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Fort Berens Estate Winery

News

Rolf de Bruin
 
October 15, 2016 | Rolf de Bruin

Go for the Double Gold, an Exclusive Offer!

In our last newsletter, we introduced the upcoming launch of our new Red Gold. We are thrilled about this ultra-premium red wine. A wine with exceptional quality, worthy of the Red Gold designation.

Our 2014 Red Gold is an exceptional blend. It combines our very best estate Cabernet Franc, estate Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon from Roger Pires’ vineyard in Osoyoos and Merlot from Blind Creek vineyard in the Similkameen. With just 100 cases produced, the Red Gold is an iconic and collectible wine. To read more about our Red Gold, click here.

Today, we are absolutely delighted to offer our Discovery Club members an exclusive opportunity to pre-order our new 2014 Red Gold before the official launch in November during Cornucopia.

We have a number of different options for you if you wish to purchase the Red Gold, including a Limited Edition Magnum and the introduction of our new Double Gold club.

Red Gold Bottles:

The single bottle price of the 2014 Red Gold is $44.99. The single bottle price forDiscovery Club members is $38.24.

For your convenience, we have created a few options for your consideration:

3 bottles: Regular price $134.97; Discovery Club members $114.72
6 bottles: Regular price $269.94; Discovery Club members $229.44
12 bottles: Regular price $539.88; Discovery Club members $458.88
3 bottles of 2014 Red Gold and 3 bottles of 2014 White Gold: Regular price $212.94; Discovery Club members $180.99

* Limit 12 bottles per Discovery Club member
* Price excludes applicable tax, deposit and shipping

If you prefer a custom order that includes other wines, please let us know.

To pre-order, simply email discoveryclub@fortberens.ca to say what you would like to order, whether you will pick it up at the winery or if you would like us to ship it to you, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Red Gold Magnums:

To commemorate the launch of the Red Gold, we approached William Matthews, an amazing local fine artist, to create a label for a limited edition of 48 Magnums.

William, an impressionist landscape painter with a spiritual leaning into surrealism, created a stunning hand painted oil painting, which reflects the landscape as seen from our winery and his home-studio. William individually hand-crafted 48 labels for these 1500ml magnums as one-of-a-kind pieces of art. While each label represents the same landscape view, William hand painted each label to reflect the constantly changing colours of the Fraser Canyon. William explained, “You never get tired of the view with the constant changes. It’s flowing. It’s rich.” His Red Gold art reflects this. “The clouds are a symbol of the smoothness of wine. The shapes and lines are similar in every one, but the colour and mood change in every unique piece of art,” William continued.

Each magnum is in every way a magnificent work of art designed to match the art of the winemaking involved in crafting the Red Gold. The 6” x 4” oil painting is created on canvas that can be removed from the bottle. You will be able to frame and continue to enjoy the art long after enjoying the Red Gold.

Each painting is numbered and signed by the artist. The magnum is packaged in a beautiful cedar wooden collector’s box and is priced at $399. The price for Discovery Club members is $339.15.

* Limit 1 Magnum per Discovery Club member
* Price excludes applicable tax, deposit and shipping

To pre-order, simply email discoveryclub@fortberens.ca to say you would like to order a Red Gold magnum, whether you will pick it up at the winery or if you would like us to ship it to you, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Join the Double Gold Wine Club:

We have created a new Double Gold Wine Club. Whether you are a member of our Red, White, Mixed or VIP Club today, you can simply add on the Double Gold Wine Club to your existing wine club membership. Double Gold Wine Club members will receive one shipment of our Gold level wines each November. This doesn’t change anything with regards to your Red, White, Mixed or VIP Club membership.

Double Gold Wine Club members will receive 3 bottles of 2014 Red Gold and 3 bottles of 2014 White Gold: Regular price $212.94; Discovery Club members $180.99

* Price excludes applicable tax, deposit and shipping

To join our new Double Gold Wine Club, simply email discoveryclub@fortberens.ca to say you would like to join the Double Gold Wine Club and let us know whether you will pick it up at the winery or if you would like us to ship it to you, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Timeline:

Oct. 12 - Discovery Club members can start pre-ordering Red Gold
Nov. 9 - Credit cards processed
Nov. 10 - Private Official Media Launch in Whistler
Nov. 11 - Winery dinner at the Four Seasons
Nov. 11 - Public tasting of Red Gold at Cellar Door
Nov. 13 - Public seminar dedicated to Red Gold
Nov. 14 – Red Gold orders will be shipped (or ready for pick-up at the winery)

We look forward to hearing your feedback on our new Red Gold.

Time Posted: Oct 15, 2016 at 3:13 PM
Rolf de Bruin
 
October 11, 2016 | Rolf de Bruin

Announcing our Red Gold 2014

Five years ago, we released our White Gold. The White Gold was created in 2010 when two barrels of Chardonnay tasted so magnificent that we wanted to share this exceptional quality with you rather than adding it to our Chardonnay blend. In 2014, while barrel sampling our red wines, we discovered a few barrels that were of similar exceptional quality worthy of the Red Gold designation. And today, we are thrilled to announce that our first ever Red Gold will be coming this fall.

