6 British Columbia wines gain New York spotlight today

By on April 22, 2015
Sandra Oldfield is the founding winemaker for Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver, British Columbia.

Sandra Oldfield, a California native, will pour her Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Gewürztraminer today at the famed James Beard house in New York City’s Greenwich Village. (Photo courtesy of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards)

Six British Columbia winemakers will make the trip of a lifetime today when their wines are featured at the iconic James Beard House in New York City.

Wines by five Okanagan Valley vintners — Laughing Stock Vineyards in Penticton, Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna, Nk’Mip Cellars in Osoyoos, Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver — as well as Vista D’oro Farms & Winery in the Lower Mainland city of Langley — will be paired with cuisine prepared by six female chefs from Calgary, Alberta, for lunch and dinner events.

Sandra Oldfield, president and CEO of Tinhorn Creek, made the trip to pour her 2013 Gewürztraminer paired with Carrot Terrine with Smoked Trout, Alberta Premium Rye Whisky Mousseline, Ginger-Barley Crisp and Minus 8 Maple Brix Verjus by Liana Robberrecht, chef at the Calgary Petroleum Club.

“Americans seem to like our Gew,” Oldfield, who grew up in the Bay Area, wrote Great Northwest Wine via text. “They expect it to be sweet and are pleasantly surprised that it is not. I think it will be a great honour to pour at the James Beard House!”

Partners in the event include the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, Tourism Calgary and British Columbia Wine Institute.

Maggie Anderson, BCWI marketing director, said in a news release, “We are thrilled about this new culinary collaboration, and excited to share our best with New York.”

Andrea Visscher, public relations manager at Tourism Calgary, said, “We are proud to showcase an acclaimed all-female lineup of Calgary chefs for an inventive and hearty feast that highlights the best local fare from across Alberta.”

VQA program turns 25 years old

The Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Gewurztraminer ($15), a dry example of the Alsatian variety from British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, earned a silver medal at the 2014 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif.

The Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2013 Gewurztraminer ($15), a dry example of the Alsatian variety grown British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, earned a silver medal at the 2014 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance, an initiative spearheaded by Harry McWatters. The VQA movement, sponsored by the provincial legislature, certified quality as well as a guarantee that 100 percent of the fruit came from British Columbia.

“This will be an exclusive opportunity for New Yorkers to discover what makes the wines of British Columbia so special,” Anderson said. “Our unique terroir and climate create a wine style unlike anywhere in the world, and we are excited to partner with Tourism Calgary and ACTA to showcase our exceptional wine and food pairings with distinguished media and guests.”

The main event will be held over lunch, targeting key New York trade and media, and will be followed by a consumer/Beard House member dinner that evening.

The JBF media lunch and dinner with British Columbia wines will feature a chef collaborative menu showcasing Okanagan Valley wines paired with acclaimed Canadian Agri-Foods. Highlights include braised Carmen Creek bison short rib, Saskatoon berries, Chinook Honey verrine, smoked ham hock tortellini and gremolata walleye.

Calgary-based chefs include Alison Bieber (Black Pig Bistro), Connie DeSousa (CHARCUT Roast House), Nicole Gomes (Nicole Gourmet), Wanda Ly (WinSport Canada) and Karine Moulin of Hotel Arts Group.

James Beard grew up on Oregon Coast

Portland-born James Beard, who grew up with a love for theater, moved to New York City and subsequently launched a catering business prior to World War II. He began appearing on national TV after the war and soon was coined “The Dean of American Cuisine” by Julia Child.

During the 1950s, he operated culinary schools in New York City and Seaside, Ore., and went on to sign endorsement deals with a number of prominent food products.

Beard died in 1985, and a number of his supporters purchased his Greenwich Village home. They turned it into the James Beard House and established the non-profit James Beard Foundation. Its stated mission is “to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.”

Today, however, that mission should be broadened to read “North America’s diverse culinary heritage.”

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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