Friday, February 3, 2017


One of the most renowned regions in British Columbia's  Okanagan is the Naramata Bench . The region extents north from the city of Penticton and runs along the east side of Okanagan Lake. The vineyards of the bench provide outstanding conditions for Merlot and Bordeaux varieties and full favourite Pinot Gris and Viognier.

 
Hillside state Winery was the first to establish themselves on the Bench. In 1984 Vera and Bohumir Klockockas began establishing the vineyard. Today Hillside is a major player in the Okanagan.
 
 

Kathy Malone has been the winemaker at Hillside since 2008. The only one we know producing Muscat Ottnel. The Hillside Bistro provides fine dinning.


 In 1969 Bob Ferguson and Tim Watts opened Kettle Valley winery, named after the old railway that use run along the east shore. They produce some lively and bold reds.

One winery that produces amazing wines we do not hear enough about is D'Angelo. Sal De Angelo had an establish winery in Ontario. He visited the Naramata falling in love with the region he immediately established a second winery here.

If you like Fruits wines Elephant Island is for your. Their is actually no Island an no elephant. Try the Pear wine.


One cannot forget Nichol Vineyards producing wines since 1993. Winemaker and owner Ross Hackworth produces a very good Syrah.

Among the well established wineries are Poplar Grove, the first winery you will see as you enter the Bench . Their vineyards were established in 1993. What a reputation they have made over the years

We also must mention, Black Widow, Black Cloud, Foxtrot, Meyer Family , Howling Bluff, La Frenz, Red Rooster, Serendipity, Van Westen, Township 7 and Lang among those helping making Naramata wines famous. In recent years new wineries have popped up on the Bench.

See them all at winesofcanada.com ~ The Naramata Bench



Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23/2017



Wine, Music and Pizza

Saturday evening is the time for music, pizza, and wine at Fraser Valley's Blackwood Lane. We have been in the summer for pizza on the patio, but last Saturday was our first winter visit to the enclosed veranda, which has been converted to a cozy dining room. 

The limited food service is run under the direction of tasting room manager Kimberly Gislason who does double duty as the chef. It is aptly named Kimberly's Mini Bistro, and the food is five-star! We were not disappointed after venturing out to take in the January special of purchasing a bottle of wine which came with a free pizza.

Wines at Blackwood Lane are high on the list of being excellent.  We ordered a bottle of the 2012 Rebel, a Syrah, a complex wine with an array of flavours.

The background music was provided by Fanny and Gary. Fanny sang as well as played the harp and a flute, Gary accompanied her on guitar.  

The hospitality at the winery is always welcoming. Winemaker and owner Carlos Lee was kept busy going from table to table making sure everyone was happy. Carlos also provided a tasting of his latest project; a sparkling Sea Buckthorn wine. It certainly has potential just needs a little time.
The efficient staff saw to our comfort with outstanding service.

The Bristo is open from 6-9 pm on Saturday's, go a little early and visit the tasting bar. I recommend you try the Alliance and Reference. If you are lucky, Kimberley will have some of her homemade chocolate for sale.




Friday, January 13, 2017



Vineland Estate- Ontario


Questions

Part of every morning is spent on answering e-mail questions send to us at bell@winesofcanada.com or bobbell@winesofcanada.com.  Here are three of the most common questions.

1. I found a bottle of Brights President wine that my grandparents had been given twenty years ago....

Answer: Finding older bottles of wine from Brights and other companies such as London winery is actually quite common. The wine is mostly not suited for drinking. Also, I have never found anyone interests in collecting them.

London Winery was sold to Vincor ( who sold to Constellation Brands)  back in 1996. The brand is long gone. Brights is a different story. They too became part of Vincor. In 1993 they joined with Cartier and Inniskillian to form Vincor. The Brights label can still be found in eastern Canada. But is slowly been removed.

2. Where can I buy Icewine in my hometown?

Answer: In Canada, that is an easy answer. The provinces control the sale of all alcohol products and have government run stores. In the USA  you have to deal with import and export laws for the federal and sate laws. We do not track what states allow Canadian icewine nor what retailers may carry icewine. A rather big task.

The same is true of Europe. Canada does have a trade agreement with Europe and Britain. We just do not track the dealers.

China and Japan have Canadian Icewine. Icewine has a very big market in China. Some Canadian wineries have even opened stores in China.

3. Can you tell us what wineries we should visit?

Answer: A difficult question as we hate to feature one winery over another. We will suggest those that support us through advertising. We also invite people to look at our feature pages such as Best Wineries to Visit in 2017.




Friday, December 16, 2016


Visting Chaberton Estate

On a cold winters day, Barbara and I decided to leave the comfort of our home and take a combined photo and winery trip. We dropped by Chaberton Estate Winery, located in the Fraser Falley south of Langley.

It is a winery we have been to numerous times since it opened. We love their wines and Bacchus Bistro. It is are GO To restaurant for Valentines.

Today we had the pleasure of meeting Samatha (sam) a young day with a bright smile and charming personal. She guided us through a short wine tasting with knowledge, cheerfulness, and politeness.
Every time she left us to aid another customer, she politely excused herself and on returning apologized for leaving. Neither was necessary but impressive. Thank you, Sam you heightened the tasting experience!

