Everything Wine

Burrowing Owl – one of BC’s most prized wineries

Among the many reasons we are lucky to find ourselves living in British Columbia is the fact that we are located between 42 and 50 degrees latitude—why, you ask, would this positioning be so important? It turns out that many of the world’s finest wine grapes are grown in the sunny, dry hills of these mid-northern regions. Like Bordeaux or Tuscany, BC’s own Okanagan Valley is earning its position amongst the greats. Of the nearly 200 wineries dotted along Highway 97 between Lake Country to the North and Osoyoos to the South, lies one of our province’s most highly sought wines; Burrowing Owl.

Located between Oliver and Osoyoos on a south facing, sandy plateau just north of Osoyoos Lake, Burrowing Owl is situated in one of the most highly rated grape growing regions in the country. Since its first vintage in 1997, which concentrated on 4 grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, Burrowing Owl’s vineyards now grow 16 varieties—many of which have won international awards:

  • In 2018, the 2015 Syrah earned Gold at the Syrah du Monde International Competition in France
  • the 2014 Merlot took home Gold at the Wine Align National Awards of Canada in 2018
  • the 2014 Meritage placed Best of Class at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition

and the list goes on…

In addition to producing world class wines, Burrowing Owl is committed to protecting its surrounding environment. They donate 100% of the $5 tasting fee in the tasting room to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, use solar panels to heat all the water used on the property, spray their grapes with environmentally friendly fertilizer, safely relocate any wildlife that visits the vineyards, and engage in many other environmentally focused initiatives.

Today, the winery combines state of the art technology with classic techniques to produce premium wines that the world and locals alike can’t get enough of.

Are you looking to get your hands on some of the province’s most accoladed wines? Find the Merlot here but don’t wait too long, Burrowing Owl wines tend to sell out quickly!

Prosecco: more than just affordable bubbly

When many people think of Prosecco, they often think of it as an affordable alternative to its French cousin, Champagne. But there is more to it than just a wallet-friendly option for bubbles. So what exactly is Prosecco? Well, Prosecco is a sparkling wine that comes from Italy, and Italy alone.  But you already knew that. More specifically, Prosecco originated in the Valdobbiadene region in Veneto, North-Eastern Italy using Glera grapes. In terms of taste, the Italian sparkler is renowned for its light body, high acidity, and crisp fruit flavours.  

This grape growing region is comprised of lush green hills covered in vineyards which receive a healthy dose of rain and gentle winds. While much of Italy would be considered a warm climate, Veneto is a cool climate region which produces more tart grapes – this is why Prosecco is known for its acidity. Prosecco tends to have flavours of green apple, honeydew, pear, honeysuckle, and cream with floral aromas.

Whether it’s a special occasion or just a regular Tuesday, Prosecco is a very versatile food wine that pairs with a range of cuisines and dishes but works equally well as an aperitif. Try it with spicy curries, Pad Thai, or sushi. Bellissima!

Tip: Prosecco is perfect for mimosas! The wine’s fruitiness complements the orange juice’s citric flavour deliciously.

But since you’re a Wine Fan, you want to get down to the nitty gritty of the winemaking process: To make Prosecco, the base wine is combined with a mixture of yeast and sugar before it’s transferred to large tanks and undergoes fermentation. During this time, CO2 is released and causes the tank to pressurize. This method gives wines approximately 3 atmospheres of pressure and results in frothy, spritzy bubbles. Depending on the desired sweetness level, the wine receives a mixture of sugar and must (a young grape juice) prior to bottling. The most popular type of Prosecco is produced in a brut style, meaning it only has up to half a gram of sugar per glass. There are, however, sweeter styles which are known as Extra Dry (just over half a gram/glass) and Dry (up to 1 gram/glass).

When it comes to finding the perfect bottle, look for the DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origins) label. Under Italian wine law, DOCG is the highest designation of quality among Italian wines. Prosecco DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) is basic Prosecco which can be produced all over Northern Italy and does not offer the same quality as DOCG wines.

We know what you’re thinking… what is the difference between Prosecco and Champagne and why does the latter come at a much higher price point? Well, Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France, is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, and is technically produced using the more costly “Traditional Method”. One of the most pertinent reasons for the price discrepancy, however, is market positioning. Champagne is perceived as luxurious which drives the price higher.

That being said, some exquisite Prosecco wines can be found in the Valdobbiadene and Colli Asolani regions that offer incredible value! If you’re still not sure, talk to one of our staff or better yet, try a glass! You never know what you might discover.

