Chute Lake Camping Trip 2012

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Chute Lake PanoramaCar lights on the night skyNight Sky over Chute Lake

Chute Lake Camping Trip 2012, a set on Flickr.

Quick post, here’s a quick photoset I took while camping at Chute Lake.

Penticton Panorama – Munson Mountain Springtime

Friday, May 4th, 2012
Penticton Panorama - Munson Mountain Springtime by passion4vin
Penticton Panorama – Munson Mountain Springtime, a photo by passion4vin on Flickr.

Quick picture from my 2012 travels in Penticton, BC. Check out my Flickr for more great pictures of BC!!

#naramatawinetour: Social media + wine = Fun!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Well the title basically says it all.

On Friday last week I was privileged enough to be invited on a Social media wine tour experiment, the goal, to test out the social influence of 1 days worth of tweets, posts, and pics while experiencing a day of wine tasting in Naramata.

The Formula:
Social Media + Fun + wine = damn good wine tour

2008 Merlot from Township 7

2008 Merlot from Township 7

We did not know what to expect on this crazy journey, suffice to say, worst case scenario we would end up w/ some wine in our bellies, and a good story. Luckily, this was not the case.

  1. Get on the Top Cat Tours tour-bus.
  2. Arrive at first destination.
  3. Tweet about destination.
  4. Sip wine.
  5. Spit(yes!)
  6. Tweet about the wine while taking pictures of winery and scenery.
  7. Have Fun. Repeat w/ 4 other wineries, stopping for lunch at a restaurant of your choice(Theos for us).


Cane pruning of the Gewurztraminer

Cane pruning of the Gewurztraminer

Right from the start, I knew we were in good hands. We met at the Township 7 Winery bright and early, greeted by @bradinator Brad Cooper. As we journeyed out into the vineyard, pairs of pruners and a set of glassware in hand. After a brief talk on cane and spur pruning we dug into the vines… After a few minutes of snipping, we took a break for the 2008 Merlot tasting supplied to us. It brought me right back to last year w/ Episode 1 of Grape Generation where we first tried the 2007 Merlot.

Swirling 06 Legacy from Poplar Grove Winery
Pinot Gris and a view

Next to Poplar Grove Tasting room. I am very familiar w/ the Poplar Grove wines as of last year, so I have been anxiously awaiting this years releases. I have managed to nurse my supply of their Syrah, and I am down to only one 08 Merlot. We spent about an hour just walking around enjoying the spring scenery, and sipping our 06 Legacy.

Beef Souvlaki  from Theos in Penticton

Beef Souvlaki from Theos in Penticton

On to Theos! Everyone was thinking eat squid as we stepped through the breach into Greece in Penticton. For anyone who doesn’t know Thoes(don’t know how but hey there are big rocks out there), its one of the best Greek food restaurants in Canada, if not the world. Located on Main st. in Penticton, Theos Restaurant has been a staple in this community for many years. We all enjoyed a great lunch, I had the Beef Souvlaki which is one of my favorites from my travels in Greece. Everyone else enjoyed the seafood special which I will admit looked amazing, I just wanted beef.

Therapy Vineyard Panorama

Vineyard Panorama from Therapy Vineyards

Next for a bit of wine psychology w/ Therapy Vineyards. A refreshing change, after being greeted by Winemaker Steve we all walked glass in hand to the tank room! On a side note I wanted to comment on the awesome rock star poster column in wine making area. We moved on to some great tank tastings. Not really knowing the final product was very cool, my favorite being the small batch Riesling/Kerner tank. Thank you Steve for the glimpse of Therapy 2012.

The newly released Hillside Muscat Ottonel

The newly released Hillside Muscat Ottonel

Our last stop of the day was to Hillside Estate Winery for a taste of a few of this years releases. They’ve got a new line of self-produced food products, lots of great dippers and snacks to pair with the wines! We ended things off with a taste of the 2011 Muscan Ottonel, one of my personal favorites, and I gather from everyone else on tour, one of theirs.

We all agreed afterwards that the day had been a success. Myself personally I was very happy w/ the results of my tweets. I received a lot of likes and some comments back on my instagram pictures during our journey, we found tweets w/ pictures had a lot better chance for re-tweet or @reply back. Later that night @bradinator sent us the tweetreach stats on our #naramatawinetour, a whopping 9000+ people were reached through our tweets. Overall we all felt the tour was a great success.

