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Wine, San Francisco, Giants, Jazz, More Wine

Date: Tue, May 20, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Only a few days before my wife and I begin our trip to California. Our 11 day excursion will be centred around the San Francisco bay area but we will be travelling to some other points as we taste and sip our days away.

This is a significant trip. This is the first trip since our honeymoon that is a) longer than three days and b) does not have a kid, dog, relative or friend travelling with. And it roughly coincides with our anniversary (9th). We were married in early June in New Zealand's Bay of Islands.

We're planning on a jazz concerts, have tickets to the Giants versus the Mets June 2, there's a spa thingy arranged and on May 31st we're going wine-hiking with California Winehikes in the mountains and redwoods of the south penninsula. We're inviting all Cal wine types to join us on the wine hike. It should be a gas! Contact Russ at his website for details.

If you're in the area, we'd love to get together for a drink. Call my cell 250-490-7314 or cooper.bradley@gmail.com

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Date: Thu, May 15, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Had an opportunity to drop into Fraiche for dinner last week while in Vancouver. I'm an old Vancouver boy so I was yearning for that view you get from the North Shore mountains. The same view you got when you took some of your first dates up the tram on Grouse Mountain or to Salmon House on the Hill.

I also needed some points in the spouse department as I had been predictably shoddy in recent attempts at Important Day Celebrations or IDCs. She'd accompanied me to the big smoke on this business trip so I surprised her with a dinner res at what must be almost 2,000 feet above sea level.
The room is bright, airy and dominated be the floor to ceiling windows facing south. There's a fair view from just about any seat. If you can't get a window seat for your baby, perch her at the bar where she can enjoy the view above the crowd and the crowd can enjoy the view of her. Change genders on that last sentence if you are so inclined.
At 7:15 on a Tuesday in late April the room was essentially full so make a reservation.

The weather behaved remarkably. The service was spot on. The food was flavourful, imaginative and worth the 20 minute jaunt from our downtown hotel. I wasn't in FM (foodie mode) and failed to take notes but suffice to say we each had a salad. Mine featured roasted beets and I think I'm now moving roasted beets up a few notches on the Top Veg Chart. Hers was centred around a small cylinder of goat cheese that was crunchy-crispy on the outside. Both were great. Our mains were duck for wife and lamb for me. Both were damn fine and were reduced to uttering grunts and squeals of appreciation to the chagrin of tables nearby. We paired them with a St. Francis Merlot I felt was a little flaccid which I attributed to my regionalized palate.
An old associate of ours from a decade ago turned out to be our server so we got a chance to share some laughs in remembrance.
The wine list was intelligent and stimulating. Not extensive but still plenty of varied choices. Hey! Township 7 Merlot. Don't forget to order it on your visit!
I was thoughtful and sensitive without any ennui.
I think we dropped a couple of C notes plus and felt we received a good exchange for our moolah.
Do you know how to get to Salmon House? Yes? Then keep driving up the hill. It's on Chippendale. No? Phone for directions or park in Ambleside (beachfront West Van) and take a cab.
I believe it's just dinners right now but that's changing so stay current! Closed Mondays.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Do You Know Gary?

Date: Thu, May 1, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

If you read about wine on the internets, you probably have come across his work.

Plus he's been on TV!

Besides his own net TV.

It's Gary Vaynerchuk, the most passionate wine show around.


I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Twitter is your Wine World Connection

Date: Thu, May 1, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Just when you think you waste, er . . . are making the most of the internets along comes an application that really changes your views.

The best way I can describe TWITTER is to suggest it's a mini-blog system with instant updates. You're only allowed 140 characters a message. So it's a great way to reference lengthier pieces. You can use it on your desktop, laptop or phone.

Certain segments of the wine world have embraced Twitter and our community of winos make for some interesting buzz. If you think you'd like to follow my comments as a way of keeping up on my wine world, follow me at https://twitter.com/Bradinator

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Progress and Discovery/ Pruning and Coza!

Date: Sat, Apr 19, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Despite some labour shortage issues the Township 7 Vineyards in Langley, BC are beginning to to show well and I think we've just about caught up to where we want to be.

A lot of the older vines (seven years plus in very vigorous soils) need some significant pruning to shed some old wood that was beginning to be more of a problems than a benefit. So the vineyard is a little more streamlined now and as a result, I think we're going to have a healthier environment for this year's crop. There may be a little less but, if we can keep the mold and mildew at bay, it should be easier to get ripe.

Check out the video posting to enjoy some of the wacky weather the are is enjoying this weekend. It's been a very slow start to the growing season in Langley and in the Okanagan valley.

