Archive for the 'BC Wine' Category

Contest – Guess Tinhorn Creek’s New Oldfield Series Wine


Hey folks. Long time no post… Well, it’s an odd-numbered year, so I thought it was about time to get back to wriiting about wine a bit. God knows I drink enough of it, so here we go again. Over the next while I plan to re-design the site (it’s been too long) and actually make an effort to sit down and put word to screen.

On that note, I was recently contacted by the good folks from our beloved Okanagan Valley’s Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. They’re running a contest to see if you can guess the new wine in their Oldfield Series line-up. If you can, you stand a chance at winning 2 bottles of the new Oldfield Series Wine before it’s released, along with two tickets to Tinhorn’s Canadian Concert Series. Sounds good, am I correct? Entries must be received by midnight, January 14th. Keep reading for more details.

On February 1, 2013 Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver BC will be adding a new wine to their Oldfield Series line-up, but they are not revealing what it is just yet. They thought it would be more fun to let you try and guess what it is.

The Oldfield Series is Tinhorn Creek’s reserve tier of wines, for which they currently produce a Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir, a 2Bench Red (a Bordeaux style blend made up of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, & Petite Verdot), a Rosé and the 2Bench White (a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Semillon and Muscat).

“Throughout the growing season, winemakers often find a golden spot – or two – in the vineyard that tempts our creativity. The Oldfield Series is a way for me to showcase what best defines that vintage. It’s where I can experiment, and push myself as a winemaker.”

~ Sandra Oldfield, Executive Winemaker and CEO

So what is the new Oldfield Series wine?


If you guess correctly, you will be entered to win 2 bottles of the new Oldfield Series Wine before it is released, along with two tickets to Tinhorn’s Canadian Concert Series. The winning tickets will be to see the high energy and phenomenal musicianship of Jackie Treehorn on June 23, 2013. The coveted annual concert series is a rare opportunity to see some of Canada’s top talent while sipping award-winning wines and enjoying a breathtaking view of the South Okanagan Valley.

About Tinhorn Creek Vineyards:

Established in 1993, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is located just south of Oliver B.C., in the famed Golden Mile wine-growing district. As the number one winery destination evoking classic south Okanagan terroir, Tinhorn Creek proudly offers 100% estate grown wines, growing grapes on both the Black Sage and Golden Mile benches. As the first winery in Canada to support carbon neutral measures, Tinhorn Creek continues their commitment to land stewardship, conservation and environmentally sustainable practices. Family owned and operated, Tinhorn Creek offers an unrivalled visitor experience including a self-guided tour, along with wines that rank among the best in the world, and since April 2011, the exceptional Miradoro Restaurant. For more information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, call 1.888.484.6467 or visit the website at

How can I enter?

I’m sure you’re asking that by now, so here are the details. Keep in mind that this is completely separate from the contest on the Tinhorn Creek web site. There are 2 ways for you to enter:

  1. Comment on this post.
  2. Fire up Twitter and tweet your answer using “I think the new #VinificoOldfieldSeries wine is ________.”

Good luck!


2010 Laughing Stock Vineyards “In the Pink” Rosé

It’s getting to be the time of year that I find myself sitting at my desk wishing I was on a warm and sunny patio with a dish of mixed olives, some cheese and a glass of dry rosé. From what I’m seeing in the stores, more and more of BC’s winemakers seem to be having the same thoughts. I’ve only tried a few, but some of them, such as the folks at Laughing Stock Vineyards, are getting it right.

Laugh Stock’s “In the Pink” is a project done in partnership with The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Their YEW restaurant + bar’s sales manager and sommelier, Emily Patterson recently helped select the blend with Laughing Stock’s winemaker, David Enns. The wine, which is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Franc will be sold exclusively at YEW for $22 for a bottle and $2 of each sale will go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Only 75 cases were produced.

On May 26th, 2011 YEW restaurant + bar will also host the Laughing with YEW Wine Dinner. You can check out all the details on their site. It sounds like it will be a great time.

OK, so now that you know all that, you may be wondering if the wine is any good. It is. In the glass, the wine has a pretty pink salmon hue. A sniff filled my nose with strawberry, cranberry and citrus fruit. A sip gave me more of that gorgeous cranberry and strawberry fruit  with a crisp finish that lasts for a minute.

