Tuesday, December 12, 2017





The Emerging Fraser Valley

Just the other day I was corresponding with John Schreiner (Canada's most prolific writer of books on wine) about the emerging Fraser Valley Wineries. We focused on the Abbotsford area. John wrote jokingly " I need to write a book on the Fraser Valley"

It all began with the establishment of Domaine de Chaberton in 1975 by Claude and Inge Violet. They were followed by Township 7, Backyard Vineyards and Blackwood Lane.

Vern Siemens was the first to establish a winery in the Mt Lehman region North West of the city of Abbotsford. Mt Lehman winery opened in 2000. His neighbours now include Singletree Winery and the newly opened Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery. Making a nice threesome off Mt Lehman road to go along with the Cheese farm, Christmas Tree Farms and Lavender farms.

Another recently opened winery just east of the city centre is Ripple's fruit Winery, already a national award winner. In between the establishment of Blackwood Lane and Ripples the already popular Krause Berry Farm added a fruit winery and now produces award-winning wines.

To the south near Abbotsford is Mann Farms a vegetable and fruit farm that has successfully added a fruit winery.





On the north side of the Fraser River, in Pitt Meadows, one can find the Blue Heron Fruit winery which opened in 2003. Just recently Chateau Blue Winery opened in Pitt Meadows.

Township 7 has a new neighbour just across the street is Festina Lente Estate Winery Ltd. a new meadery doing quite well. This brings to mind Cambell's Honey Farm located in Abottsford. They started producing mead in 1997.

Also opening in 2017 on Zero Ave in Langley Township was The Glass House Winery.

Yes there are more, some you have never heard of but have been operating for years. St. Urban Winery in Chilliwack and 1st R.O.W. in Surrey. The newly opened are Whispering Horse Winery, Springland Winery, Vinoscenti Vineyard, Montagu Cellars, Country Vines Winery Great Fraser Valley Wine LTD and Caven Cellars.

As the sunsets over the Fraser Valley, there are more wineries planning to open A new day seems to bring news of another project in the Valley.  The latest up to the minute news (okay recent news) another winery is planned for the Mt Lehman region.


Perhaps you should stay at the Brookside Inn in Abbotsford and book a wine tour with them. We enjoyed our stay!

Just for fun google Constantin-Vasilca Winery.  Is this Walnut winery still open? Let me know.

Yes, John please write that book!!

Suggest Links

The Fraser Valley

Mt Lehman Sojourn

Festina Lenete 

Robert's Report

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Turkey Wine

Today on Facebook I saw a post from the Executive Editor at The Cork Report. He wrote "Do people really panic about Thanksgiving wine pairings? Do they really need "expert" advice?"

I had no hesitation in giving my simple reply NO!  People are busy with arranging the event the meal. Very little time is spent in worrying about the wine. So many people are either red or white. It's that simple.

I myself go for a light refreshing white. No special trips to the store are made. Red is always available for those who prefer it.

The only time you worry is when you invite someone who is connected with the industry who is so in a special way. Otherwise, your inviting family and friends whose tastes you already know.

There is a wide array of wines suggested by the wine writers such as Gamay, Pinot Noir and Zinfindel. Dry Rose and Sangiovese. I suggest Milo, Riesling or Bacchus.

This year at Thanksgiving we did not have turkey. For Christmas, we will be the guest, whatever they serve I am sure I will be extremely happy . I will be among friends and that is more than enough to make any wine better.



Saturday, November 11, 2017


Writer's Block

Enjoying an afternoon and evening party of six good friends our host Peter and June introduced us to a wine from California.  It was the interesting labels ( front and back) that caught our interest. The wine was called Writer's Block. On the front label, it read  "bottled and produced by OMS Group Kelseyville California". Kelseyville is in the Lake Country north of Napa Valley where this year's forest fires endangered and destroyed some wineries.



The back label was most interesting with a verse in American English and old world English written byAnn Holmes.

I decided to Google OMS Group to see what I could find about this wine. There was only a reference to a Company in Ontario, Canada. So this was a dead end. I then Google Writer's Block Wine. This provided only a brief note on the wine itself nothing about its producer.

This time I Googled wineries in Kelseyville California. It was winery number six that provided the answer. Stelle winery was the producer. Although if you go through their current list of wines for sale Writer's Block 2012 Petite Sirah is not listed. Sirah is the spelling on the label. Their website spells it Syrah. Further research was required.

Writer's Block is a collaboration between winery owner Jed Steel and his son Quincy. Quincy worked a few years in Australia and Argentina learning the trade of a winemaker before return home. They combined New world and Old world techniques to produce the wine.

They also produced Roussanne, Marsanne, Counoise, under the Writer's Block label.

Thursday, November 2, 2017



Classic Hamburger Soup

As the rains of Autumn begins, it is a good time to enjoy a hearty Hamburger Soup. The soup is easily made by just mixing the ingredients in a crockpot. You have the hamburger, beef broth and whatever your heart desires may be added.

I know two people that make amazing hamburger soup. Our dear friend June and my wife Barbara.
Recently we had the pleasure of having six of our closest friends over for lunch where we served Hamburger soup.