The Red Gold 2014 is the product of the exceptional care from three grape growers and our winemaker. It is a blend of estate Cabernet Franc, estate Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon from Roger Pires’ vineyard in Osoyoos and Merlot from Blind Creek vineyard in the Similkameen. These three sites produce excellent fruit and the 2014 vintage was among the best in a long time.

In the fall of 2014 as the grapes came in, our winemaker, Danny Hattingh, was hugely impressed with the quality of the fruit. Danny was given free rein to foster the quality of this fruit and to experiment to express the true potential of the fruit. His drive to experiment, to do things differently, to learn and to embrace new approaches led to truly unique wine that combines the very best of three excellent growing regions. 

With just 100 cases produced, the Red Gold is an iconic and collectible wine. In its youth, it was already awarded two Gold Medals, one at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the other at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition. In London, UK at the International Wine & Spirits Competition it won a silver medal.

The Red Gold will be launched at Cornucopia in Whistler from November 10-21, 2016. The Red Gold will be launched at a private Media & Trade event at the Audian Museum on Thursday November 10th. The Red Gold will be served at a winemaker’s dinner at the Four Seasons and at Cellar Door, both on Friday, November 11th. There is a special public seminar dedicated to Red Gold on Sunday November 13th.

To commemorate the launch of the Red Gold, we approached William Matthews, an amazing local fine art painter, to create a label for a limited edition Magnum. The hand painted oil canvas on each bottle represents the unique landscape as seen from the winery. The canvas, which can be removed and framed, can be a silent testimony to a time where we celebrate the art of winemaking. This limited edition, of only 48 Magnums, is in every way a magnificent work of art designed to match the art of the winemaking involved in crafting the Red Gold.

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2016 at 11:16 PM
Rolf de Bruin
 
July 14, 2016 | Rolf de Bruin

PRESS RELEASE: Fort Berens Estate Winery A Golden Lineup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 14, 2016

LILLOOET, BC – Things have turned golden for Lillooet-based Fort Berens Estate Winery. With the recent release of the results from the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition, all of the signature wines from Fort Berens have now been awarded gold medals.

Rolf de Bruin, co-founder and co-owner of Fort Berens explained, “With the announcement of these most recent awards, all of our signature wines, including our Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Meritage, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir have won a gold medal from a major regional, national or international wine competition.”

Growing grapes and producing award-winning wines have caught many by surprise in a region better known for cowboys and gold mining. Rolf continued, “While it is still a surprise to many, we’ve known for some time that we can grow grapes in Lillooet. We’ve been growing grapes in our vineyard here in Lillooet since 2009 and our viticulture and winemaking teams are passionately handcrafting wines that reflect our Lillooet terroir. In 2014, we won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines for our estate-grown Riesling, so we knew the area was well suited for Riesling. Winning a gold medal for all of our signature wines shows that all of the varieties of grapes we grow in Lillooet are performing well and that we can handcraft gold medal wines of distinction that reflect the unique characteristics of our Lillooet terroir.”

While early pioneers to Lillooet panned for gold, today’s new batch of pioneers have re-discovered the bounty of the land in Lillooet in the discovery of treasures for the new millennium. Rolf explained, “While we know that the alpine breezes, hot days and lingering summer sunlight in Lillooet are perfect for growing premium grapes, it’s also really exciting to see a new crop of pioneers that are discovering other bounties of our rich land with the growth of local and organic produce, beef and artisan products including bread. At The Kitchen at Fort Berens, our winery restaurant that overlooks our 20-acre vineyard and the majestic mountain range, all of the richness of these bounties come together with farm-to-table meals that showcase the local food paired with our wines.”

Look for the award-winning wines of Fort Berens at their winery, at government and private liquor stores and restaurants throughout BC and through their Discovery Club Wine Club. The Kitchen at Fort Berens is now open daily for the season for lunch, Friday night tapas, Saturday night dinners and a series of special events.

Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of several entrepreneurs – Heleen Pannekoek, Rolf de Bruin, Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal, John McConnell, Dan Barnholden and Patrick Downey. The eight owners of Fort Berens share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of the area and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. With its vineyards on sage brush covered benchland along the Fraser River at the base of towering mountains, Fort Berens embraces the spirit of Lillooet. Discover Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery, in BC’s newest wine region and explore 150 years of pioneering spirit. For more information, call1.877.956.7768, visit www.FortBerens.ca, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

High resolution images and technical data sheets are available at http://www.fortberens.ca/About/Trade--Media. For a list of the gold-medal awards, see below.

For further information, please contact:

Kim Lawton
DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions
250.488.0878
klawton@DogLegMarketing.ca

The Fort Berens Gold Medal Awards Lineup

Riesling 2015:

  • DOUBLE GOLD – San Francisco International Wine Competition 2016

Pinot Gris 2015:

  • GOLD – San Francisco International Wine Competition 2016

Chardonnay 2014:

  • GOLD – British Columbia Best of Varietal Awards 2016

Meritage 2013:

  • GOLD (90 Points) – Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2015

Cabernet Franc 2013:

  • GOLD (90 Points) – Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2015
  • GOLD & Best in Class & Chairman’s Award – Riverside International Wine Competition 2015 (CA)

Pinot Noir 2013:

  • PLATINUM – Wine Press Northwest 16th Annual Platinum Judging 2016
  • GOLD – Pacific Rim Wine Competition 2015
  • Top 25 – Cornucopia 2015

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: Jul 14, 2016 at 1:39 PM
Rolf de Bruin
 
February 5, 2016 | Rolf de Bruin

PRESS RELEASE: Fort Berens Brings Home Two Prestigious Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 3, 2015

LILLOOET, BC – The team at Fort Berens Estate Winery has won a variety of prestigious awards for their winemaking in recent years. After the recent Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association’s annual gala, they now have two additional awards to add to their honour wall. Fort Berens received two of the three prestigious awards handed out at the annual awards gala, namely the 2015 “Digital Marketing Excellence” Award and the 2015 “Outside the Box” Award.

