December 18th, 2021- The Wine Diva’s Top 50 Over $20 & Best Bubbles Plus Fitz Wines


The Wine Diva’s Top 50 Over $20 & Best Bubbles Plus Fitz Wines


Even though it’s been a completely eventful year we still arrive at perhaps the best season of the year.  Hanukah,  Christmas,  the Holidays, and New Year’s Eve. If ever there was a great time to heal and recommit to family and friends this is the one.

If you’re considering those important last-minute gifts – the ones that say “Thank You” – great wine and sparkling wines can’t be beaten.

Daenna van Mulligen through her websites,, and has tasted 100’s of wines every month of 2021 and her year-end lists are a fantastic resource. This week it’s the Top 50 over 90 points and over $20.00


To start The Show we head to Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards just south of Peachland.  You can’t miss the gateway sign at the entrance of Greata Ranch.

Our guest is Gordon Fitzpatrick, the president of the winery.

Gordon Fitzpatrick and TDM

Grew up in Vancouver.  Father Ross became a Senator.  Gordon worked for a future Prime Minister. Spent 10 years in mining (gold!). Came to the Okanagan in 1996 to run CedarCreek Estate Winery.  Helped shape the BC wine industry as the Former Chair of the BC Wine Institute.

The family sold Cedar Creek with their eyes firmly on the almost forgotten Greata Ranch Estate above Okanagan Lake.   It was a  former peach-producing estate that had been left to wither but Gordon had a dream to reclaim the land and rebuild the home base as a producer of bubble and still wines.  Voila!  Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards.  They have a quickly expanding portfolio.

Here are the latest releases from Gordon and the team at Fitzpatrick.

Greata Ranch – Fitzpatrick Winery

2017 Fitz Brut  Their signature Cuvee (Pinot Noir. Chard. Meunier)  Bottle aged. 24 months on lees. $32.50

2019 Fitz Cremant soft and yummy.  $24.50

2020 Big Leap Chardonnay.  Ripe stone fruit.  Caramel.  Texture.  50% Stainless steel and 50% Neutral French oak.  $24.50

2018 Sudden Inversion Meritagewe turned the valley upside down” 70% Merlot. 20% Cab Franc 10% Cab. 14 months on Oak  (some new) $28.50

Also, keep an eye out for the Fitz Reserve Sparkling wines.

The glorious Blanc de blanc – Blanc de Noir – and Blanc de Noir Special Rose


Wine Divas Top 50 Wine List for 2021  (Year 15)

All more than 90 points and over $20.00..

ALL tasted and reviewed by Daenna van Mulligen.  The full list can be found at  and

daenna van mulligen – The Wine Diva


Belle Glos Pinot Noir ‘Clark & Telephone’, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara, Calif. $62.99

Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel, Sonoma California $36.99

Meyer Family Vineyards ‘Micro Cuvee’ Pinot Noir, Okanagan Falls, BC N/A

Pentage Winery Syrah, Okanagan Valley BC N/A

Lake Sonoma Winery Dry Creek Zinfandel, Sonoma County California $25.99

Philipponnat ‘Royale Reserve Rose Brut’, Champagne, France $109.99

Robin Ridge ‘Falcon’ Merlot, Similkameen Valley BC N/A

Monte del Fra Amarone della Valpolicella Classico ‘Lena di Mezzo’, Valpolicella, Veneto $57.99

Carmel Road Pinot Noir, Monterey, California $30.00

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery ‘Seven Stars Sirius’, British Columbia N/A

CedarCreek ‘Platinum’ Home Block Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley BC $55.00

Stag’s Hollow Pinot Noir, Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, BC N/A

Chateau de Rauzan~Gassiers ‘L’Orme’, Haut~Medoc, Bordeaux, France $45.00

Cambria Estate Winery ‘Julia’s Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, California $38.99

Da Silva Vineyards and Winery Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley N/A

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir, Vancouver Island, British Columbia $35.00

Moon Curser Tannat, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Phantom Creek Estates ‘Red’, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Hester Creek ‘Limited Edition The Judge’, Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Quartz & Yarrow Sustainable Red, Okanagan Valley, BC $36.00

Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery ‘Summit’, British Columbia N/A

SpearHead Pinot Noir ‘Saddle Block’, Okanagan Valley BC $40.00

Laughing Stock Vineyards ‘Portfolio’, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc, Okanagan Valley $25.00

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir, Vancouver Island, British Columbia $35.00

Painted Rock Syrah, Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley BC $42.99

Domaine Drouhin ‘Arthur’ Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, Oregon $43.99

Lake Breeze Winery ‘Cellar Series Mistral’, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A


Wine Diva Sparkling Wines of 2021

McWatters Collection Brut, Okanagan Valley BC $65.00

Time Estate Brut, Okanagan Valley BC $35.00

Chronos Brut, Okanagan Valley BC $35.00

Gray Monk Odyssey White Brut Sparkling, Okanagan Valley BC $26.00

Jackson-Triggs ‘Entourage’ Grand Reserve Brut, Niagara Peninsula N/A

Philipponnat ‘Royale Reserve Rose Brut’, Champagne, France $109.99

Pentage Winery ‘Fizz Blanc’, Okanagan Valley N/A

Steller’s Jay ‘Mountain Jay’ Brut, Okanagan Valley BC $22.99

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery ‘Seven Stars Equinox’, Okanagan Valley N/A