Well done folks. This is a very nice bottle of wine. Now I just need some sun, a patio and those olives to go along with it.

* Disclaimer – I received this wine as a sample.

$22 exclusively at YEW restaurant + bar.

3 1/2 stars


The new lineup from Averill Creek Winery

Back in June of 2010, I tasted my way through Averill Creek Winery‘s lineup, so when they sent me samples from their current vintage I was looking forward to giving them a try. I was also looking forward to getting Graham’s take on the wines, so I set aside a couple of them for him.

I won’t get into the winery’s story. I did that in my last write-up of their wines, so you can always give it a read there. So, onto the wines we go.

apg2008 Pinot Gris: I really like this wine’s acidity… its crispness. Right now I’m sipping it with a bit of soft Gourmelin cheese (French) and it’s a great match. On the nose, the wine has crisp apple, citrus and a bit of flinty rock. A sip gives a rush of the crisp apple-driven acidity followed by some lush pineapple and lemon. The finish is capped with flinty stone and citrus. It’s quite a nice wine, that’ll go with a lot of food. $20 from the winery and at wine shops here in BC. 3.5 stars

Graham sampled the other 2 wines – the 2009 Pinot Grigio and the Marechal Foch-based 2008 Prevost. Here’s what he had to say:

Things have been looking up on some of the wines coming off the island, and I was really interested to give these two a go when we received these samples.

Right off the bat, I liked both of these wines.  They are lean with firm acidity and perhaps best of all food friendly and not trying to be something they’re not.  Not pumped up, over extracted or over-oaked – just nice clean fruit.

pglabelThe 2009 Pinot Grigio is reminiscent of an Italian Grigio.  It begs for some seafood or grilled chicken.  Light citrus and mineral on the nose.  It’s bursting with zingy acidity on the palate. I liked the tart green apple and lime, but wanted a little more before the tight mineral came back in the finish.  I had this with some grilled prawns and the clean style was a great match. $18 from the winery and at wine shops here in BC. 3.5 stars

Prevost-2008The 2008 Prevost was a pleasant surprise for me.  Built around Marechal Foch, which I have found it to be a bit hit and miss in the attempt to be bigger and bolder than it needs to be.  This is no such wine for certain.  The choice to blend as they have with some cab, leads to a different and enjoyable glass of red.

The nose has some cranberry and currant, backed up by a some earthy hints.  A few sips brings some rhubarb and more red currants.  Like the grigio, the Prevost has a prominent acidity that again – I liked.  It paired well with some grilled vegetable pasta.  Again, this is a well-priced choice. $20 from the winery and at wine shops here in BC. 3.5 stars

I would certainly give both of these a go again, particularly as the patio and grill time will soon be increasing.   (What can I say I’m meteorological optimist!)

Give’em a go.

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Summerhill Winery Cipes Pinot Noir Rose NV and 2007 Robert Bateman Organic ‘Get To Know’ Merlot

Summerhill Winery Cipes Pinot Noir Rose NV

It’s that time of year – when you may be looking to have  glass of celebratory bubbly, but don’t want to break your newly minted 2011 budget. Well, there are a number of decent sparkling wines out there in the under-$30 range that can fit the bill. If you’re a fan of rosé wines, this one may just be the ticket.

Summerhill Winery, near Kelowna, crafts this wine from certified organic 100% Pinot Noir grapes. In the glass, this has a nice salmon-rosé colour, with a nose of light strawberry and citrus. A sip has a mouthful of fine bubbles and light berry fruit with a crisp citrus/green apple edge to the finish.

Hmmm, it’s quite nice. What we have here is actually a pretty solid sparkler for the money. It has more depth to its flavours than some of the cheaper Cavas from Spain or Proseccos from Italy – as well it should, as it costs ~ $10 more.

$29.95 and according to the winery, it’s available at private BC wine stores and restaurants, Alberta wine stores and restaurants, and Saskatchewan and Manitoba in limited quantities.

