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Thai Grilled Beef Salad & Rose

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Vancouver Sun - Thai RecipeFrom the Vancouver Sun, a fantastic recipe for two by Steven Raichlen that they recommend with our 2016 Rosé. Steven Raichlen is widely regarded as America’s foremost authority on live fire cooking. The five-time James Beard award winner has a new cookbook out: Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades. As the Sun notes, the Project Smoke celebrity chef is in the Barbecue Hall of Fame, so you can trust him. This light meal employs a unique post-grilling marinade for super fresh flavour.

Wine columnist, Anthony Gismondi writes on the Vanessa Vineyard Rosé wine pairing… “A richer Tavel style gives this savoury, spicy, dark berry flavoured rosé all it needs accompany the beef and seasoning in a Thai salad.”

Thai Grilled Beef Salad Recipe:

  • 1 lb (454 g) skirt steak
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp (60 mL) canola oil
  • Bibb lettuce
  • English cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Thai or regular basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped peanuts

Preheat grill on high. Season beef with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Brush grill with oil and grill steak until cooked to taste, 3 or 4 minutes a side. Rest meat 1 minute. Thinly slice and toss with two thirds of the Thai Flavour After Marinade. Arrange lettuce, sliced cucumbers and halved cherry tomatoes on a platter. Top with beef, herbs and peanuts. Serve with remainder of marinade.

Thai Flavour After Marinade

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp (60 mL) cilantro root, washed and minced (optional)
  • 5 tbsp (75 mL) sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) lime juice

In a bowl, combine garlic, ginger, lemon grass and cilantro. Sprinkle with sugar and mash. Add fish sauce and lime juice and set aside.

vanessa vineyard tasting room

Vanessa Vineyard Opens Highly Anticipated New Tasting Room in Similkameen Valley

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Vanessa Vineyard Opens Highly Anticipated New Tasting Room in Similkameen Valley
350th Winery to Open in British Columbia

CAWSTON, BC – AUGUST 1, 2017: Vanessa Vineyard is thrilled to announce the opening of their new tasting room in the ruggedly beautiful Similkameen Valley. Inspired by the region’s natural grandeur, Vanessa Vineyard’s tasting room is elegant in its simplicity, incorporating the unique local terrain. A burgeoning appellation, the Similkameen Valley is touted as “the next great Canadian wine region.”

In celebration of Vanessa Vineyard’s opening, a ribbon cutting is scheduled from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm today with local dignitaries including MLA Linda Larson and MP Dan Albas; and a public grand opening party is planned for August 11th from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

“Over one million tourists will visit British Columbia wineries this year with BC wine tourism generating $246 million in revenue for the economy,” said Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the BC Wine Institute. “What’s impressive about these numbers is that most BC wineries and grapegrowers are independent, family-owned farmers like Vanessa Vineyard,” adds Prodan. “It’s exciting to see these small businesses grow and expand to offer visitors a farm-to-glass experience that showcases the wines of the Similkameen Valley.”

Vanessa Vineyard, comprising 75 acres of extremely rocky terrain, is situated on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley. Planted in 2006 under the guidance of renowned viticulturists Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, the quantity of rocks on the site initially made vineyard development exceedingly challenging. The rocks, however, are a key asset to the property’s unique terroir, allowing day heat to be harnessed and imparted throughout the cooler nights enabling the fruit to produce flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive. In 2012 the owners Suki Sekhon and John Welson transitioned from grape growers to vintners. After ensuring the fruit was of superior quality, they began crafting small quantities of fine red wine. The new tasting room is a short 19 minute drive from Osoyoos and is located at 1090 Highway 3, Cawston, BC. Daily summer hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

“Despite our literal very rocky start a decade ago in planting the land, we’re thrilled with the reception our grapes and wines received right out of the gate. From the beginning Sandhill’s Vanessa Vineyard wines, followed by our own Vanessa Vineyard wines have shown remarkably well,” said Suki Sekhon, co-owner Vanessa Vineyard. “This critical acclaim from competitions and critics, gave us the confidence to proceed with building a tasting room inspired by our strikingly beautiful Valley”.

John Welson co-owner, Vanessa Vineyard remarks, “to produce Vanessa Vineyard wines, we start with 100% estate grown grapes that reflect the unique terroir of our vineyard and then use traditional wine making techniques and blends to produce wines of original character.”

Suggested tweet: New @VanessaVnyrd Opens ‘Modern Rustic’ Tasting Room in burgeoning #Similkameen Valley #wine region, 350th BC winery http://ow.ly/thZI30e1khT 

High Resolution images available upon request.