Rolf de Bruin, co-founder and co-owner of Fort Berens explained, “We were deeply honoured to find out that we had been nominated for two awards through our regional tourism association, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association. When we found out at the gala that we won both awards, we were speechless. For our entire team, this is an incredible honour. Every person on our team contributes to our overall success, and on behalf of all of us, we say a special congratulations to our marketing and wine club team members including Kim Lawton, Victoria Harding and Marian De Gier and to all of our hospitality team members.”

Amy Thacker, CEO at the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, who presented the awards, had this to say, “We are pleased to present our partners at Fort Berens Estate Winery with both the 2015 Outside the Box and 2015 Digital Marketing Excellence awards. The team at Fort Berens consistently shines across their digital networks sharing content about not only the winery but the community of Lillooet and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Region. Their innovative Winemaker’s Bootcamp series is an example of experiential tourism that is leading the change in the travel industry.”

Kim Lawton, who helps with marketing and communications at Fort Berens, accepted the awards on behalf of the team at the annual gala. She explained, “We have worked very hard to build the value of the Fort Berens brand. It is our goal that wine lovers seek out the award winning wines from Fort Berens on the shelf at liquor stores, in restaurants and through our Discovery Club Wine Club. In everything that we do, from our social media to our website to our contests and newsletters, we aim to bring awareness and visitors not only to Fort Berens, but also to the beautiful Lillooet area and the entire Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.”

Rolf continued, “We are very strategic in our marketing goals and in the benefits we provide to our VIP wine club members. We designed the winery, the approach to our Discovery Club Wine Club, and our Bootcamp series in such a way that we could share with visitors our passion for making great wines and our passion for Lillooet. It’s important to us that our guests are left feeling like they are part of the discovery with us. We are thankful that wine lovers recognize and appreciate all that we put into the quality of our wines, our brand and the overall experience that our guests have with us. We are honoured to be recognized for that with these awards and we are grateful that the people in Lillooet, Whistler and throughout the region have pride in recommending us as their local winery.”

In addition to these two awards, Fort Berens also recently received a Gold Medal, Best in Class and Chairman’s Award for the 2013 Cabernet Franc at the 2015 Riverside International Wine Competition, a Gold Medal at the 2015 Los Angeles International Wine Competition for the 2013 Cabernet Franc, a Gold Medal for their 2013 Meritage at the 2015 Los Angeles International Wine Competition and their 2013 Pinot Noir was named in the Top 25 Wines at Whistler’s 2015 Cornucopia International Wine Competition.

Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of several entrepreneurs – Heleen Pannekoek, Rolf de Bruin, Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal, John McConnell, Dan Barnholden and Patrick Downey. The eight owners of Fort Berens share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of the area and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. With its vineyards on sage brush covered benchland along the Fraser River at the base of towering mountains, Fort Berens embraces the spirit of Lillooet.

Alpine breezes, lingering summer sunlight and moderate winters provide a unique terroir ideal for growing premium grapes. Discover Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery, in BC’s newest wine region and explore 150 years of pioneering spirit. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit www.FortBerens.ca, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

For further information, please contact:

Kim Lawton
DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions
250.488.0878
klawton@DogLegMarketing.ca

Time Posted: Feb 5, 2016 at 3:51 PM
Rolf de Bruin
 
March 30, 2015 | Rolf de Bruin

100% Lillooet at Fort Berens Estate Winery

March 30, 2015

For immediate release

LILLOOET, BC – This week, Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet is releasing their 2015 spring line-up which includes their 2014 Pinot Gris, 2014 Riesling, 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé, 2014 23 Camels White and 2013 White Gold. Rolf de Bruin, founder and one of the owners of Fort Berens explained, “We are thrilled to announce that for the first time in our history, every single wine in our spring release is 100% Lillooet: 100% estate-grown, 100% produced on our own onsite facility and 100% bottled in Lillooet.”

Rolf continued, “These five new releases join our other 100% estate-grown whites, including our 2013 Chardonnay and our 2013 Late Harvest Riesling. These will be followed later this spring with the release of our 2014 Chardonnay and 2014 Late Harvest Riesling, which are also 100% Lillooet. We can’t even begin to express how much pride we feel now that our entire white wine list is 100% Lillooet.”

To commemorate this new milestone, Fort Berens will be running a 100% Lillooet contest from April 17th through to May 31st. Rolf explained, “When we realized that all of our white wines would be 100% Lillooet, we decided this milestone deserved to be celebrated! We will be giving away an exclusive Fort Berens prize package valued at over $1000 plus weekly prizes throughout the 6-week contest. The grand prize includes a one-year membership in our Discovery Club Wine Club and a private multi-course, wine-paired dinner for four people in our wine cellar with our winemaker. In addition, we’ll be doing a random draw each Friday for a Fort Berens prize package.” For your chance to win, enter the contest at FortBerens.ca or on the Fort Berens Facebook page between April 17th and May 31st.

