About

Hi there, thanks for stopping by!

My blog – is a place for  locals, fellow wine lovers, foodies and visitors to learn about wine I’ve enjoyed and places to eat around Vancouver and around the world.

Cheers to discovering and enjoying great wine and food,

Donita

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Play Estate a New Winery in BC

I’m not sure if you (my readers) know this, but I work in the wine industry for a wine import agency. I like the title Territory Manager, but really what it means is I am a wine representative. And, yes that means I try lots of wines, but they aren’t always the ones I represent! And so you know, because I am a wine-geek at heart, I write about wines I discover and enjoy, whether they are ones I represent or not. Okay? Okay good. Now that I’ve got that out of the way ;)…

So let me share what I recently got to taste. I sipped through the line-up of wines from a brand new winery in the Okanagan Valley, in BC, Canada. Called: Play Estate Wines. Prior to this particular tasting I had tried just 2 of the 7 wines they make. I liked them, they were approachable, food friendly and well priced. Simple, done. But there was something missing for me. The story. There is so much more to gain from meeting the winemaker, visiting a winery, learning their story, where the grapes were grown (vineyard, soil, etc) and their intention behind the wines they create. Once I know this, I have a deeper appreciation for wines, as I do now for Play Estate. The wines are made to be enjoyed by everyone, much like theatre – which is why every label depicts theatre and the arts in the picture and/or the name.

I first met Mohamed Awad (the winemaker), just before our first appointment with a retail wine store one morning. I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for him, but I didn’t have a clue what he looked like, so of course I eyed every single man who walked through the door! I wonder what they were thinking?!!

Soon enough, in walks this tall, smiling guy, who for a moment I thought: “he’s energetic and smiling, this guys the winemaker?” ha ha. I would soon learn that this down to earth, gentle, optimist guy was not just a fun human, but a winemaker with intention and integrity. His wines reflect his taste and his character. If this is what he’s creating at a 1-year-old winery, then this is definitely a winery and winemaker to watch ( as Tim Pawsey from the hiredbelly.com once said ).  We have to watch the newcomers in the industry as much as the veterans, as they bring fresh ideas, styles and smarts to the art of winemaking.
All the wines are VQA, and here are the wines I got to enjoy… click here: Cork Affairs – to read about all the wines!

 

Exploring Natural Wines

Marisa and Jessica of AmoVino

Learning about wine for me, is an ongoing thing. Because I will never know it all when it comes to wine, probably ever, as there is so much to discover behind every winery, vine, winemaker, vineyard and grape.

So a few months ago I hopped on an Amtrak train early in the morning for the 4-hour trip from Vancouver south to Seattle, in order to attend the “Slow Wine 2017 Tasting” put on by the Slow Food Guide who also has a Slow Wine Guide (an important marketing organization celebrating sustainability, minimal intervention, cellar practices, environmental impact and respect of employees and the market). I expected a room full of unique and different natural wines and a great way to talk with the winemakers, learn and taste what their wines were all about. And… it was a fantastic afternoon of tasting everything from crazy rustic farmer wine to finessed and elegant wine that you would never realize was natural.

So, do you know what natural wines are?  Here’s the easiest way I can explain it… think back to hundreds of years ago when wine was made in the 19th century. They didn’t have the enhanced knowledge that we do today or the demand, therefore they used the simplest techniques to produce wine. Simple farming, no chemicals, no sugar (for the dry wines), no addition of wood chips, no filtering and no fining agents (however between the 1800’s and 1900’s as winemakers became more knowledgeable, they began using animal proteins, egg whites, bentonite clay, gelatine and even charcoal to fine their wine). Wine was just wine back then, naturally fermented with wild yeast, bottled and enjoyed. So think of natural wine in this way, it’s a simple and old-school practice but with the creative skill of todays winemakers.

To read the rest of the article on my website Cork Affairs click HERE.