ABOUT US:
Carved from stone, fuelled by sun, a vineyard like no other. Vanessa Vineyard is situated high on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley with grapes cultivated on sloping, well-drained terrain. The vines grow in rows of rock, absorbing the day heat and imparting that warmth during the cooler nights, thus bestowing complex flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive. www.vanessavineyard.com

MEDIA CONTACT:
Lori Pike-Raffan
Vanessa Vineyard
920-475 West Georgia Street | Vancouver, BC | V6B 4M9
C: +1 604-808- 6655
Email: lori@vanessavineyard.com

Summer grilling: Chicago Style Steak Recipe

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chicago styleIt’s the first day of summer and we’re celebrating all things barbecued.  We’d like to share a classic recipe that is fantastic with our Meritage. This dish is courtesy of one of our favourite steakhouses, Gotham. Our full-bodied Cabernet based blend pairs beautifully with the rich and meaty flavours of this well grilled steak.

Ingredients:
lots of butter
canola oil
Kosher salt
cracked black pepper
good quality steaks at least 2″ thick

Directions:

  • Turn bbq on high, put cast iron skillet on grill, close lid and leave it for fifteen minutes. preheat oven to 500.
  • Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper, then brush with canola oil.
  • Scoop pad of butter in pan and let melt, place steak in pan and add more butter. (Expect a great deal of smoke, (this is why you are outside!)
  • Add more butter and flip steak, add more butter and leave for a minute, do not let butter dry up.
  • Remove steak and allow it to rest on the cooling rack
  • Just before serving dinner place all the steaks on the rack in the oven on a cookie sheet and leave it for 1 1/2 minutes, serve.

Join the team!

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VV - double rainbowOur beautiful new Similkameen Valley tasting room is almost ready to open and we’re hiring!  We’re looking for tasting room associates who are enthusiastic, energetic team players and who are passionate about wine and will ensure that all who enter the winery will be treated as family, so they walk away with an unforgettable experience.

This is a seasonal post and you must be able to work weekends as this position is focused on weekends. Full and Part-time opportunities available!

Candidate skills should include, but are not limited to:

  • Outstanding communication and customer service skills with an ability to adapt to diverse levels of guest knowledge
  • Project a polished and professional outward image in both dress and manners
  • Conducting structured tastings for those who come to the winery
  • Operation of a POS system
  • Prior wine knowledge is an asset and a positive attitude is required
  • Ability to work in a team and independently
  • Efficient worker and ability to problem solve
  • Comfortable presenting in front of large groups

Daily Responsibilities (inclusive but not limited to):

  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the hospitality space including tasting rooms, walkways, restrooms, and picnic area
  • Ensuring the tasting bars are well stocked, free of clutter, and ready to receive visitors
  • Communicate Vanessa Vineyard’s winemaking style, operations, and curate a memorable experience to the guest’s knowledge level
  • Act as ambassador for the Okanagan’s wine culture with personal experience and recommendations

Requirements:

  • Customer Service: 1 year
  • Ability to safely lift 40lbs
  • Serving It Right Certified
  • WSET or Wine Certification is an asset
  • Second language is an asset

Do you fit the bill? If so, please apply via email to duane@vanessavineyard.com.

Grape Grower & Vintner Success

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Howard Soon in barrel room

Howard Soon in barrel room

We’re honoured that our grapes are so well received by the critics. With 75 acres planted, we’re not able to use all the fruit for our own winery and sell some to a very select few local wineries. Their single vineyard Vanessa wines are achieving incredible acclaim.  This past spring, renowned British wine critic Jamie Goode visited BC for the Vancouver International Wine Festival and had the chance to taste a range of local wines and wrote of the Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard Syrah 2013,

“Sweet and textured with ripe black cherry and berry fruits with some lovely olive and pepper notes. Some dried herbs and spice, with a savoury, mineral intensity to this wine. Warm but with some peppery notes of cool climate. Lovely stuff. 93/100”

Similarly, renowned Canadian wine author John Schreiner recently wrote,

“Sandhill now sources some premium reds from Vanessa Vineyards in the Similkameen. This 100-acre vineyard has relatively young vines but it holds the promise of high quality wines as well. Certainly, the flavour profile differs from Phantom Creek. That simply underlines the Sandhill philosophy of making single vineyard wines that display the terroir and individuality of each and every vineyard…

Sandhill Small Lots One 2016 Vanessa Vineyard (barrel sample). This wine is a co-fermented blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Early in its aging process, this is a promising successor to the previous succession of Phantom Creek wines. The profile seems brighter, with minty and floral aromas and with brambly flavours. 90-92.”