Our Tweetreach stats for #naramatawinetour(last 50 tweets)

More Pictures:
My Flickr Page for the day
Top Cat Tours Flickr Feed

Update on life and fun stuff w/ Luke

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Wine season has officially started! (did it ever end?) Well that’s up for debate, but quick on the heels of the #VPIWF I am now fully into Spring 2012 Wine season. Its busy. Coming off the rush that was #VPIWF, I had a brief chance to relax(if u call it that) and work in my office job again. It’s a good job, don’t me wrong, but I have now learned after sitting in this 8 x 12 box known as an office, it is not a office it is a prison in disguise! Its the springtime the birds are chirping, the streams are gurgling, and I need to get out side and enjoy some of this weather! Luckily, this was a temporary position, one I always appreciate(work is work, money buys wine), but w/ springtime comes sun, photosynthesis, and photography… oh did I mention spring wine releases??

Ive also been attending the Winemaking Assistant Certification program from Okanagan College in Penticton. This has been a great education for me, bridging the gap between the end product and the vineyard. Ive learnt about Ageing, Oaking, Wine Chemistry, Lab testing, and a whole lot more. Expect more blogs in the future on this, and more educational videos on More on this in the next few weeks, I’m in it until June!

Lastly tmrw I have the pleasure of going on a #naramtawinetour. Thank you @bradinator and David and the guys from Topcat Tours for putting this together, I look forward to seeing what Naramata has to offer this year. I can’t wait for the lunch at Theos! More on this tomorrow, stay tuned as I eat, drink(spit), tweet, and snap photos and vids of our adventure. Video will be posted on at a later date. Until then, here’s a glimpse of spring from Poplar Grove Wine shop in Penticton, BC.

Spring time view from Poplar Grove Wine shop by passion4vin
Spring time view from Poplar Grove Wine shop, a photo by passion4vin on Flickr.

The view of Spring from Poplar Grove Wine shop

The wait begins…

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

And the wait begins for my case of Chilean wine… The very nice lady at the VPIWF BCLDB store said it would not take more than a week, so I think its my patience that needs work. Turning to the internet, i’ve enjoyed going around and reading blog posts. It’s the best I can do to bring myself back to the amazing tastings I had last week. That said, here’s a list of a few of the other blogs I’ve found useful this VPIWF:

Dusk Trip to Naramata
Now as for today, I am busily occupied finishing up my Wine project that was neglected due to Wine festival. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m currently attending cellar assistant course at OK College in Penticton to further my wine knowledge. It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work haha. I am still due to post my tasting notes later this week. I will say my disclaimer now, I am not even remotely an expert taster, nor am I WSET certified(yet). I just go off what I get from tasting the wines, sometimes its more, sometimes its less, but I always try to pull something from every wine. Rest assured, I have lots of wine to “practice” on so I hope to slowly get better as life progresses.

That’s all for today, its time for wine project, Stay classy yall!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF Day 4

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Phew what a long week of wine food and fun!

Saturday began as the trend seems to go w/ me blogging all morning. Ive realized now my diligence towards recording every possible part of the #Vpiwf was starting to get in the way of my culinary explorations. Luckily, today was the #bcpaired lunch at Provence Marinaside hosted by the BC Wine institute.

I arrived on time to be greeted by a large crowd already piling up try all the BC pairings….

BC Paired Lunch

BC Paired Lunch

Saturday was a nice break for me. Admittedly I was very tired by this point. I had been pacing myself(unlike some un-named friends who had a lot of fun at the Chambar on Friday night). *Cough* Rick B *cough* oh what was that, sorry I must need some water… Arriving on time for the #BCpaired lunch, I was happily surprised to see I would not have to wait for multiple courses, but just graze on the feast before me.

Greeted by Lindsay from the BC Wine Institute, I ventured forth w/ my plate mounted wine glass in hand. (I’ve been good at balancing wine glasses, luckily, there was no incidents today). The lunch was a whirlwind of nibbles, spits, and lots of chatting. It was great to talk w/ John SKinner from Painted Rock(and finally try the Syrah). I was also finally able to meet one of my personal *wine stars* Pascal Madevon of Osoyoos Larose. Overall it was a great lunch, Thank you BC Wine Institute, BC wineries, and Provence Marinaside for the great pairings!