As Lillooet’s first winery, in the heart of this emerging wine region, it’s important to the team at Fort Berens that they focus on producing wines that showcase Lillooet. Heleen Pannekoek, co-founder and co-owner of Fort Berens continued, ”Last year we won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines for our 2012 Riesling. Winning this prestigious award for a wine made with 100% estate-grown grapes really proved that not only could we grow grapes in Lillooet, but that we could grow premium-quality grapes here. Now that we have our new winery built, a maturing vineyard, and our full vineyard and winemaking team in place, our focus has turned to truly understanding what we can produce with grapes grown in Lillooet. Our intention is to keep improving the quality of our wines and continuing to express the distinct flavours of Lillooet.”

Heleen summarized, “Releasing our new vintages and showcasing 100% Lillooet is a major milestone for our team.  In addition to that, we are absolutely thrilled with how our new releases are tasting. Our vineyard is in great shape going into the key growing period and we have exciting plans coming up for the upcoming season.”

While 2014 may have been a major milestone year for the team at Fort Berens Estate Winery, all indicators point to another banner year in 2015.

Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of several entrepreneurs – Heleen Pannekoek, Rolf de Bruin, Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal, John McConnell, Dan Barnholden and Patrick Downey. The eight owners of Fort Berens share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of the area and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. With its vineyards on sagebrush-covered benchland along the Fraser River at the base of towering mountains, Fort Berens embraces the spirit of Lillooet. Alpine breezes, lingering summer sunlight and moderate winters provide a unique terroir ideal for growing premium grapes. Discover Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery, in BC’s newest wine region and explore 150 years of pioneering spirit. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit www.FortBerens.ca, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

- 30 -

High resolution images and technical data sheets are available at http://www.fortberens.ca/About/Trade--Media.

For further information, please contact:

Kim Lawton
DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions
250.488.0878
klawton@DogLegMarketing.ca

Time Posted: Mar 30, 2015 at 4:15 PM
Rolf de Bruin
 
February 6, 2015 | Rolf de Bruin

Cellaring wine

We have been getting a number of inquiries about cellaring our wines. The reality is that most people do not have a professionally built wine cellar that provides ideal aging conditions with temperature and humidity control. If that is the case for you, how can you best cellar wine in your home?

Keep in mind that cellaring conditions become more relevant the longer you cellar. If you are cellaring or storing wine for a few weeks or even a few months, conditions are not as relevant as when you are cellaring wine for 5-7 years. The majority of the wine purchased is consumed within hours or days of the purchase, in which case cellaring is really not relevant. However, knowing that many wines will improve with age, more and more people are looking to purchase wine and age it. Cellaring can improve our enjoyment of the wine.

So if you want to cellar your wine, there are a few considerations to keep in mind: temperature, humidity, position, vibration, and light.

Wine can be cellared at any temperature, but temperatures between 6 degrees Celsius and 18 degrees Celsius is more ideal. With higher temperatures the wine will age quicker, while lower temperatures will slow down the rate of aging. Temperatures can fluctuate throughout the year, where temperatures in the summer can be 18 degrees Celsius and 6 degrees Celsius in the winter. This is not a problem. However, fluctuations during the day should be minimal. So cellaring wine next to your fireplace is usually not such a great idea.

High humidity and storing wine horizontally used to be very important, but this is when all wine was bottled with a natural cork. The use of natural cork has declined in recent years, in favour of synthetic cork and screwcaps. Natural cork needs to be kept moist in order to keep a tight seal. If the cork dries out due to low humidity or when the bottle stands up straight for a long period, the seal may be imperfect and oxygen can enter the bottle, which can spoil the wine. Conversely, screwcaps and synthetic cork are not as picky and therefore storing wine under low humidity and standing up straight are not real issues.

Vibration is said to have a negative impact on wine. Many experts indicate that wine should not be stored in places with continuous vibration, like on top of your refrigerator, so look for a storage location in your home that is relatively stable. However, we also know that a lot of wine is shipped by boat, trains and trucks where it is exposed to a lot of vibration during transit. To address this, let the wine rest after purchase to allow it to settle.

Some people own a wine fridge, which is a special refrigerator that can maintain a temperature between 4-18 degrees Celsius. As a comparison, a normal fridge is not able to maintain a temperature above 10 degrees Celsius. A wine fridge often has two sections, one section for white wines with a lower temperature and one section for red wines with a higher temperature. Wine fridges are great because it means you can have wine ready to open at the perfect temperature. Using a wine fridge also means you can avoid having to stick your white wine in the freezer for half an hour to chill it. Have you ever done that and then forgotten all about it, only to find a nice ice wine surprise the next day? Because of the vibration your wine will experience in a wine fridge, I suggest that you don’t store wine in a wine fridge for an extended amount of time. If you plan to keep wine for a number of years, it is likely to fair better in the back of a dark closet than inside a wine fridge.