Kudos to Howard Soon, winemaker Sandhill Wines for his repeated honours with our fruit!

An Evening With Rick Hansen

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an evening with rick hansenWe are proud to support the Rick Hansen Foundation in their gala charity fundraiser this weekend. Vanessa Vineyard is a sponsor of An Evening with Rick Hansen & Friends at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia this Friday June 2. We will be pouring our wines in their International Wine Tasting Room to a sold out room of 250 guests.  The exclusive evening with Rick Hansen is in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of his Man In Motion World Tour and in support of the Rick Hansen Foundation. Festivities include a cocktail reception, sensational entertainment and an opportunity to bid on unique and extraordinary experiences at their live auction. Some of the live auction highlights include:

  • 2018 Super Bowl Package for Two
  • 60th Anniversary Grammy’s In New York City Package For Two
  • London, England, NFL Football and Premier League Football Package for Two
  • 2017 NFL Mexico City Trip for Two
  • Hollywood Movie With A Speaking Role In The Voyage Of Doctor Dolittle Starring Robert Downey Jr.
  • New York City Theatre And Concert Package For Two
  • Seattle Seahawks VIP Game Experience And Dinner For Eight

Proceeds will help advance the Foundation’s mission of access and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Get Paid to Drink Fine Wine!

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VV - Tasting Room Mgr adWe started over a decade ago on the principle of growing and selling high-quality red wine grapes that reflect its terroir. We’ve achieved that goal and are now building a new tasting room in the beautiful Similikameen Valley to showcase our wines from one of the most unique vineyards in Canada, and accordingly are hiring!

We’re seeking a Tasting Room Manager commencing May 1, 2017.   We’re looking for a passionate person with hospitality management experience. Some benefits to the position besides a good salary and fantastic new tasting room:  promote “absolutely stunning” 95+ points wine, work with fun/smart people, plus as Wine Enthusiast Magazine noted — we’re situated in “the next great Canadian wine region” — only 20 minutes from Osoyoos, 15 minutes from Keremeos.  For the full job description please contact Sandeep Sangha.

A Stony Heart

Published in Viticulture
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stone-heartThe world’s best wine growing appellations have relatively poor, inhospitable soils, which while not ideal for most types of agriculture, are perfect for growing vinifera grapes. One of the most important factors in the terroir of a vineyard is the dirt, or should we say rocks? At the heart of our vineyard, it is mostly rocky/stony soil. Due to the quantity of rocks on the site, our vineyard development was initially challenging and actually broke our industrial-sized rock crusher! Although at first viewed as burdensome, the rocks have became a key asset for the soils.

Vineyard soils have a major influence on wine character and taste, hence the French expression, goût de terroir or “taste of the earth”.  Grapevine roots are remarkable, they can penetrate dozens of feet into soil in their search for water and nutrients, and they continue to grow throughout the vines’ lives. This means that the physical properties of the soil are important and its minerality fundamental to growing premium grapes.

Gravel soils allow for superior drainage, which is paramount to the vines and grapes. Winemakers are so convinced of this, some have gone to extremes to study the differences. Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon fame, for example conducted a wacky experiment adding rocks directly to wine to investigate their influence on flavour, which he believes added, “far more complexity and greater persistence on the palate”.  UK wine writer Jamie Goode explores this in depth in his book, The Science of Wine from Vine to Glass.

Although we do not literally add rocks to our wine, the abundant rocks in our soil at Vanessa beneficially act to stress the vines. They also reflect sunshine to the leaves and berries, and allow the day heat to be harnessed and imparted throughout the cooler nights, thereby aiding in the ripening process. Additionally, our gentle sloping hillside and southwest exposure are optimal for the vines as they directly benefit from the afternoon sun, which contributes to the lengthening of the growing season and the production of intensely ripe fruit. With these factors the fruit is able to capture the minerality of the soils on which it grows that are unique to the land, and allows Vanessa Vineyard to produce fruit of the highest quality, with flavours and minerality that are distinctive.