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery ‘Seven Stars Rigel’, Okanagan Valley N/A

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery ‘Seven Stars Polaris’, Okanagan Valley N/A

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery ‘Seven Stars Sirius’, British Columbia N/A

Medici Ermete ‘Concerto’ Lambrusco Reggiano Frizzante, Emilia-Romagna, Italy $19.99

CedarCreek ‘Platinum’ Sparkling Rose, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Unsworth Vineyards ‘Charme de L’ile’ Rose Brut, Vancouver Island, BC $25.99

Da Silva Vineyards and Winery ‘Isabella’ Frizzante, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Stoneboat ‘Piano’ Brut, Okanagan Valley BC $25.00

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards ‘Fitz’ Brut, Okanagan Valley BC N/A

Hester Creek Estate Old Vine Brut, Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Covert Farms Family Estate Sparkling Zinfandel, Okanagan Valley, BC $35.00

Marques de Monistrol ‘Monistrol Seleccion Especial’ Cava, Penedes, Spain $18.00

Louis Bouillot ‘Perle d’Aurore’ Cremant Brut Rose, Bourgogne, France $26.99

Evolve Cellars Pink Effervescence, Okanagan Valley BC N/A

Evolve Cellars Effervescence, Okanagan Valley BC $19.99

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards H’s Brut, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Gold Label Brut, Okanagan Valley BC $30.00



December 11th, 2021-The wonderful world of wine with DJ Kearney


The wonderful world of wine with DJ Kearney




DJ Kearney – Director of Wine/Terminal City Club

(Wine Education Specialist, Mentor, Wine Judge, Consultant)

DJ Kearney

DJ Kearney has trained over a thousand sommelier candidates throughout North America for the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and has consulted for many global wine marketing bodies — including Wines of Chile, Wines of South Africa, Wines of California, Jura Wines, Sopexa, and Wines of Argentina — while leading educational master-classes for these entities around North America.

DJ  judges, moderates, present at wine festivals and competitions around the globe. She brings a truly global perspective to her work. She holds a Bachelor of Arts., the WSET Diploma, and the ISG Sommelier Certification. She has been the Drink Editor for Vancouver Magazine and critic/contributor/judge for Wine Align.

Pinot Gris goes National | Godello

As we approach the end of a very different year I hope that everyone is safe and well.

It was also time to get a perspective on how the wines turned out. All the wines.

BC, Canada, and The World! Who better to ask than DJ Kearney.


Long-time friend and the leading edge of wine knowledge in today’s World.


I asked DJ to comment on the recent 2021 Wine Align final results.

WineAlign (@WineAlign) / Twitter

She was there – in Penticton – tasting and judging 100’s of Canadian wines.

On today’s Tasting Room Radio DJ brings wines that she recommends make great gifts – for friends or yourself.

Then her Wines of the Year and what she was going to pour over the Holidays.

Tasting Room Radio became The DJ Kearney Show!

  • PIERRE PAILLARD – LES PARCELLES BOUZY GRAND CRU 750 ml | SKU: 477372 France $67.99
  • POL ROGER – RESERVE BRUT 750 ml | SKU: 51953 France  $73.99
  • PENEDES CABERNET SAUVIGNON – TORRES MAS LA PLANA 2015 750 ml | SKU: 315838 Spain $67.99 on sale from $72.99 On Sale (until Jan 1)
  • CHABLIS – WILLIAM FEVRE CHAMPS ROYAUX 2018 750 ml | SKU: 25270 France $36.99
  • CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA – MAZZEI SER LAPO 2015 750 ml | SKU: 176842 Italy  $29.99 down from  $32.99 On Sale (until Jan 1) 

POL ROGER - RESERVE BRUT French Sparkling Wine



Our BC conversation:




Cab Franc



DJ and I finish with a question we always ask ourselves.

Will BC wines ever be truly available in Ontario and other provinces and will Ontario wines show up  on shelves in BC?  If you’re a wine fan, perhaps you could ask your local member of parliament.




  • A replay of the five-week Okanagan Reconnect
  • Fitzpatrick Wines
  • Fort Berens
  • Kitsch
  • Gold Hill
  • Update on Vancouver Wine Fest
  • Canadian Whisky Championships (Victoria)
  • Chain Reaction Winery


December 4th, 2021- Budget wine gifting for The Holidays with The Wine Diva!


Budget wine gifting for The Holidays with The Wine Diva!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Bottle of Wine




Daenna van Mulligen

For 15 years Daenna van Mulligen (The Wine Diva) has created her Top 100 wines.  For 15 years we’ve welcomed the audio version of her choices.  All wines have been tasted and scored –  Those receiving 89 points or better and under $20.00 make the list.

When I saw her 2021 list get posted – – I knew once again it was time for The Wine Diva to make her seasonal appearance on Tasting Room Radio.

Daenna is a highly respected wine judge and reviewer who tastes every day of the year. Her tasting notes are always a great read and her instincts about where wine is headed and labels to keep an eye on always find their mark.

If you go to the Wine Diva website, you’ll see a heading of WINES. Click on that and on the drop-down list click on wine lists. Just a note,  there’s a link that says print up as a shopping list.  I highly recommend doing this. Keep it handy for easy reference at home or when shopping and you’re facing a wall of wines.

Keep in mind when you read her rave reviews,  that all wines mentioned here are under $20.00  Several are steals.

On the interview, I divided up her wines into three categories –

Roses,  Reds and Whites!

