In the barrel room at Port Gardner Bay Winery, Chris Covington stays vigilant watching over casks of reds and whites with the anticipation and pride of a master winemaker. After learning that his engineering and chemistry knowledge could be put to use fermenting grapes and crafting unique alcoholic nectars, Chris began experimenting with the wine-making process, eventually producing his own wines independently. Today, Chris crafts vintages ranging from cabernet sauvignons and merlots to malbecs and gewürztraminers, earning him a spot in Evening Magazine's "The Best of Western Washington". In addition to his day-to-day production duties, Chris also hosts frequent events, from tastings featuring live performances from local musicians to wine classes that discuss the wine-making process and dispel rumors that the best way to crush a grape is by breaking its heart.
As members of the RJS Craft Winemaking Academy, Bayleys BrewHaHa's four stores supply all the ingredients and equipment necessary for burgeoning brew masters to craft their own wine, beer, and cider. Today's Groupon crafts 48 bottles of cider or coolers under the tutelage of Bayleys' familial crew, who assign each student a spirit animal to guide them through the process from start to finish. On-site facilities use 100% reverse osmosis filtered water as the base for flavours like apple, pomegranate, and hard cranberry lemonade. After adding and mixing all the appropriate ingredients, the base is bottled, stored, and mellowed with select classics of reggae. When fermentation completes about four weeks later, the ciders and coolers are ready to bottle and are 100% guaranteed.
The Raptors at Church & State thrills guests with the midair acrobatics of owls, falcons, and hawks during three daily demonstrations over Brentwood Bay’s 11 acres of rolling vineyards. Raptor specialists brief guests on the behavior and personalities of each bird as they set them loose in 45-minute displays of flight, natural hunting prowess, and avian turn signals. Guests seated snugly in hillside bleachers watch leather-glove-armed holders release their feathery allies. Before or after each bird buoyancy test, visitors taste any four of the winery’s premium wines or three of the super-premium pours. Sip from piquant selections, such as the 2008 chardonnay, 2007 meritage, and the 2010 cabernet blanc, all fermented from grapes roaming free in the winery’s vineyard.
Dev and Joanne McIntyre first began to experiment with winemaking after moving to the Mt. Lehman area in 1984. They tended to their small backyard vineyard and carefully tracked how different grapes grew and developed in the region's distinctive climate. After sharing these data and collaborating with fellow viticulturalists, Dev and Jo narrowed the list of possibilities down to a few specific varietals, which they felt could ripen evenly along the relatively cool and precipitation-prone coastline.
When they purchased Salt Spring Vineyards in 2008, they set about growing some of these grapes, also opting to fashion pleasantly sweet wines from organic apples and locally grown blackberries. Although their very first experiments occasionally had to be recycled as wine vinegars, grape jellies, or aperitifs for pampered houseplants, they continued to hone their craft with each and every harvest. Currently, the selection boasts a range of styles, including a crisp, dry pinot gris and an unctuous cabernet libre that balances its dark fruit flavours with firm tannins. As a demonstration of their commitment to the environment, Dev and Jo also adhere to sustainable growing practices and avoid using any herbicides or pesticides in their fields.
What's proper etiquette for the queen's sommelier? West Coast Wine Education's John Gerum confronted this question head on when he served Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently he made the right choice, as he went on to pour wine for prime ministers, presidents, provincial premiers, and cultural icons during his 20-year career. Gerum's achievement distills three generations of fine-dining experience that was passed down from his father, a chef, and his grandfather, a maitre d'. Wine education was always his passion, so when starting out, he sought personal instruction from the master sommelier Andrew Laliberté and demonstrated a palate refined enough to earn him membership and certification from the International Sommelier Guild. Gerum often merges his know-how with other wine educators to cultivate a roster of classes and hone their delivery. These experts join in delineating scotch terroir and describing the bouquet of a student's favourite pinot-stained shirt with an easy professionalism that has enthralled groups of up to 300 people. They share their expertise with casual drinkers and professionals during two-hour workshops, in consultation for store openings and events, and through appearances on Global TV.