Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Triggs family launch the first wine from Culmina

When you have done everything in the Canadian wine business, how do you start over again?
Donald and Elaine Triggs of Jackson-Triggs fame have just re-entered the wine business with an elegant icon wine called Hypothesis.
It is such an unusual name for a wine that I pulled my Oxford Universal English Dictionary from the shelf to look up the word.
Here is the definition that seems to fit what the Triggs family has in mind: “A proposition or principle put forth merely as a basis for reasoning or argument, or as a premise from which to draw a conclusion.”
With Culmina Family Estate Winery, they intend to advance the argument that, as fine as Okanagan wines have become already, there is plenty of room to raise the bar. They refer to Hypothesis as “a provisional idea whose merit requires evaluation.”
The initial release of Hypothesis, which sells for $48, is so limited that it is available only at the winery in the Okanagan. The winery will be able to give its wines wider distribution when the 2012 vintage is ready to be released.
An extensive blog on Culmina was posted on this site in February. Rather than repeat myself, I have reproduced the winery’s own press release.
The one elaboration I would make to that release is to note that the inestimable Pascal Madevon should not get the entire credit for the wine. The wine is from the 2011 vintage but Pascal only joined Culmina in January 2013. The winemaker of record for the 2011 Culmina vintage was Matt Dumayne. Matt moved on to Okanagan Crush Pad after Pascal came aboard.
Here is my note on Hypothesis 2011.
Culmina Hypothesis 2011 ($48). This is blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. The medium body and the 13.5% reflect the vintage. It begins with appealing aromas of blackberry, mulberry, vanilla, spice and cedar. The classic brambly flavours of Cabernet Franc light up the mid-palate. There are flavours of blackberry, black cherry, coffee and black olives, with spice on the finish. The tannins are polished but firm enough to promise four to five years of aging to take it to an elegant peak. 92.

The Triggs blend Artistry and Science into every wine on their Family Estate
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, BC, August 23, 2013 – Today the highly anticipated Culmina Family Estate Winery officially opens its doors to the public. Owned and operated by wine industry leaders Don, Elaine and Sara Triggs, the Okanagan winery offers guests an in-depth and unique experience with intimate tours and personal wine tastings that invite visitors to explore the vineyard, learn about the winemaking process and take pleasure in the carefully crafted icon quality wines. Those interested in booking a visit to the winery can now do so at or via the winery’s Facebook page at
Culmina Family Estate Winery is the culmination of a lifetime of work and study in the wine industry for Don and Elaine Triggs. A champion of the Canadian wine industry, Don Triggs set out to build a family operated winery, a vision that both he and his wife shared. Their daughter Sara, who is tremendously experienced in the wine industry and carries an esteemed Masters in Wine Business, naturally joined in this family adventure in 2012 and manages the sales and marketing of the business.
After two years of meticulously researching sites, collecting detailed temperature data and conducting water retention and soil analysis studies with Alain Sutre, a Bordeaux based expert in site selection and winemaking, the ideal terrain was found and acquired on the Golden Mile Bench in the South Okanagan Valley.
Separated into three distinct sites, the property is composed of Arise Bench, Stan’s Bench in honour of Elaine’s father, and Margaret’s Bench, one of the highest in the Okanagan, a tribute to Don’s mother. Their legacy covers over 100 acres, of which 56 are cultivated with 2,044 quality vines planted per acre, nearly double the region’s average. For two more years, grapes were grown, tested, and ripened using sustainable methods until the vines produced highest possible quality grapes.
Bordeaux varietals were the main driving force that led to the selection of the Okanagan property, luring classically trained winemaker Pascal Madevon to join the Triggs family in their venture. With over twenty years of winemaking experience in Bordeaux and the South Okanagan, Pascal plays an integral role in the development of Culmina wines. His first creation is a Bordeaux style blend named Hypothesis, which consists of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other varietals include Chardonnay, Riesling and the first Gruner Veltliner to be planted in the Okanagan. For opening, Culmina will release Hypothesis, the Bordeaux blend, a Chardonnay named Dilemma, and a rosé in the Saignée style. Next year will see the release of the Gruner Veltliner and Riesling. 
The winery uses
leading technology in every step of the wine making process. During the planting stage, special narrow width equipment was imported from Europe to accommodate the narrow row spacing, which helps to increase competition amongst the vines, forcing the roots deeper into the sub-soils for water and nutrients. The state of the art Ranch System was also installed, which utilizes solar powered, real time, wireless technology that allows the vineyard manager to control the irrigation on each micro-block and to monitor soil moisture and evaporation levels remotely with a mobile app. The Triggs also employ the first Oscillys destemmer in Canada. This advanced machine uses a gentle oscillating gravity flow process, which removes solids and prevents undesirable stems from entering the fermentation tanks without breaking the delicate grape skins.
Because space is limited, visits to Culmina Family Estate Winery must be made by appointment. This ensures that every guest has a highly personal and one-of-a-kind experience with an opportunity to truly discover the newly developed estate, its wines, and their stories. The elegant tasting room is well appointed and intimate. Guests are able to sit and relax while being led through an in-depth tasting of very limited and carefully crafted wines. A south facing glass wall illuminates the space with natural light and leads onto a patio that stretches over the highest point of the estate, overlooking Arise Bench.
The winery offers guests the choice of an extensive one and one-half hour long vineyard and winery tour that finishes with a structured sit down tasting or a shorter forty-five minute seated structured tasting. Culmina Family Estate Winery is the first winery in BC to use VinoVisit guest management software, which allows guests to book their visits in advance. To book a personal visit, guests can click on the “Book Your Visit” link at Bookings can also be made via the winery’s Facebook page at

Culmina Family Estate Winery, located on the Golden Mile Bench in the South Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, is the result of a lifetime of experience in the wine industry for Don, Elaine and Sara Triggs. Through their hard work, scientific study, commitment to craft, unwavering pursuit of excellence and a longstanding faith in the potential for Icon quality wines from Canadian soil, Culmina Family Estate Winery was born. For more information visit
Culmina: Creating Wines of Excellence Through the Blending of Art and Science


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