The last segment of the show is Daenna taking us through her Wines of the Year.

The Wines of Christmas Past, Present and Future | Wine Enthusiast

Here are the wines we talked about 

From Top 100 under $20 list… 

  • Jose Maria da Fonseca ‘Periquita’, Portugal $10.99
  • Red Rooster Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Monte del Fra Bardolino DOC, Custoza, Verona Italy $16.99
  • Oops ‘Voluptuous Beauty’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Valley Chile $15.99
  • Intrigue Wines ‘I Do’ Sparkling, Okanagan Valley BC $20.00
  • Medici Ermete ‘Concerto’ Lambrusco Reggiano Frizzante, Emilia-Romagna, Italy $19.99
  • Undurraga ‘Sibaris’ Reserva Especial Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley Chile $17.99
  • Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon, California $20.00
  • Robin Ridge Gamay, Similkameen Valley BC N/A
  • Bodegas Piqueras Castillo de Alamansa Reserva, Alamansa Spain $15.99
  • Red Rooster Winery Cabernet~Merlot, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Ryder Estate Pinot Noir Rose, Central Coast California $19.99
  • Luccarrelli Primitivo, Puglia Italy $15.99
  • Luccarrelli Negroamaro, Puglia Italy $15.99
  • Errazuriz ‘Max Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua, Chile $19.99
  • Cirro Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand $20.00
  • Vina Chela Reserve Malbec, Mendoza Argentina $15.99
  • Bizou + Yukon ‘Savvy~Gris’, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Bizou + Yukon ‘Pinkie’ Rose, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery Pinot Gris, British Columbia $20.00
  • Hester Creek Viognier, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • IMBZZL ‘Ruse’ Rose, Okanagan Valley, BC $19.99
  • Soito Wines ‘Taleiga’ Dao Tinto, Dao Portugal $20.00
  • Spearhead Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley BC $20.00
  • Journey’s End ‘Bees Knees’ Chenin Blanc~Viogner, Mount Rozier, Western Cape South Africa $15.00
  • Quails’ Gate Chasselas~Pinot Blanc~Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley $19.99
  • Spier ‘Signature Collection’ Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch South Africa $13.99
  • Bartier Bros. Rose, Okanagan Valley BC $17.99
  • Lake Breeze Winery Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley, BC N/A
  • Township 7 ‘7 Blanc’ Okanagan Valley, BC $18.00
  • Sandhill Rose, Okanagan Valley BC $20.00
  • Pentage Winery Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley BC N/A
  • CedarCreek Estate Winery Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley BC $18.99
  • Intrigue Wines Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley BC $17.00
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay, British Columbia $20.00
  • Noble Ridge Reserve Pinot Grigio, Okanagan Falls, BC N/A
  • Evolve Cellars Viognier, Okanagan Valley N/A
  • Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC $20.00
  • Quails’ Gate Rose, Okanagan Valley BC $18.99
  • Mayhem Wines Sauvignon Blanc Okanagan Valley N/A
  • Yalumba ‘Y Series’ Viognier, South Australia $16.99

The Wine Diva Wines of the Year etc


Wine gifting –

California wines (assorted)


Belle Glos

Cambria Estate Pinot

Monte del Fra Amarone Lena di Mezzo


Wines of the year.

MFV Micro Cuvee Pinot Noir

Chateau de Rauzan~Gassiers ‘L’Orme’, Haut~Medoc,

Da Silva Cab Franc

(plus wines from my TOP 50)


New Years pour.

Philipponnat Royal Reserve Rose

Seven Stars Sirius




DJ Kearney guests with her lists and recommendations/observations on the year






November 27th, 2021- The Hatch becomes Jason Parkes Customs/Emily Walker Wine List/New Emandare pours


The Hatch becomes Jason Parkes Customs/Emily Walker Wine List/New Emandare pours



 Jason Parkes is….

  • A  former member of a punk band whose van broke down and he needed money to fix it – so he made wine.
  • the hub of an ever-expanding wheel.
  • The dark star at the center of a distant universe
  • Lead singer of the house band Proper Man
  • Founder,  winemaker, visionary winery owner who surrounds himself with like-minded thinkers and doers.

Actually,  his greatest talent is being a husband and father.  From that family base comes his strength to start The Hatch, then create, build, open, or buy  Hatching Post Brewery, Crown and Thieves, Black Swift Vineyards, Screaming Frenzy, Truck 59 CiderHouse,  Smoke Show by JPC, Gobsmacked, and Jason Parkes Customs.

Team JPC

JPCustoms will become the new name of the overall company.

That’s why it was time to slow the man down long enough to talk things through and get a sense of what the road ahead looks like.

There are very few BC wineries expanding at this rate. Not just creating new wines and new destinations but whole new concepts in how to reach people, how to entertain them, and at times speak an entirely different language.  Best of all, the wines are as memorable as the man.

“do you feel lucky?  Well do ya,  punk?” 

“Dirty” Harry Callahan


Emily Walker  – Wine Director Naramata Inn

(a video of Emily’s interview and her wines can be found below)

Emily Walker – working it

 Imagine you’re Emily Walker and you are the Wine Director of the historic Naramata Inn in the village of Naramata.

The Inn is surrounded by 100’s of wineries. As far as the eye can see.

Naramata Heritage Inn

Every one of those wineries would like to be on Emily’s wine list but only a select few are chosen.