Another factor to keep in mind is that wine will deteriorate under direct sunlight. This is why wine is often in green or brown bottles. However, even these darker bottles will not prevent spoilage due to sunlight. A few hours of sunlight is surely not going to have a major impact, but aging your fine red wines in the window sill is not recommended.

It’s also important to note that when aging red wine, sediment can develop. Sediment in red wine occurs naturally and occurs in most red wines. The longer you age red wine, the more sediment you should expect. In unfiltered red wines that have not been stabilized, more sediment can occur, while there may be less sediment in more commercially produced wines. After aging these wines, set the bottle up straight for at least 24 hours, to allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle prior to opening the bottle. Then pour very carefully or better yet, decant the bottle to avoid pouring sediment into your glasses. I rarely discard the sediment, but pour the last bit in my own glass and savour the last drops of that special wine that’s been aged for so long.

Do you think these rules about cellaring your wine really helps? I read an interesting article about aging conditions a while ago. I have not seen a lot of scientific research where side-by-side comparisons have been done to determine the cellaring conditions on the wine, so for now I follow the tips when I can, but I don’t obsess about them.

Wine is pretty robust when it is young. It can stand up to a lot of abuse. However, if I had a 1947 Château Margaux or another special bottle, I would likely follow all of the rules to give it the best chance to age beautifully.

Oh and by the way, we are cellaring some of our vintages in our winery cellar (under pretty good conditions). Regularly, we release some of these older library wines to our Discovery Club members so you can enjoy some exceptionally aged wines without the need for your own cellar.

 

Time Posted: Feb 6, 2015 at 9:25 AM
Rolf de Bruin
 
February 5, 2015 | Rolf de Bruin

PRESS RELEASE: Fort Berens Estate Winery Welcomes Barnholden and Downey. 2015 Promises to be an Exciting Year!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 5, 2015

LILLOOET, BC. Fort Berens Estate Winery is pleased to welcome Vancouver-residents Dan Barnholden and Patrick Downey to the award-wining winery’s Ownership Team. Dan and Patrick have joined founders Rolf de Bruin and Heleen Pannekoek, along with early partners Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal and John McConnell, to help fund Fort Berens’ estate-grown grape production capacity and future business growth.

“We are delighted to make this announcement. Dan and Patrick round out Fort Berens’ Ownership Team and their investment will allow us to expand the production and distribution of estate-grown grapes and wine from our Lillooet vineyard,” said co-founder, Rolf de Bruin.

Dan’s family roots in BC’s interior trace back several generations. A good friend and long-time business associate of a number of the owners, Dan’s high level of integrity and family connections in Lillooet make him a natural addition to the team.

Patrick brings to Fort Berens his boisterous spirit and infectious energy. Another good friend of a number of the owners, Fort Berens’ guests and patrons can expect to see a lot of Patrick at the winery in Lillooet and in the nearby town of Whistler where he frequently skis and cycles.    

2015 promises to be an exciting year at Fort Berens. Rolf explained, “2014 was an excellent year for us at Fort Berens as we completed construction and had the official grand opening of our new winery building and tasting room. As part of the next phase of our growth, this summer we will begin offering lunch service on our patio, which features a gorgeous view of our vineyard and the impressive Coastal Mountains.”

After selling out a number of wines in 2014, Fort Berens is also working on plans to expand production. Rolf continued, “We are working together with a few local farms to plant additional vineyards in the Lillooet region. We are also starting to think about the first steps in the development of our second estate vineyard on the benchlands directly north of our current vineyard. We have exciting plans for this year and we think 2015 will be another successful year.”

Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of eight entrepreneurs – Heleen Pannekoek, Rolf de Bruin, Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal, John McConnell, Dan Barnholden and Patrick Downey. The owners of Fort Berens share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of the area and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. With its vineyards on sagebrush-covered benchland along the Fraser River at the base of towering mountains, Fort Berens embraces the spirit of Lillooet. Alpine breezes, lingering summer sunlight and moderate winters provide a unique terroir ideal for growing premium grapes. Discover Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery, in BC’s newest wine region and explore 150 years of pioneering spirit. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit www.FortBerens.ca, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Brad Kasselman/coastphoto.com

-30-

For further information and additional photos, please contact:

Kim Lawton

DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions

250.488.0878

klawton@DogLegMarketing.ca

Time Posted: Feb 5, 2015 at 11:31 AM
Rolf de Bruin
 
December 16, 2014 | Rolf de Bruin

Principles of Food Pairing

The holiday season is a fun and joyous time of year. It marks a time of celebration including get-togethers with family and friends, holiday parties and many festive dinners. With more wine-drinking opportunities, we get lots of questions about which wines are best to serve for different occasions or what new wine to try for a specific festive celebration.

Many food and wine pairing recommendations are fairly simple based on the meat. These pairing charts say, for example, to pair chicken with Chardonnay, turkey with Pinot Noir and cheese with Merlot. In reality, these simple suggestions ignore that there are as many different ways to prepare chicken as there are ways to produce a Chardonnay.

For example, chicken with lemon, chicken tikka masala, fried chicken or spicy Thai chicken are all chicken-based dishes, but each tastes very different and each will pair better with different wines. When considering the food portion of the pairing, instead of looking at the main ingredient (ie. chicken), we suggest focusing on the most prominent textures and dominant flavours in the dish.

