Photo: New winery for Liquidity Wines
Liquidity Wines, the latest label emerging
from Okanagan Falls, is opening its new winery for an
open house in mid-September.
The winery will also be rolling out a
limited volume of its first wines, all of them made elsewhere by winemaker Matt
Holmes (or by someone else and finished by Matt).
Liquidity’s first crush in the new winery
will be done this fall. While the current releases are sound, this is only a
first taste of what Matt will achieve. He will be working in a thoroughly
modern winery with grapes from a vineyard that he has whipped into shape over
the last three years.
Here are notes on the wines. Pricing
remains to be settled; but the wines are expected to sell between $20 and $25 a bottle.
Pinot Gris 2011: This is made with grapes from
vines that are now 18 years old. One of Liquidity’s advantages is that portions
of the vineyard (not far from Blue
Mountain) have mature
vines. This wine has aromas of citrus and flavours of citrus and pear, with a
fleshy texture but a crisp finish. 90.
Chardonnay 2010: The winemaker put only a third of this through malolactic fermentation and aged
the wine 12 months in older barrels. The result is that the bright fruit flavours
– tangerine, peach – mingle with a note of butterscotch. The finish is dry. 88.
Chardonnay 2009: Plump and juicy, this wine has
flavours of ripe apricot, peach and citrus fruits. All of the wine, which was
fermented in an oak puncheon and finished in stainless steel, went through
malolactic. The style leans more to California
in this satisfying wine. 90.
Pinot Noir 2010: The winemaker began to pull out
the stops with these clone 115 grapes from 19-year-old wines, using both wild
yeast and Burgundy yeasts in the ferment, and
giving the wine 20 days of skin contact. The wine picked up a fine colour,
aromas of raspberry and wild strawberry and flavours of cherries. The texture
is silky. 88.
Pinot Noir 2009: This is a wine with a firm
texture, a bit of a brooding personality, and whiff of oak along with the red
berry aromas and the black cherry flavours. 88.
Merlot 2010: This is a nicely concentrated red,
with aromas and flavours of blackberries and black currants. The wine opens
nicely when allowed to breath; it has a few years of cellar-worthiness. 90.
The following is the Liquidity
Wines profile from the recently published John
Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide.
This location was destined for a winery.
It commands a vineyard view similar to the neighbouring Blue Mountain
Vineyards & Cellars’s stunning vista. (Blue Mountain
founder Ian Mavety once grew grapes in this slope.) A previous owner built what
looked like a winery in waiting, the sprawling adobe-style home now serving as
Liquidity’s tasting room. About 2005, the property was acquired by Arizona housing
developer Gordon Pekrul, one of several where he planned wineries until the
2009 bankruptcy sale of all three. The Allendale Road property was purchased by Vancouver businessman Ian
MacDonald and his partners, two wine-loving Calgarians.
Ian, Liquidity’s hands-on manager, was
born in Montreal in 1954, the grandson of a farmer. He worked in Calgary in the 1980s as a
vice-president of sportswear-maker Sunice, an official supplier to the 1988
Winter Olympics. “I fell in love with the Olympics,” Ian says. He formed a
company called Moving Products Inc., which has supplied non-athletic uniforms
at every Olympics since then. “We are the only company on the planet providing
the logistics for uniforming large numbers of people at the Olympic games,” he
Calgary investment banker James Davidson,
the chair of FirstEnergy Capital, is one of the partners. “I had said to Jim
over the years that I would like to get involved in the vineyard business,” Ian
remembers. When a broker alerted Jim to the Allendale Road property, Ian was sent to
look at it. Jim also brought in a third partner, Dale Shwed, the chief
executive of Crew Energy, and, like Jim, a passionate wine collector. [Since
the book was published, five more individuals have joined as partners.]
Allendale Road had 10 acres of mature
vines, notably Pinot Noir; another 10 acres on the prime south-facing slope has
been replanted. The other varieties here include Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot
Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a little Cabernet Sauvignon. After taking
over, Ian upgraded all the irrigation, installed moisture sensors and a weather
station, and had the soils analyzed.
After working with consultants for two
years, Liquidity named Matt Holmes, the former winemaker at Tantalus Vineyards, as its vineyard and winery
manager. Matt was born in Australia
but is now a Canadian citizen. Just 28 when he joined Tantalus in 2005, he has
a winemaking degree from Charles Sturt University
and experience with wineries there, in New
Zealand and in the United States. He made Liquidity’s
first two small vintages in 2010 and 2011 at a nearby winery while designing
the winery for Liquidity.
“Our goal is not to be a big operation,”
Ian says. “If we could get up to 2,000 cases in a few years, it would be nice.
It is more about the quality, long term, than about the quantity.” Most of the
wine will be sold in the tasting room and, when it is developed, the winery’s bistro.
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