Culmina winery adds glitter to Okanagan’s Golden Mile

There’s great expectations for the Okanagan’s new Culmina Family Estate Winery

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      New doings on the Golden Mile. When world-famous wine guy Donald Triggs departed the partnership he cofounded, Jackson-Triggs, we all wondered where he would land. Few of us figured it’d be in the South Okanagan, but that’s where he put down roots, and a whole lotta grapevines. His enterprise is called Culmina Family Estate Winery, and he’s just pulled off a major coup that has our corner of the wine world reeling by hiring Pascal Madevon as vineyard manager and winemaker.

      The French-born Madevon has over 20 years’ experience in Bordeaux and the South Okanagan and created what are arguably B.C.’s finest internationally acclaimed red wines: Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin and Pétales d’Osoyoos. Now, working closely with Triggs, another leading wine innovator in Canada, he’s forged an exciting working partnership, and we’re all expecting great things from them.

      The new winery is located high up on the Golden Mile Bench, an area that’s already home to some of B.C.’s best and best-known wineries. I’ll be keeping you posted as info reaches me. In a February 13 news release, the winemaker commented: “I am looking…forward to further developing the Culmina Estate—the terroir potential is fantastic! The new winery is also very beautiful and I can’t wait to start making wine there.” And we can’t wait to taste it. Now, if someone can tell me what Culmina means, we’re on our way. I heard they already planted some Riesling there.

      Interesting, as Arte Johnson used to say, verr-ry interesting. Aw, you’re all too young to remember Laugh-In…

      The old banned spirit is back 
      But there’s not much of Okanagan Spirits’ groundbreaking absinthe, Taboo Gold.

      It’s a brand-new batch of the famous, once-banned tipple Toulouse-Lautrec apparently loved, to satisfy discerning absinthe lovers. Acording to the distillery, this is “a traditional-style absinthe, with a little less anise and the introduction of the botanicals veronica and angelica setting it quite apart, taste-wise, from OKS’ classic absinthe”. Remember, the distillery was the first in the country—maybe in all of North America—to produce the fabulous spirit after it was relegalized. First released a few years ago, it soon found its way into some LDB stores, and each batch since then has sold out.

      The new batch of Taboo Gold consists of only 114 bottles—and those are 500-millilitre bottles, even though they’re tall—so availability is, once again, very limited; the price is $60 a hit. It can be found in select private shops, but your best bet remains the Okanagan Spirits branches, in Vernon and Kelowna—if you visit, you can browse the company’s other terrific spirits, including eaux de vie and grappas. Taboo Gold is also online at the Taboo Absinthe website, and the full portfolio is at the Okanagan Spirits website.

      Looking for iconic reds?
      Join the Clubs Want to get close to some of B.C.’s most famous red wines? Join the Black Hills Estate Winery wine club—a great way to pamper yourself and your cellar, as well as a great anytime/any occasion gift idea. There’s no fee, merely a commitment to purchase and receive direct shipments of Black Hills’ scheduled releases.

      There are actually three wine clubs to choose from: the mixed half-case club, the mixed full-case club, and the red-only full-case club. All memberships include three annual deliveries to your home or office, anywhere in Canada. You also get front-of-the-line access to all releases, including the fabulous Nota Bene, special limited editions, library releases, large-format bottles, and club-only releases.

      There’s free shipping in most cases, a 15-percent discount in select cases, complimentary VIP tastings for you and up to three guests at the winery in the Okanagan, and much more. For details, email If you join soon, you’ll be in time for the annual Nota Bene release party in June.

      Pidgin Japanese 
      Canada’s first on-tap sake is now available—where else?—in the Vancouver market. This historic development brings together Artisan Sake Maker of Granville Island and new restaurant PiDGiN, to the delight of local sake lovers. It’s “fresh, handmade, and local”, according to Masa Shiroki, owner of the… distillery? winery? sake-ry?

      Artisan Sake Maker was established in 2007 and has been pouring at the Vancouver International Wine Festival ever since; PiDGiN is the Downtown Eastside eatery that has been much in the news of late. The sake-on-tap program has been in the pipeline for a decade and finally found fruition here.

      Artisan Sake Maker has a retail outlet on its premises on Granville Island, so you can sip a sample before heading off to PiDGiN to try it with some of their exciting cuisine.

      Sake on tap? What’s next?


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      Mar 6, 2013 at 3:56pm

      sake on tap has been around for a number of years. moto-i in minneapolis was the first to produce namazake (unpasteurized sake) on tap back in 2008. incidentally, it is also the first sake brew pub outside of japan. i was assistant brewer, but have since moved back to bc. we would generally have up to 7 different draft sakes to taste.