Now we're cooking: How summer wines can brighten your menus

Cooking with wine

Summer sipping calls for crisp whites, light-bodied reds, delicate roses, or bubbles, ideally served on a breezy, sun-splashed patio alongside good friends. But once the mercury rises, wine can go much further than the glass itself. It can also be easily incorporated into summertime cooking in several deliciously creative ways.

Wine has a way of enhancing the flavours of various ingredients, giving dishes added intensity and depth. It’s no wonder French chefs use it liberally, though it has far more uses than in rich, robust stews. Here are a few ways wine can brighten your summer menus.

    1. Deglazing

This is a simple cooking technique where you add a liquid to a pan to dissolve the food particles stuck to the bottom and then use that mixture to make a flavourful sauce.

Try Il Padrino Pinot Grigio for a beautiful plate of fresh, pan-seared shrimp or prawns and scallops.

    1. Marinating

Wine marinades are just the thing for grilled meats, whether it’s beef skewers or top sirloin. Flank steak makes for an easy summer dinner. Combine your favourite spices with brown sugar and two cups of a bold red such as Monte Rosso Tempranillo. Marinate in fridge for five hours. Drain, grill, and serve with a crisp green salad.

    1. In broth


White wine is ideal in a steaming pot of fresh mussels, the shellfish making for a light, memorable meal. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot, then sauté shallots and garlic until soft, about two minutes. Turn heat to high then add one cup of crisp white wine such as Santa Rita Winemaker’s Lot Sauvignon Blanc

and bring to a boil. Add three pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded, and cover. Steam until shells open, about five to eight minutes. Discard any mussels that stay closed. Top with parsley and serve with slices of crusty baguette or oven-baked fries.

    1. Poaching

Simmering foods in a wine-based liquid gives them a supercharged flavour and is far more interesting than using water alone.

Poached juicy Okanagan peaches make for an easy, elegant, and impressive dessert. Peel and halve the fruit then simmer in simple syrup with three cups of fruit-forward white wine such as the Shy Pig Traminer Riesling for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then serve peaches with vanilla-bean ice cream or Greek yogurt.

For variations, try pears, apples, strawberries, or any other fruit that’s firm, almost hard. Poaching will soften fruit significantly, so avoid any produce that’s soft to begin with as it will fall apart when cooked.

Fruit can be poached in red wine as well. It’s best to use a variety with ripe berry flavours, such as Vive La Vie Red Blend

To go with so much tasty fare, consider a making a batch of sangria. The colourful, celebratory, and refreshing drink is perfect for patio parties.

    1. Summer Sangria


    • 1 Bottle of Rose – Try La Serrana Rose

    • 1 cup Pineapple juice

    • 1/2 cup Vodka

    • 1/4 cup Triple sec

    • 1/2 cup Simple syrup

    • 1 Lemon, cut into thin rounds

    • 1 Lime, cut into thin rounds

    • 1 Orange, cut into thin rounds

    • 6 oz. Raspberries (1 package)

Serve over ice.

A general rule when it comes to cooking with wine is to have a glass to sip at the same time. Chefs always say to cook only with wine you enjoy drinking: that doesn’t mean you have to purchase a special-occasion wine, but by opting for a bottle that you know you like on its own will yield the best results in the kitchen.

Another tip? Because wine contains alcohol, be sure to add it at the start of cooking so the alcohol has a chance to burn off. If you add it to a dish near the end of cooking, the taste can be unpleasant. Looking for more wine tips? Try these clever hacks at home.

For more ways to use wine in summer cooking, visit Everything Wine, where knowledgeable, friendly staff members can share all sorts of tips and tricks. Its newest shop in Vancouver is now open—the largest private liquor store in the entire province. It’s at 8570 River District Crossing, near Marine and Boundary.

There, you’ll find more than 4,000 varieties from all over the globe, including B.C.’s finest, and a fine-wine selection in the Extensive Vintages Room. The tasting bar is open daily from 2 to 6 p.m., just as at all other Everything Wine locations: 998 Marine Drive in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Drive in Surrey, or 31 – 2401 Millstream Road in Langford on Vancouver Island.

Visit the store online at www.everythingwine.ca for more details.

 This story was created by Content Works. Postmedia's commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine. 