3 1/2 stars

2007 Robert Bateman Organic ‘Get To Know’ Merlot

OK, so here it goes. I’m a bit torn on how I feel about this wine. To be honest, I expected to not like it… and at first I didn’t. It’s a bit too full and round for me. It feels like the wine has been tampered with to achieve a too-full level of ripeness and booze (it clocks in at 15%) – but if the winery is to be believed, it was made with, “Minimal intervention winemaking…”.

If that’s true, then this is a decent BC Merlot, made with 100% organic grapes grown in Kaleden, which is south of Penticton in BC’s Okanagan valley. The nose is full of blackberry, currant and vanilla. The flavours are a robust and full mix of what the nose hinted at.

I’m guessing there are plenty of folks out there who would really like this. For me, it’s a bit too far on the ripe side. It needs a bit more complexity to keep my mouth interested. Having said that, it is a full-bodied red with ripe fruit and some nice tannins on the finish that would allow it to pair quite nicely with some hard cheeses or a good steak.

$29.95 and it’s available at private BC wine stores and restaurants, Alberta wine stores and restaurants, and Saskatchewan and Manitoba in limited quantities.

3 stars

Note: $1 donation with the sale of each of these for every bottle sold supports ‘Get to Know your Wild Neighbours’ non‐profit organization. I received both these bottles as samples.

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“Perfect Pairings” Event at Township 7 Vineyards

Recently we attended “Perfect Pairings,” an evening of food and wine at Township 7’s Langley location that certainly highlighted the food and wine world of the valley is heading in the right direction.

A Fraser Valley resident by choice, I often look on with envy at the opportunities for food and wine available on a daily basis in the city. Someone calls and says “we’re driving through, where is a good place to eat?” Um…

Events like this affirm that there are great choices available out here; they just require a little rooting around. After a trip to the ever-expanding Langley Farmer’s Market, we made our way to the tables set up in the vineyard at Township.

While the grapes (save for the sparkling) are not grown on this property, I find a sense of the local community present in the wines. Perhaps because I watched the vineyard start, now in its tenth year of operation.

To start our evening, we were given the 2008 Rose and asked by winemaker Brad Cooper to connect the aroma of the wine with a scent from childhood Connecting the wine to our personal experience, Brad created a comfortable environment for all levels of wine lovers. Honest, open and willing to share his passion, everyone left feeling good about BC wine.

Back to the rose, it had a nice strawberry, citrus mix with a vegetal undertone (Allison from Okanagan Taste said “strawberry rhubarb pie”) that matched really well with the pulled-pork slider provided by Angie Quaale from Well Seasoned. The pairing initially surprised me, but the sweet – savory balance was great.

From there we were treated to a number of decadent snacks with really well paired wine choices. We appreciated how Brad encouraged us to try the other wines with the various food items to find our own match.

The highlight for me was the “7 Blanc,” Township’s 50/50 blend of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc. The nice blend of tropical fruit was killer with the amazing prawn atop a kiwi-cilantro-lime salsa. For $19, this is an ideal summer sip. I made sure to take a couple bottles home.

My wife loved the 2006 Syrah with both the incredible baked beans (best I’ve ever had) and Township’s house dark chocolate with peppercorns. She felt the smoky dark fruit of the wine. We also were given a barrel sample of the ’08 syrah, which I am definitely looking forward to.

The evening closed with a taste of Brad’s own 2008 Black Cloud Pinot Noir. My first sips were really tasty and I look forward to sitting down with a bottle (and a glass!) to fully explore it. From here we pried ourselves away from the truffle butter popcorn and closed a lovely evening.

Thanks to Brad Cooper and Township 7, and also Well-Seasoned, and 1Fish 2Fish (who provided my favorite – the prawns) – local Langley folks who deserve regular visits.

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2009 Road 13 Winery + Vineyard Honest John’s White, Okanagan Valley

It’s been so long between posts… Well, it’s not like I haven’t been drinking wine. It’s just that I’ve just been too busy to sit down and write about them. Hi there. I received this wine as a sample this week, so that’s enough to prompt me back into the blog. Off we go.

Road 13 Winery + Vineyard – this winery dates back to 1998, when it was originally Golden Mile Cellars. I was a closet fan of their wines for years and after the name change and re-focusing on varietals, I’ve been curious to see how things would shape up.