While I was in Langley I had the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Coza! Tuscan Grill. (They like to add an exclamation point. That will be the last time for me.) The interior is warm and inviting with subdued lighting and jazzy canned music. I was immediately greeted by smiling hostess (Caitlin?) and shown to my seat. Being solo, I sat at the bar and enjoyed the Calgary/Sharks game on a big screen while sipping a well-deserved ale in a frosty sleeve.

I started with the carpaccio. It was one of the best I'd had in some time. The house drizzle across the paper thin beef was a perfect combination. I liked the added garnish which was almost a mini-salad with fresh tomato and a caper berry.

Hard-working men who work long days in the field are entitled to substantial and flavourful food so I rewarded myself with the sirloin treated with gorgonzola butter. The mains come with a choice of pasta or potato so I opted for the Tuscan mashed potatoes. My cut was cooked perfectly to order and everything on the plate was beautifully accomplished. With my bistecca, I ordered a three wine sampler. I had about 50 ml. each of three reds. After some deliberation I decided the Rosemount Grenache-Shiraz blend had enough acidity to provide the kind of counterpoint I think the rich meat dish required.

I'd recommend Coza! if your're looking to break out of the chain store rut and would like some great food, attentive service and an overall welcoming environment. Now that I've scouted it out by myself, I'm ready to return with a group.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Wine Payola Is Alive and Well.

Date: Mon, Apr 14, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

While talking to people about the wines I make and the wines coming out of the Okanagan Valley and BC the conversation inevitably turns to availability. People want to know where they can get our wine so they can enjoy it at home with their friends and family.

Township 7 has pretty good distribution around the Lower Mainland and we're working at spreading the love to Vancouver Island and other areas in the province. Some of the other wineries I'm familiar with are in most areas of B.C.

But it's getting tougher for new wineries and new labels to get onto the store shelves. Why is that?

I was out and about last week in Vancouver and realized that an old practice was becoming more and more prevalent. Individuals and businesses are being paid to stock certain brands. On the flipside, some restaurants and shops are demanding a certain fee to carry a line.

I'm not naive; this isn't news. It's always been the case. There has always been somebody who was willing to add a few bottles to an order or make some other little gesture to secure a spot on the shelf or a choice restaurant listing.

It was always there in the shadows. But now it's not so backroom. It's unofficial policy for some.
The result is that big producers are dominating stock lists like never before. A few multi-label houses are calling the shots; allowing smaller independents to take a few slots here and there.

Established small wineries should be able to maintain their foothold. But I wouldn't want to be a new brand going into this market. There are some big sharks on the prowl and blood in the water.

But that's business. Nobody said it would be easy to establish a brand. So who loses out besides the small, new winery? Probably only the consumer. If a big house decides that saucy import Green Appendage must be on every wine list then that is what the consumer will see. And they've got the muscle to make it happen. So everyone drinks Green Appendage and misses out on one of the small guys.

The upshot is: look for lists that are less diverse that carry fewer small, independent producers. These are the houses dominated by the big players. Solution: know who owns the brands and avoid "owned" establishments. Support restaurants and shops that demonstrate balance and fairness.
Or don't because you just don't care.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Township 7 at Hamilton Street Grill

Date: Mon, Mar 17, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Once again Neil and the gang are having one of their great wine nights and they're featuring Township 7 wines.


I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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OpenWine Consortium - worth investigating

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

I've had the opportunity to join a fledgling group of wine people who are congregating at OpenWine Consortium. It's a group of wine types dedicated to spreading the good word through the world of rapidly developing technology.

If it sounds a little dry, fogedaboutit! It's a vibrant, global community still in it's infancy and is still being shaped by new membership.

So far it seems like an ideal environment where wine makers, winery owners, web developers, marketers, retailers and others connected to wine can meet to brainstorm and discuss various aspects of the business and discover how technology can serve the cause.

Along the way you'll meet some interesting people with a common interest and, in some cases, a common destination.

I urge everyone in the wine business to at least give it a look, especially those of you in the BC industry. It will help alleviate that "outpost on the edge of the world" feeling you may sometime experience in this industry. If you do register, please join the Pacific Northwest group to further define your origins.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Wine Ski Wine Ski - It's the Winemaker's Cup!

Date: Tue, Mar 4, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

I just heard about an event that really is close to my heart because it combines two things I'm really interested in.
Skiing and wine.
Hats off to the organizers for even thinking of this. Great idea. I encourage everyone in the business to take the day and come up for some fun, sun and casual networking.

