Red Rooster Winery

March 5, 2009

This past Christmas I received a fantastic and original gift from my parents; I am now the proud owner of a row of Malbec grapes for a year. The Adopt-a-Row program through Red Rooster Winery in Naramata invites the “vineyard ownership dreamers” to get a small taste of what it takes to care for 50 or so vines.
Red Rooster invites the proud parents up twice during the year, first during the spring to learn the ins and outs of pruning and secondly, for the fall harvest where everyone gets their hands dirty followed by a lunch prepared by one of the top local chefs. With the membership, twelve bottles of wine, six red and six white are sent to be enjoyed and to dream of your grapes’ potential. The best part of this gift; I have an excuse to go away for two weekends and can say that I own property in the Naramata Bench.

Kimberlee Alexander

wine glass


176 wineries from 16 countries, 1 massive tasting room and 701 wines to savor…now math is not my strong suit but I know that it all adds up to one set of anxious taste buds and a few days of detox. I attended the Friday night segment of the 30th Annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and, yet again, the event did not disappoint. If you enjoy learning about the world of wine (or just drinking some) then I recommend attending next year. Sign up for their E-Newsletter and keep your calendar open for late March 2009. Here are a few of my new discoveries:
Beringer Vineyards (USA) – Merlot, Napa Valley 2005
Francis Ford Coppola (USA) – Director’s Cut Zinfandel 2005
Pommery (FRANCE) – Pink Pop N/V
Rabl Vineyards (AUSTRIA) – Grüner Veltliner Vinum Optimum 2006


Kimberlee Alexander


Think outside the bottle. Experience how well food and wine can complement each other.

The Whites

Chardonnay is a very versatile wine grape: its flavour and aromas are easily
influenced by where it’s grown and how it’s made. Fruit flavours range
from apple and lime in cooler climates to tropical fruits in warmer

-Chardonnay is a favourite with seafood. Minerally versions, like those from
Chablis, France, pair particularly well with oysters.  

Riesling is a crisp, clean wine with green apple, pear and lime flavours. The
best offer pleasing mineral qualities as well. With age, Riesling takes
on honey flavours and attractive oily aromas. 

-Riesling pairs nicely with spicy foods, poultry and pork. Try it with Thai food.  

Pinot Gris is made from grapes that generally produce different styles of wine
depending on where the grapes are grown and how they’re handled in the

-Versatile, Pinot Gris can go well with seafood and pasta dishes, vegetarian food and poultry.  

Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, crisp, aromatic wine with grapefruit and grassy flavors. This wine is the star of the Loire region of France. 

-Sauvignon Blanc is a food-friendly wine that goes well with many seafood, poultry and vegetable dishes.  

The Reds

Merlot is a soft, supple wine with nice fruit flavours of plums and blackberries
and occasionally mint, chocolate and eucalyptus flavours and aromas.
Typically, it is ready to drink earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which
sometimes needs a few years for its astringent tannins to mellow.  

Cabernet Sauvignon is more assertive than Merlot, with more tannin and greater aging
potential. It can have flavours of blackberries, plums, black currants,
and cassis. Aged in oak, Cabernet Sauvignon can take on flavours of
vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and coffee.

-Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are very nice with meat dishes like beef and lamb.  

Pinot Noir, a notoriously difficult grape to grow, made its mark initially inBurgundy, France. The grape continues to deliver single-varietal wines that are among the best in the world. Pinot Noirs are delicate wines that taste of red fruits like cherries, raspberries and strawberries.

With age, flavours and aromas become more complex, developing earthy
notes like mushrooms and decaying leaves. Burgundy in particular is
noted for developing these earthy flavours. 

-Pinot Noir is a versatile food wine, great with poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes.  

Syrah is at home in the Rhone region of France, where the grape makes spicy,
rich, darkly delicious wines that increase in complexity as they age.

-Syrah is a very versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of foods. It’s terrific with grilled meats.

By Ed Dugas

For years a spotty, small-scale industry, BC wine has become an internationally-recognized phenomenon.  Now that great wine is so close to home and here to stay, people in B.C. are buying it up in droves.  After a few holiday trips to Okanagan wineries – where 92% of all provincial wine is produced – casual indulgers are rapidly becoming serious collectors, and relish living the wine life.  B.C, the newly crowned “Napa of the North,” is home to a number of prolific wineries which have gifted the world with their worthy creations, winning numerous awards when pitted against some of the finest and most established global winemakers.

