South Okanagan  

Government pops cork on Piano bubbly

MP Dan Albas was at Stoneboat Vineyards Friday to make an announcement  on funding that will assist the winery in producing a type of wine, currently not made in the province.

Albas, who was joined by Premier Christy Clark and other dignitaries, said an investment of more than $125,000 will be used to purchase new sparkling wine processing equipment for the effort.

“Our government is pleased to support innovative ideas like this that help introduce new products to the marketplace and help grow our economy,” he said. “These projects will help Stoneboat Vineyards tap into domestic markets, currently dominated by imports and increase export sales.”

He further praised the Martiniuk family, who own the Oliver winery, for their hard work, telling them it is a wonderful place and success like this doesn’t happen overnight.

Stoneboat was founded in 2005 by Lanny Martiniuk, a longtime grape grower in the area. The winery produces premium quality artisanal wines.

Using the Charmat method, the new wine, named Piano Brut, will undergo carbonation through a second fermentation in stainless steel autoclaves, resulting in smaller, longer-lasting bubbles.

The vineyard will increase sales by entering a domestic market dominated by foreign producers. This will also facilitate the company’s access to international markets through exports to China.

Overall, the project is expected to lead to an increased demand for Okanagan Valley wine grapes, said Albas.

Martiniuk said their goal is to create a fresh, approachable, fruit forward sparkling wine, similar to Italian Proseccos.

“The style is a perfect match for grapes we grow in the Okanagan,” he said. “The technical aspects of production are intensive and the capital required is very significant for a winery of our size. We are fortunate that there is government support for projects like ours, and with our new equipment we believe that we can create a product that is every bit as delicious as import wines made with the same technology.”

Clark expressed her pleasure at being at the winery to launch the product, as the politicians and wine-makers shared a toast to the new wine.

The project is supported through the Agricultural Innovation Program, a $50 million initiative announced as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2011.

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