Owners Mick & Pam Luckhurst took over the winery in 2003. Knowing that the “Golden Mile Bench” could be soon BC’s newest viticultural area, they wisely changed the name of the winery a *couple of years ago (*I could be a little off here, but visited them back in 2008 just before the change). According to the winery, the name Road 13 was chosen because, “Road 13 is the location of our winery and two of our vineyard sites: the Home and the Castle.

The blend is, as they say on the label, “Riesling heavy, which is always a good thing…“, and it is. I see this as a patio aperitif sipper that would also pair really well with salads and Asian foods.

What’s it like? Well, a big sniff gives up a floral (that’s the Gewurztraminer peeking through), tangerine citrus and ripe peach nose (from the botrytis-affected Riesling grapes). A sip shows the ripe peach/tangerine thing going on as well as some honeysuckle and mineral. There’s a bracing acidity on the finish that shows the promise of a food-friendly wine.

It’s good. Heck, for the money ($16.99 CDN), it’s really nice. I’ll be pointing folks to it when they ask for something local, good and patio-friendly over the next month or so (hopefully) of our sunny season.

$16.99 winery direct, BCLDB, VQA stores and select private retail and restaurant accounts in BC and Alberta.

3 1/2 stars

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Tasting the Averill Creek Vineyards Line-up

While I was at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival last month, I stopped by Averill Creek‘s table to say, “Hi” to Denis Chen, who I know from Kitsilano Wine Cellars. Well, it turned out he was also the VP Sales and Marketing for the winery and was at the festival pouring their wines. I had a taste and came away impressed. After my chat with Denis, he promised to set up a sample pack for me to review, so here we are.

Let’s get you some information about the winery. Its owner, Andy Johnston is a British-born doctor who had a practice in Alberta for around 30 years. He prepared for his gig as a winery owner and winemaker by apprenticing in the vineyards of Italy, France, Australia, and New Zealand. After retirement he bought his Cowichan Valley property in 2001.

Averill Creek is definitely an estate producer only. They have roughly 30,000 vines on a 30-acre vineyard in the Cowichan Valley north of Duncan on Vancouver Island. All of Averill Creek’s wines are estate grown and come from this vineyard.

I was supplied with what turned out to be most of their current line-up and have tasted them over the last week or so. Here are my thoughts:

  • 2007 Pinot Gris: A sniff gave up lemon and ripe peach juice drizzled on a rock. The flavours showed some really nice lip-smackingly crisp acidity along with mouth-filling lemon-peach flavours. This, folks, is a really nice food wine, but would also make for a great aperitif on a sunny patio. It’s a solid value ($18). 4 stars
  • 2009 Pinot Grigio: This 100% stainless-steel fermented version is the crisp, quaff-able wine of the portfolio. It’s got a schwack of bracing acidity along with the nice fruit and flinty minerality. You know when you buy a really nice bunch of green grapes, take them home and really enjoy stuffing one after another into your mouth? This is the vinous equivalent ($18). 3.5 stars
  • 2009 Gewurztraminer: This was a very pleasing light and crisp Gewurz. It had soft rose petal and lychee flavours followed up by a honey-edged citrus acidity and a nice mineral edge to the finish. Very nice and another really solid value ($18). 4 stars
  • 2007 Pinot Noir: This is really nice, in that ripe kinda’ way. Think blackberry tea with Chinese all-spice on the finish. The tannins are medium-soft, so this is a bit more of a quaffer than a food-pairing wine. I really enjoyed it though, especially for the price ($28). 4 stars
  • 2007 Prevost: On the nose, I got smoked bacon with a sour cherry edge. That pretty much followed up in the flavours that finished with a peppery edge ($18). 3 stars
  • 2009 Foch’eh: This wine was made using carbonic maceration, which kept the fruit cool and fresh and makes for a very Gamay-like wine, with its really nice bright cherry and strawberry fruit. A very nice simple sipper for summer. Cool it down a touch and enjoy on the patio. Again, another solid value ($18). 3.5 stars
  • 2008 Cowichan Black: This is made from 100% Vancouver Island blackberries and comes in at 16% booze. All in all, it was a bit puzzling to me. A sniff gave me sour, yeasty light berry fruit, but a sip showed some of the ripe blackberry flavours I was expecting… with a bit of a green edge to the finish. It’s decent, but a bit of a novelty wine in an otherwise solid lineup ($18 for 375 ml). 2.5 stars

Overall, I was fairly impressed. If anything, the wines pleasantly surprised me. The line-up is definitely geared towards providing value and they’re really hitting the mark, especially with the Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. Would I buy them? Yes, I would.