It’s those choices I wanted to know more about.  Many of the wines she chooses are small lots. Perhaps as few as 25 cases.

But in between those hard-to-find wines, you’ll find gems that we can all search for. They’re all worth the chase.

Emily Walker is up to the task. Running wine programs at The Four Seasons Vancouver, the group Sommelier at all Tap and Barrels, and the opening of the Fairmont Pacific Rim in time for the Winter Olympics. Emily Walker brings all that big room experience into a dining room built-in 1907. You are going to love the experience.

I asked Emily to choose a handful of wines to tell us about.

Lightning Rock  –  2021 Rose Pet-Nat  $29 (Summerland)

No sugar. No yeast. Whole cluster & double pressed. One night on skins. Fermented in concrete tanks. Cloudy. Lower alcohol. Yummy!

2020 Lightning Rock Rose Pet-Nat

CoolShanagh  2018 Chardonnay (Naramata Bench)

Pedro Parra,  renowned soil expert proclaimed their soil conditions Top 15% in the World.  Matured in a combination of new oak, concrete, and stainless steel… Notes of nutmeg and caramel. Mighty texture and finish. Award-winning chardonnay!!


Scout Vineyards  Syrah  $39 (Similkameen)

Made in Georgian Clay Vessels.  Neutral oak. Unfined and unfiltered. A very different wine. Unpolished. Layered and textured.

And gorgeous. Special Syrah from a very special spot.


Nichol Vineyards  St Laurent.  A medium-dark red. The oldest St Laurent in Canada. Ripe blueberry and cassis on the nose.  Tannins, acidity, and pepper in the mouth.  Unfined & unfiltered. Cellared in Neutral French Barrique.


Fox and Archer Pinot Noir  Around $29 (Naramata Bench)

The home of Diane Fox and Tyson Archer..  They make three Pinot Noirs on one of the highest vineyards on Naramata Bench.

Emily brought The Creekside. Grown in a dry creek bed. They also make a Malbec.

Small batch winemaking.   Clones 828 and Pommard 91.  Aged for 10 months in 25% new oak, 25% Neutral oak, and 50% stainless steel.

A wine to be proud of.


Mike Nierychlo  Co-founder (with wife Robin)  and winemaker of Emandare Wine (Cowichan Valley)

Team Emandare


It was raining ugly when Mike showed up for a quick pour.

I turned on the recorder and Mike took it from there.

He was pouring his new releases from Emandare.

2020 Alice  $40 Traditional Method Rose made from 100% Cowichan Pinot Noir. Named after Robin and Mike’s 2nd daughter.


Strawberry, peach, and citrus scents and flavors abound. It is a great pour but very little was made. If you see it – buy it.

A big congratulations to everyone involved. Especially the label artists.

2020 Estate Pinot Noir – Mike and Robin’s original vines. Some 20 years in the ground now. They present a juicy, cherry, and cranberry-driven experience. Also, a texture that surprises. These are very happy vines.

2020 Estate Marechal-Cabernet Foch. $35  Flavours of ripe blackberries and black current. Cracked pepper delights.

2021  (From the Valley) – Farm  Fresh Foch. $25  85% M. Foch and 15% Pinot Noir. It’s Mike’s Beaujolais.

Or because it’s from the Cowichan Valley it’s perhaps  Cowjolais.  It’s very drinkable. Restaurants are going to love this as a house pour.

Mike explains “from the valley.  It’s a neighborhood thing.


Church and State

Holiday liquids (for them and you)

Wines of the Year

Stocking up for Christmas and New Years



November 20th, 2021- Island Cider Tour/Time Family of Wines/Eau Claire 005/Sandra Oldfield


Island Cider Tour/Time Family of Wines/Eau Claire 005/Sandra Oldfield


It’s been a wild week!



Rare Full Moon





Sandra Oldfield.


Jay Jordan – GM Cascadia Liquor Quadra Victoria.  (WSet 2 – Spirit Specialist)

Jay Jordan

I came across a Jay Jordan blog he posted in late  September on the Cascadia website.

He called it Island Hopping Cidery Tour.

I was ready for his tour.  I Love my ciders and admire the artists who create them. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are blessed with many choices. Many destinations. Best of all it has always been a home for heritage orchards and hundreds of different apples for cider making.

Cider pour


Jay starts with Saanich  where Growers Cider first started in 1922.

Also  in Saanich

Junction Cidery – Their first cider was rhubarb. Lots more coming.

Sea Cider Farm and CiderHouse – Made their first cider in 2007. One of BC’s leading cideries.


The Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands were once the apple farming capitol of BC. That’s why you can find 450 different types of heritage apples on these island jewels.  Salt Spring Island has a yearly Apple Fest (Oct 2021)


Pender Island

Twin Island Cider –  Voted the Best Cider at the last BC Cider Festival. Harvest antique and heritage fruit from orchards on Pender, Mayne, and Saturna Islands. Some of those orchards were planted almost 150 years ago. Matt and Katie are using old-school techniques plus Pet Nat and small-batch offerings. Very different and surprising ciders.  Bravo!!

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Wild –  Working with over 450 varieties. Some are over 100 years old. A crazy hopped apple and bitter orange rosemary.

Ciderworks – 10 years of planting heritage apples.  3,500 trees and 365 varieties.  The ciders show amazing balance and complexity.


Cowichan Valley

 Valley Cider – North of Duncan. Bruce McKinley creates small-batch ciders using wine and beer techniques.

