In summer be careful taking your wine purchases home

Don't keep wine in hot car

Now that wine, brewery and distillery tours are back and the summer heat has finally returned, it’s a good time for a critical reminder—don’t cook your newly bought beverages in your car.

I once ruined an excellent red wine, a gift for a friend, by leaving it in my trunk for just a little while, thinking it would be OK. It was under a screwcap, so no cork to dry out, under a layer of “protective” clothing, and it was a warm spring day in Vancouver, not a scorcher in the Okanagan. Nothing extreme to worry about, I thought but as we all know, a warm day outside can make a car stifling hot in mere minutes. That heat can damage your purchases faster than a good bartender can make a martini.

If you’re finally getting out there to visit and support local producers, plan ahead for the rising temperatures.

Consider a tour company. Not only is it safer if you’re tasting and no one misses out on the experience and has to be the designated driver, tour companies may be able to keep the air conditioning on while you’re in a tasting room or have other ways of keeping the van or bus cool.

If you’re making a larger purchase, ask about shipping. Wineries, for example, may waive shipping fees on a minimum number of bottles and they use companies that are well-versed in climate control and the handling of perishables.

Driving yourself (and a few friends)? Pack along a cooler or an insulated bag to keep the heat off of your bottles or cans. Ice packs are also way better than ice itself, as that melts, causes a mess and will damage the labels on the bottles. The gel version of ice packs should do the trick.

No matter what you’ve put your purchases in, avoid the trunk of your vehicle. Yes, it’s dark but there’s no airflow or air conditioning. You may hop into a hot car and crank the air conditioning up but the cool air is probably not reaching the case of wine you’ve had in your vehicle’s trunk all day.

Even if I have a short drive, if the sun is at full tilt I put bottles on the floor of my car – in a box or bag so they don’t roll around – and point the air conditioning down, even for a few minutes.

And one last tip, be careful not to shock your purchases if they have be warmed by chilling them too quickly.

Enjoy your purchases once you’re home and they are safely put away.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Welcome to the summer of comebacks

Nostalgic fun and wines

If you’re fan of Elvis Presley, you’ll know that the title of the 2022 Penticton Elvis Festival – the Comeback Festival – is a nod to Presley’s famous 1968 Comeback Special.

You’re also probably aware that a new film about the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” simply titled Elvis, drops into movie theatres on June 24, the day after Canada’s largest and longest running Elvis Festival begins, and the day the Peach City Beach Cruise starts.

The parks around the southern end of Okanagan Lake will be full of classic cars, classic performers, tribute artists (not impersonators, but artists who sing live) and any day now, the “Elvi”will start roaming the streets of the Peach City. I can’t wait for all of it‚ or as the kids say, I am here for it.

What does that have to do with the plethora of local libations available in the Okanagan? It gives me an excuse to suggest drinks that pair with this nostalgic vibe that is about to descend upon the valley. As a sidenote, obviously don’t drink a drive but do raise a glass of one of these when you see the King appear, or – if we’re lucky, fellow Elvis fans – a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III is spotted meandering through the valley.

In West Kelowna, Beaumont Estate Winery is named for the 1967 Beaumont, made by General Motors and a sought-after “muscle” car. Pick up a bottle of winery’s skin contact Pinot Gris, aptly named Smoke and Mirrors. If it’s there, look for the baby blue ride. If not sold out, grab a Looking for Treble t-shirt too.

Nostalgia Wines in Oliver recently held a classic car show, the Show Shine ‘n’ Wine, and obviously most of their wines are perfect for this comeback summer. The small-lot Nostalgia series has some fine bottles, but head to the pin-up series for Chantilly Lace sparkling wine, a bottle of Boogie Woogie White or Pink Cadillac rosé.

In the Shuswap, Baccata Ridge has blueberry wine. Clearly made for sipping while listening to the rockabilly classic Blue Suede Shoes. Or wearing a pair. Or both.

Given its statement that its wines are “made by scoundrels, sipped by royalty,” and on Sundays there is live music and prohibition era-inspired cocktails are on the menu, a visit to Crown & Thieves ticks a number of boxes. How about a glass of the Broken Hearts Pinot Noir?

Elvis had some unique favourite foods. The Elvis Sandwich is peanut butter, banana and bacon on white bread. Some say it also had grape jelly.

There are a number of Elvis-inspired peanut butter and banana cocktails on the Internet, several have Scotch and/or peanut butter whisky as an ingredient. Feel free to experiment.

But after I’ve checked out the classic rides and listened to some tribute artists, I’m going make myself a Sidecar cocktail, hit the patio, and listen to the song Spinout on repeat.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Book your summer events ASAP

Summer fun in Okanagan

Welcome to the first day of “June-uary.”

At some point, hopefully any day now, summer weather will be upon us. Before we know it—if not already—the influx of guests will begin as it seems everyone wants to go everywhere and do everything…right now.

