October 2017 Newsletter

by | Oct 25, 2017


2017 Harvest – A Year Like No Other!

2017 has been a spectacular year for the reds. The long, hot and dry summer has produced small berries with intense flavours. Veraison began early this year, with the first signs appearing around the 7th of August. It was a little stressful to say the least! The grapes proceeded to ripen quite quickly with all the hot weather and the vineyard crew could hardly keep up with tucking and bunch thinning.

Not only was it an early year, with our first grapes coming off the vine on September 19th, but it was also a very unique year. The first grapes to come off for processing this year were Merlot, followed by Chardonnay and then Pinot Blanc. This was out of the ordinary as Pinot Blanc is almost always first. It was a matter of logistics and planning after that as everything seemed to be ready all at once. All the grapes were off the vines by October 10th and the vineyard will now be put to bed for the winter. Whew!

The vineyard cropped itself very low this year which will mean a smaller production, but will also mean high quality grapes and amazing wines. We are planning a few small-lot wines to showcase some of the unique characteristics of the vineyard this year. These will be in extremely limited supply so keep your eyes on your inbox for all new release announcements!

One new wine we can let you know about right now is our brand new 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé. We have never made rosé with Pinot Noir before so we are excited to see how this wine will develop. The grapes for this wine were sourced entirely from our assistant winemaker Josh’s organically farmed vineyard on the Naramata Bench. This wine will be extremely limited, with less than one hundred cases produced. Stay tuned for a release date in 2018!

Finally, watch for our ever-evolving 2017 Chardonnay. Chardonnay is consistently one of Gavin’s most awarded wines and a favourite among wine critics. The 2015 Chardonnay was awarded a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence. This year the winemaking team used one of our brand new 1000L oak vats as well as others to cold soak 2 blocks (approximately 2 acres in this case) of Chardonnay on their skins for 12-14 hours in order to expose the juice to lots of oxygen and impart some early character and complexity into the juice. It is going to be very interesting to compare it to the 2016 Chardonnay, which our staff all agrees has been one of the best ever from Upper Bench.


Free Shipping Anywhere in Canada!

It’s time to make room for our Fall releases! As a thank you to our dedicated customers and followers, and while supplies last, we are offering our Newsletter subscribers free shipping anywhere in Canada when you purchase a case (12 bottles), or more of 2014 Yard Wine or 2014 UB Merlot (or feel free to create a mixed case). Use the promo code MERLOTME to claim your free shipping online.

Our 2014 UB Merlot  is a big, bold Merlot perfect for sipping on a chilly evening. On the nose it displays plum, black cherry, pencil shavings, cedar, cocoa and a hint of licorice. On the palate is a perfectly balanced blend of prune, stewed fruit, dried fruit, dates, coffee and baking spice.

Our 2014 Yard Wine is a full-bodied blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There is a very limited amount of this wine left, so if you are a fan, be sure to order yours now. On the nose it displays dark cherry, raspberry, cocoa and plum. On the palate is chocolate, dried blueberry, cedar and nice tannin structure.

Club members – please email Sarah to place your orders to ensure you get your Club discount as well as the free shipping.


Upper Bench Cheese to be Featured at a Very Special Cheesemaker’s Dinner at Miradoro Restaurant Tuesday, Oct. 24th

For those of you who live locally, we highly recommend you plan to join us at this fabulous Communal Dinner held on October 24th at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery. The menu created by Chef Jeff Van Geest is entirely cheese-centric and sure to be absolutely delicious:

Upper Bench Grey Baby mousse, radicchio, walnuts, fennel, orange, chillies

Whey poached pork shoulder, Upper Bench Okanagan Sun polenta, roasted apples and parsnips

Upper Bench cacao and red wine infused King Cole with red wine poached pear

Shana and Gavin will be there, along with Shana’s creamery assistant Kayla and yours truly (Sarah, your favorite Curds & Corks Club Manager). Shana will speak about her cheeses and Chef Van Geest will discuss his delicious food. Tickets are only $35 per person but space is extremely limited so please contact Miradoro directly to reserve your spot by calling 250-498-3742. For more information, click here.


Club Member Exclusive Red Wine & Chocolate Christmas King Cole

We are very excited to share with you a new cheese we have been experimenting with: a cacao nib and red wine infused King Cole. We added cacao nibs to the curd before hooping and then poured red wine over the cheese after hooping, resulting in a beautifully speckled and pink-hued cheese. This cheese will be available exclusively to our Club members and will be included in the December shipment this year (which is shipping out on Monday, Dec 4th).

Want to get in on this and other exclusive cheeses? Join our Club; Canada’s ONLY wine and cheese Club. Click here to sign up now and you’ll be guaranteed to receive the December shipment.

A New Cheese Joins the Upper Bench Lineup

We set out to create a Club exclusive cheese this year and our members were so happy with it that we decided to make it part of the permanent lineup. Belle Marie, named after Shana’s mother, is a lactic acid cheese with a fine layer of ash and a white bloomy rind. It was created to be a cheese enjoyed fresh – with a fluffy, pillowy texture and a tangy, acidic flavour.

But it held a delicious surprise! As it started to age, we noticed (in our many, many taste tests) that it began to liquify and the flavour became more intense, in the best way. Now we love to enjoy this cheese at all stages, either fresh on a cheese board with some charcuterie and fruit preserves, or after a month or so, break open the rind and watch the silky white cheese ooze out on a steak or on top of warmed bread.

Check out this video of Belle Marie on the pear galette pizza special we featured at The Oven this summer.

Upper Bench Open All Year Round

We want to remind all of our customers that we are open year-round! The tasting room will be open 10:00am-5:00pm throughout the winter. We will close for one week over Christmas, December 24th – January 1st, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 2nd.

Also, start getting your orders in now for Upper Bench Christmas Baskets by Kim! We will take orders up until December 11th and baskets will be available the week of Dec 18th-22nd. Orders can also be prepared early with enough notice. Baskets are customizable and can be made to fit any budget. Please call us at the winery 250-770-1733 to place your order.

From all of us here at Upper Bench, we thank you for your continued support. We loved seeing so many of you throughout the summer. Thank you for visiting us and we hope to see you again soon.

Remember to follow us on social media: @upperbench.