I’m not sure if you (my readers) know this, but I work in the wine industry for a wine import agency. I like the title Territory Manager, but really what it means is I am a wine representative. And, yes that means I try lots of wines, but they aren’t always the ones I represent! And so you know, because I am a wine-geek at heart, I write about wines I discover and enjoy, whether they are ones I represent or not. Okay? Okay good. Now that I’ve got that out of the way ;)…
So let me share what I recently got to taste. I sipped through the line-up of wines from a brand new winery in the Okanagan Valley, in BC, Canada. Called: Play Estate Wines. Prior to this particular tasting I had tried just 2 of the 7 wines they make. I liked them, they were approachable, food friendly and well priced. Simple, done. But there was something missing for me. The story. There is so much more to gain from meeting the winemaker, visiting a winery, learning their story, where the grapes were grown (vineyard, soil, etc) and their intention behind the wines they create. Once I know this, I have a deeper appreciation for wines, as I do now for Play Estate. The wines are made to be enjoyed by everyone, much like theatre – which is why every label depicts theatre and the arts in the picture and/or the name.
I first met Mohamed Awad (the winemaker), just before our first appointment with a retail wine store one morning. I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for him, but I didn’t have a clue what he looked like, so of course I eyed every single man who walked through the door! I wonder what they were thinking?!!
Soon enough, in walks this tall, smiling guy, who for a moment I thought: “he’s energetic and smiling, this guys the winemaker?” ha ha. I would soon learn that this down to earth, gentle, optimist guy was not just a fun human, but a winemaker with intention and integrity. His wines reflect his taste and his character. If this is what he’s creating at a 1-year-old winery, then this is definitely a winery and winemaker to watch ( as Tim Pawsey from the hiredbelly.com once said ). We have to watch the newcomers in the industry as much as the veterans, as they bring fresh ideas, styles and smarts to the art of winemaking.
All the wines are VQA, and here are the wines I got to enjoy… click here: Cork Affairs – to read about all the wines!