Time to think about Christmas wine

Adam MacKinnon shows off some of the oak barrels that have become an increasingly popular way to age red wine. - Neil Horner photo
Adam MacKinnon shows off some of the oak barrels that have become an increasingly popular way to age red wine.
— image credit: Neil Horner photo

If you want to make some really high-end, red wine for Christmas, Adam MacKinnon has you over a barrel.

Or at least, the owner of the Qualicum Village Winery (250-752-0058) recommends using an oak barrel if you want to get the best possible result within the time-frame remaining before family and friends gather for Christmas.

After all, to make fine wine it takes time.

“To prepare the wine and give it time to mature, you need to start getting it ready now,” he said. “For Christmas I would recommend a Merlot or a Valipolicella, something medium-bodied that would be really nice. However, if you want a heavy, full-bodied wine, you should think about it now for next year.”

There is a way to get around that however.

“If you want a barolo or anything that’s big and full-bodied, they take some time, but I have oak barrel aging,” MacKinnon said. “The oak does a couple of things. First, it breathes, so the wine gets air into it at a slow rate and it also adds tannins. The wine ages more quickly. After it spends eight weeks in a barrel, it’s almost drinkable right away. It really makes a big difference.”

One people have tried the oak barrel method, he said, they tend to use it exclusively.

“I keep buying extra barrels all the time just to keep up,” he said.

MacKinnon has been helping Qualicum Beach residents make their own wine for two years now, but he has been making wine as a hobby for the past 30 years. That experience gives him the knowledge base to be able to give his customers the right advice they need to get the result they and their palettes are looking for.

“A lot of people will say, for instance, that they like Yellowtail Shiraz and ask if they can make that,” he said. “I tell them I can make an Australian wine that will be comparable. We can make a version of just about anything you can find in the liquor store.”

MacKinnon is so sure that wine lovers will come back for more he’s offering a special half price discount for new customers, as well as free wine bottles.


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