Now, when thinking about the wine portion of the pairing, we suggest focusing on the style of wine rather than the grape varietal. A Riesling can be dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, sparkling, ice wine, late harvest or many other styles. Therefore we should focus on the style of wine. The style can be described in terms of acidity levels, sweetness, texture and weight.

In this article, we will try to explain how to pair your wine so that you can make a great choice for yourself in any situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few general rules for pairing wines:

- Wine and food can complement each other, where the combination makes both the wine and the food taste better. It is also possible that the specific combination of wine and food have a negative impact on each other. It can be magical when the food and wine pairing enhances the flavours of both. However, in most cases, we should be happy with a combination that is appropriate. Pairings are rarely perfect, although some are certainly much better than others.

- A poor or flawed wine is not going to taste any better with a well-paired dish. Conversely, an unpleasant dish will not be any more appealing with a nice wine. So both the cook and the winemaker have a job to do.

- Choose a wine that you like. If you don’t like a certain type of wine, you won’t like it any better just because it’s paired appropriately. If you cringe at the aroma of an older Riesling because it reminds you of the your neighbour’s stinky garage when you were growing up, you won’t like it any better at Christmas, even when it is nicely paired with a wonderful dish.

- Be open-minded. We all have our favourite wines and we all have wines that we avoid, particularly when we drink the wine by itself. When pairing wine with food, be open for new discoveries. Allow yourself to be surprised by new varietals. Or say yes to a varietal you don’t normally drink. You may very well learn to like a specific style of wine, especially if it’s paired with the right food. So be open.

Now that we have the general rules laid out, let’s look at the basic principles of good food and wine pairings.

Rule One: Match the acidity level in the wine and food

Both food and wine can range from acidic or tart to rich. Generally, more acidic food pairs well with more acidic wine and richer food pairs well with richer wines. Foods and beverages that are tart can cleanse your mouth, creating a refreshing sensation. On the other hand, some food and wine can be very rich and buttery, which coats the inside of your mouth.

Keep in mind that at the extremes of the acidic to rich range, pairings are more difficult. A salad with a very tart vinaigrette is very hard to pair with any wine, no matter how tart. With dishes that are super-rich, sometimes contrasting the richness with a more acidic wine, creates a more interesting pairing. For example, cheese fondue is super rich, but often does better with a more acidic white wine. Be careful though when pairing cream based sauces with tart white wines, because although it may cut through some of the fat, the combination is prone to curdle.

Rule Two:  Match the weight in the wine and food

Pair a lighter dish with a lighter wine and a rich dish bursting with flavour with a rich heavy wine. The weight of a wine is influenced by alcohol, tannins and flavour intensity. An unoaked Chardonnay will be lighter than a Chardonnay aged in French Oak barrels. The weight from food comes from fat, flavours and to some extent sweetness. The wine and the dish should be equal partners, with neither overwhelming the other.

Rule Three: Tannins need fat

Tannins in a wine can make the palate feel dry. Fat from meat, fish or even cheese can soften the drying sensation from the tannins making the wine smoother. So younger wines with more astringent tannins do better with fatter cuts like Prime Rib. Wines with softer tannins through aging pair better with leaner cuts of beef.

Rule Four: Heat needs sugar

Many cultures that serve spicy dishes have side dishes to cool things down. Many people think that wine will cool a spicy dish down, but alcohol can actually intensify the heat. Because heat needs sugar to cool things down, when thinking about a wine pairing for spicy food, it is best to pair spicy food with a slightly sweet lower alcohol wine. This is why a slightly off-dry Riesling pairs so beautifully with lightly spicy food, while a sweeter Late Harvest Riesling can balance even more heat.

Rule Five: Avoid mixing tannins and salt

Salt intensifies the impressions of tannins and alcohol. It also can reduce the expression of fruit characteristics. Too much salt on a steak or in an aged cheese, can make a subtle Cabernet Franc turn into a hard, tannic wine that lacks fruit.

Rule Six: Match the sweetness level in wine and food

With dessert, you want the wine to be sweeter than the food. Luckily there is a wide array of possible wines to pair with almost any dessert. There are appropriate dessert-pairing wines ranging from lighter sweet wines to ice wines to rich heavy ports.

Often we take special care with food and wine pairings for our special dinners with friends and loved ones. If you find that one of the pairings is not working out the way you had envisioned, consider replacing it with an alternative. There is no sense in drinking the whole bottle if the pairing isn’t working. Save the bottle for after dinner or enjoy it the next day with another meal.

Wine and Cheese

Because wine and cheese parties are so common during the holidays, we wanted to specifically address this pairing. Wine and cheese is a combination that is often served because the pairing can be quite stunning, enhancing both the wine and the cheese. However, there are literally hundreds of wine options and hundreds of cheese options, therefore making the pairings here very important.

When thinking about wine and cheese, all of the principles from above apply without reservation. For example, soft, fresh and young (cow or goat) cheeses tend to be more tart with higher acidity. Therefore, try a crisp, fresh dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris with these. Soft cheeses with a bit more age, like Brie and Camembert do well with a bit richer wine like Chardonnay or Gewürztraminer. Semi-aged cheese that is bit firmer (and a bit saltier) can work well with red wines like young, fruity Pinot Noir or even Cabernet/Merlot blends that are soft and smooth. Hard aged cheeses, which tend to be salty, work well with Vintage Port, which is low on tannins and semi-sweet. And if you like Blue Cheese? Blue Cheese, which tends to be very salty, pairs nicely with sweeter white wines, like a Late Harvest Botrytis affected Riesling.

