A New Group of BC Wine Ambassadors

Back from left: Stephen Dougans, Jacob Clark, Marcus Ansems MW, Kim Theoret, Margaux Burgess, Kim Barnes from the BC Wine Institute. Front from left: Monica Sommer, Brittany Carl, Ivonne Martinez, Brandi Dawson

At the beginning of May I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to host a group of Albertan on and off premise professionals in the Okanagan Valley. Over the course of three days we were able to tour vineyards, meet the owners, taste with the winemakers and see what BC wines really bring to the market. #alsacamp was an incredible experience and a powerful way to truly understand the wines of the Okanagan.

A favourite aspects of the trip occurred on day two – we were able to join Marcus Ansems MW as he took us through the BC Wine Institute certified BC Wine Ambassador Program. We were given an educational tour of British Columbia and tried some outstanding wines. A cross section of what is available from the provinces 255 grape wineries and 10 200 acres, these are wines with amazing freshness and a purity of fruit and place unlike anywhere else.

BC is not just icewine, not even close. 90% of all vineyards are in the Okanagan and the Similkameen (Sa-mill-ka-meen) Valleys that are dry and desert like. These are excellent growing conditions for all types of grapes.

Most Planted Red Grapes in BC

  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • Gamay Noir

Most Planted White Grapes in BC

  • Pinot Gris
  • Chardonnay
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Viognier

Look for this selection of what we tasted with Marcus Ansems MW:

Bella Sparkling Gamay Rose
The Bella Gamay is bright rhubarb and strawberry aromatics. It smells so good; it is unlike any other sparkling I have tried. At first the similarity to rhubarb is surprising, but it makes you want to taste immediately. Made in the traditional method, hand riddled and hand disgorged, this is a quality sparkler built for enjoyment.

St Hubertus Riesling
Estate grown, sustainable fruit is used to produce this classic Okanagan Riesling. With bright acidity, lime, citrus and honey this relatively dry example is an excellent introduction to the quality level Riesling can reach in the Okanagan.

Culmina ‘Unicus’ Gruner Veltliner
The name ‘Culmina’ is taken for the Latin for high peak as the Gruner Veltliner is planted on a peak high above the winery. One of only two bottlings of Gruner in BC this is very expressive with classic Gruner characteristics of citrus, white pepper and lemongrass. A very interesting wine.

Meyer Family Okanagan Falls Pinot Noir
Made with Burgundy in mind and vineyard influence at hand this is an elegant example of Pinot Noir with the fruit purity so often found in quality BC wine. Strawberry, cherry, bramble and woodsy earthiness ensures a Pinot Noir to appeal to all.

To see more of our trip, check #alsacamp on Instagram and @Twitter

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