Say cheers to wine-based cocktails this summer

Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager at UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar, says the appearance of red and white wine in cocktails is on the rise.
Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager at UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar, says the appearance of red and white wine in cocktails is on the rise. ALLISON KUHL

Craft beer may be insanely popular these days, but wine’s appeal remains unshakable. And with cocktail culture thriving, creative wine-based drinks are on the rise. Ready to switch things up from farmhouse saison and double IPA? Make room for the Mendoza Julep and the Beaujolais Cobbler.

Check out the numbers that point to wine’s increased popularity: a recent Gallup poll found that 50 per cent of drinkers say they consume wine more often than beer, and 35 per cent drink more wine than any other alcoholic beverage. The biggest shift from beer to wine has been among 18- to 29-year-olds and women.

The glory of the grape doesn’t surprise Sabrine Dhaliwal, bar manager at UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar. She says not only are people enjoying learning about wine in general, they seem to be especially keen on trying more unusual bottles in particular.

“We have our Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios that are staples and that are beautiful and delicious,” Dhaliwal says, “but people are asking for really funky, unique wines, which is really cool,” she says, pointing to varieties like Pecorino (such as the 2014 Platinum Sogno Pecorino d’Abruzzo), Vermentino (Fattoria Di Rocca Delle Macie Campo Maccione, 2015), and Nebbiolo (try the Beni di Batasiolo Langhe, 2014). “We have so much information at our fingertips. Access to information is making people more adventurous.”

That openness to trying new things applies to cocktails too. While the Whiskey Sour is a classic example of a cocktail that calls for wine—in this case, a red-wine float—people may be seeing more fancy drinks featuring various wines on bar menus.

“I work with a lot of wine-based spirits—sherry, white port, port, vermouth—but is it time for red and white wine to appear more? Absolutely,” Dhaliwal says. “People are getting into that style of drink—low-proof cocktails with no hard spirits. People want to go for dinner and have that cocktail beforehand and have that cocktail after, but they don’t necessarily want to drink two Manhattans or two Old Fashioneds.”

Sabrine Dhaliwal’s Garden Dancer includes sweet green apple liquor and tart lemon juice, but the star is Sauvignon Blanc. ALLISON KUHL

Garden Dancer

Dhaliwal has just created a special wine cocktail; here’s her recipe to try at home:

    • 0.50 oz. Giffard Manzana Green Apple Liqueur

    • 0.50 oz. Stones Ginger Wine

    • 0.75 oz. Jasmine Green Tea Syrup

    • 0.75 oz. Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients (except wine) in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for about seven to 10 seconds, strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, top with Kipu Sauvignon Blanc and garnish with an orange twist. Best enjoyed with a group of friends on a sunny patio.

Robyn Gray, head bartender at Prohibition in Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia, says that the most popular wines there are Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. He points to the latter as the ultimate wine for making standout cocktails.

“Prosecco really works well with cocktails because of the type of its bubbles,” he says, which don’t lose as much carbonation in a fancy drink as Champagne does. Made with dry sparkling wine, gin and simple syrup, the French 75, he says, “is one of the most delicious drinks there is.

“Plus, Prosecco cocktails are perfect for summertime and for sipping on the patio,” he says.

Robyn Gray

Robyn Gray, head bartender at Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Prohibition, recommends the sparkling wine-based cocktail the French 75. 

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is another sparkling-wine based cocktail that Gray loves. Aperol is an Italian aperitif. “It’s so good; it’s bittersweet, refreshing,” he says. “It’s not going to weigh you down with heavy alcohol. It’s light and really fun, something you can have during the afternoon.”

Here’s how to make it:

Pour 1.5 ounces of Aperol into a glass with cubed ice. Fill with half Prosecco (try the Riondo Collezione) and half soda water. Garnish with an orange slice. “It’s so easy to make and so delicious,” Gray says. “That and the French 75 are absolute superstars in the cocktail world.”


Those who want to try their hand at mixology at home can turn to the friendly staff at Everything Wine for help coming up with winning combinations. They have all completed training with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world’s leading wine education program.

“I cannot walk into that store without spending a ton of money and an hour,” Dhaliwal says. “There are so many really cool things there; I’ll go ‘Wow; I didn’t know this was in our market.’

“Our guests have become so much more knowledgeable and hungry for information, and they’re seeking out those really cool things in wine.” The more they learn, they become more intrigued, she says, adding that Everything Wine’s staff have the knowledge to help people discover new labels they’re going to love. “The people who work there really know their stuff.”