So whatever is on your menu this holiday season, keep these guidelines and principles in mind as you think about your pairings. Maybe you’ll even discover a new favourite! Whatever wine and food pairings you choose in the days ahead, have fun and savour the joys of this most wonderful time of year.

Fort Berens Wine Pairings

At Fort Berens, we offer a wide range of wines each with a distinct style. While the vintage may taste different from year to year, we try to keep the style consistent.

23 Camels White

Wine Style: dry, crisp, with higher acidity, fruit forward, light-medium body, low tannins (unoaked)

Pairings:

  • White fish, pan-seared with lemon, parsley and rice
  • Rocket salad, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice
  • Fresh soft cheeses

Pinot Gris

Wine Style: dry, crisp, with moderate acidity, fruit forward, medium body (from lees contact), low tannins (unoaked)

Pairings:

  • Sautéed or grilled shrimp
  • Grilled summer vegetables
  • Shrimp and avocado sushi
  • Grilled chicken with Herbs de Provence off the BBQ
  • Goat cheese brie

Riesling

Wine Style: almost dry, crisp, with higher acidity, fruit forward, medium body (from a touch of sweetness), low tannins (unoaked)

Pairings:

  • Mild chicken curry (based on Thai or Indian recipe)
  • Munster cheese or other red rind cheeses

Chardonnay

Wine Style: dry, crisp, with higher acidity, fruit forward, medium body, medium tannins (lightly oaked)

Pairings:

  • Eggs Benedict - West Coast Style with smoked salmon
  • Sautéed scallops

White Gold

Wine Style: dry, smooth, rich, buttery, with low acidity, full body, soft tannins (moderate aging in French oak barrels)

Pairings:

  • Coque a vin blanc (chicken stew in white wine)
  • Risotto with mushrooms, porcini or truffle

Pinot Noir Rosé

Wine Style: dry, crisp, with higher acidity, fruit forward, medium body, low tannins (unoaked)

Pairings:

  • Mushroom ravoli with parsley
  • Summer salad with grilled tuna
  • Bruschetta with tomatoes and shrimp

23 Camels Cabernet Merlot

Wine Style: dry, round, with moderate acidity, fruit forward, medium body, soft tannins (oaked)

Pairings:

  • Spaghetti bolognese with basil
  • Pizza with finocchiona salami, black olives, mozzarella di bufala and arucola

Pinot Noir

Wine Style: dry, round, with moderate acidity, fruit forward, medium body, soft tannins (oaked)

Pairings

  • Grilled filet of salmon smoked on a cedar plank
  • Grilled quail with tomato and corn salsa
  • Pulled pork sandwich (not too spicy)

Merlot

Wine Style: dry, round, smooth, with low acidity, fruit forward, full body, soft tannins (oaked)

Pairings:

  • A “real” hamburger made from ground sirloin on a home-made sesame toasted bun
  • Leaner steaks from the BBQ, like striploin smothered in smoked tomato and apricot BBQ sauce
  • Boneless saddle steak of venison on the BBQ

Cabernet Franc

Wine Style: dry, round, smooth, with low acidity, full body, medium tannins (oaked)

Pairings:

  • Juniper braised short ribs
  • Roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary
  • Shredded slow roasted duck with balsamic glazing

Meritage

Wine Style: dry, round, smooth, with low acidity, full body, medium tannins (oaked)

Pairings:

  • Best cuts from the beef: tenderloin, prime rib or rib-Eye with potato wedges
  • Lean cut of venison on the BBQ with polenta

Late Harvest Riesling

Wine Style: off-dry to semi-sweet, with higher acidity, rich fruit, medium body (from the sweetness), low tannins (unoaked), low alcohol

Pairings:

  • Cheesecake,
  • Sautéed vanilla pears with Zabaglione
  • Wild raspberry crème caramel
  • Grandmother’s apple pie with vanilla ice cream
Time Posted: Dec 16, 2014 at 9:22 AM
Rolf de Bruin
 
October 30, 2014 | Rolf de Bruin

Fall News and Updates from the Winery and Vineyard

The summer was a whirlwind adventure for us! We completed construction and opened the doors to our beautiful new winery in July. Shortly after that, we had the incredible honour of welcoming the Lieutenant Governor and about 40 members of the Vancouver Consular Corps to Fort Berens. The dry, hot sun shone brightly in Lillooet as Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon presented us with the prestigious 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines for our 2012 Estate Riesling. This was our first Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Fort Berens and the first for this emerging wine region.

The summer continued with a number of other special events including celebrating a first wedding on our winery patio, holding Discovery Club events and welcoming over 1,000 wine and craft beer lovers to the 5th Annual Lillooet Beer and Wine Festival. In September, we also held our official grand opening celebration for the new winery and raised a new flag to mark the opening of our new fort.

