If there’s an Okanagan wine or winery you’ve fallen for you have perhaps, at some point during the sipping and the savoring, wondered what magical creature, besides Mother Nature, is responsible for crafting such an elixir?
Well, we’re here to tell you that when it comes to the Okanagan winemakers, you’re much better off letting your imagination run wild. Because if you ever end up actually meeting this crew of culinary outlaws, this wild bunch of winos ( i.e. winemakers) all your grand illusions of the finesse, elegance and cultured expertise that you thought went into the making of your favorite Okanagan wine, will be dashed once you put the face to the label. At least, that is, before you’ve finished off your first bottle. Perceptions can change…
What you will find if, say, you get so lucky as to hang out with the valley’s vintners at next year’s Winemaker’s Cup, is a rowdy group of fun-loving, hard working, big appetite and wine appreciating people…people who come from all walks and all backgrounds and now find themselves growing, harvesting, crushing and sorting grapes on vineyard outposts somewhere, anywhere, between Black Sage Rd. and Vernon.
Held this year, the 3rd Annual, under the springtime sunshine up on the snow-covered slopes of Mt. Baldy, the Winemaker’s Cup is the brainstorm of Glenn from Black Hills Estate Winery, Mohammed, formerly of Spirit Ridge and now of Enotecca, Katrina of Bellstar Resorts and anyone else who cares to claim credit.
Really what it is is an excuse for the winemakers to pit themselves against one another on the treacherous bunny slopes of Mt. Baldy, braving the harrowing blue- and red-marked racecourse as they jettison downhill at Olympic speeds. Or not. It depends on who’s telling the story…and how much beer and wine they’ve had before, during and after the telling.
Conditions this past weekend were so perilous up on the mountain that Jesse, chief bottle washer and cork capper at Black Hills Estate, turned up wearing his pajama pants…and skied all day in them. Later that evening, an undisclosed source assured us that he, in fact, had not slept in them the night before. We strongly suspect that Jesse is traveling incognito, in furlough from the That 70’s Show, we just can’t think of which episode…?
View the Paul Cotton WineMaker’s Cup Video HERE >>>
Bbq lunch out on the Mt. Baldy patio was limited to (succulent) prawns (perfectly herbed and spiced) and a few ribs (smothered in tangy bbq sauce and falling off the bone) with beer served in (recyclable!) plastic cups. The dark beer proved so popular among these grapegrowers that it was drunk up within the first round of pours.
Which only left a few kegs of the pale ale to work through for the rest of the balmy, sunny afternoon. What a departure from last year, when, tells Kathy from Hillside, the wind blew and the mountain shook. She admitted at the After Party later that she wished she hadn’t gone golfing that day, where the wind had blown and the golf tees had shook, and had joined her kindred up on the sunny ski slopes.
Yay to Jay! Who took home the most prestigious of Winner’s Cups – the Trophy for the Best Crash. Now that Mohammed will be overseeing that ranch, we’ll expect no less of Jay next year! Dinner at Spirit Ridge kept everyone busy and Jay and Mohammed earned additional stripes by pouring for their comrades. Pat, fully relaxed from a Hot Tub soak just prior to the mega chow down, let his Passo Tempo staff do the honors of hard work and slave-cooking for the culinary crowd that evening.
After-Party rules of entry are bring – at least – one bottle. You grab a glass as you walk in, then you just start pouring for yourself and you don’t stop until you tell yourself to. Best wine tasting party rules I’ve heard of! Among the seen and heard at the After Party were Mark Anthony’s Lori, Nk’Mip’s Sam, Church and State’s Jeff, Summerhill staff, Road 13 was there to represent…and so many more that the room began to take on the feel of a Hollywood and Vines episode…best to check All She Wrote’s real time Tweets from Saturday night for the full roster of the valley’s Society names and the people who make them [the wines, yes, the wines].
Funny thing too is that these winemakers did – almost – start to take on a magical patina as the evening marched on and bottles of Okanagan’s finest were emptied…
Then again, we wouldn’t want to get carried away. We’ll just say…Until next year’s Winemaker’s Cup!
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