Mt. Baldy Ski Resort. Oliver, B.C.
Cost:For Race participants: $50.00 which includes Lift Ticket, Ski Race, BBQ Lunch, honorary T-shirt, and prizes. If you have a ski pass, only $29.00 per person.
Spectators: only charge is $10.00 per person for the lunch.
Ski or Snowboard rentals are available for $16.00 per person

Pre-Registration and information:Contact Tim Foster at Mt. Baldy with any questions you may have by phone,(250) 498-4086, Fax: (250) 498-4087 or e-mail: timf@skibaldy.com

Pre-Registration deadline Friday March 13th.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Want to work on an island?

Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Garry Oaks is looking for tasting room people.

See their ad and description by using the link at the top of the right sidebar.

You can live the summer in the islands, grow your hair, do yoga in the forest, commune with the tides.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

The biggest wine festival in North America is now well under way at this point and will continue through the weekend. I'm popping in on Friday afternoon for trade day to see some old faces and taste some new wines.
Each year the festival pooh-bahs select a region and a wine as the thematic influences. This year the country is Italy and the wine is bubble.
Next year is what I'm interested in:
Our own little old British Columbia will be featured as the region and Pinot Noir will be the wine.
As a result, my main squeeze Township 7 will be in attendance and I'll be there to press the flesh and dispense the stuff. So mark your electronic calendar devices now! March 23 -29, 2009.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Keep a breast of the sexy wine world.

Date: Sat, Jan 26, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

In my tireless search for informative and educational items for my readership I have to look at a lot of schlock before the true gems are revealed.

Here is a gem.

This is a forum devoted to the wine industry professionals of the world and if you're at all interested in what we talk about, if you seek the truth, check it out.


You can probably join even if you're not hip deep in pomace every fall.

Notice I've loaded the title for maximum hits. I was tempted to put NASCAR in there too.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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San Pellegrino and my grape photos.

Date: Fri, Jan 25, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

Every once in awhile something amusing happens on this internets thing.
Some photos I took of Gewurztraminer out in the vineyard here are now appearing on a San Pellegrino website. My people were contacted by their people and requests were made and permissions were granted. No lunch invite yet, though.

I check this morning and I was able to scroll through a few dozen nice photos accompanying a story about the Italian "traminer" version of the Gew.

Just checked again and had some trouble accessing the story properly but you may have better luck.

Check it out!

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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Staff Training - Terms Explained

Date: Wed, Jan 23, 2008 Wine Tasting Winery Blogs Wine Business

There's always new staff to train in a growing organization. It helps to have a manual or training book with wine and vineyard terms explained from your company's viewpoint.

A little humour always helps.

Here's an excerpt:

Naturally-occurring or commercially prepared yeast (a genus in the kingdom of fungi) strains (usually Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Saccharomyces bayanus) prefer sugar (complex carbohydrates) to complete their life cycle. The by-products of their activity include alcohol and carbon dioxide. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is also used in the production of ale and stout. Another yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus, is used for lager. Molson Canadian is a lager. If you notice, pastorianus has the word “anus” embedded in it which explains why Molson Canadian tastes like ass.

Malolactic Fermentation
Primarily used for red wine and Chardonnay, the ML fermentation is a bacterial infection that takes malic acid and converts it to a form of lactic acid. Human taste receptors perceive malic acid as sharp and tangy (think Granny Smith apples) while lactic acid, prominent in dairy products, is softer and ‘creamy’. In conjunction with other factors present, a wine that has gone through ML and barrel aging will be considered to be smoother and more complex. Aroma is also altered. Descriptors can include: corn, cream corn, banana, popcorn, caramel, butter, cheese. ML in white wine (Chardonnay) has been on the decrease in recent years.

They get their name from the tanning of animal hides. This was done by using an acidic solution sourced traditionally from oak bark that stopped the decomposition of the hides. Tannins in wine are complex astringent polyphenols that help stop the decomposition of the wine. Tannins are sourced from the grape skins, grape seeds and the wood of the barrel. Care must be taken to not extract too much tannin during production, especially from the seeds which can supply particularly harsh tannins. Tannins combine with substances in wine such as proteins and other macromolecules to form strong and heavy complexes that often precipitate and are seen as sediments in aged wines. The best way to describe the effect of tannin in wine is to have the subject drink from a cup of cold, strong tea. Tea contains a lot of tannin and there are few other flavours to confuse the palate. The effect will be a ‘furry’ tongue sensation. The tea should be sipped with the cup handle grasped between the thumb and the forefinger and the pinkie finger raised.

I'm your source for winery development consultation.

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