Spill that Wine: B.C. wineries growing up gracefully

Chris Herbert talks all things wine

OK, I admit it.

My first foray into the world of wine was anything but stellar. In my defence, that was the sixties. Also, my desire for quantity and little concern for the quality of the bottle’s contents may have influenced that decision.

Alas, my circle of friends didn’t share my sense of frugality and declined to join me, glasses held high in a toast to strawberry wine.

Now in my sixties, along with a few grey hairs I’m told comes wisdom and the appreciation of the finer things. With one-gallon wine jugs a distant memory my new appreciation includes good wine.

When Father Charles Pandosy in 1859 planted the first wine grapes in Kelowna, I doubt he envisioned that a century or so later the arrival of vinifera grape stocks would kick start a significant step forward, setting in motion new wine-making possibilities and today more than 200 wineries in B.C.

In the 1990s the Okanagan’s red and white varietal grapes came to prominence as wine makers recognized the varying influences terroir plays on each of the grape growing regions.

Including the soil variations, the degree of slopes, air flow off the lakes, growing degree days (a measure of heat) all comparable to some of the world’s most recognized grape growing regions and instrumental in quality B.C. VQA wines. Initially recognized internationally for Icewines, then for the fresh, crisp white varieties, quality red wines soon followed as winemakers learned to express those unique B.C. terroirs in their wines. Still, in the world of wines B.C. vineyards and wineries are infants but they are growing up gracefully.

That’s all well and fine I hear you say, but what does this mean for you and me?

As Liam Berti, winemaker at Backyard Vineyards so eloquently puts it, “the VQA stamp allows us to tell the story of a people, a place, a geology, a geography, a culture and all of the factors that make British Columbia the magical place it is through a bottle of wine.”

Fall has arrived and our culinary thoughts will drift towards those larger sit-down meals with friends and family. Whether your plans tend towards beef or lamb or the traditional turkey dinner, Liam and Backyard Vineyards have you covered.

With your roast beef or lamb you might want to try his 2017 Nosey Neighbour Red. A perfect blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon.

Backyard Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay or Pinot Gris are intense, flavourful, well balanced and will complement your turkey dinner.

Of course, if you want to step out there a wee bit Backyard Vineyards multi-award winning 2018 Rose’ is a party pleaser.

Chris lives in the Parksville area and works as a wine representative in the Wines of British Columbia VQA outlet at Save-On-Foods. He can be reached at spillthatvino@gmail.com

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