Note: This wraps up my Vancouver part of this VPIWF Blog. Check back later this week for my follow-up post and a list of all the great wines I sipped at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival 2012. Cheers, Salud

The #BCPaired Lunch:
(at Provence Marinaside)


Poplar Grove Pinot Gris 2010
Beet & Basil Cured Sockeye Gravadlox
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Chardonnay 2010
Dungeness Crabcakes
Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2009
Lobster & Saffron Risotto Balls
Sawmill Bay Oysters w/ Pear Mignonette

Lake Breeze Vineyards Zephyr Brut NV
Seared Scallops w/ Caviar (Best Paired White)
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Gold Series Chardonnay 2010
Prawn Provencal
Red Rooster Winery Reserve Pinot Blanc 2010
Crustacean Bisque “Cappuccino”


Osoyoos LaRose Le Grand Vin 2008
Lamb Lollipops
Osoyoos LaRose Petales d’Osoyoos 2009
Veal Sweetbread Beignet
Painted Rock Estate Winery Syrah 2008
Perberton Valley Beef Carpaccio Crostini (Best Paired Red)
Painted Rock Estate Winery Merlot 2008
Grilled Lamb Merguez Sausage
Sandhill Gamay Noir 2010
Duck Liver Parfait
Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2009
Duck Confit on Hazelnut Crisp

A gourmet assortment of foods at VPIWF

A gourmet assortment of foods at VPIWF

Lukes Picks:

Favorite Wine – White:(unpaired)
Mission Hill Reserve Riesling 2010 – $18.99
Favorite Wine – Red(unpaired)
Osoyoos LaRose La Grand Vin 2008 – $45.00
Favorite Pairing White
Burrowing Owl Vineyards Chardonnay 2009 w/ Lobster & Saffron Risotto Balls $24.90
Favorite Pairing Red
Painted Rock Merlot 2008 w/ Grilled Lamb Merguez Sausage – $40.00
Favorite Foods!
Pemberton Valley Beef Carpaccio Crostini & Tomato Bocconcini Skewers

Travel Time! (day 4 coming soon)

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Blog time cut short due to traveling…

More notes on this tues, I am traveling home so I will post my next blog Monday morning detailing Day 4. Later this week I will post a highlights of the event. Thank you to everyone who has followed me this weekend, it has been an adventure!!!


Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF Day 3

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Day 3: New Zealand Whites and Many a red..

When it rains, it pours in Vancouver

When it rains, it pours in Vancouver

(Disclaimer: I have always been very tentative to recommend wines. I believe everyone tastes wine differently and although we may agree on some, people taste differently. I am always learning more about tasting, and probably always will be. That said, this is an opinion blog so I will be providing a list at the end of this blog w/ some of my favorites. The * denotes my top fav’s here :)

Wow what a day, I must say after my first day I was feeling overwhelmed, that wasn’t the case today. Armed w/ a plan for my tastings, I ventured forth to the #VPIWF. (Thank you @kurtiskolt and my friend Erin for advice on planning.) As w/ yesterday, I cannot give justice to all the great wines I tasted, rest assured, I will publish tasting notes after I get home(and rest).

Vancouver Playhouse International trade tasting, day two. I put on my serious face and walked in the door. Starting things off with the whites, one region/varietal I’ve always loved, the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I had been tardy in my tasting on thurs, I had to be efficient and precise as I was running out of time.

New Zealand Sauv Blanc picks:

  • Oyster Bay – Marlborough 2011
  • Giesen – Marlborough 2010
  • Marisco Vineyards – The Ned 2011
  • Marico Vineyards – A sticky End(Sauvignon Blanc Dessert wine)

With that finished, I moved on to next and most exciting part of my tasting. Chilean Reds… I had planned ahead in some ways for this festival, I knew which regions I didn’t know, and Chile was one of them. This was going to be an education, experience, it turned out to be a lot of fun. A brief explanation of the festival area, there is rows upon rows of tables w/ every region of wine represented, but as the feature region this year there is a good 1/3 of the floor devoted to the Wines of Chile! My plan, to try as many as I could(spitting them all), though today I did bring a list. I started things off w/ a flight of Carmenere’s at the tasting bar. I noticed during my wanderings that some people were at the conference just to try one or two specific varietals, maybe I’ll find mine someday but for now I’m happy just trying them all.

I moved on from the tasting bar and started making my way through the tables. One thing that struck me as amazing was that I could taste wines from around the world, and here the story from the principals themselves. It was truly a humbling experience. It was really great to meet Sebastian Labbe from Carmen, Eduardo Hidalgo from Cousiño-Macul, Aida Toro from Viña Chocalan, Sergio Reyes from Chono, Edwardo from Tamaya and Marcelo Quinteros from Viña Tarapaca.