Very authentic and fun releases such as a bacon-infused cider called Oink.


Merridale Cidery and Distillery-  Very popular destination. (right beside Unsworth Vineyards)  In the Cowichan Valley. Making classic English pub cider.

Also a very busy distillery. (Cow Gin anyone)


Thank You Jay Jordan.

 Caitlin Quinn – Master Distiller.  Eau Claire Distillery  Turner Valley, Alberta

Caitlin Quinn

The return of a fine whisky maker, Caitlin has created Eau Claire’s  newest release

Eau Claire Single Malt Whisky Batch 005.

Alberta’s first single malt is batch distilled in the traditional way.  In her Glaswegian accent, Caitlin says “Batch 005 is a throwback to Batch 002 with the reintroduction of ex-Sherry Casks in this blend. I believe it will turn out to be a lot of peoples favorite batch so far”

Nose – burnt sugar, dark chocolate

Taste – Nutty, white pepper, toffee

Finish – Long and warm.

Barrell aged in New Hungarian Oak, Ex-Bourbon American Oak, Ex-Sherry French Oak.


Think Gifting this year. For your friends or yourself.


Christa-Lee McWatters – GM Time Family of Wines. (Penticton)

Christa-lee Mcwatters

A follow-up interview to our Wine Align interviews last week.  The Nationals awarded Time Family of Wines in Penticton 8 Bronze medals and their 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon was named Top 10 in Canada.

I found a very busy Christa-Lee at the winery dealing with the remnants of this year’s harvest and planning for next year. (It never ends)

The bronze winners were


Evolve Effervescence (King Family Vineyards)

2020 Spontaneity (P Gris/S Blanc/Ortega)

2018 Cab Franc

2018 Fourth Dimension (Merlot/Syrah/C Franc/Cab)

2020 Semillon

2020Sauvignon Blanc

2020 Rose (Made in two batches)

2020 Chardonnay  (No Oak. All Stainless Steele)


Christa-lee also spent a quiet reflective moment talking about a release coming that may be the last one made by her late Father Harry McWatters.


Sandra Oldfield – Elysian Projects co-founder. Okanagan


Sandra teaches, mentors, advises, and leads by example.

When I get a chance to talk to her  I simply ask the first question and get out of the way.

We talk:

Wine Align Awards

Wine Recommendations ($)

Unsworth Bubble



2017 Little Straw BFF – Blaufrankisch and Marechal Foch

Noble Ridge – The Kings Ransom Series

Noble Ridge The One – Award-winning sparkling (99 Points)

And fixing the staffing problems in the winery business.



The return of Emily Walker  (Naramata Inn Wine Director)

Church and State

Wine Gifts

Year-end lists.


November 12th, 2021- Talking to Platinum winners of “The Nationals”


Talking with Platinum winners of  The Nationals and  next weeks Will Travel For Food




The 20th National Wine Awards of Canada wrapped up earlier this month in Penticton. It’s the best such competition in Canada which is why they’re called “The Nationals”

It’s been fully 20 years since the first competition in 2001 drew 528 wines from 71 wineries, judged by eight men.  20 years later, 26 judges — 14 men and 12 women — tasted 2,075 entries from more than 260 wineries. 

Many of the judges have been guests on Tasting Room Radio and certainly, a great many of the wineries have appeared as well.

The Platinum winners were announced this week and I tried to find as many as I could – on the day.

“And so to the top drops – the best 1.4% of the 2075 wines entered in the 2021 National Wine Awards of Canada! To reach this rarified level is a major accomplishment of which the 24 different winemakers should be very proud. (Yes, there were four wineries with more than one platinum). The judges thank and congratulate you!”

David Lawrason – Mentor, organizer and judge


Platinum winning  guests include:


Jeff Martin – La Frenz  Founding Co-Owner/Lead Winemaker.

Jeff and Niva Martin

As I started to type this info I knew Jeff and La Frenz had won double platinum for:

2019 La Frenz Reserve Ensemble  (Naramata Bench)

La Frenz Non Vintage Liqueur Muscat (Naramata Bench)

and have now been named The  2021 Best Small Winery in Canada.


Here’s why –

6 Gold and 5 Silver

La Frenz N/V Liqueur Muscat
La Frenz 2019 Reserve Ensemble
La Frenz 2019 Reserve Chardonnay
La Frenz 2018 Cabernets Rockyfeller Vineyard
La Frenz 2020 Riesling Cl. 21B Freedom 75 Vineyard


For the record, the Best Performing Small Winery of the Year is awarded to the top-scoring winery that produces 10,000 cases of wine a year or less. The top 5 wines from each winery are used to calculate the winner. Congratulations to everyone at La Frenz.

The above all happened in real-time. Couldn’t be happier.

Jeff and Niva Martin.  Great people and really good friends. Fantastic staff!