If you’ve never tried wines from Vancouver Island and you want to support the BC wine industry, you should give them a try. They can be found at various wine shops around Vancouver (and the province of BC).


A visit to Hester Creek Estate Winery

A couple of weeks ago, I received a pretty tempting invite – to fly with a few other writers up to the Okanagan Valley for the day to visit, tour and taste at Oliver’s Hester Creek Estate Winery. It’s not often that offers like that come along, so I jumped at the chance. I thought it would be great to check out the new winery they had built and to taste the wines they’ve been turning out.

Hester Creek has an interesting story. The winery’s 75 acres is located on the Golden Mile near Oliver, where hot days and cool nights present almost perfect growing conditions for grapes. It was Joe Busnardo, an Italian immigrant who first planted grapes on the site 1968. Oddly enough, he chose Trebbiano as the first varietal to go into the ground – and some of those original plantings are still around in the winery’s vineyard. They’re thick and gnarled, but turn out a surprisingly tasty wine (more on that in a bit). Joe sold the winery in 1996 and relocated the Divino Estate Winery to the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

From 1996 to 2002, the winery was owned by a local group, headed by winemaker Frank Supernak. They renamed the winery after a creek flowing on the border of the winery’s land. The vineyards had been left in pretty rough shape, but the group did its best over the next 6 years to make a go of it. Unfortunately, they ran out of money and the winery ended up in receivership. Quite the tale for such a good piece of land.

To make a relatively long story a bit shorter, in 2004 the winery was acquired while in receivership by BC businessman, Curt Garland – and the turnaround began. Mr. Garland set about making the winery live up to its potential. He hired wine-maker Rob Summers in 2006, planted new vines in the vineyards, replaced old overhead systems with drip irrigation, constructed a new winery building and tasting room and really rounded out the project by building B&B style villas on the hill overlooking the winery and vineyards. The place is pretty state-of-the-art… and beautiful.

A lot of our visit was spent in winery’s main building. Here’s a summary of what we did:

  • We ate a beautiful Vegetable Pave (paired with the 2008 Pinot Gris), crafted by Chef Roger Planiden in their modern demonstration kitchen. This was built to hold cooking classes and small events at the winery.
    • 2008 Pinot Gris ($16.99) – very nice with a light minerality to the crisp citrus and peach flavours. It paired very well with the Pave. 3.5 stars
  • We then moved to their dining room, where we had an incredibly tasty meal of prosciutto-wrapped chicken in a blackberry reduction.
    • 2008 Cabernet/Merlot Blend ($15.99) -velvety cherry and berry flavours made this a surprisingly good pairing with the meal. 3.5 stars
  • Dessert was a delicious Chocolate Crème Brûlée with berries.
    • 2006 Reserve Merlot ($25.99) – very herbal, with nice ripe cherry/berry and coffee flavours. Silky tannins finish things off. 4 stars

After a tour of the winery’s inner workings, we ended up in the upstairs Board Room, where we tasted through much of the current Hester Creek line-up:

