Photo: Winemaker Marcus Ansems of Daydreamer Wines
Australian-born Marcus Ansems has returned to Okanagan
winemaking with the release of a Pinot Gris and a rosé under a new label,
The project is owned by Marcus and his wife, Rachel. It is entering
the market with about 1,000 cases of wine (including reds to be released this
fall). The couple have found a way to get into this capital intensive business
without immediately sinking a fortune into it. To keep the costs in check, they lease a quarter of a five-hectare
(12-acre) and they lease space in a new custom crush winery, Wine4You. Marcus
also has contracts with growers elsewhere in the Okanagan, including growers of
“I like cool climate Syrah,” Marcus says. “I am not sure
that it should not be a bigger focus [for the Okanagan], particularly in that
more elegant, peppery style and avoiding the Australian over the top alcoholic,
jammy style.” Future signature wines from Daydreamer will include Syrah.
The variety practically runs in the veins of winemaker.
Marcus’s family in Australia
once owned a share of Mount Langi Ghiran, the legendary Shiraz
producer in the state of Victoria,
and his uncle, Trevor Mast, was a winemaker there.
of my favourite wines in the world was made at my family winery,” Marcus says.
“It is just unique to that site … an atypical Shiraz
. That wine was what inspired me to
want to get involved with the industry.” Born in 1974, he graduated in enology
in 1996 from Adelaide
. He went
abroad to gain experience, first with Simonsig in South
and then in Tuscany
and the Rhône. He picked up his
career in Australia
before a Canadian wine entrepreneur, Peter Jensen, recruited him in 1999 to run
wineries in Ontario
and Nova Scotia
. In Niagara, before he returned
in 2002 as a consulting winemaker, he met Rachel, an accountant with a talent
in design and photography.
They moved to British Columbia
in 2004 where Marcus became
the winemaker first for Blasted Church Vineyards and, a year later, for Therapy
Vineyards. Since late 2008, he has been the buyer for Hemispheres Wine Guild, a
Canadian club for wine collectors. He is also working on studies to become a
Master of Wine and is considering doing his thesis on – what else? – Okanagan
Daydreamer is the culmination of a family
winery dream that Rachel and Marcus share. The winery’s Merlot-based blend is
named Amelia, for their daughter. In addition to the two wines just released, Daydreamer
later this year will release a Chardonnay and the two Syrahs, one co-fermented
They intend to remain a boutique winery,
producing perhaps 2,000 cases a year. “I have worked for other people
and I have had other partners and lots of shareholders,” Marcus says. “This is
just my wife and I. We can do as little or as much as we want. It is a dream.”
are notes on the initial releases.
Daydreamer Pinot Gris 2013 ($22). Made
with organic grapes, this wine also has 12% Viognier in the blend. It was
fermented in new French oak for a month and then matured in stainless steel for
five months before bottling. The wine begins with both floral and fruity
aromas. The intense flavours include green apple, lime and pink grapefruit.
That bit of exposure to oak has added a subtle toasty note. The wine has a
tangy and refreshing finish. 90.
Daydreamer Rosé 2013
($20). Also made
with organic grapes, this is 80% Merlot and 20% Viognier. While the juice had
18 hours of skin contact, the wine has the delicate rose petal hue of a
Province rosé – probably because Marcus used only free run juice and did not
press the skins. The wine was fermented in new French oak for a month and then
matured five months in stainless steel. The wine has aromas of raspberries and
cherries. The texture is surprisingly rich, considering the colour, with
flavours of cherry and cranberry. The finish is crisp and totally dry. 90.
1493 Todd Road
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