Photo: Heidi Noble of JoieFarm Winery
This has been a year of major change at JoieFarm Winery.
Founding partners Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble went their
separate ways, with Heidi taking over full ownership of the winery. Michael is
now a partner in a Vancouver
The most obvious consequence of the ownership change has
been the opening of a tasting room and a picnic area.
“I have successfully opened the farm in Naramata back up
after 10 years of being closed to the public!” Heidi writes in a covering
letter that accompanied the current releases. “We are thrilled to be offering
hospitality again and reconnecting directly with our customers. The magic is
back on our farm.”
The picnic area is somewhat more elaborate than that term
suggests. “Our guests are able to join us on the lawn surrounded by our
vineyard to enjoy a casual bite of wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza,
house-made charcuterie boards, and oysters with a glass or civilized bottle of
wine,” Heidi writes.
By offering food and hospitality at the winery, Heidi has
revived her longstanding interest in food. Born in Toronto in 1974, she began cooking as a
teenager. “I had my first kitchen job at 14,” she once told me. “I loved it. So
I worked after school and all through the summer while I was in high school.”
A gold medal student at the University
of Western Ontario
, she earned degrees
in both philosophy and literature but turned down an academic scholarship to
enrol in the renowned Stratford
chef’s school. By the time she was 25, she was running the kitchen for a Vancouver
after a decade in food service, she switched careers. She completed a sommelier
diploma and began working for a wine agency.
When she and Michael opened JoieFarm in 2005, she operated a
cooking school for several years, in part because the winery needed the cash
flow while getting established.
Over the years, several wineries, like JoieFarm, have
succeeded without public tasting rooms. But when a winery reaches the size of
JoieFarm, it makes good sense to open an onsite wine shop. That is where the
most profitable sales are made. As well, the interaction between the winery
owner and the customers reinfo
Here are notes on the current JoieFarm releases.
JoieFarm A Noble
Blend 2014 ($23.90 for 5,328 cases). This is a blend of six grapes: 38%
Gewurztraminer, 30% Riesling, 16% Pinot Auxerrois, 9% Muscat, 8% Pinot Blanc and 1% Schönburger.
This aromatic wine shows aromas of spice melon and mango, with flavours of
cantaloupe and lychee and a hint of lime on the finish. A touch of residual
sugar lifts the aromatics but the final balance is dry. 91.
2013 ($22.90 for 1,100 cases). This wine begins its appeal with a light
gold hue and herbal aromas with an emerging hint of petrol. Yes, this is a
correct development of Riesling wines as they age. On the palate, there are
flavours of grapefruit, lime and apple. The wine’s 17 grams of residual sugar
create a generous texture. The sugar, however, is balanced superbly with 9.2
grams of acidity. The wine, which has a good spine of minerals, is refreshing
and the finish lasts and lasts. 92.
JoieFarm Muscat 2014 ($22.90
for 396 cases). This wine is made with Moscato Giallo grapes from the two-acre
block in JoieFarm’s own vineyard. The wine begins with an intensely spicy aroma
of nutmeg and cloves. The spice carries through the palate, along with flavours
of guava and lime. The wine’s moderate alcohol (11.4%) gives it an appealing
delicacy. It is balanced to have a dry and persistent finish. With its ability
to refresh the palate, this is a superb aperitif wine. 92.
JoieFarm Pinot Blanc
2014 ($22.90 for 330 cases). This wine, made with grapes from a 27-year-old
vineyard, makes a great statement for taking seriously a varietal sometimes
overlooked by consumers. This wine, with its aromas and flavours of apple and
melon, is generous on the palate. The vibrant acidity gives it a crisp, dry and
food-friendly finish. 91.
JoieFarm Plein de Vie Brut 2014 ($N/A). The winery has published
neither the specifications not the price of this wine. Reading between the
lines in the other winery literature, I think this is a blend of Pinot Meunier
and Chardonnay. The wine is only available at the newly opened wine shop. It is
an uncomplicated and refreshing sparkling wine with aromas and flavours of
cherries. The finish is dry. 88.
Chardonnay 2014 ($22.90 for 443 cases). The winery also maintains that its
unoaked Chardonnay is inspired by Chablis – even in a year like 2014 when the
vintage produced a ripe, muscular wine. It begins with aromas of apricot, peach
and ripe pineapple, with a hint of honey. On the palate, the wine is a juicy
fruit bomb with a touch of warmth from the 14.2% alcohol. Not a Chablis but a
wine to stand up to a charcuterie platter. 89.
JoieFarm Rosé 2014
($20.90 for 3,145 cases). This is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Gamay. The destemmed
grapes were allowed to soak in their juice for three or four days, extracting a
comparatively intense colour for a rosé, along with a bit of tannin for the
wine’s backbone. The wine begins with aromas of strawberry, cranberry and
cherry. There is a rich medley of berry flavours and a firm, dry finish. 90.
JoieFarm “En Famille”
Reserve Chardonnay 2012 ($29.90 for 275 cases). The wine begins with a
light golden hue and aromas of honey, quince and a hint of toasty oak. On the
palate, there are mouth-filling flavours of butterscotch, marmalade, vanilla
and ripe pineapple. This is a ripe and rich Chardonnay. 90.
JoieFarm “En Famille”
Reserve Gewürztraminer 2012 ($27.90 for 208 cases). This memorable
Gewürztraminer will transport you to Alsace
and the Grand Cru wines from the leading producers there. This rich and
powerful wine begins with aromas of spice and lychee. The generous tropical
fruit flavours give the wine great length while the 14% alcohol enhances the
unctuous texture. This is a tour de force. 93.
JoieFarm “En Famille”
Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 ($39.90 for 215 cases). The winery’s notes on this
wine describe it as the “most masculine style that we have made to date.” It is
certainly a bold wine, with aromas of cherries, spice and chocolate that are
echoed on the palate, along with savoury “forest floor” notes. Eight months in
oak and 18 months of bottle aging have helped the wine develop a velvet