Jan Nelson  CEO Maverick Estate Winery  (Oliver)

2019 Maverick Bush Vine Syrah  – ironic because that’s what Jan and I talked about in July,  bush fires.

Maverick was judged the #3 Best Small Winery in Canada. Here’s why –

1 Platinum, 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze

Maverick 2019 Bush Vine Syrah
Maverick 2020 Amber Pinot Gris
Maverick 2019 Rubeus
Maverick 2020 Cross Road Chardonnay
Maverick 2020 Carbonic Syrah


Evan Saunders  – Blasted Church  Winemaker  ( OK Falls)


Blasted Church was honored with double Platinum for:


2019 Blasted Church Big Bang Theory   Merlot driven Bordeaux Blend


2019 Blasted Church Cabernet Franc. Balanced, smooth, and round.  Beauty!


Will Travel For Food

Mia Glanz, Odd Society Bar Manager
Sam Shem, The Dessert Club Founder, and Chef

Will Travel for Food: Mexico to Spain features delicious Spanish and Mexican tapas and desserts by Sam Shem complemented by cocktails inspired by Odd Society Bar Manager Mia Glanz’s time spent in Mexico. Spanish cheese and meat boards, Albondigas, and Crema Catalana are just three of the traditional dishes guests can explore, alongside an inventive slate of drinks including El Diablo Slush, Margarita Tamarindo, and Sour al Pastor.

The Mexico to Spain menu will be priced à la carte and available at Odd Society Spirits (1725 Powell St.) on two nights only: November 18 and 19,  Reservations can be made through Tock.


Mia Glanz, Odd Society Spirits Bar Manager 
Mia Glanz is a cocktail bartender, writer and photographer usually found conducting the bar at Odd Society Spirits. The distillery is also her laboratory where she created and now produces her namesake liqueur, Mia Amata Amaro.

Mia Glanz

Its recipe is an extension of her studies in ethnobotany and traditional aphrodisiacs at the University of British Columbia. Her cocktail training was completed in Mexico City where she worked at Jules Basement and Maison Artemisia, two of the city’s top bars. Since then she has explored almost every part of the bartender profession, including writing about alcohol and cocktails, photographing cocktails, designing syrups, cocktail kits, cocktail menus, consulting for small and large establishments such as the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, cocktail pairing dinners, competitions, events, pop-ups, and even a few private yacht parties. Mia lives between Mexico City and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sam Shem, The Dessert Club Founder, and Chef
Sam Shem is an artist and pastry chef based in Vancouver. He is a graduate of Emily Carr University (BFA), Goldsmiths College, University of London (MA in Fine Art), and the Baking and Pastry Arts program at VCC. During the last 10 years, Sam’s focus has been on travel.

His passion for food has led him to discover specialty ingredients, organic farms, cooking classes with locals, and delicious meals in India, Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, France, the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and the US. Sam is currently known for his simple yet playful takes on classic cakes and retro-inspired desserts. You can follow his dessert journey on Instagram @thedessertclubca.

This is a crazy interview. I had no idea what I was stepping into but really liked the mix. Desserts and Cocktails. Turns out it was far more than just desserts. Mia’s cocktails were well beyond my knowledge. It was like arriving in a foreign country with no language skills.

BUT – I needed to go there to learn and share. That’s what Tasting Room radio has always been about.

You ready?   Let’s go.

Reservations? – It will be sold out!!


Event Info

Here is the link to the Will Travel For Food: Flight One, Mexico to Spain.



More Winners of National Wine Awards

Cider tour of Vancouver Island and Gulf islands

Church and State


BC Zin

November 6th, 2021- The 8TH Annual 4 F’s & Michelle  Bouffard


The 8TH Annual 4 F’s & Michelle  Bouffard on Somm. of the Year & Tasting Climate Change



 It started 8 years ago as an idea. Let’s take some great food and wine and go fishing.

I made my pitch to:

John Weber    co-founder and winemaker at Orofino (Similkameen)

John Weber

Mark Filatow  Award winning Chef, Sommelier and Partner at Waterfront Wines Restaurant (Kelowna)

Rhys Mark and John

Rhys Pender  Master of Wine,  Little Farm Wines, wine judge  & WSET Educator Wine Plus+ (Similkameen)

Rhys Pender

Over the first 7 years we’ve lake fished, drift fished the Similkameen and Kettle Rivers,  salmon fished in Campbell River and hiked into remote lakes. Best of all, every time we gathered,  we all brought wines that we felt would be appreciated and Mark Filatow would create firepit meals that always featured huge Tomahawk steaks.

This year the guys went fishing when they could and I was house bound on Vancouver Island.

So… This week we met on Zoom and talked great wines.

For year 9  they’re coming to Mill Bay Vancouver Island.

Here’s a list of wines we each would have brought this year.

Chef Mark Filatow   Waterfront Wines

Mark Filatow

Markus Altenburger, Chardonnay vom Kalk, 2019, Weinland, Austria


Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Munsterer Kapellenberg Riesling Kabinett 2001, Nahe, Germany


Veronica Ortega, ‘quite’ Mencia 2019, Bierzo, Spain


John Weber  Orofino


Jean Foillard Morgan 2019

Orofino Passion pit cab 2011

La Rioja Alta gran reserva 904 2001 mag


Rhys Pender MW  WinePLus+

Vajra Rosso 2019

Wynn’s 2007 Coonawarra Cab

Azahar Vinho Verde 2018



Else Wines – Jocko  (Echo Bay) a light cab franc

Modest Wines –  2018 zed’s dead (Zinfandel)

Maverick Estate Winery – 2019 Bush Vine Syrah

Thomson and Scott – Noughty  Organic Sparkling Chardonnay (alcohol free)

Odd Bird – Blanc De Blanc (Liberated from Alcohol) Sparkling Chardonnay

Rust Wine Co    Solus (Golden Mile Bench)



Sommelier, Author, journalist, speaker, educator, consultant.

