Mar 12, 2013 / 6:00 am
Sal D’Angelo, owner of D’Angelo Estate Winery on the Naramata Bench, first made a mix of ice wine and brandy three years ago in Ontario. This spring he is releasing the unique product in British Columbia.
“I used Vidal in Ontario, and it was sold out, very well-received," he said. "I kept getting people in BC wanting to buy it, so about a year and a half ago I decided to do it here.’
He grew Viognier for the white and Tempranillo grapes for the red. The brandy comes from his own grapes, sent to Penticton’s Maple Leaf Distillery to produce.
D’Angelo, who was born in Italy and moved with his family to Ontario in 1955, first purchased a farm in Essex County in Ontario in 1983, where he started planting grapes including Pinot Noir, Foch and Vidal Blanc.
He started making ice wine in 1989 out of curiosity, he said.
“There was hardly anyone making it, so I did some research and grew one row of Vidal grapes in 1989, which I bottled in 1990," he said.
By 1992, he had expanded his ice wine making operations in Ontario, where it is easier than BC because when it gets cold, the cold spells last longer.
D’Angelo had been visiting the Okanagan and doing research into winemaking here since 198. In 2001, he bought property on the Naramata Bench and an adjoining property in 2004.
In 2006 he started making ice wine here with a Tempranillo grape, a Spanish grape grown in Northern Italy and Spain.
The process is more challenging in the Okanagan, because the temperature has to be cold enough and the grapes have to be pressed before they thaw out.
The new red wine is named Dolce Vita Rosso, and is a blend of Tempranillo ice wine and brandy. The white, Dolce Vita Bianco, uses Viognier grapes and brandy.
The wine shop at D’Angelo Estate Winery opens May 1, and he hopes to have them available then.
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