Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Class of 2012 – Liquidity Wines

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.


Photo: Matt Holmes

Here are notes on the wines. Pricing remains to be settled; but the wines are expected to sell between $20 and  $25 a bottle.

Liquidity 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.

Liquidity 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.

Liquidity 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.

Liquidity 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.

Liquidity 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.

Liquidity 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 says.

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.

4720 Allendale Road
Okanagan Falls, BC V0H 1R2
T 778.515.5550


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