It is this delightful sensation of minerality that is so prized among many wine enthusiasts and with Valentine’s approaching, we love that we have a stony heart…

Veraison to Harvest: A Sweet Time

Published in Viticulture
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vanessa-grapes-veraisonVéraison, the French viticulture term for the change of colour of the grapes, signifies an exciting time in the vineyard — the onset of ripening. Veraison represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening, and many changes in berry development occur. In addition to the transition in colour from green to purple, throughout the process they also increase in volume, weight, sugar content and softness. After veraison, the berries are pliable, fruit acidity decreases and sweetness accumulates.

We saw veraison start in our Vanessa vineyard last month.  Later in the ripening process flavour maturity will also take place with the formation of flavour and aroma compounds — or “phenolic ripeness”. (Phenols are complex molecules, including tannins, in the grape skins that can contribute bitter flavours. As grapes ripen, they change from green and bitter to pleasantly astringent, to soft and ripe-tasting.) The whole process takes about six weeks with the balance between sugar, acid, and flavour compounds ultimately determining the pick date.

The interval from veraison to harvest is naturally different for each varietal, and is primarily dependent on heat accumulation and crop size. Merlot for example takes fewer heat units to ripen than Cabernet Sauvignon. Knowing the ideal time to harvest begins with tasting. Our winemaker is looking for specific flavours in each variety. In addition to tasting the grapes, we measure sugar levels, pH and acidity to also help us determine when our fruit is ready to be picked.

So far for 2016, the vintage is looking great and we are excited for harvest later this fall.  Renowned local Master of Wine Rhys Pender writes about the vintage:

“It was looking like 2016 might be one of those very hot (too hot) vintages as the early budbreak and then hot temperatures through April, May and most of June had grapes rushing towards ripeness. The growing degree days were ahead of any other year on record. Mother Nature then stepped in and July ended up being the fourth coolest in Summerland and the third coolest in Osoyoos since 1998. This welcome cool weather and some unseasonal rainfall really put the brakes on the ripening and probably turned the vintage from a potentially dangerously hot one to an almost ideal one. The grapes’ flavour complexity seems to develop more if the growing season is stretched out a bit longer, and the cool July helped to do just that. August saw temperatures back to their normal levels and ripening resumed at a steadier pace. Although temperatures cooled down in early September and there were a few showers and some worried farmers, things have picked up again and the forecast for the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys is sun and mid-to-high 20s for the next 10 days at least. That will make the vintage shape up very nicely indeed…”  Read more of Rhys’s comments on the Wine Align website.

A Taste of Similkameen Elegance

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Jamie Goode - Cawston“It may be the best wine appellation you’ve driven through but have yet to visit…”  Anthony Gismondi the wine writer for the Vancouver Sun, commented earlier this month on the elegant wines of the Similkameen.  He along with many other prominent wine writers across the globe have recently had our pristine Valley in their sights.

A similar perspective was reflected across the pond, “The Similkameen Valley is a peaceful yet dramatic place. Running parallel to the Okanagan, it lacks the lakes, but makes up scenery wise by being hemmed in moodily by mountains.  The valley has an almost alpine feel, and I reckon this is one of the most exciting viticultural areas in Canada. As yet, however, its potential is somewhat untapped…” Wow! Jamie Goode, renown British wine critic recently visited the Similkameen and wrote about it’s huge potential. Noting, the uniqueness of our region which due to the lack of a lake effect tends to have a more extreme climate than the Okanagan. The results are larger diurnal temperature swings and frequent strong winds. The benefits of this are low disease pressure and preservation of acidity.  He comments, “This is a huge advantage, because we have here a combination of what looks like quite a warm climate (in terms of growing degree days it’s the same as Australia’s Yarra Valley), with the ability to make wines that are fresh with good acidity.” Jamie concludes, “There aren’t a lot of vines here in the Similkameen – just 600 acres or so – but there’s a lot of potentially fine vineyard land here that’s not planted yet. A region to watch.”

In La Belle Province, Montreal Gazette’s wine critic Bill Zacharkiw had a similar take on the Valley’s terroir, “Another really interesting region is the Similkameen. Just to the west of the Okanagan, it has a completely different feel to the Okanagan. The wines tend to be crisper, more European, and there is very much a “vigneron culture.” You can find nearly every grape there and it seems every winery does something really well. Orofino’s gamay, Little Farm’s riesling, Vanessa Vineyard’s syrah, Courcelette’s Chasselas-based blend, Clos du Soleil’s white Bordeaux-styled — the list is long. The Similkameen is beautiful and the wines are truly worth investigating.”

We’re excited for what the future holds for our Valley.  Stay tuned for more exciting developments for Vanessa (and no doubt in the Valley as a whole) in the coming year!