To help channel your inner bartender, visit Everything Wine at 998 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Dr. in Surrey; or 31-2401 Millstream Rd. in Langford on Vancouver Island. Feeling lazy? We deliver, too! See www.everythingwine.ca for more details.


This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine and first published on Vancouver Sun.

Wine-lovers rejoice: Clever hacks to see you through summer

Wine on patio

Sunny summer days call for kicking back on a patio, cracking open a bottle of wine, and toasting the season with good friends.

It also calls for genius wine hacks — little tricks that every wine lover needs.

“With summer, there are the classics: how to chill wine quickly and keep it cool in the sun,” said Kady Smith, an assistant manager at Everything Wine. “To chill wine, dampen some paper towels or a tea towel and wrap it around the bottle, then put it in the freezer. It only takes about 10 minutes. To keep it chilled, place the wine in a bucket of ice and keep it cool by adding salt to your bucket. Salt will lower the freezing temperature of the ice.”

Smith, who has studied wine and has been in the industry for 10 years, shared a few other hacks to make your summer sipping delicious:

Fantastic Frosé

Also known as frozen rosé or a rosé slushy, this cool drink is having its moment in the sun.

The simplest way to make it is to pour rosé into popsicle or other freezer moulds; the wine won’t freeze completely, and after about 25 minutes will be ready to transfer into glasses.

You could also pour a bottle of rosé into a blender along with two cups of strawberries, one-half cup superfine sugar, one-third cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, and ice and blend until slushy.

For any version of the pink drink, Smith recommends Barton & Guestier Cuvée Speciale Rosé ($16.99): “It’s fresh, it’s crisp, and it has lots of cherry characteristics, and it has a little bit of sweetness on the finish,” she said.

Wine picnic

Chill out

What to do when you’re going on a picnic but don’t happen to have a wine insulator on hand?  Head to your clothes drawers.

“Being a true Vancouverite, I have those insulated hiking socks,” Smith said. “Any sock for outdoor activity will work. Throw a cold bottle of wine in one of those when you pack your picnic, and you’re good to go.”

You can also use frozen green or red grapes to keep your wine cold, without adding ice cubes which would only water it down.

Cool reds

When it comes to chilled wine, most people might think of crisp whites or those fruity rosés. In fact, some reds work nicely on ice, too. “Anything on the lighter-bodied side or more fruity side in its profile actually tastes better slightly chilled,” Smith said. “A lot of red-wine drinkers don’t like white wine, but want something more refreshing in summer. A lighter, really fruity red wine really does benefit from a little bit of time in the fridge.”

Try Les Valentine Carignan Syrah from France ($18.99), a fruity, approachable red with hints of plum and baking spices that would go beautifully with a charcuterie plate for those summer evenings when you don’t feel like cooking.


Useful cubes

If you happen to find yourself with leftover wine, pour it into ice-cube trays. You can use it for cooking, to make sauces — or, if it’s a favourite wine that you often have on hand, the next time you open a bottle, plop a few cubes into your glass so you can cool it down with the same wine.

Quick cocktails

Wine-based cocktails are becoming more popular, but you don’t need a fully decked-out bar to make some delicious ones at home. Simply pour a fruity red wine over ice with lemon or lime soda. Try Cappo Shiraz from Spain ($11.99): “It’s got lots of ripe and juicy fruit characteristics and has a nice, lush finish,” Smith said.

If you’re making sangria, instead of triple sec, consider a splash of bourbon for a little edge. A fuller-bodied red like California’s Blackstone Merlot ($18.99) is a great pick for this classic summer evening drink. Interested in experimenting with some new wine cocktails? Try one of these.


Everything Wine’s River District store, opening soon at 8570 River District Crossing in South Vancouver and other locations — at 998 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Dr. in Surrey, and 31 – 2401 Millstream Rd. in Langford on Vancouver Island — will have their tasting bar open daily from 2-6 p.m. and offer free delivery on orders of $200 or more. Visit www.everythingwine.ca for more details, to order online or for some happy summer sippers!

The best way to learn more is to talk to Everything Wine’s approachable, friendly staff, who are eager to answer any questions and can suggest wines to suit every taste, occasion and budget. Samples are available at the tasting bar daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit in person at 998 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, 112-15735 Croydon Dr. in Surrey, 31-2401 Millstream Rd. in Langford on Vancouver Island or shop online at everythingwine.ca.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Everything Wine and first published on the Vancouver Sun's website.

Article by G Marion Johnson.

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