Spring is Springing! April 2024 Newsletter

Well hey there you BC wine loving friends from near and far... it's me, Jess!  Owner, guide, wine geek and friend behind the wheel of Farm to Glass Wine Tours.

ūüć∑Spring is springing!¬†¬†We have been ever so patiently waiting to see bud break because on average, it tends to start around April 20th and I can confirm that it has started to happen down in Osoyoos with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and even a bit of Syrah so we will see it happen further north in the days to come.¬† There might be only 25-50% of wine made this year then normal vintages but right now I can tell you the wines being poured this season are plentiful and delightful.¬†¬†

ūüć∑Apples and pears are doing their thing... and some cherries depending on the location but it does seem to be a devastating loss of peaches and apricots this year.¬†¬†

ūüć∑But don't worry!!!¬† Grapevines and tree fruits are such resilient little monsters and I would normally make a joke along the lines of "well they're in a rebuild year just like the Canucks" but I can't really say that as the Canucks are doing really well right now.¬†¬†

ūüć∑They will bounce back and I would like to be optimistic that because of this rebuild year, 2025 just might be a goodie.¬†¬†

ūüć∑The third season has officially kicked off¬†and I have to say... I was riding a nice high all night afterward my first tour of the season... it really feels great being back at it and doing what I love.... if this ever feels like work, I'll quit.¬†¬†

ūüć∑So here's some news and events locally and from afar... basically stories I have found interesting and wanted to share... so here we go!

ūüć∑Kelowna friends!¬†¬†What happens when you get one of my favourite island wineries to collaborate with my favourite restaurant in Kelowna?¬† You get magic!¬†¬†Humo Izakaya¬†and¬†Averill Creek¬†have a spectacular 5 course meal with wine pairing on Monday May 7th.¬†¬†Get your tickets here!

ūüć∑The much anticipated¬†Volume 3 of The Sipsters Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines¬†is out! ¬†Wine expert, educator who I'm also lucky enough to call friend, Luke Whittall presents his latest top 50 British Columbia wines under $50 (including many under $30) and along the way shares his thoughts on wine country and common misconceptions about certain grapes, and offers up tangents on everything from scented candles to middle children to sweatshirt weather.¬†¬†Buy it here!¬†(and if you're extra awesome possum, leave a review!). Did you know Luke and I recorded a podcast episode together?¬†¬†Have a listen.

ūüć∑Sunday Soul Sessions¬†are back this summer with the first on on May 26th at¬†Gateway Ranch in Keremeos.¬† The first one featuring Jory Kinjo and Brent Tyler.¬† Bring your own chair, snacks, picnic, blanket and drink and they supply the music and amazing views... sounds pretty epic.¬†¬†Find tickets here!

ūüć∑Do you LOVE Chardonnay?¬† Well¬†Black Market Wine Co¬†just released their¬†2022 vintage¬†and it is a stunner!¬† ¬†You can visit this winery on one of my favourite tours:¬†¬†The Sides of Skaha Lake - OK Falls and Kaleden Wine Tour

ūüć∑Mother's Day is on May 12th¬†and there are a few special events that day at wineries like chocolate and wine tasting at¬†JoieFarm, special rose wine tasting and local waffles from True Grain Bakehouse at¬†Haywire.¬† If I see any moms out and about that day, I want all the mom hugs I can get!¬† Also many wineries offer complimentary tastings on Mother's Day so go treat your momma to some amazing BC Wine!

ūüć∑When was the last time you looked at the stars?¬† Naramata is on it's way to a Dark Sky Certification and I recently attended an event at¬†Eliza Wine Bar at the Naramata Inn.¬† What I learned is that there is not one, but two observatories that offer free public viewings and tours.¬† Go see the milky way in Kelowna at the¬†Okanagan Observatory on Friday nights, or enjoy a weekend tour at the¬†Dominion Astrophysical Radio Observatory¬†on weekends from 10am-3pm.¬†¬†

ūüć∑You know what winery is kicking their carbon footprint?¬† It's¬†Haywire Winery¬†(formerly known as OK Crush Pad) - the 1st Canadian Winery to join the¬†International Wineries for Climate Action¬†(IWCA), they are slashing their C02 emissions by switching to 100% renewable natural gas.¬†¬†Here's a video¬†- Bravo Haywire!!

