2022 Poplar Grove 2022 Rosé Nouveau

Poplar Grove Rosé Nouveau

Wine: Poplar Grove 2022 Rosé Nouveau

Winery: Poplar Grove Winery

Why drink it: Low-alcohol and low-calorie wines are two of the fastest-growing retail categories in the wine world, and the team at Poplar Grove is ahead of the trend with this juicy pink sipper. At eight per cent alcohol and roughly 85 calories per glass, it is made using a special osmotic pressure membrane technology that removes ethanol but not flavour.

A blend of Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Cab Franc and Pinot Noir, it is the third rosé in the Poplar Grove lineup. With flavours of strawberries, melon and lime, it will appeal to any rosé fan, not just those of looking to cut back on calories and alcohol. It’s made for patios and hot days, and hails from one of the five original Naramata Bench wineries.

Pair with: Soft cheeses, scallops, shrimp, salmon, charcuterie. We finished the bottle with a margarita pizza and it was just fine, too.

Price: $26

Music pairing: Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros


2021 Hester Creek Character Red

Hester Creek Character Red

Wine: Hester Creek 2021 Character Red

Winery: Hester Creek Estate Winery

Why drink it? Named British Columbia Winery of the Year in 2023 by Great Northwest Wine Magazine, Hester Creek has roots dating back to 1968 when an Italian-Canadian named Joe Busnardo began experimenting with growing grapes, including some of the earliest vinifera vines in the valley.

Things have changed considerably since then, of course. Curt Garland bought it in 2004, and Okanagan native Mark Hopley is now the winemaker.

The year 2021 wasn’t easy for any Okanagan winery. Who remembers the “heat dome” that blanked western Canada early that summer? Despite the challenges, Character is an easy-drinking red, one of those bottles that pairs with all kinds of dishes and, best, pleases pretty much every red wine lover. Especially considering the price, it’s a great bottle to have on hand as the house red. A blend of Merlot (from an old Italian clone), Syrah, Petit Verdot and Malbec, it touches all the red bases: juicy, spicy, savoury, with a medium-long finish.

Pair with: Burgers, pizza, steak, hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or aged cheddar.

Price: $23

Music pairing: Carefree Highway by Gordon Lightfoot

Red Barn Winery at Jagged Rock 2021 Transfiction Rosé

2021 Transfiction Rosé

Wine: Red Barn Winery at Jagged Rock 2021 Transfiction Rosé

Winery: Red Barn Winery at Jagged Rock

Why drink it? A blend of hand-harvested Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sangiovese, this medium pink sipper is unusual because of the Sangiovese, far from a common grape in the Okanagan Valley. The only rosé from Red Barn, it is dry and delightful, with flavours of green melon, rhubarb and pink grapefruit. And that groovy ‘60s-vibe label.

Located on the Black Sage Bench near Oliver, Red Barn is surrounded by the Jagged Rock vineyard — hence the name. This particular vineyard is renowned for its sunbaked soils and the way the steep cliffs absorb and reflect the sun’s heat, making it a brilliant spot to grow grapes.

Pair with: Margarita pizza, veggie burgers, or a goat cheese tart. We finished the bottle with a basil pesto pasta and it was seriously tasty.

Price: $30

Music pairing: Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys


2019 Township 7 Seven Stars Polaris Sparkling Wine

Township 7 Polaris

Wine: Township 7 2019 Seven Stars Polaris Sparkling Wine

Winery: Township 7

Why drink it? Polaris gets its name from our galaxy’s North Star and is the main bubble in Township 7’s sparkling program. Like the star, this classy sparkling wine is an attention-getter and would be perfect for a wedding, either as a gift or to serve at a wedding banquet. Made from 100% Chardonnay in the traditional method (as is Champagne in France), it is medium-full-bodied, with pretty notes of citrus, green apple and a hint of fresh homemade bread. Serve chilled.

The 2019 Polaris is an award-winner, too. It won gold in the 2023 British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards.

Pair with: Smoked salmon, oysters, shrimp or scallops.

Price: $40

Music pairing: Starman by David Bowie

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About the Author

As a kid, Shelley Boettcher often found herself in the back seat of a pick-up, exploring the back roads of the Okanagan Valley with her parents. They’d occasionally leave her and her brother in the car while they stopped at mysterious addresses to buy wine. They would emerge, clearly happy, as they stuck a box or a few bottles in the vehicle. Then they would continue on their journey.

But it wasn’t until a trip to Spain in 2000 that Shelley herself fell in love with wine. She came home from the holiday and promptly told her editor she wanted to become a wine writer.

And she did. 

An award-winning food and wine writer and editor, Shelley holds her master’s degree in journalism and her advanced WSET certification, as well as her level 2 International Sommelier Guild certification. A wine columnist for the Calgary Herald, she spent a decade as CBC Radio’s national syndicated wine columnist and she has written three books about wine, including two that were Canadian bestsellers. Her byline has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world, including the New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail and Postmedia newspapers across Canada. 

Shelley has travelled throughout many of the world’s wine regions and countries, including Niagara, Oregon, Washington, California, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Australia, Germany, Argentina and the Republic of Georgia. A few years ago, she even tracked down and visited a winery in Denmark. 

Shelley has also served as a professional wine judge regionally and internationally, including the Okanagan Wine Festivals, Vinitaly and the Chianti Classico Consortium. For more than a decade, she has been a restaurant wine list judge for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, too. She still teases her parents for sparking her love for wine, especially BC wine.

And her favourite? Whatever she's drinking at the moment.

You can follow Shelley on Instagram @shelleyboettcher or Twitter at @shelley_wine. 

If you have a BC wine you’d like to suggest, email Shelley at [email protected] with the name of the wine and a short note about why you enjoyed it.