While much of the Okanagan is recovering from the devastating forest fires this summer, many people are also preparing to celebrate what could be a superb year for Okanagan wines.
The same hot, sunny weather that contributed to the forest fires also produced plump, sweet grapes that should make B.C.s 2003 vintage one of the best ever.
The British Columbia Wine Institute reported last week that its business as usual for all Okanagan wineries, including those impacted by the fires this summer.
"Everyone knows weve had a long, hot summer, and thats just the right set of conditions for wonderful grapes with high sugar content," Dawn Antle of the institute said in a release. "With continued good weather, this should be an excellent harvest."
Tilman Hainle of Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery said: "I think Mother Nature surpassed herself this year because the weather over the last four months has simply been a winemakers dream."
The Okanagan Wine Festival takes place Oct. 3-12 with 160 events and dinners all over the Okanagan. See www.thewinefestivals.com for details.
Stanley joins Quails Gate
Ben Stewart and the Stewart family, owners of Quails Gate Estate Winery, announced this week that Grant Stanley has been appointed their new winemaker.
Previously the assistant winemaker at Ata Rangi Limited in New Zealand, Stanley has gained international recognition for producing the best Pinot Noir at the International Wine and Spirit Trophy in the United Kingdom in 1995, 1996 and 2001.
"Quails Gate produces the top Pinot Noir in the country, and Im very optimistic about future productions of the Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay," Stanley, a native of Vancouver, said in a release.
In addition to working at Ata Rangi, Stanley has worked with wineries such as Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Ken Wright Cellars in Oregon.
"We are very pleased to have Grant join the winery," Ben Stewart said in a release. "His expertise and passion for wines is a superb fit with Quails Gate. We know that he will continue in our tradition of providing superb handcrafted wines."