ūüć∑Castanet¬†writer, Melanie Eksal did an interview with me and it got featured on a post about Okanagan wine tour options,¬†find it here!

ūüć∑Penticton¬†got a great shoutout on¬†Matador Network... but of course it did because it's awesome.¬† It's a great article that covers wineries, breweries, must visit restaurants and more.¬†¬†The perfect guide to your vacation planning is right here.

ūüć∑Are you a history geek?¬†I kind of am... and Robert Bell has been working on his¬†Wines of Canada¬†site since 1992 and there's a great page with bios about our industry leaders who paved the way.¬† From Andrew Peller to Harry McWatters and Sandra Oldfield... though our industry has changed a lot in 40 years... I think it's important to remember who helped get us to where we are today.¬†¬†

ūüć∑Speaking of Sandra Oldfield... she wrote a blog post that speaks to the stress of the wine industry and it's pretty raw and real.¬†¬†You can find that letter here.

ūüć∑We have¬†BC VQA, Ontario has their own VQA¬†but what about VQA Canada?¬†¬†Could our provinces share grapes under one big appellation?¬†Here's a great read from Rick VanSickle¬†

ūüć∑Ever heard of Kenyan wine?¬†¬†Me neither, but apparently due to climate change it is an up and coming region due to climate change.¬†¬†Here's an interesting write up¬†about climate change and wine and how wine regions' climates are changing.¬†¬†

ūüć∑Wine News in 5 mins from jancisrobinson.com¬†is a goodie - touching on¬†Women and Revolution (WaR), an organisation that is seeking to dismantle gender bias and fight for equal representation in the wine industry, also on BC wine and more...¬†get your 5 mins here.

ūüć∑Mimi Casteel is one of my wine heroes¬†in regard to regenerative farming and winemaking.¬† She is world renowned for her vision of transformative viticulture, her approachable communication of that vision, and her ground examples of how to produce expressive wines from vibrant, healthy, carbon-rich soils.¬†¬†Here is a great presentation she recently did in Napa.¬† It's a little geeky but it's great.¬†¬†

ūüć∑These aren't wine tours, they're¬†wine adventures!
Curious about the wineries you could visit? Want to discover a new-to-you wine region? Wonder no more! Choose from 12 different tours with a 13th coming down the pipeline (which honestly might just be my favourite one yet but shhh... don't tell the other wine tours that).  Click here to find your wine tasting adventure!

ūüć∑Hyper-Customized Tours for Your Palate¬†
Did you know I tailor your wine-tasting experience to your taste buds? Whether you're red wine obsessed, an ABC'er or a bubbles champion, your tour can be super customized to cater to your palate.  I like to call myself a certified wine geek and have tons of papers and pins that say I'm wine smart to ensure I match you with the best wineries.  Here's my story and bio.

ūüć∑Starting June 1st is the¬†Sustainable Sip & Anchor Sailing Tour!¬†Half-day wine tour, half-day sailing tour, full day awesomeness in collaboration with Winds of Change Expeditions in Naramata, BC.¬†¬†

Well I'll stop here for today.... please reach out anytime about anything and everything, I'm always happy to help.  I'm entering the time of year where if I don't get back to you right away, as I might be flying (for those that don't know I'm also a flight attendant).  To maximize my time for wine adventures, I will be flying sometimes for up to 15 hours at a time without access to phone or email, so if I don't get back to you right away, that's why.  But I promise I will.... because if you're still reading this that means we're meant to go on a wine adventure together.

Cheers to the vines, good times, being kind and drinking damn good BC wine.

Jess Hopwood
Owner, Guide & Fun Person of Farm to Glass Wine Tours 

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