I was looking for Whites for  Christmas dinner. The Valley Chardonnay with its peach notes was excellent as was the Pinot Gris. The  2014 Reserved Riesling from the Similkameen was delightful.  I decided to bring home the Reserved Bacchus and a port-style 2013 Tribute.


After enjoying our tasting experience Sam guided us to the vineyards so we could take some photos of the vineyards experiencing winter.


Merry Christmas to all and a very happy new year!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Wellbrook Winery


Ken and I decided to visit the Delta wineries while our wives took a trip into the  heart of Vancouver . Our first stop was at Angel Estate Winery located  on Westham Island. To reach the Island you have to cross a hundred-year-old wooden swing  bridge  between the Fraser River Estuary and the Pacific.

Angel Estate is the former Westham Island winery specializing in fruit wines. It would be our first visit to the winery since it was purchased by new owners. However, upon arrival we found the winery closed. Their website clearly indicated they would be open, as did the street sign and the sign in the window.

So we left the Island heading back through Lader and  towards the Boundry Bay Airport and Wellbrook Winery.  The winery was open and we found ourselves in the tasting room greeted by a charming Lady with a lovely Irish brogue.


The focal point of our 55-acre heritage farm is The Old Grainery Store, lovingly restored by owner Terry Bremner. Surrounded by century-old beams and antique furnishings and fixtures, guests are invited to sample from our unique selection of table and dessert wines. However, despite the appealing interior, it may have been more impressive  if the tables and chairs from the previous night event had been removed.

Their cooking classes with guest chefs have been very popular. The meals prepared by the chefs are served to you along with wine.

Kris ( the Irish Lass) directed us through a very enjoyable tasting experience. Wellbrook is a fruit winery having originally starting business as a fruit juice company under the name Bremmer. Their Blueberry and Cranberry wines are rather good. We also enjoyed their fortified wines I though their Iced Apple was the best


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

From Sandwich to Wine

 A good husband's number one objective in marriage is to please his wife. With that in mind, I asked my lovely wife if she would like a sandwich. It is well known a man can make himself a sandwich in 30 seconds, bread, meat and bam it's done! Making one for your wife is another story!

We had fresh french bread from the bakery along with Tuscany ham that I was anxious to make into sandwiches for our lunch. I asked her what she would like on her sandwich; her reply "Coconut butter." I gave her the sandwich to which I had added lettuce.  After thanking me, she asked if I had put mayo on it.  "No, I replied you asked for coconut butter."  She came back with "But I always have mayo on my sandwiches." back to the drawing or should I say sandwich board for me.  "Won't make that mistake again" I mumbled to myself.

However, that was minor compared to the one I made a few nights ago. I felt I wanted something different, a something little more exciting than a glass of wine so I took a bottle of Chaberton Estate 2014 Siegerrebe Dessert Wine, Fraser Valley BC VQA from the wine rack and chilled it for a couple of hours before settling in front of the TV with my wife. I asked if she wanted to try some. "I better not" was the reply: "I just finished the last of my antibiotics."

The following evening I took the bottle from the fridge to again enjoy.  I didn't offer any to Barbara remembering her comment of the night before about the antibiotics. Noticing the bottle was not the usual shape of white wine she asked, "What are you drinking?" when I told her the response was; "Why didn't you offer me any. I am no longer on antibiotics."  Again my mind reading skills needed fine tuning.  Out came another dessert wine glass.

She sipped the wine and was immediately impressed; she loved it! Each sip warranted a comment such as "This is like sipping something from heaven, the texture, the aroma, the flavour is exquisite!"
Like her hearing Barbara's taste buds are very astute so when she raves about a wine you can take her word for it.  I suggest that you swing by Chaberton Estate Winery located at 1064 216th Street Langley and try a taste along with their other fine wines.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner 2016

Barbara and I had a very pleasant Thanksgiving this year.  Due to illness last year, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were not to be so it had been awhile since we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

We hosted our Ladner friends Ken and Jane who had just returned from a month-long visit to the UK the day before. Ken is our unofficial marketing director and chief supporter of Wines of Canada.

Our meal consisted of turnip, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy and of course turkey, which was cooked to perfection. We tasted some of British Columbia's best wines which helped to make the meal even more enjoyable.

Our pre-meal wine came from The View Winery in Kelowna,  a 2014 Silver Lining Estate Rosé. We managed to empty the bottle quickly. Thank you, Jennifer.

Ken and Barbara are both dedicated red drinkers, they switched to Chaberton Estate's 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon after the Rose` The winery used grapes from three vineyards; one in Oliver, one in Naramata and one in the Similkameen to create this very full bodied wine.

After the Cab Sauv next came the Chaberton Estate 2012 AC, named after owner Anthony Chang. A very tasty wine with dark fruit flavours and hints of spice. A favourite with Barbara.

Jane and I opted for white wine, Fraser Valley Singletree Winery's 2015 Homestead. We found this to be a very good wine, it went well with the turkey.

A simple dessert of homemade banana bread along with coffee and a little LA Frenz Winery NV Liqueur Muscat finished off a meal that was filled with good food, good wine and lots of catching up!