Wine Culture Magazine

Mark Beringer is the new director of winemaking at Phantom Creek Estates. Photo courtesy of Phantom Creek Estates

Napa Valley Comes North

Much excitement these days at Phantom Creek Estates, which recently announced that Napa Valley’s legendary Mark Beringer would be its new director of winemaking. If the name sounds familiar, it should—Beringer is one of the most iconic family names in California wine history and Mark is the great-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards’ founding brother Jacob Beringer. He brings a wealth of experience from Duckhorn Vineyards, Artesa and, of course, the family vineyards, and plans to work closely with Phantom Creek’s already renowned winemaking team. He has said: “Phantom Creek Estates has invested significantly in acquiring some of the region’s most acclaimed and historic vineyards, technology, architecture and talent, so I believe that the winery will be the premier property in the region, if not Canada, and that’s a goal I’m inspired to be a part of.”

Photos courtesy of Red Rooster Winery

Refresh at Red Rooster

Do you judge a wine by its label? Well, sometimes you should. For instance, Red Rooster Winery on the Naramata Bench just introduced a series of contemporary new labels that tell the story behind each wine, including some of the experimental new methods the winemaking team is exploring. Among them: fermenting with natural yeast, freezing pressed juice for the Pinot Gris, and moving to organic farming for on-site varieties such as the Malbec. “The new labels foreshadow the exciting work we’re doing here at Red Rooster,” says winemaker Elaine Vickers. “Winemaking involves so many elements, from the soil to the vines to the fermenting grapes and there are so many unique parts of the process we wanted to illustrate with these new labels.”

Two to try

Red Rooster Cabernet Merlot 2019
(Okanagan Valley VQA, $18.99)
Dark fruits, spice, smoke, ripe.

Red Rooster Pinot Gris 2020
(Okanagan Valley VQA, $19.99)
Apple, pear, melon, clean, crisp.

Whistler’s Cornucopia returns in November for its 25th anniversary. Darby Magill photo

Events slowly return

Cornucopia: Whistler’s annual celebration of food and drink is our favourite reason to head to the hills in fall, and we can’t wait to return this year for its 25th anniversary. It will be spread out over each weekend in November (Thursday to Sunday), with events including drink and culinary seminars, winemaker dinners and other food and drink offerings. Tickets start at $45 plus taxes and will be available starting in September. All events will comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

Okanagan Wine Festivals: Thanks to B.C.’s uptick in COVID-19 numbers, many of the events we were looking forward to this fall have been cancelled. But the organizers of the Okanagan Wine Festivals are planning to bring things back for winter and spring. For upcoming dates and events, visit

Vancouver International Wine Festival: Tentative dates for the return of Vancouver’s biggest and most important wine event are February 26 to March 6, 2022. We’re waiting for more details, but mark your calendars now and prepare to see your old friends once again.

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