Wine Culture Magazine

Summerland orchards and vineyards overlooking Lake Okanagan. Getty Images photo

Drink B.C. all month long

April is #BCWineMonth and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of spring. For the fourth year in a row, Wine Growers British Columbia (formerly the BC Wine Institute) is encouraging us all to raise a glass of local wine to the province’s passionate, hardworking winemakers, grape growers, retailers and tourism operators. And frankly, we don’t need to be asked twice. WGBC has also launched a multi-pronged marketing campaign titled “A Year in the Life,” aimed at celebrating B.C.’s winemakers and farmers and their deep sense of respect for the land. Learn more at, and don’t forget to download the Wines of BC Explorer app to help make your purchasing decisions.

Jon Adrian photo

Fizzy fare at Fitz

We’re always excited to see a new winery restaurant open in the Okanagan, but we’re especially excited when bubbles are involved. So you can imagine our delight to hear that on May 1, West Kelowna’s 19 Okanagan Grill + Bar is opening a second location called 19 Bistro @ Fitz at the Fitzpatrick Family Vineyard at historic Greata Ranch in Peachland. It has a terrific patio with sweeping lake views, where guests can enjoy pizzas and other locally sourced bistro fare, as well as wine from across the Okanagan and, of course, the winery’s own signature sparklers. “I am very excited to join the effervescent team at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards,” says the bistro’s owner and GM, Neil Martens, who promises “an approachable, yet sophisticated wine country experience for all of our guests.”

Wine’s final frontier

Personally, we can thing of better things to do with a €5,000 bottle of Château Pétrus 2000 than hurling it into space, but chacun à son goût, we suppose. In 2019, a research and manufacturing company called Space Cargo Unlimited sent 12 bottles of the famed Bordeaux wine up to International Space Station. After 438 days and 19 hours, and a round trip of 300,000 kilometres, the wines came back home. Expert tasters say the wines were softer, less tannic and better developed than those that had stayed on Earth. The idea, says Space Cargo Unlimited CEO Nicolas Gaume, is that exposing wine to the stresses of zero gravity will make it more resilient to stresses here on earth.

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Make it Malbec

On April 17 we’re taking a break from B.C. wines to celebrate World Malbec Day. That was the date back in 1853 when Argentina President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento officially made it his mission to transform the wine industry of the South American nation. He had a French soil expert, Michel Aimé Pouget, bring French vines to Argentina and, as it turned out, the Malbec grape performed better there than it did in its native Bordeaux. Nearly 170 years later, we’re still enjoying the ripe, deep, summer-BBQ-friendly flavours of Argentinian Malbec.

Three to try:

Decero Malbec, Remolinos Vineyard, 2017
(Argentina, $30)
Violets, raspberries, red cherries, intense, fresh.

Clos de los Siete, 2017
(Argentina, $27)
Blackberry, chocolate, hazelnut, refined tannins.

Bottega Catena Zapata High Mountain Vines 2018
(Argentina, $25)
Blackberry, mocha, cinnamon, leather, floral.

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