It has been suggested that a light crisp white wine should be served with hamburger soup. However, I am not one that worries too much on matching foods and wine. On this occasion, we served very nice Blueberry wine from Kings Court in Ontario prior to the meal. With the soup the Blackwood Lane Viognier was perfect. Those who chose a red started with the Cab Franc from Blackwood Land followed by their Alliance. All three wines seemed to compliment the soup.

Thankfully my wife made enough for us to have leftovers the next evening. This time we had a Pinot Grigio From Coastal Ridge in California.

Our next selection for a hearty meal will be French Onion Soup. I think the dry Baccus from Chaberton will do nicely. You could also go with a French Aligoté or perhaps St Hubertus Chasselas.

For Reds Try a classic Beaujolais or a Gamay.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Summer Wines.

The rains have arrived in British Columbia's lower mainland. The falls colours so magnificently displayed. Which means it is time to look back at some of the more enjoyable wines of the summer.

We stayed close to home this year experience many of the fine wines offered in the Fraser Valley. We visited the Bacchus Bristo at Chaberton a few times and did a special tasting with winemaker Andrea Lee. Andrea has knocked it out of the park with her cellar of wines. The Reserve Bacchus 2015 was astonishing. We can also recommend the Gamay Noir 2016


Among our memorable visits was Backyard Vineyards. Excellent hospitality and an amazing 2015 Gewürztraminer. Among memorable visit was our three visits to Seaside Pearl Farmgate winery. try their Charlotte Estate Petit Milo.


Summer means Pizza and we enjoyed visiting the good folks at Blackwood Lane Estate Winery with their new patio and pizza oven. Tasting their Chardonnay 2014 and 2016 Viognier was a delightful experience. One can never forget their Reference!


Not all of our wines we purchased this summer was from the Fraser Valley. A wonderful wine comes from Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery. Their 2015 Récolte Blanche is perfection plus!

Representing the Okanagan we enjoyed Fashion Estates 2016 Appliqué. Try it you will like it!

From St. Catharines, Ontario we really appreciated Kings Court  Pinot Grigio. Aso the Estate Chardonnay 2014 from Hidden Bench.


Back in the Fraser Valley we had a wonderful tasting experience with Jason at Township Seven. WinemakerMary McDermott has created quite the cellar. the 2016 Viognier was fantastic.

Fruit Wines - both Ripples and Krause Berry farm have raised the bar for impressive wines.

For more on our Wine selections please see Robert's Selections
Watch the website for  The Best Wines of 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

A good Chile Wine

Discovering that our cellar was running low on red wine and Everything Wine was having their big sale we made their way to their South Surrey location.  Needless to say it was not easy to find a parking spot. The store was quite busy. Cases of imported wines were stacked everywhere.

Caseloads of wine were heading out the door.  The Majority of these wines under $14.00 I made my way to the British Columbia wines, they were not on sale and the majority of the wines were over $20.00. I explored the wines reading the new brand put out by various wineries, as Barbara completed her selection of reds.

I came across a huge display of Ochagavia Wines a Chilean winery, located in Macul, Santiago. An employee was the stacking the wines. I spotted the price tag $8.99. "Why not I said to myself"

I selected the white wine Espuela. Took it home and drank it a week later. It was surprisingly good. A wonderful aroma.with soft citrus notes. Fresh tropical fruit flavours to finish.

It is not often we purchase wines outside of Canada but gee whiz when Canadian wines run 30 to 60 % higher in price what choice do I have!

Monday, September 25, 2017

You'll wish that summer could always be here



Are you like me and my dear wife Barbara, drinking more wine during the summer months under the warm sun, than during the colder winter months?
Despite the fact that many wineries release new wines in early fall, summer is the time I drink the most wine.  Sitting on the patio seems to bring out the best whites.




This summer Chaberton EstateReserve Bacchus 2016 topped my list of most enjoyed and most drunk wines.A perfect summer wine, rich in flavours. It starts with a nice aroma, tantalizes the taste buds with lime and pear. Followed by a smooth lasting finish.

We also enjoyed a few bottles of the 2015. One would be slightly pressed to decide which one is better but I gave a slight edge to the 2016.

The 2015 Récolte Blanche from Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery in Creston was another summer favourite.  We managed to empty three bottles with ease. This wine was not easy to find on the shelves.

Backyard Vineyards 2015 Gewürztraminer also highlighted our summer wines. Yes, we did visit a number of Fraser Valley wineries over the summer, they all impressed with their friendly hospitality and quality wines.

One cannot forget Township 7 2016 Viognier bursting with flavours of peach and Honeysuckle.  Blackwood Lane Chardonnay 2014 was another fine wine.

From Ontario, we enjoyed Kings Court Pinot Grigio 2015 and Hidden Bench Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2014. We can not forget Closson Chase 2014 Block Chardonnay, Truis Winery Show Case Riesling and Pillitteri Estate Reserve Vidal Icewine.




The newly opened Seaside Pearl provided some fantastic wines for our summer patio dinners. Their Pinot Gris 2014 is very good. Look for a nice summer red try their Landing Road Red Blend 2014.

An excellent dessert wine was Krause Estate Winery Cassis (Black Currant) Dessert Wine. We can also recommend Chabertons Tribute 2013.

Now we must not forget Wild Goose Vineyards. The 2012 Mystic River Pinot Blanc is amazing! Their entire cellar is amazing

Back in Ontario Vineland Estate Dry Riesling 2015 makes a lovely wine for warm summer evening.

To see more fine selection click here.

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