Sonoma County Riches

Sonoma County has their own off shore bank, but the coffers do not contain the usual currency. Instead there is an upwelling of cold water that fills the fog bank just of the coast of Sonoma, caused by a sharp drop off in Pacific Ocean floor. The warm surface water is pushed further south by the flow of the cold deep ocean currents, creating cooling fog. At the southern part of the valley the Petaluma gap ushers in the fog each morning, while the afternoon sun chases it away. The diurnal temperature swing can be as much as 35 degrees in the summer. The cool nights and mornings give the wines a vibrant backbone of acidity and freshness while the afternoon warmth allow the grapes to fully ripen. Fog and temperature are not the only contributing factors when it comes to growing grapes in Sonoma. As an appellation on a major fault line, the San Andreas, there are many soil types. Rumour has it that there are more soil types in the Russian River Valley than there are in all of Burgundy. Add some altitude to the mix and you have a recipe for wide diversity of wines. As part […]

Read more ...

Tinhorn Creek: Canada’s only carbon neutral winery

It seemed strange to be standing in the middle of a desert vineyard talking about salmon. But there I was in Oliver, with Tinhorn Creek Vineyard Manager Andrew Moon talking about some of the many initiatives that make Tinhorn Creek Canada’s only carbon neutral winery. Tinhorn Creek has become one of the first wineries to receive certification from the Pacific Salmon foundation as a Salmon-Safe Farm. Many of the pesticides and fertilizers that are used in farming end up as run-off and wind up in the local lakes and rivers, negatively affecting the aquatic wildlife. Part of the aim in the vineyard was to switch from overhead irrigation to drip irrigation. Despite the large capital investment of over 1 million dollars, the long-term environmental factor of helping to save the planet by using less water far outweighed any upfront financial considerations for Tinhorn Creek. An additional benefit to drip irrigation is that it creates less run-off water – water that will find ways into lakes and rivers. It’s just one of the small solutions to a large problem that has put Tinhorn Creek on the environmental map. The fuel that is required to activate farm equipment can be mixed with biofuel to […]

Read more ...

Le Vieux Pin: Equinoxe Master Class

Le Vieux Pin is a small production winery on the coveted Black Sage Road in Oliver BC. The first vintage to market was 2005 and they have carved out a path for varietally correct wines that tell a story of the place and vintage in the South Okanagan. On September 12, General Manager Rasoul Salehi and winemaker Severine Pinte hosted a Master Class of the Equinoxe wines. Equinoxe is their top tier of wines, limited in volume and raised in prestige. Among the wines tasted were two very different Syrahs. The 2008 was rich and full, while the 2009 was leaner and more floral, but both shared the same sense of place and structure with a bracing acidity.The amount of similarities was equal to the amount of differences, highlighting the importance and excitement of vintage variation. Even though LVP will be focusing more on syrah in the coming years, it is their Cabernet Franc that they truly cherish. The grapes are from a single parcel of 14-year-old vines that showed particular potential during the 2006 harvest. Enough potential to make the owners “hand destem each cluster and treat it with velvet gloves”, according to Salehi. This is the pinnacle of Equinoxe […]

Read more ...


Writings about my passion for wine, and the people, places, and stories connected to it.