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June 23, 2010

Going Sideways on B.C. Wine

On the grounds of Mistaken Identity Vineyards last year.

Last week I met the owners of a local liquor store called The Local as part of a story on wine. Colleen Kennaird and Steve Knight moved to Salt Spring from Vancouver in 2003. At that time, the government was talking about getting out of the liquor business. 

Knight and Kennaird bought what was a bankrupt nightclub and transformed it into a liquor store and have specialized in B.C.`s regional wines while stocking everything else you can typically find in a liquor store including organic vodka (which may not be so typical. It`s called Schram.)  As a result of our meeting I was updated on some really great B.C. wines recommended by people who really know their wines from extensive tasting and knowledge of the wine industry.  So far, I`ve only tried the Herder Meritage 2008 (which I am in love with) and last night I took a bottle of Road 13`s Rockpile to dinner at some friends. It was even better than the Meritage. There`s nothing like the inside scoop from people who really know what they`re talking about.

Now, even though I took a wine tasting course quite some time ago from UBC Continuing Studies and even got to tour this amazing wine cellar on the campus which is underground somewhere near the UBC Bookstore and part of the Wine Research Centre there, I most definitely do  not have a nose that`s able to distinguish the scents within a wine`s bouquet. I can have my nose buried deep in a rose and can barely smell the wonderful perfume so I`m no candidate for a sommelier.

While I was doing the last minute (or last second) finding people to talk to who knew something about wine with some credibility, I recalled that Kennaird had urged me to talk to Terry David Mulligan. I had no idea that he has a wine tasting show that goes into the Okanagan and soon, Tofino, perhaps upcoming Salt Spring will air it as well. It`s called Tasting Room Radio. When I talked to him, I discovered that the way he discovered The Local is because his son owns the Salt Spring Adventure Co. here and that`s how the connection to The Local was made. The other website, recommended to me is really great and written by a well-known wine expert and author on wine John Schreiner.

I can see how wine tasting becomes a bit addictive. Just thinking about it brings back fond memories of my trip to Naramata last September.  Apparently, the next up and coming wine region in B.C. is the Similkameen Valley between Keremeos and Chopaka near the U.S. border. Try the Orofino Chardonnay 2008 if you`re a white wine drinker. 

There are so many others I could share with you but I think I`ll leave it there.

Tried any new wines that blow your sox off lately? Let me know.

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