Chilean Red wine picks:
Concha Y Toro – Terrunyo Carmenere 2008
Concha y Toro – Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2008*
Viña Tarapaca – Tara Pakay 2008 Red Blend*
Viña Maipo – Carmenere/Syrah 2009
Viña Maipo – Syrah 2009*
Viña Maipo – Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Chocalan – Gran Reserva Blend
Chocalan – Gran Reserva Malbec(stunning)*
Lapostolle – Clos Apalta 2008
Viña Santa Rita – Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Concha y Toro Don Melchor

Concha y Toro Don Melchor

Well, that was a flight of great wines… I returned home to my hotel after the afternoon tasting to promptly fall asleep the moment I got home. I awoke an hour later realizing I had passed out and was missing out on more great wine tasting. As I rushed back to conference center, I realized that aching pain in my stomach was because I had forgot to eat today… I guess blogging does that to you. Ahh fun times, A&W to the rescue, a tried and true stomach calmer duo of mama burgers and I was off to the races.

Enter #VPIWF Gold pass room… This was classy. No line-up, I thought I was actually in the wrong place till I walked around the corner to a very quiet and casual group sitting in the room overlooking the HUGE line-up below. Below the people had been lining up for over an hour to get in early, I had already spent a lot of time down there, this time, I choose the quiet route…

I was greeted by three tables, International, Caubernet Sauvignon’s, and Wines of Chile. Opposite to that was a finger food bar w/ some very nice appys to pair w/ the wines. Cheeseburgers aside, I really enjoyed the braised mushrooms on flat bread. After that I dug right into the flight of Cabs!

Flight of Cab wine picks:
Mission Hill – Compendium
Robert Mondavi – Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Freakshow – Cabernet Sauvignon(different)
Signorello Estate – Padrone 2008*
Chateau Haut-Bergey Pessac-Leognan 2008
Caymus Vineyards – Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009(milk chocolate goodness)*

A flight of Cabs in the Gold Pass Room

A flight of Cabs

Caymus Vineyards - Special Selction Cabernet Saugivnon 2009

Caymus Vineyards - Special Selction Cabernet Saugivnon 2009

I took my leave at this point and headed downstairs to try the few Reds I had yet to sip. My goal was simple, Domaine De La Solitude from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This for me was the treat of the night as I am a young wine sipper, I had not tasted a quality 2001 French wine ever. I tasted the 2009, 2001 Barberini, and 2001 Reserve Secrete. A treat all three, thank you for that great tasting.

Arriving back at the hotel, I felt a pain in my stomach, your still alive I thought? Well I guess I had been neglecting it.. Dinner of a hearty Cheddar burger from Moxies w/ fries and basil mayo(new hipster trend?). I paired this w/ my tried and true Hester Creek Cab Merlot…. It also paired great w/ the Bleach Anime I watched to put myself to sleep. (my teeth are not happy w/ me)

Thank you #VPIWF I had a blast, and there’s still one more day! Up tomorrow is the #BCpaired lunch and international tasting hall!

Hester Creek Cabernet Merlot

Hester Creek Cabernet Merlot

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF Day 2

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Day 2 VPIWF – Adventures begin

(Disclaimer: I have always been very tentative to recommend wines. I believe everyone tastes wine differently and although we may agree on some, people taste differently. I am always learning more about tasting, and probably always will be. That said, this is an opinion blog so I will be providing a list at the end of this blog w/ some of my favorites. :)

Goodmorning VPIWFGood Morning #VPIWF

Phew this blogging thing takes up time! I blogged through breakfast, which I guess is okay but I really want to try some of the recommendations I got from my shout out on twitter. Ahh so many places, so little room in my stomach. First stop of the day, Starbucks, then straight to Pivo Public House to meet up with my good friend Walter Sawan who if anyone watched my old videos you’d see was actually in our introduction vid to Grape Generation. Hes been cooking up a storm there for a few years now, but id never actually got there. That changed today.

Lunch at Pivo Public HouseEnter the Philly Cheese Melt w/ Fries

Lunch of a Philly Cheese Melt paired w/ a Whistler Lager that was the daily special. While waiting for my food I sparked up a conversation on French wines w/ a fellow patron enjoying a noon beer special. The beer was good, the place quickly filled up as I dug into my meal. Dispursing that quickly, I embarked to convention center for the VPIWF!

Now enters the short version of the blog. I realize now due to time and my drive to explore this town and all its food goodness, I cannot give justice to the great wines I tasted here. So, to compromise I leave you w/ a list of my favorites of the day, I will post more on this blog after VPIWF is over.. I can rest and read my notes then.

This is a very small list. I will have more soon.