Michelle Bouffard is a “force”.  She leads by example. Caring enough about this planet and its winegrowers that she conceived of and started Tasting Climate Change. The event takes place every two years. This year it will be held on line from Nov 8-30.   (Info below)

Michelle Bouffard

Tasting Climate Change is an international event organized founded and lead by Michelle, who acts as moderator of the conference. Michelle also offers training and consulting on the impact of climate change in the wine world.

 Originally from Quebec, Michelle moved to Vancouver to complete her Bachelor of Music degree in classical trumpet where she unexpectedly ventured into wine while working in a fine dining restaurant. Determined to make her mark in the wine industry, she graduated as a sommelier with the highest honours from the International Sommelier Guild in 2003 and completed the Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in 2005.

Michelle was the co-owner of House Wine from 2003 to 2015. She also founded and was  president of BC chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

Michelle now lives and teaches WSET courses in Montreal and gives numerous training sessions including for wine associations such as Inter Rhône and Wine Australia. She works closely with the nursery Lilian Bérillon located in the Rhone Valley acting as a wine educator and ambassador.

Michelle first book “Dis-moi qui tu es, je te dirai quoi boire” was published in 2017.  She has a second book coming in 2022.

Michelle is often invited to sit on various panels and judges at numerous wine competitions in Canada and abroad. Ever the eternal perfectionist, she is continuing her studies at the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine.


Michelle was also one of the judges at this years Sommelier of the Year competition. We start her interview right there, talking about how demanding  the competition is and the wild events they put each contestant through. The winner was Pier-Alexis Souliere from Quebec. Contestants were asked to display their knowledge of viticulture, wine regions, producers, spirits and beer.


Cider tour of Vancouver Island and Gulf islands

Church and State



October 30th, 2021 New releases: SummerHill & Clos Du Soleil.


New releases from SummerHill and Clos Du Soleil.

(Ezra Cipes & Michael Clark )



 Ezra Cipes  – CEO   Summerhill Pyramid Winery (South Kelowna Slopes)

Ezra Cipes

Ezra Cipes was 5 years old when his family moved from New York in 1968! Since that epic move, he has grown up in the wine industry and feels blessed to now lead a company dedicated to creating beauty in collaboration with nature.

After working in the wine production cellar while attending public school in Kelowna, Ezra embarked on a career in music. He worked as a touring and session musician and became a published songwriter.

He and his daughter Ruth along with his brothers Ari, Gabe, and Mathew have created a band called The Oot ‘n Oots.   Making music for all ages.  For children, that can be appreciated and even liked by adults. The music they make is labeled Kindie and it’s growing every year.

Despite his love for music, Cipes has always felt called back to the vineyard. Home on the family farm, Ezra initiated a half-acre permaculture garden, selling vegetables and herbs to Summerhill’s onsite Sunset Organic Bistro. After reconnecting with the winery and the land, Cipes knew he needed to assume a greater role at the winery. He became Chief Operations Officer in 2008 and CEO in 2012. Recently Ezra has taken a leadership role in the Canadian wine industry as a director of the Canadian Vintners Association, Vice-Chair of the British Columbia Wine Institute, and Chair of the BC Wine Appellation Task Group!

Summerhill is the first biodynamic winery in Canada and shortly will become part of the wine-growing area known as South Kelowna Slopes. (along with Cedar Creek and St Hubertus)


We welcome back Ezra Cipes.  CEO of Summerhill and co-founder of The Oot ‘n Oots.  The new Oot’nOots album is Ponderosa Bunchgrass and The Golden Rule. 

Ezra brings new releases –

2020 Estate Grown Biodynamic Chardonnay $40

25%  in 500 liter oak barrels – 75% in stainless steel.  100% delicious!

2020 Estate Grown Biodynamic Riesling $29

Naturally fermented temperature-controlled stainless steel. These Riesling clone 21B vines were planted in – 1978!!

2020 Estate Grown Biodynamic Gruner Veltliner $28  Naturally fermented with ambient farm yeasts.  10-year-old vines.

2020 Estate Grown Biodynamic Pinot Noir $40  Fermented 10,000 litre oak tank. 3 months in Neutral oak barrels. Unfined/unfiltered

Cellar to 2030.

 Michael Clark – GM and Winemaker at Clos Du Soleil  (Similkameen)

Michael Clark

 Clos Du Soleil is a small artisan winery and estate vineyard on the Upper Bench of the South Similkameen Valley.

They produce ultra-premium quality wines, borrowing an aesthetic derived from the great wines of Bordeaux, but stamped with the flavors and aromas of their particular piece

of hard and rocky Similkameen land.

Through traditional winemaking techniques, informed by research, but adhering to the philosophies of minimal-interventionist winemaking and biodynamic viticulture,

they produce wines that are complex and classic, age-able, and truly elegant.

Winemaker Michael Clark presents two amazing releases.

2020 Capella – 80% Sauvignon Blanc 20% Semillon $28 (le Cote Vineyard)

Light gold in the glass. Aromas of grass and lemon/lime..grapefruit?

Flavors of peach & ripe apricot, pineapple, lemon & lime. Beautiful acidity.

Fermented in French Oak Puncheons. Barrel-aged 9 months. Blending together best barrel lots. Wow.

Can be cellared. Released end of November.  410 cases. Did I say wow – I meant WOW!

2020 Winemaker’s Series  100% Chardonnay – $24.90

Apple, lemon, floral notes.  Flavors of ripe melon, apple & pineapple.  Vanilla & oak. Wonderful texture and mouthfeel. Pale Yellow.