As many tasting rooms stick with reservations, allowing for more educational and immersive experiences, it’s almost critical that you check out the latest offerings of your favourite establishment and book your tastings.

Even more so, it’s time to check the summer event calendar. Here are a few suggestions but be aware, that smaller events may almost be full, so don’t delay.

June 10, Lightning Rock Winery, Summerland: a handful of tickets remain for Pink-Just-Pink, a five-course wine-paired dinner exploring the many shades of pink on your plate or in your glass. lightningrockwinery.com/Tastings/Events

June 11, Summerland: Bottleneck Drive’s signature event, the Grand Sommelier Express, returns. Hop on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway for a ride to and from sipping stations and tasty bites from BRODO.

June 16 and July 21, Roche Wines, Naramata: Relax at an abstract watercolour painting workshop with artist Marina Billinghurst, whose work is on the winery’s Pinot Gris label.

June 19, Road 13, Oliver: Celebrate the summer solstice at the Young Agrarians Farm Social and learn about viticulture, winemaking, and soil science while enjoying wine and gourmet sammies and salads.

June 26, Time Winery, Penticton: Two seatings are available for a Drag Brunch and Burlesque. Tickets are sold by the table, so grab your besties for brunch and complimentary bubbles.

June 26, Maverick Estate Winery, Oliver: Sip wine and cider while enjoying wood-fired pizza by Woodwood Pizzeria.

July 15 or 16, Bartier Bros., Oliver: Beans and Jeans is a ‘sip stomping’ good time with a country-style dinner by Oliver Eats and music by Mitch Zorn, pluys here’s a ‘Rip & Beth’ lookalike contest.

July 30, Meyer Family Vineyards, Okanagan Falls: Rock out with Jack and Jill while enjoying wine, beer, and a variety of the Okanagan’s best food trucks.

Various dates, Grizzli Winery, West Kelowna: From happy hour to golden hour music in the vineyard to art shows to outdoor cinema, it’s best to explore their entire calendar.

Various dates, Township 7, Langley: The Fraser Valley location has live music on Fridays through Sept 2, and many other events this summer. https://township7.com/events/

Various dates, Blind Tiger Vineyards, Lake Country: Live in the Vineyard features local bands of various genres throughout the summer.

Sept 18, Kelowna: Always a sell out, so book now, the Okanagan Feast of Fields wandering harvest picnic returns, and heads to Wiseacre Farm Distillery.

Is your event missing? Send an email to [email protected] to be on the next roundup.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Wine industry making moves forward to sustainability

Sustainable wine industry

A theme is emerging this spring in the wine business, and it’s not just the bright-eyed enthusiasm of tasting rooms and winery patios opening for the season. It’s the business of sustainability.

If you were around wineries and a handful of gourmet food shops a few years ago, you may recall seeing Winecrush products in tasting rooms or at events. The company has transformed from turning the leftover materials from the winemaking process into tasty bites to a new name and business outlook.

Now CrushDynamics, it is pioneering a biomechanical process that, in a nutshell, takes the waste from wineries and upcycles it into food ingredients that reduce salt and sugar, boosts nutrition, reduces environmental impact and optimizes taste.

The company is reaping in millions in funding as it seeds expansion plans.

CrushDynamics began at Okanagan wineries, including Stag’s Hollow in Okanagan Falls. Stag’s Hollow recently achieved sustainability certification from Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia (SWBC).

SWBC recognizes the efforts and achievements by wineries to minimize their impact on the environment.

This means taking a holistic approach that enhances soil health and carbon capture, promotes biodiversity, protects waterways and cares for the health and well-being of employees and the wider community.

Who knew all of this thought went into your glass of pinot?

Meanwhile, SWBC member Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna is looking up from the soil and vines to the power of the sun to do more than just ripen grapes.

Working with SolShare Energy, Tantalus has just gone live with bifacial solar panels on the winery’s main building, anticipated to produce 60,000 kWh of energy per year. At peak times, the solar system will offset 70% to 100% of Tantalus’ electrical consumption. It is SolShare’s first project in Kelowna.

Further south, in Summerland, Okanagan Crush Pad is the first Canadian winery to join the IWCA – the International Wineries for Climate Action.

Founded by Familia Torres (Penedes, Spain) and Jackson Family Wines (California, USA) in 2019, IWCA set out to galvanize the global wine community to create climate change mitigation strategies and decarbonize the industry.

From May 23 to 26, 150 speakers from around the world will converge, virtually, for Green Wine Future from eight regions (presented in English, Spanish and French), to discuss climate change, biodiversity, wine tourism, regenerative viticulture, and more.

Canada will be represented by keynote speakers Chief Clarence Louisof the Osoyoos Indian Band and Melanie Mark, B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport.

These are all great steps in the greening of the wine industry.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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