  • 2008 Trebbiano ($18.99) – this really surprised me. I didn’t expect to like it, but I did. A lot. It’s the perfect light summer aperitif wine that has enough zippy citrus acidity to stand up to olives and other light fare. I’ve since bought a bottle to enjoy at home. 4 stars
  • 2008 Pinot Blanc ($15.99) – another solid white. This food-friendly PB has really nice acidity to its peach, melon and apple flavours. 3.5 – 4 stars
  • 2008 Semillon/Chardonnay ($15.99) – this 50/50 blend offers up better than expected flavours of grapefruit, melon, apple and honey. It had a nice long mineral-edged finish. 3.5 stars
  • 2008 Merlot ($16.99) – soft tannins edged the ripe red cherry/berry fruit. 3.5 stars
  • 2006 Reserve Merlot ($25.99) – see the notes above…
  • 2006 Reserve Cabernet Franc ($25.99) – this proved to be my favourite of the reds we tasted. The nose had an herbal edge to the coffee, leather and dark cherry aromas. A sip showed ripe cherry, earth, dark chocolate and firm tannins to the herbal finish. I’ve since had another chance to taste it and liked it both times. 4 stars
  • We also had the chance to taste the 2008 vintage of what the folks at the winery refer to as “Italian Merlot“. They currently use it for blending, but we tasted a sample of it for interest’s sake. I really liked it. I thought it was Dolcetto-like in its earthy and herbal ripe red berry nose and in its flavours which gave me ripe and earthy red berry fruit with a long and mineral and pepper-edged finish. 4 stars

After the more formal tasting in the Board Room, a few of us were joined by wine-maker, Rob Summers at the counter in the tasting room. He started opening bottles (and boxes) for us to try. He’s an enthusiastic guy – and that rubs off. He wanted to share with us what he had been up to at the winery. It was cool to taste the difference between the 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, made by wine-making consultant Eric von Krosigk and the 2006, made by Rob. The 2005 was extremely vegetal. The 2006 had a much fruitier edge. Having said that, they’ll no longer be making a single-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Instead, those grapes will be used for blending.

All in all, I was quite impressed. It had been years since I had tried a wine from Hester Creek – and there was a reason for that. I hadn’t liked the wine that had come from there. Not so any more. With the new facilities and plantings, it’s now up to the wine-making team to run with it and show what they can do. Fortunately, from what I tasted, they’re well on their way.

If what they’re trying to do is position themselves as a value winery with approachable wines for the everyday consumer, I’d have to say that they’re hitting the mark. The wines are not necessarily ones that you would choose to sit in your cellar, but they are very affordable and approachable wines to drink today.

They definitely sit on some good land and from what I heard last Wednesday, could be aiming at the higher market some time in the near future with a smaller production Reserve wine… and let’s hope that wine-maker Rob Summers makes that happen. It would be fun to see what they could do with the resources they have.

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2008 Tantalus Vineyards Riesling, Okanagan Valley

After Taste BC 2010, I was determined to try to taste more of my home province’s wine over the next while. While there, we tasted a few wines in the under-$30 range that I figured needed a closer look. So, yesterday on my way home I dropped by Taylorwood Wines in Yaletown and grabbed this one, Tantalus’ 2007 Old Vines Riesling and the 2008 8th Generation Dry Riesling. They’re next in the series, but for now, let’s get down to this wine.

It’s worth noting that according to Tantalus’ web site, the 2008 growing season saw Tantalus Vineyards transition to organic vineyard practices. As a result, you can feel better about what you’re drinking from them and how they’re making their wines.

The nose was a zesty mix of lime, honey and stone, with a touch of petrol. A sip gave a burst of zingy lime, peach and a medium-long finish of stone and a bit of that petrol I mentioned. This is a heckuva’ Riesling for BC. I’m not sure I would have guessed that it was from here if I had tasted it blind. That’s not a bad thing.

If you’re a Riesling fan and are looking to try more of what BC has to offer, you really should give this wine a try. It’s delicious.

$22.90 at Taylorwood Wines.

4 stars

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Wine Software review: Bennalsoft Technologies > Wine Tripper – British Columbia Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by an employee of Bennalsoft Technologies, who asked if I might be interested in reviewing an iPhone app of theirs, Wine Tripper – British Columbia Edition. Being both the iPhone and wine geek that I am, I was pretty eager to give it a go, so I said, “Sure!” I also figured that with all the visitors that are set to visit our province for the Olympics next month, this could be a very timely app to have on hand.

You can download it here.

OK, let’s get down to having a look at Wine Tripper.

Let’s have a look at the “Region Map” section.It takes you to a Google Map of BC and shows drop-pins on all of BC’s wineries. You can then zoom in and click on the pin for more info on that winery – nice feature.