50% French Oak Puncheons and 50% stainless steel tanks. 352 cases.  Yowza!!



Church and State

Hester Creek



October 16th, 2021- 812 Wines.  20 Platinum. Here’s 5 of the very best 2021 BC Lt. Governors Winners.


812 Wines.  20 Platinum. Here’s 5 of the very best 2021 BC Lt. Gov Winners.



 The press release said..

A panel of judges from Canada and the US tasted more than 800 wines, and awarded gold, silver, and platinum medals to 90 British Columbian wineries”

I know most of these judges. They cannot be fooled or influenced. They take great pride in getting the winners right.

12 of the 14 judges have been guests on Tasting Room Radio. I pay attention to what they have to say.

On and off the air.

Congratulations to all the wineries and to Tim Pawsey – Winner of the Harry McWatters Award.

There simply wasn’t time to talk to all 20 Platinum winners but we were able to stalk and corner…



Wine of the Year winner David Patterson – GM & Winemaker of Tantalus 2018 Old Vines Riesling (East Kelowna)

David Patterson


Grant Stanley – Winemaker at Spearhead Winery. . (East Kelowna) 3 Platinum Pinot Noirs

Grant Stanley


Lorin Inglis – GM at ENRICO Winery (Cowichan Valley) 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris

TDM and Lorin Ingles


Jeff Hundertmark – Head Winemaker Mt Boucherie  (West Kelowna) 2020 Original Vine Semillon/2018 Reserve Syrah

Jeff Hundertmark


Gaurev Maan – Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine (Frazer Valley)

The Mann Family


Elan Morris – GM OK Wine Festivals. (Kelowna)

Here is the complete 2021 Platinum List – Congratulations All.

  • Arrowleaf Cellars – 2019 Riesling
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – 2019 Syrah
  • CedarCreek Estate Winery – 2020 Platinum Home Block Rosé
  • Chain Reaction Winery – 2019 Tailwind Pinot Gris
  • ENRICO WINERY – 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris
  • Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Winery – 2018 Estate Riesling Icewine
  • Kismet Estate Winery – 2018 Cabernet Franc Reserve
  • Liquidity Wines – 2020 Rosé
  • Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine
  • Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Terroir Collection Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc
  • Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Perpetua
  • Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2020 Original Vines Sémillon
  • Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2018 Reserve Syrah
  • Silhouette Estate Winery – N/V Boyd Classic Cuveé
  • Silkscarf Winery – 2017 Syrah-Viognier
  • SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Saddle Block
  • SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Cuveé
  • SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Golden Retreat
  • Tantalus Vineyards – 2018 Chardonnay
  • Three Sisters Winery – 2019 Rebecca

The full list of medal winners can be found on the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society website.




Summerhill Revisit

Walking the Tightrope

Hester Creek

Church and State





October 9th, 2021 – Pairing wines with Thanksgiving foods.


Pairing wines with Thanksgiving foods.



Two great friends join me for a Thanksgiving pairing session.


pumpkins and gourds as decorations in autumn

Of all of the questions I’m asked,  the most consistent is – “what do I pair with food?  vegan,  lamb, pasta, salmon, dessert?”

I was thinking about beautiful fall days and everyone’s Thanksgiving weekend. Our lunch and dinner plans.


That’s when I thought of two names:

Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva –

Chef Mark Filatow – Waterfront Bistro (Kelowna)  –


Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva


Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva


Daenna has been the longest running regular guest we’re ever had on TRR. If you go to her very popular website  you can find reviews, articles and a crazy list of wines.

Daenna suggested her list  “Perfect Pairings -pairings with white meat.”  Talking chicken, turkey and pork and off we went! Each one of these wines has been poured, tasted and scored by The Wine Diva.  Daenna brings the reasons why she chose these wines and you can find the complete list with commentary and bottle shots  at


  • O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvee, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Township 7 Vineyards and Winery ‘Provenance Series’ Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Estate Cuvee Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley
  • Pfaffenheim ‘Tradition’ Pinot Gris, Alsace, France
  • Hester Creek Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley BC
  • O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars ‘Block 11’ Riesling, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery Dry Riesling, British Columbia
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Spearhead Chardonnay ‘Saddle Block – Clone 95’, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Red Rooster Winery Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Berlucchi ’61 Franciacorta Brut, Lombardy, Italy
  • Sea Sun Chardonnay, California
  • Covert Farms Family Estate Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Scattered Earth Chenin Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa


 Chef Mark Filatow  – Waterfront Restaurant

A chef at rest-

Mark Filatow is GM & proprietor  of Waterfront Restaurant,  culinary champion, sommelier and wine judge. Occasional fisherman.

This is not your normal interview. We know each others secrets,  so its best to just talk and let the words fall where they may.

Chef didn’t have a Thanksgiving menu in place because he’s closed Sunday and Monday.

So, I went to the main items  of his current menu. Plus Mark is serving traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner at his home – to the very people he lives with. We paired wines with that food as well.  Thank you Chef.

Happy Pairing  and A Very Happy Thanksgiving! 




Fork Mashed Sieglinde Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Sauce Bordelaise


Toasted Cornmeal Gnocchi, Crab & Ginger Broth, Kimchi Aioli


Lime Yogurt, Spicy Cashew, Onion Pakora Crumb



Platinum winners – Just announced Left Gov. Awards

Hester Creek

Church and State

Summer Hill