Of course, this hasn’t always been the case.

“I’ll never forget one of my restaurant sales calls in downtown Vancouver in the early 90’s,” says Ramona Lehnert of Custom Cellars, a Richmond-based provider of custom wine cellars and accessories.  “I was working as a sales representative for a BC estate winery.  The restaurateur told me: ‘Honey, nobody drinks BC wines.’  And he was someone really entrenched in the restaurant industry.  Can you imagine someone saying that today?”

According to Wine BC, there were only 13 provincial wineries in operation as recently as 1984, and quality and interest were in steady decline.  That all changed in 1988 with the enacting of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada and the United States.  The NAFTA treaty compelled winemakers to improve the quality of their wines for fear of being undercut by open market competition.  This aggressive campaign resulted in a $28 million replanting program and $8100 an acre being allocated to growers for removing undesirable grape varieties.  After 2,400 acres were eradicated, 1,000 premium acres remained and, naturally, overall quality began to improve.  Various other wine regulations were put into place by the BC government, thus this local cottage industry was born.

The success of Canadian wine has benefited directly from a global shift in cultural preferences.  European lifestyle traditions have become staples of North American, Asian and Australian cultures, and the climate of wine enjoyment has evolved to reflect this transition.  Drinking wine is now a desired sensory experience which people wish to enjoy at a slow and deliberate pace.  The period of excess and over-consumption that defined the 1980s and 1990s has been replaced by a new culture that recognizes the importance of sustainability, high-context living and moderation.

Wine collecting has also become a highly diversified practice, and is enjoyed by everyone from young lawyers and doctors to dot-comers and rock musicians.  Drinking wine is more socially acceptable than ever as historical ostentations surrounding wine have largely dissipated.  To add even more momentum behind this perfect storm, it is estimated that by 2025, wine will become the best selling alcoholic product in North America, outperforming both beer and liquor in worldwide sales.

“I have seen the arrival of California Cult Classics,  Canada’s first and only ultra premium private winery and Everything Wine in North Vancouver, a 12000 square foot wine superstore with daily tastings,” says Rollin Fox of Sleeping Grape Wine Cellars. “Wine has become a much greater part of our mental landscape.”

21st century wine aficionados are veracious enthusiasts, often building their portfolios to the point where they cannot manage or even drink all the wine themselves.  This is an important development because it means people are becoming more educated about proper wine care and it has created the need for wine industry-related services such as wine fridges, wine cellars and commercial storage centres.

That’s where our burgeoning new wine industry comes in.

A serious wine collection can be an enjoyable investment and add a personal touch to a home, but it can sour your financial grapes when it’s not properly cared for.  That’s why it’s important to consult wine care professionals on which wine-specific products are best for maintaining a valuable collection.

“We are all so busy these days in our careers and family lives.  Wine is a vast subject that some have devoted their lives to,” says Ramona Lehnert.  “Why not take advantage of the knowledge and delight they want to share?

Wine cellars and accessories provide optimum shelter and protection for wine from potentially harmful external factors, allowing wine to be stored in darkness and at a constant temperature. Wine is an organic, “living” item that, like all organic products, is subject to decomposition.  If not protected from heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity, all types of wine, including red, white, and sparkling, can spoil.  When properly stored, wines preserve their quality and actually improve in complexity of aromas and flavours as they mature.

“Wine needs to be stored at between 12-14 degrees Celsius with 60-70% humidity and should only be exposed to products low in volatile organic compounds,” explains Billy Carpenter, sommelier and owner of Vin de Garde Cellar Systems in Vancouver.

According to Ramona, it is also important to choose a wine care accessory that is not intended for just any product storage.  “I won’t bring on a cabinet because it looks nice or is the best price,” she says.  “Some of the most beautiful, expensive cabinets on the market are nothing more than a refrigerator with some neat buttons and trim.  When our customers purchase from us, we want to assure they can lay their favorite wines down for their desired length of time, and when they open them, we want to feel confident they will taste a beautifully aged wine.”