Germany – Helfrich – Gewurztraminer 2010. Not available in BC.
Canada – Ontario – Tawse Chardonnay and Riesling. Not available in BC yet…
Isreal – Galil Mountain – Viognier Galilee
Italy – Antinori – Solaia Toscana IGT 2008 – $249.99 BCLDB

Helfrich Gewurztraminer
Antinori lineup
Tawse Chardonnay

Curtain Raiser
After the tasting I attended the Curtain Raising event hosted by @HHonWine. After some great finger food(love the seared tuna) and some Chilean wines, it was time for me to head to my final destination of the evening, a private tasting of the Black Cloud Wine Pinot Noir Lineup. It was great to re-taste the 09 Pinot, it was tasting beautifully last fall after bottling but I love how it had developed since. Im sure glad I have a magnum of that at home. (you can order Black Cloud Wine online, I met up with many Twitter friends I had only known online. @russelball @paulrickett @BCWAS @quenchwines @winetwothree @neilisntwitty #wilnotontwitter it was great to meet you all!!

Black Cloud Wine Pinot NoirOur pick of the night, the 2009 Pinot Noir!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF (1 of 4)

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Day 1 VPIWF – Arrival
What a fun day, im sure it was for many travelers leaving Penticton as we got a huge dump of snow Wednesday morning. Arriving early at the airport, I found out the earlier 6am flight had not even left. This was worrying. I had purchased my trade ticket for the 1:30pm Social Media Symposium hosted by Rick Bakas (@rickbakas), Anthony Gismondi (@thespitter) & Harry Hertscheg (@hhonwine). Luckily, the snow subsided and the nice Air Canada lady let me leave on the first plane(6am flight) thus not delaying me anymore. (Thank you Air Canada!)

Skytrain HDR on my way to #VPIWF

I always loved flying as a kid, this time a fairly turbulent flight, I was distracted by thoughts of wine, friends, and well, more wine! Touching down at 10:05 I had arrived in Vancouver. #VPIWF here i come! Well, it took a bit longer than that. The grey skies and mild temperatures of Vancouver was a welcome break from the snow-covered valley, I breathed in a breath of fresh sea air, coughed, ahh Vancouver how I missed you. A short ride later and a few transfers, I was at my destination hotel.

Quickly ditching my gear, I ventured forth into the city. I asked a random person who was standing on the side of the road where I could get some good food, I was pointed towards The Noodle Box. I think i’m really missing out in my small town Penticton. I’d seen Chinese take takeout before, but this was something different.

Teriyaki Beef Noodle bowl

Fast, quick, great variety, and quality product! What else can I say, my small town sense of food was very impressed by the speed at which these guys(and gals) got this food out, each dish prepared and garnished w/ care. For as many people as they served inside, the same amount just took their food to go. I feasted on a teriyaki beef noodle bowl, mild + spice, I’m getting there but spices make my taste buds cry. A local beer to wash it down, I was too caught up in the food to order any drink I left that to the server to decide.

On to the wine soc-med symposium. We were greeted w/ two refreshing bubblies from Henkell and Familia Schroeder Estates. I cannot give justice to all the presenters, needless to say thank you to everyone who was there to present, it was a coming together of minds across many walks of life(does that make sense?) There was everyone from US Winery owners, to BC winery owners, social media gurus, programmers, wine enthusiasts and of course the wine bloggers. Key ideas regarding brand positioning and marketing were discussed amongst the room. On a side note, what a lecture hall, The SFU Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue was very impressive, we all felt a little like we were in the UN debating out the problems of the world. The talk ended off w/ a mention of the Wine Bloggers Conference 2013 that will be held in Penticton next year.(yall will be in my town!). No wine symposium is complete without a wine tasting, so at the end we were treated to a tasting of the Tinhorn Creek Cab Franc, and the Hahn Family Winery Pinot Noir. There was also a wine tub present that had some great picks from the earlier wine lunch that day. Thanks again to Rick Bakas for posting the slides from his presentation. (they can be found here).Presenters: @rickbakas @allisonmmarkin/@okanagantaste @bradinator @sandraoldfield @hahnwines @Czuckermann @miss604 @davedotca @xomo.
The Wine Tub at #VPIWF Symposium

Overall, a great first day. I retired home to my hotel to meet up with my little sis and prepare for the week ahead. Taking it easy my first night in Van I opted not to go out anywhere busy, and just met up with my long friend Var(@redlinemediainc) from Red Line Media for a yet another beer(sometimes you need balance) before calling it a night.

Coroni - An Italian beer

Day 1 day down, 3 to go! Its time fore more Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival! Now where are those wines of Chile?

Note: I will be attending the festival events all weekend. Follow me on twitter @passion4vin and on Instagram Passion4vin.

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