Photo: Winemaker Bradley Cooper
This summer, the fans of winemaker Bradley
will be drinking his final vintage for Township 7 Vineyards
Brad, who had been with Township 7 for nine vintages, has
just joined Serendipity Winery at Naramata.
While there has been no reason given for his decision to
move on, Township 7 came under new (silent) ownership earlier this year. It is
possible that the new owners are not as comfortable as the previous owners with
a winemaker who also has his own label.
Brad and his wife, Audralee Daum, own a label called Black
Cloud and make Pinot Noir only. In her news release, Serendipity owner Judy
Kingston pointed wrote: “As Cooper's exclusive label,
Black Cloud Pinot Noir will also find a new production home at Serendipity but
remain a private label managed by himself and Daum.”
After an earlier career as a
photojournalist, Brad became involved with the Okanagan wine business in 1997.
“I started out in the wine shop at Hawthorne Mountain
[now See Ya Later Ranch],” he says. He had briefly considered a different
career change by taking a greenskeeping courses at Okanagan College
It was full; that turned out to be a stroke of luck because Brad spotted the newly-offered
winery assistant program in the same catalogue.
“I did the winery assistant program in 1997-1999,” Brad
says. ‘I worked the crush of 1998 [at Hawthorne Mountain
and have not looked back from the production side since then.”
He also grabbed opportunities to pile up experience. “I was
going to get laid off anyway for the winter of 1998-99, so in the spring of
1999, I went to New Zealand and worked a vintage there, 3 ½ months, with Vidal
in Hawke’s Bay.”
In 2002, he left Hawthorne
to join the winemaking team
at Mt. Baker Vineyards in Washington
. He returned to the
Okanagan in time for the 2003 vintage at Stag’s Hollow and then joined Township
7 in 2004.
At Serendipity, he takes over from Richard Kanazawa who also
has his own label and whose ambitions were also tolerated by Serendipity, but
not by several of Richard’s previous employers. Richard has now leased a
vineyard and is getting a license for Kanazawa Wines.
Township 7 has not announced who is taking over from Brad.
Mike Raffan, the former Township 7 owner and still the general manager, has
been working through a number of resumes from winemakers in Washington State, Ontario
and the Okanagan.
Here are notes on the current Township 7 releases. Some of
the limited production wines are offered only to the Township 7 wine club.
Township 7 Pinot Gris
2013 ($19.99 for 148 cases). This wine is 85% Pinot Gris, 15%
Gewürztraminer, the latter to pop the spice in the peachy aroma. Cool-fermented
for 14 days in stainless steel, this is a crisply fresh white with flavours of
pear, apple and green tea. 89.
Township 7 Sauvignon
Blanc 2013 ($19.99 for 738 cases). This is the crisp herbal Sancerre style
of this varietal. It begins with aromas of citrus, gooseberries and spice. On
the palate, there are flavours of grapefruit and grapefruit zest, apple and sage.
Township 7 Gewürztraminer 2013
($19.99 for 158 cases). The wine begins with an
alluring aroma of sage and spice, leading to elegant and concentrated flavours
of lime and grapefruit. The touch of residual sugar lifts the fruit and fills
out the texture while the fresh acidity balances the wine. The finish is dry
and refreshing and the spice lingers ever so long. 92.
Township 7 Chardonnay
2012 ($20.99 for 328 cases). A gold medal winner at the All Canadian Wine
Awards, this wine begins with toasty and buttery aromas of apples. The wine
clearly has been aged in good oak barrels. The citrus and pear flavours mingle
with toffee and a hint of fig on the finish. 90.
Township 7 Reserve
Chardonnay 2012 ($25.99 for 58 cases). This is a bit more of everything
compared with the regular Chardonnay. The wine was aged 16 months in French oak
and went through malolactic fermentation. The wine has a rich buttery texture,
with aromas of fig and caramel and with flavours of orange and baked apple. The
toastiness of the oak gives the wine a smoky note on the finish. This would be
an interesting wine to age if the closure were real cork, not synthetic. 90-91.
Township 7 Rosé 2013 ($16.99
for 128 cases). The winery set out to make a dry Provence style rosé, starting with a light
hue. The surprise is the varietal mix here: Chardonnay 60%, Gewürztraminer 20%,
Pinot Gris 14.5% and Merlot 5.5%. The wine begins with aromas of strawberry,
leading to flavours of strawberry and cantaloupe. The texture is fuller than
the hue suggests. The finish is dry, with a hint of cranberry. 89.
Township 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($26.99 for 518 cases). The
grapes for this wine, which also has 15% Merlot in the blend, came from the
Blue Terrace Vineyard at Oliver. The wine, which was aged 28 months in French
and American oak, begins with a dark hue and with aromas of vanilla and black
currant. On the palate, there are flavours of currants, black cherries, black
olives and coffee. The finish is persistent. The firm texture – the winery
calls this “robust tannins” – suggest this cork-finished wine will benefit from
cellaring another six or seven years. The wine is unfiltered and decanting is