way there I spotted winery owner and celebrated winemaker Richard da Silva at his table for Misconduct Wine Co . I could not pass up the opportunity to say hello and shake is hand. He was grateful enough to come around the table and chat with me. We were joined by Terravista Vineyards owner Bob Tennant.
Now on to Poplar Grove where I enjoyed tasting their selection of white wines, they were very impressive! From there on, it it a matter of seeking out tables that were less crowed with the opportunity to step right up. Next stop was Monster Vineyards another fine Naramata Bench winery. Look for their 2016 Skinny Dip Chardonnay which is quite good.
As I travelled about I spotted winemaker and co-owner of Sperling Vineyards Ann Sperling from Kelowna. I had a long enjoyable chat with Ann as I tasted her wines. You can understand why she is rated as one of BC's best winemakers. Look for the Old Vines Riesling 2013 and the 2015 Market white (90 plus wine)
I also spotted the charming owner Jennifer Molgat (in her beautiful red dress) of The View winery. A winery that has been gaining in success and popularity over the last few years. Their Silver Lining White is one of my favourites. Jennifer insisted I try her Silver Ling Rosé 2016, not been a Rosé fan I was sceptical but this was very good. I could change my mind about Rosé.
Since we are on the subject of Rosé the Syrah Malbec Rosé from Summerhill Pyramid Winery is the best I have tasted. I might just become a Rosé fan. I enjoyed a few other impressive wines as I chatted with CEO Ezra Cipes. Try their Alive Organic white and the very good Organic 2014 Merlot.
Also speaking of charming ladies there was Leslie D’Andrea of Okanagan Falls Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery. Their Pinot Grigio is the one to try here.
I now found myself at Moon Curser Vineyard (Osoyoos) and tasting their wines with owner Chris Tolley. Their signature wine Afraid of the Dark 2016 was very good.
If you have paid any attention to the BC wine scene you know the success of Arrow Cellars located in Lake Country north of Kelowna. What an impressive cellar they have. The 2016 Pinot Gris, 2016 Bacchus, 2016 Riesling and the 2014 Zweigelt all very good wines.
One very important stop was the table of Baillie-Grohman Estate
winery and owner Bob Johnson who producers 2015 Récolte Blanche (Best of 2016) The 2016 is just as good, I had a second sample of the wine while there.
I made a quick stop at Bartier Bros enjoying the Gewürztraminer 2014 and. C.C. Jentsch Cellars with a very good Viognier.
Near by was Clos Du Solei Winery located in the Simikameen. They are certified organic and recently opened new facilities. I enjoyed the 2015 Capella classic blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Sémillon.
Another Simikameen winery offering some very good selections in Robin Ridge. Owner Tim Cottrill was pouring their impressive wines.
CedarCreek was next, we have enjoyed many of their fine reds over the years. Today it was the 2016 Pinot Gris and 2006 Riesling that impressed.
Passing by the Fort Berens Estate table I notice their new winemaker Danny Hattingh was pouring wines. I could not resist the opportunity to introduce myself. What I delightful young man. I also chatted with co-owner Heleen Pannekoek. Once again the winery offered a most impressive cellar of wines. Do not miss 2016 Riesling!
Coming by the Fort Berens' table was Okanagan Crush Pad and Haywire Winery owner Christine Coletta we discussed her recent visit to the UK and promoting Canada's wines to Europe.
I spent a few minutes talking photography with Andy Gebert of St Hubertus and Oak Bay Estate before tasting their wines. One of their special wines is the Chasselas. The 2015 is excellent. along with the 2014 Riesling.
One of my favourite wines, year in year out, is Wild Goose Vineyards Mystic River Gewürztraminer, however it was not available today so I tried the Mystic River Pinot Blanc a 90 plus wine along with the Morio Muscat and Friends, Wow Morio Muscat (itself a German cross of Silvaner and Pinot Blanc) and Muscat Ottonel is really good!. You must try this wine!
Time was marching on so I had to make sure I could visit as many wines as possible. Speaking of time that was my next stop Time Winery and Lawrence Buhler director of winemaking for the ENCORE Vineyards wine brands. I had a very enjoyable tasting with a amazing collection of fine wines. The McWatters Collection 2014 Chardonnay among the very best, The Meritage fantastic and a very good Cellar.
Next was Ursa Major Estate Winery a new winery under the guidance of the Toor Family owners of Desert Hills and their winemaker Anthony Buchanan. I enjoyed their Borealsi 2013 and the Syrah 2012
This was followed by some special wines under the Anthony Buchanan Label and chat with the winemaker himself. Anthony, values Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir wines that are elegant, delicious, and worthy of timelessness I could only rate his wines as Best of Show.
The lights began to flash indicating that the three hour event was over far too soon. British Columbia has so many quality wineries far more than can be reached in one event. I look forward the the Bloom Fall release.