Filling a winemaker's glass

The grape harvest and crush 2019 should be coming to a close soon, save for icewine and fruit destined for late harvest.

It’s been weird weather this season — cold fronts, rain, then sun, then the same cycle of unpredictability day in and out.

What does a winemaker sip on to get through it all?

I asked a few, in honour of the industry saying that it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine. The idea was to list the favourite beers of local winemakers, but some answers were surprising. Enjoy.

Brad Cooper, Black Cloud Pinot Noir

“I like to drink Cannery Brewing’s Trellis IPA. I feel it had the right balance of green hops, citrus influences, and floral notes. It’s a great food accompaniment. When I have one or two, I am in my ‘hoppy’ place.”

Jeff Hundertmark, Mt Boucherie Estate Winery

“Guinness is my harvest beer choice because…well, Guinness! Always my go-to. I know, a little old school, but really have you seen me? I would love to go to the source at St James Gate (in Dublin, Ireland) but the locally brewed version will do just fine.

When I can’t have a Guinness, a good old Fat Tug will get me there, a beauty of a Northwestern IPA from Driftwood in Victoria, B.C.”

Jeff Del Nin, Road 13 Vineyards

“I’m a celiac, so I unfortunately can’t drink beer. The ‘beer’ I love is actually a soda from Phillip’s Brewing on Vancouver Island. This is the best root beer I have ever tasted – rich and complex with some acidity for a nice non-cloying finish.

"This is a craft-brewed, adult’s soft drink if there ever was one. And their cola is also one of the best I’ve ever tried.”

Keira LeFranc, Stag’s Hollow Winery

”Cannery Brewing’s Apricot Wheat Ale. It’s the perfect sunshine-y beer after a long day on the crush pad.”

Graham Pierce, TIME Winery, Evolve Cellars and McWatters Collection

“I love coffee, so I like to say it takes a lot of coffee to make good wine. I drink a ton of Tug 6 coffee; it seems to help my decision making a little better than alcohol. I really love wine, so when work is done I’m likely starting with sparkling wine.

When it’s really hot, I’ll have a local cider, like Nomad. When I’m not drinking wine, I enjoy well-made cocktails, particularly Old Fashioneds and Negronis.”

Bailey Williamson, Blue Grouse Estate Winery

“Beer is the beverage of choice; Coopers Sparkling is a treat when everyone has worked extra hard. Coopers was the choice when I did vintage in Australia. Here now the go to is Phillips Phoenix Lager.”

Matt Dumayne, Okanagan Crush Pad

“Purified water sourced from endless water in Summerland. During this critical time of year, hydration is vital to fuel the body and mind during 100-hour work weeks. Taking a break from alcohol heals the organs, promotes weight loss and resets the body’s clock to provide healthy sleep patterns.

My only choice of water is a nine-stage purification including UV sterilization and reverse osmosis. Endless Water dispensary in Summerland provides such a treat. “


Oct. 28, Penticton: It’s Halloween movie night at Cannery Brewing in support of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre.

Nov. 1, Penticton: Halloween Mashup at Time Winery and Kitchen.

Nov. 2, Summerland: Saxon Estate Winery hosts the Flamin’ Pumpkin Chunkin’. Bring your Halloween pumpkin and watch it catapult through the air.

Nov. 7, Kelowna: The Okanagan’s top bartenders compete in the Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff.


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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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