When you click on “View Wines” in the next screen, you’d think it would take you to a list of the winery’s current line-up, but nope. What you get taken to is a “Your Wines” screen, which both lists and allows you to add wines from this winery to your personal wine list. It would be really nice if each winery’s selection of wines were already in here and easily selectable. Instead, you have to manually enter the wine.

One thing of note here is that in the “Varietal” box, if you tap to go in and edit, there is no way to simply input text (as you would need to if the wine were to be a blend of more than one grape). What you’re taken to is a sortable drop-down list with single varietals. They’ll have to fix this – maybe by adding a simple text edit icon/button. I tried tapping on the varietal, hoping that would take me to a text input screen, but no luck.

I also think that for wines whose names are just the varietal, that should be a choice in the wine name menu. The wine’s name should also be below the winery’s name and varietal on the entry screen. That’s my personal opinion.

OK, back to the home screen. Let’s have a look at the “Wineries” section. You’re taken to the following screen with its selectable sub-sections.

Tapping on “Alphabetical” brings up a pretty comprehensive list of BC Wineries (though I didn’t see Brad Cooper’s Black Cloud Winery in there):

Tapping on a winery’s name allows you to do all the same stuff that the winery screen in the map did – add wines, view wines, etc.

Back to the “Wineries” screen. Tapping “City” brings up a list of cities in BC that have at least 1 winery, sorted alphabetically:

Without starting to sound too much like a broken record, going back to the “Wineries” screen allows you to view BC wineries in each category – “Area“, “Rating” (sorted by your rating, though having the ability to synch with others using the program would be great to see how others have rated a particular winery), “Favorites” (side note to the developers – we spell “Favourites” with a “U” up here in Canada – and this is a Canadian wine region app) and “Proximity” (which uses the iPhone’s GPS to locate you and show wineries that are close-by in a list, sorted by actual physical distance from your location). A cool feature to add here would be to view other users of the program who may be nearby so you can organize tasting groups.

Back to the home screen again… Let’s have a look at the “Your Wines” section. The first thing you see there is this screen:

Once you’ve entered the data for a wine, you can then view your personal list of wines from this winery. Tapping the “Alphabetical” menu item takes you into a list of any wines you have saved, and obviously enough puts them in alphabetical order. One thing that became apparent as I used the app was that the page titles don’t really synch with where you are in the app. I’m in the “Alphabetical” list of my wines, but the page title I’m seeing is simply, “Your Wines”. I constantly had no idea what sub-section I was currently browsing. It would be nice to see a fix for that.

Now here’s another sign of things going wrong. Why can I rate and make notes on the wine now, but couldn’t when I initially entered the wine? The new wine screen should look exactly like what I’m seeing here, if you ask me. That’s a pretty big usability blunder.

Back to the “Your Wines” menu and into the “Varietal” section. Oops! I had 3 wines entered. Why do I only see 2 here?? Another app bug found. The program isn’t listing my Quinta Ferreira Estates Viognier at all (which was very tasty and will be reviewed later this week). That needs to be fixed.

OK, it’s back to the “Your Wines” menu we go and into the “Winery” section. Again, the program isn’t listing the Quinta Ferreira Estates winery, which I had entered. Another glitch… Again, that needs to be fixed.

All right, it’s back to the “Your Wines” menu we go and into the “Rating” section…. and again, the program isn’t listing the Quinta Ferreira Estates winery, which I had entered. Another glitch… Again, that needs to be fixed. I’m staring to feel like a broken record here.

So, let’s head back to the “Your Wines” menu we go and into the “Favorites” section (there’s that US spelling again). Well, if it isn’t the previously missing, Quinta Ferreira Estates Viognier! Maybe flagging it as a favourite hid it in other screens? No idea, but it’s nice to see it wasn’t lost completely.

OK, so that’s it… whew! What Bennalsoft has here is a really nice start to a BC wine program. I really like the map and proximity features… and I really don’t like the missing wine glitches and the US spelling (maybe that’s just me).

All in all the current version is just OK. It’s maybe worth a try, but the $2.99 price tag may be a bit more than I’d pay right now.

2.5  stars


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