This fall we are off to a busy start. We just bottled our 2013 red vintage in Lillooet, and started our harvest on September 12th. We are quite impressed with the vintage thus far! We have particularly high expectations for this vintage as it is the first time we will produce the wine from start to finish in Lillooet. The 2014 vintage will be estate grown, estate produced and estate bottled. With our new winemaking team and our new facility, we are working with smaller batches and lots of even smaller experiments to make our wines even better. We just set out on a huge learning curve to discover what Lillooet really tastes like.

We’ve recently released our fall releases including our Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Meritage and Chardonnay. We are getting some wonderful feedback and reviews already on these new vintages and we are honoured to report that in the recent BC Wine Awards, we received Gold for our Cabernet Franc and Silver for our Pinot Noir and Meritage.

As we approach the upcoming holiday season, we are open Thursday to Monday from 10am to 4pm. Come in and try our new releases. Maybe you'll find a new favourite for your festive parties and holiday dinners. We also offer a selection of wine and gift items perfect for the wine lover on your list. 

Time Posted: Oct 30, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Rolf de Bruin
 
September 23, 2014 | Rolf de Bruin

PRESS RELEASE: Fort Berens opens new winery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 23, 2014

LILLOOET, BC. On September 18th, Fort Berens Estate Winery held an official grand opening ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new winery building. To mark this key milestone, Hugh Agro, Heleen Pannekoek and Rolf de Bruin, on behalf of the entire ownership team, raised a new flag at their new winery. Dignitaries, media, staff and key supporters were in attendance for the special ceremony.

Photo Credit: Brad Kasselman/coastphoto.com

Rolf de Bruin explained as part of the grand opening ceremony, “More than 150 years ago, with the discovery of gold in British Columbia, the Hudson’s Bay Company set up a trading post on this very site called Fort Berens. The early pioneers that came to Lillooet during that time came in search of gold. They came from afar and often had no idea of what lay ahead. However, they were determined and willing to work hard to uncover the riches of this uncharted territory. They saw the potential of this land and seized it. While the trading post didn’t last long, the pioneering spirit has been forever instilled on this property. At Fort Berens Estate Winery, we’re also pioneers, much like those who settled the area so many years ago. Only this time, instead of gold mining, we’re discovering a new viticulture region in British Columbia and developing a new culture of grape growing and winemaking. Today we mark the official grand opening of our new winery building. Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, as a tribute to those that built the Hudson’s Bay fort on this site 150 years ago, we are raising a flag to commemorate our new fort.”

Photo Credit: Brad Kasselman/coastphoto.com

Fort Berens’ new winery building is a 9,500 square foot facility including tasting room, crush pad, wine cellar, warehouse and surrounding guest patio and picnic areas. Toronto-based David Agro and Vancouver-based Richard Newell were collaborating architects on the project and Okanagan-based Greyback Construction built the new winery. The tasting room provides a spectacular view of the coastal mountain range and vineyard, so that people can get a sense of the area while enjoying the wines. It was also designed so that guests can view it as a working winery where they can see the process of creating the wine from grape to bottle. The new winery was completed over a period of about twelve months at a cost of approximately $3.5 million. This takes the committed investment into Fort Berens to $8 million to-date and is reflective of the owners’ confidence in Lillooet as an emerging high-potential winemaking region in BC.

Photo Credit: Brad Kasselman/coastphoto.com

Hugh Agro talked about the potential for Fort Berens, Lillooet and this emerging wine region. “From the beginning, all of us involved in Fort Berens have believed in the potential of this business, this terroir and the Lillooet area. We have taken calculated risks and we have constructed a solid foundation from which to build a celebrated brand worthy of the accolades we receive. We feel like we’re on the right path and we are excited to mark this next step in our journey.”

Heleen Pannekoek described the team’s journey so far “We have grown from humble beginnings, selling 170 cases of wine in 2009. This year we plan to produce 6,000 cases. And this is the first year that we will produce our own wine, on our own property, with our own full time winemaker. On our adventure, we have learned and we have experimented. We’ve discovered things that we can do differently. Ways that we can push the boundaries. And we’ve had some great successes. From our early days, we have received a number of awards for our wine. BC, Canadian and International awards and most recently a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. These awards show us we are on the right track.”

At the completion of the special ceremony, Rolf summarized, “At Fort Berens, we continue to push the boundaries and mindfully and responsibly search for excellence. We look forward to continuing to learn more about the terroir in Lillooet and we are excited to produce unique wines that highlight the distinct flavours of Lillooet.”

They now have the facility to do precisely this! Congratulations to the team at Fort Berens Estate Winery. It will be exciting to watch for their next milestones!

Photo Credit: Brad Kasselman/coastphoto.com

Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of seven entrepreneurs – Heleen Pannekoek, Rolf de Bruin, Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal, John McConnell and Dan Barnholden. The seven owners of Fort Berens share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of the area and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. With its vineyards on sagebrush-covered benchland along the Fraser River at the base of towering mountains, Fort Berens embraces the spirit of Lillooet. Alpine breezes, lingering summer sunlight and moderate winters provide a unique terroir ideal for growing premium grapes. Discover Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery, in BC’s newest wine region and explore 150 years of pioneering spirit. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit www.FortBerens.ca, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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For further information and additional photos, please contact:

Kim Lawton

DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions

250.488.0878

klawton@DogLegMarketing.ca

 

Time Posted: Sep 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM