New Latitude Wine: Surprising Wine Regions

You’re probably familiar with Old World and New World wines, but have you heard of New Latitude Wines? Wines from Brazil, Thailand, India, Vietnam, but also Norway, Sweden or England fall under this category. What are they? Let’s explore!

What Is New Latitude Wine?

The grapevine thrives in temperate climates between the 30th and 50th parallel of latitudes in both hemispheres. These two narrow bands on the map are shifting, however, and global warming only partly explains why. Higher temperatures have made grape-growing possible at higher latitudes: just look at England, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, even closer to home in Nova Scotia! But there’s more and more winemaking at low latitudes as well, even in tropical conditions. Together, these “new” wine regions fall under “New Latitude Wines”. 

Let’s have a closer look at how it has become possible to successfully grow and ripen grapes in conditions previously deemed “unsuitable” for viticulture. We’ll also zoom in on a few of these countries.

How Do Grapes Grow in Extreme Environments?

Hybrid Grape Varieties

To a large extent, we can grow and ripen grapes outside of the “traditional” latitudes thanks to hybrid grape varieties. Hybrids are crossings of two grapes of two different vine species, and they are more resistant to fungi, phylloxera and other diseases and pests. They also tend to ripen earlier. 

For decades, these hybrid grape varieties had one major drawback: they had a rather unpleasant taste with aromas of wet dog and chewing gum (yuck!). However, the newest generation of hybrids are actually hardly distinguishable from the “classical” grape varieties.

Innovative Viticultural Practices

New hybrid varieties have made it possible to grow grapes in wetter, cooler or hotter climates, but advanced viticultural practices are equally important. Carefully timed irrigation, as well as different vine pruning or training techniques all determine whether grapes can successfully grow in a certain climate. In tropical countries, for instance, the grapes are usually pergola-trained, so that the canopy of grape leaves protects the grapes from the scorching sun. We’ve become better at adapting the vine to its environment, which can provide lessons for current wine-growing regions that are dealing with the effects of climate change.

Winemaking in Cold Countries: High Latitude Wines

If you decide to start making wine in a cold and wet climate, you definitely have to like a good challenge. For starters: getting a grape perfectly ripe is really difficult. The weather is pretty much always unpredictable. As Canadians, we are pretty familiar with these crazy weather patterns – from frost in June, to hail, to an early freeze in the fall. All of these are huge threats (not just to our outdoor activities!).

Your best bet in colder climates is to produce sparkling wines (a strength of the English wine industry, for example), as well as crisp white wines. A bright acidity and relatively low alcohol content are hallmarks of wine from colder regions (not unlike their cool climate counterparts). 

Wine of Nova Scotia

A great high latitude example close to home, Nova Scotia has a small, but interesting wine industry. Here, 20+ vineyards are clustered around the Gaspereau Valley, in the Annapolis Valley. If you happen to be in the area, take a tour through this historical region on a magical double-decker bus straight out of Harry Potter!

The Bay of Fundy is crucial in successfully growing grapes here. The large body of water acts as a heat sink, moderating the temperatures. The wineries have mostly hybrid grape varieties planted such as L’Acadie Blanc, Seyval Blanc or New York Muscat. Vinifera grapes grow here as well, such as Chardonnay and Riesling. Most production is consumed locally, but outside of the region you might be able to find a great sparkling wine. (Get it, you won’t be disappointed!)

New Latitude Wine: A Vineyard at a Fjord in Norway

Norwegian Wine

In Norway, grapes are commercially grown as far as 59º N! Lerkekåsa takes pride in being the most northerly vineyard in the world (For comparison, that’s pretty much on the border of Alberta and the Northern Territories). The country has a short growing season, with threats of late spring frost and heavy rains. However, the long summer days are great for ripening grapes. The fjords also help, reflecting the sunlight back onto the vineyards, and the mountains accumulate heat and provide good drainage. 

Norway grows predominantly white grapes, with Solaris, Vidal, Bacchus and Riesling as some of the common grape varieties. 

Winemaking in Tropical Countries: Low Latitude Wines

Until 30 years ago, the grapevine was deemed unsuitable for cultivation under tropical monsoon conditions. Today there exist some 125,000 ha of vines in India and South-East Asia alone!

Tropical viticulture comes with its own set of challenges. There’s the constant heat (25–35°C) during harvest and fermentation – making it necessary to cool grapes down in the winery, before they are processed. 

Wine growers need to select their grape varieties carefully: they need to be able to ripen even with shorter sunlight days, with a high fungus and waterlogging resistance. 

The biggest difference between tropical and regular viticulture is that there is no dormancy period of the vine. Immediately after harvest, the growing cycle starts again. As a consequence, quality-conscious vine growers need to prune twice a year: after harvest and right after the Monsoon before a new growing season starts.

New Latitude Wine: a vineyard in Thailand

Thai Wine

Thailand defies the notion that viticulture is only possible between the 30th and 50th parallels, since it is located around the 15th parallel. There are two harvests: a summer harvest in July and August and a winter harvest in January and February. 

The wineries are located in three areas: 

  1. Northern Thailand: Chenin Blanc, White Malaga, Shiraz, and the indigenous grape Pok Dum are mainly planted on the high vineyards in northern Thailand. 
  1. Central Thailand: The second area is Khao Yai on the Korat Plateau in Central Thailand, where vineyards are located at some altitude to take advantage of the wind and some cooling at night. Shiraz predominates here. 
  1. Southern Thailand: Not far from Bangkok is the Chao Phraya Delta. This is the home of Siam Winery, producers of Monsoon Valley, the biggest player on the fledgling Thai wine scene. 

Siam cultivates grapes on “floating vineyards”. Between the cultivation of coconuts, rice and bananas, you’ll find rows of vines between narrow channels, intended to drain water.  The manual harvest usually takes place in the evening, with gondola-type boats transporting the grapes to the cellar. Chenin Blanc is made in a fruity style here. Sometimes it has some residual sugar, so it fits well with Thai cuisine and tastes. The Shiraz is full and round, yet not particularly complex. 

Siam was founded in 1986 by Chalerm Yoovidya, whose family is better known for inventing the energy drink Krating Daeng or Red Bull. They also produce grapes in the Hua Hin Valley, where Asian Elephants and lush green hills form an uncommon vineyard sight.

New Latitude Wine: A vineyard in India

Indian Wine

In the immense country of India with its 1.3 billion inhabitants, the wine industry is relatively small. Currently, the per capita annual wine consumption is about 9 milliliters! With an ever-growing middle class and a more liberal attitude of the Indian authorities, the domestic wine market is growing. 

India’s modern wine industry started with pioneers in the 1980s. Sula Vineyards, now the country’s largest wine producer, entered on the stage in the 2000s. About 100 wineries produced around 17.6 million litres in 2019. Most wine that is consumed in India is also produced within the country, since import duties are sky high.

Much of India is unsuitable for viticulture: it is way too hot and too wet in the summer months. Most viticulture is concentrated in two states: Maharashtra and Karnataka, where higher altitude regions offer the grapes some more coolness. In India, the vines are often horizontally guided in a pergola style, so that the grapes are protected as much as possible from the bright sun. Irrigation and frequent pruning are necessary.

Explore New Wines

Before you run to your local wine store to pick up a bottle of Thai wine, we should point out that you won’t easily find these New Latitude wines outside of their country of production. That means you probably won’t come across them in our WineCollective packages either. Still, we do want our members to realize how vast the world of wine truly is. As you learn more about wine, you realize there is so much else to discover! 

So, even though you may not be able to track down a bottle of Vietnamese wine or Swedish wine unless you take a trip to these countries, you can still surprise yourself! Try a wine from a grape variety you’ve never heard of before. Maybe seek out a bottle from a wine region that’s new to you. And while you’re at it, consider becoming a member of WineCollective and receive new and familiar, but always amazing wines to your doorstep each month!

This New Year Has an Australian Accent











Are you excited about all that 2018 has to offer? So are we! We are looking forward to another year of bringing you the best wines from all over the world and we wanted to start the New Year by showing our support for one of one of our very favourite wine producing nations, Australia. Australia Day is on January 26th and we have decided to show our appreciation for their remarkable wine industry by celebrating all month long!

Did you know that the oldest winery in Australia is Wyndham Estate Winery? Located in New South Wales, it was established in 1828. We think that Australia’s wine industry is fascinating and we think you’ll agree, here are 10 things we found most interesting about the world of wine Down Under:

1. Australia is the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world, with around 700 000 000 litres of wine exported annually.

2. Over 1 billion litres of Australian wine are consumed each year, this math tells us that Australians really like drinking their own wine!

3. More than 2400 wineries thrive throughout Australia over 6 states, with the most planted varietal being Shiraz.

4. Australia has a large organic wine industry and has even hosted the International Biodynamic Wine Forum that includes organic and biodynamic vineyard owners from around the world.

5. The oldest Australian wine producing region is Barossa Valley, you may recognize this as the home of one of our favourite producers, Schild Estate.

6. Australia’s terrain did not originally produce any native grape varietals suitable for winemaking; all varietals for production were transplanted in order to create Australia’s wine industry.

7. Barossa Valley is home to old vine Shiraz and Grenache crops dating back as far as the 1840’s, Australia’s first vines arrived in Sydney in 1788, however it took some time for the vines to thrive.

8. Sometime around 1875, a devastating outbreak of phylloxera (tiny vine eating insects) nearly abolished Australia’s wine industry by destroying thousands of hectares of crops. The cure for this plague came from the discovery that American vines were not susceptible to the damages caused by the insects. American vines were planted and European vines were grafted into the plants, creating a hybrid that was immune to this disease, ultimately saving the Australian wine industry. It took almost a century for the Australian wine industry to recover from this disaster.

9. Following the phylloxera outbreak, Australia’s wine industry was mainly focussed on sweet, fortified wine production. Now, Australia is one of the only countries that produces every major style of wine and there are over 60 wine producing regions throughout the country.

10. Australian wines have won awards at almost every major international wine competition, while setting records worldwide for the price of a single bottle.

In celebration of this great nation, we will be offering discounts on all Australian wines the whole month of January, don’t miss your chance to stock your cellar with some of our Aussie favourites!

Check out our members only WineCollective store to find all Australian wines discounted an additional 10% off our already reduced member pricing!

Not a member? Use the coupon AUSTRALIAMONTH to receive $15 off your first delivery, and gain access to all the savings!


January’s Main Event: Portugal vs Spain

Portugal and Spain share many commonalities in geography and in viticulture, including varietal plantings and wine culture. However, the style of wines produced and variations in micro-climates are vast. Here is a quick study on what is similar and not so similar between these 2 neighbours.


Portugal is like a ‘wine island’, where unique varietals are grown in almost isolation. Portugal has hundreds of indigenous varietals, many are not found anywhere else. Here are some of the most popular and obscure grapes you can find in Portugal.

  • Arinto – Widely planted, especially in Lisboa and offers a zingy, fresh and acidic profile.
  • Tinta Roriz or Aragonês – The same grape as Tempranillo, just a different name.
  • Sangiovese – An international varietal, not home to Portugal, but found in small amounts.

Spain has enjoyed significant international popularity lately, with Spanish wines being readily available and affordable. This has helped establish varietals like Tempranillo, pushing them into the mainstream. Here are some of our favourite, less-known varietals.

  • Viura- The most heavily planted white grape in Rioja (aka Macabeo) and used often for Cava.
  • Picapoll – An obscure grape mostly found in Cataluña.
  • Mencía – A well structured grape that thrives in NW Spain, Bierzo.


Portugal’s regions are almost all Mediterranean in climate, with even the furthest vineyards not very far from the ocean. The main differences in the sub-regions will be due to elevation. The plains and plateaus having more heat, while hills will have mitigating cooling breezes and nighttime temperatures.

  • Dão, named after the Dão River, is in northern Portugal. Here, the quality vineyards are grown from 150-450 meters above sea level and enjoy the affects of diurnal temperature. Most commonly, you will find Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional.
  • Douro produces both fortified and non-fortified wines. Most notable, Douro is known for its Port. The geography in Douro is centred around the Douro River, which was used to transport the barrels of Port from the steep vineyards, to the cellars.

Spain has over a dozen different wine regions, with more sub-regions within each. Spain’s regions vary vastly based on elevation and temperature. The arid plains of Toro produce ripe and rugged Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo), while the more northern Galicia is a cooler climate with more crisp white varietals, like Albariño.

  • Catalonia is far north-eastern Spain, near Barcelona. Near the Mediterranean Sea and with strong French influences, this are is unique from other Spanish regions. Catalonia is home to the majority of Cava production.
  • Castilla y Leon is a vast region with many sub-regions. It is impossible to categorize the entire area, because production is so variant. Bierzo, bordering Galicia and Asturias, is home to Mencía, Grenache and Godello. While Ribera del Duero is home to iconic Tempranillo, where it grows with extreme climate of hot summers and cold winters.


Portugal’s traditional food is rustic, hearty and full of seafood. As with any country, there are many variations and regional differences. A rule of thumb, in Portugal expect lots of pork, rice, stews and octopus. Here are some common dishes.

  • Caldo Verde – green cabbage soup
  • Blood sausage
  • Bacalhau – infamous salted cod

Spain also has a strong seafood presence, with so much coastline and variety, this should come at no surprise. Both Portugal and Spain’s bars and eateries will have ample olives and almonds, usually enjoyed as pre-meal snacks. In addition to stews, sausages and peppers, and some of the best olive oil, you will find.

  • Saffron- seasoning your potatoes, paella and prawns
  • Paella – the dish that puts Valencia on the food map
  • Pisto – Spanish ratatouille

WineCollective featured a heavy selection of wines from Spain and Portugal this month. Visit the online shop to read more about these selections:


Viñaguareña Mazal Barrica 

Gran Bohedal Crianza

Gran Bohedal Blanco


Vidigal Artolas

Vidigal Dom Dinis

Cortes de Cima Courela

Monte da Ravasqueira Sangiovese


Use the coupon code PORTUGAL5 for $5 off your order of Portuguese wines!

Cellers Sant Rafel’s Joana. New to WineCollective and Canada!

On a wine tour of Spain last fall, Amber visited almost every region, except Montsant. For no other reason than a lack of time, Montsant was bypassed for its neighbouring region, Priorat. Although sharing a border within a very small area, the two wine regions have many micro-climates between them.


Xavier Peñas, General Manager of Gran Clos and owner of Celler Sant Rafel, explaining the unique slate soils of Priorat.

Hosted at Gran Clos del Priorat by General Manager, Xavier Peñas, we were treated to a vineyard tour of steep, slate covered hills (llicorella soils), barrel tasting in the tiny cellar and sampling of the vintages that never made it to Canada. The very limited production and distribution of Gran Clos have appeared on Tannic and sold out instantly (stay tuned for a limited release of large format bottles)! Priorat is known for its beauty and structured wines and we were not disappointed.


Barrel room in the cellar of Gran Clos (above). Rolling hills of Priorat, from a Gran Clos vineyard (below).


Once back in Calgary, we received samples of Xavier’s own wines, Cellers Sant Rafel, which he produces from vineyards in Montsant. Montsant is west of Tarragona city and the region was formerly a sub-region of the Tarragona wine region (since 2001 has been recognized as its own DO). Montsant almost entirely wraps around the region of Priorat, with vineyards of both Priorat and Montsant sometimes just meters apart. Wine has been produced here for centuries, although only within the last decade has it made international markets pay attention.

PT Priorat

Map of Priorat and Montsant from

Montsant is similar to Priorat in that they both are characterized by rolling hills, slate soils and grow mainly Grenache anad Carignan.

Notes on Priorat from Decanter:

  • 17,629ha in area (1,887ha are under vine)
  • 600 growers
  • 99 registered wineries
  • Red varietals 1,800ha, of which: Garnacha 710ha; Cariñena 483ha; Cabernet Sauvignon. 250ha; Syrah 224ha; Merlot 105ha
  • White varietals 99ha, of which Garnacha Blanca represents more than half
  • Total production (2014) whites, 341,306kg; reds, 5,618,658kg

Notes on Montsant:

  • 57 growers
  • 44 wineries
  • 1,900ha of vineyard
  • Grenache and Carignan are the main vatietals, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah newly planted

Similar to other re-discovered Spanish wine regions, like Bierzo, the ancient vines and wine making history of Montsant, and firstly Priorat, have been awakened. International wine makers and solid and consistent vintages attracting critics, have brought the spotlight.

Joana-2010 Joana-2015

Ironically, after traveling to Spain in search of new, exciting wines, Celler Sant Rafel was only discovered once back in Canada. The Joana line, named after Xavier and Pilar’s daughter, consists of the fresh and addicting Joana and structured and spiced, Joana Selecció. Both wines are brand new to Canada, and are being exclusively featured in all September WineCollective packages.

Join WineCollective by August 31 to make the cutoff for September’s delivery and you will receive one of our new Joana selections!


The limited remaining inventory of Joana will be available in the WineCollective online store September 15th! Use the coupon code: MONTSANT5 for $5 off your store order of Joana wines!

New Canadian exclusives from Master of Wine, Justin Howard-Sneyd

We recently announced that WineCollective will be the first to provide Canadians with the Domaine of the Bee and Hart of Gold labels, produced by Master of Wine, Justin Howard-Sneyd.


Based out of London, UK, we had the opportunity to Skype with Justin and ask him about these exciting products in time for the release, coming in May.

Q: What led you to start your Domaine of the Bee project?

A: In the early 90’s, I helped make wine as an assistant winemaker, kind of a ‘cellar rat’ if you will. I always new I wanted to make my own wine, but it was more of a matter of finding the right location. I worked as a buyer and travelled around, then in 2004, I came across the vineyards of Maury in Roussillon.

Q: Why did you source vineyards in Maury for Domaine of the Bee?

A: We have friends that own a block nearby and the sheer quality of fruit and wine from the area made us want to purchase the vineyard. The varieties of the vineyard were mixed so we knew they were old vines, likely 90 to 100-years-old with low yields. We’re in a small microclimate in the side valley of the larger valley so really, its a better quality. We didn’t originally have a business plan, we started because we wanted to buy the vineyard. After a few years we had enough blocks to make it worthwhile.

Justin and box of grapes - High res

Q: How involved are you in the winemaking process?

A: I go back to Maury about 10 times a year. Of the 4 to 5 weeks of harvest, I spend about 3 there. Now that I am consulting I have more time to spend in Maury. We worked with Richard Case, who lives and works in Maury. After the 2011 vintage we have worked with my old friend from South Africa winemaking days, Jean-Marc Lafage. The decisions are made together and the winemaker is there in France to oversee everything.

Q: Do you have a winemaking philosophy?

A: I am a believer in the scientific winemaking method. I am not a believer in natural wine, although I have tasted many lovely natural wines. For me, I am also running a business. I am making a wine that my customers want and enjoy and so I aim to create a style that is consistant year after year.

Domaine of the Bee is a Grenache, Carignan blend. A full flavoured red, not just a fruit bomb. It has lots of structure and character from the terroir, lovely acidity. I like the influence of oak, it is a significant component but we don’t want to make that dominant. I have found that a 1/4 or a 1/3 in new oak for the right balance.


Carignan vines in Maury, Roussillon. 

Q: What kind of professional critics have you received?

A: The majority of the wine journalists in the UK have written about the wine, all in different vintages. All feedback has been positive and I find those that don’t like the wine are consumers who like very fruit forward styles. Reliable, credible critics like Jancis Robson and Olly Smith have really enjoyed the wine and the style.

Q: What inspired the Hart of Gold project?

A: In 1976, when I was 10, we had a really hot summer in England. A year later, we visited my father’s friend who had made wine and it was amazingly good from the heat of that summer. That was the first vintage where people started to pay attention to English Sparkling Wine. I have always bought a lot of wines from England and watched the quality grow. In 2010, it as clear that England was making world class sparkling that reviled Champagne.

Q: Who are your partners in this project? Where are the grapes sourced from?

A: It took me a while to find the right partner. We work with Ridgeview as the producer. The Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier are sourced from a grower of Ridgeview. The vineyard is on a steep slope, south-east facing. The climate is overall a little cooler by 1 to 3 degrees and wetter compared to Champagne. With global warming the climate in England is very similar to Champagne, 30 years ago.


Q: What has sparked consumer interest in English Sparkling Wine?

A: Not many sparkling wines have challenged Champagne in style and quality. I think there are more wine professionals in England and new equipment, new investors, and also wineries are gaining credentials. The wine is made in the classic Champagne method and the quality of the wine is making people say, “Hold on. This is just as good as Champagne” but with better value.

Q: What do you want WineCollective members to know about Hart of Gold.

A: The sparkling wine expresses something about England and Englishness. The authentic and classic label draws from England’s medieval history. The label is inspired by Richard the Second’s personal symbol, the white hart. In history, the white hart was known to appear in auspicious times. A few years back, I was walking in a park nearby my home and there was a white deer. I used it all to connect the wine, and England’s history.

Q: Do you have plans to further expand? Where can Domaine of the Bee and Hart of Gold be found?

A: Right now there is a small volume of both. Only 1,500 bottles of the Hart of Gold was produced and only 4,000 of the Domaine of the Bee. We are looking to purchase nearby vineyard blocks and increase producition. Right now, the wine is exported to Denmark and Norway, U.S. and Hong Kong.

Q: Do you have a favourite Canadian wine? Have you visited any of our regions?

A: I am shockingly ignorant and I plan on fixing that reasonably soon. I have had a handful of ice wine, which I really do like. Journalists have recently been singing praises of Canadian wines and I look forward to trying and understanding Canadian wines and regions.

Stay tuned to learn more about Justin and his fantastic wines. Domaine of the Bee and Hart of Gold are coming to WineCollective and Tannic very soon! Keep an eye out, and a fast hand, we have extremely limited quantities that will not last long.


*NOW AVAILABLE! Extremely limited quantities of Domaine of the Bee and Hart of Gold are now available in the WineCollective online store! 

Meet Liquidity Wines

You may have noticed a special Canadian wine in March WineCollective packages, Liquidity Chardonnay! Nestled in the Okanagan Falls, between Lake Vaseux and Skaha, the land where Liquidity Wines now sits has been supplying quality fruit for eighty years.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.30.22 AM

In the 1930’s, Charlie Oliver developed Oliver Ranch where he planted over 110 acres of cherry, peach, apricot and pear trees. His development of irrigation systems still feed surrounding vineyards to this day. A pioneer in the Okanagan, it is said that in it’s day, Oliver Ranch was the largest orchard in the British Empire.

Oliver Ranch was divided and sold in 1971. Blue Mountain’s Ian Mavety farmed the property and a 30-acre portion, planted to German varietals, became today’s Liquidity Wines.

A subsequent owner built the Santa-Fe style home located on the property. Because it sat on a hilltop and was opened to panoramic views, it was frequently mistaken for a winery. In 2008, a group of business men and wine enthusiasts led by Ian MacDonald, renovated the Santa Fe house to a tasting room and Bistro, which was completed in 2013.

Liqu_inter Panorama

*Photos by Lionel Trudel

In addition, MacDonald and his team built a modern fully-equipped winery in time for the 2012 vintage, though in previous years, Liquidity made small volumes of their wines at another winery and sold their remaining fruit.

Through out the 90’s, all non-vinifera vines were replaced with current varietals, Viognier. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon on the 30-acre plot.

As the Okanagan Falls is the most narrow part of the valley, wind funnels through and cools the grapes. Erin Korpisto of Liquidity says because of this “the Okanagan Falls [are] usually 2 to 5 degrees cooler than Oliver and Osoyoos, making the area particularly known for its excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production.”


10,000 years ago, glaciers covered the Okanagan landscape and deposited sand and gravel soils. These mineral rich soils are not only an ideal growing condition for the vines, but they also translate into the character of the wines. All Liquidity wines are estate grown and hand-harvested. Only sustainable viticultural practices are suitable for the two Liquidity vineyards.

“Here at Liquidity, there are three pillars: Wine, Food & Art.”


The Liquidity Chardonnay happens to be a favourite among staff and Liquidity fans. A few weeks ago, the wine received a Silver Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde competition in France.

The juice was racked to French oak barrels (20% new) to undergo fermentation. Partial malolactic fermentation followed and the wine was aged on lees, with stirring for 11 months.

“The 2013 Chardonnay is a bit more rounded and has more complexity than previous vintages. While still maintaining lovely acidity and fruit,” Erin says. “This vintage shows the health of the vineyard beginning to flourish and the vines really coming into their own.”

Chard 2013


Liquidity’s Bistro is a modern, Okanagan and Pacific North West inspired restaurant that not only uses fresh local produce, but also ingredients from the chef’s own garden. Only open seasonally, the food at Bistro is simple, clean and fresh.

As the second pillar of Liquidity, Erin stresses the importance and relationship between food and wine. For the 2013 Chardonnay, she recommends Bistros’s Oliver Road 17 Char with Smokey Puttanesca Butter, Roe, Ancient Grain “Risotto” and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.31.42 AM


From the very beginning, Ian MacDonald had always been passionate about art, design and the conversations that they begin. Around Liquidity’s grounds are various pieces of work that belong to Liquidity and Ian’s own personal collection. You can find descriptions of all the pieces at Liquidity on their website.

From July through October, on the 2nd Saturday of each month, Liquidity will be hosting their second annual Artist Lecture Series, featuring many Canadian artists such as Bobbie Burgers, Jeff Burgess and David Burdney.

As always, we encourage our members to head out to Canadian wine regions, including the Okanagan Falls! Liquidity Wines would love to have to visit their tasting room, Bistro and inviting, art filled, grounds.

Visit Liquidity Wines and give them a follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for information on upcoming events at the winery, and let us know how you enjoyed the 2013 Liquidity Chardonnay.

Stay tuned for more Liquidity Wines!

Rate, comment and buy more on the members only, online store!

Toro in Ten

After Amber’s recent trip to various wine regions in Spain, we wanted to dazzle you with some need to know information. Here are our top ten things to know about Toro!


1. Toro is located in the larger region of Castilla y Leon, in north-western Spain. Toro is within the province of Zamora and north-west of Madrid. Closest neighbours of Toro are Rueda bordering to the east and Ribera del Duera slightly further east.

2. Toro, the region, is named after the ancient town of Toro. Toro is most known for the Tinta de Toro varietal, a clone of Tempranillo with exceptionally dark skins.


One of the last remaining bunches of Tinta de Toro left on the bush vines at Piedra, in Toro.

3. Tinta de Toro (toro meaning bull) produces wines that are dark, tannic and rugged. Tinta de Toro has high alcohol, sometimes 15-16% with moderate to low acidity.

4. There are many old vines in Toro, some upwards of 100 years in age. The soils of Toro are great for pest management. The vine-killing Phylloxera can not live in the sandy soils, which has preserved many of the oldest vines.


Gnarly bush vine at Piedra winery in Toro, approximately 70-years-old.

5. Tinta de Toro is usually fermented as a single varietal wine, but it is also commonly blended with Garnacha (Grenache). The Garnacha adds more phenols and acidity to the wine. Old vineyards are often planted randomly, with Garnacha, scattered throughout the Toro vines. You can identify the Garnacha easily by the leaves.


Tinta de Toro leaf at Piedra Winery in Toro.


Garnacha leaf at Piedra Winery in Toro.

6. The region has a continental climate, and has a deceivingly high altitude. The plains and gentle hills sit between 600-900 meters above sea level. The altitude plays an important part in viticulture, ensuring that the night time temperatures are low enough to let the vine rest and build necessary acidity.


Sandy vineyard of Tinta de Toro and Garnacha at Piedra Winery in Toro.

7. Toro has only recently become an internationally recognized and commercial region. In 1987 Toro received the official title of Designation of Origin, D.O. Toro. Although wine has been produced here for centuries. Today, there are only 60 wineries.

8.  In addition to vineyards, the area is planted to several other agricultural crops, including alfalfa and sugar beets.


Crops of alfalfa in the back left and beets in the far right, neighbouring Tinta de Toro vines of Elias Mora in Toro.

9. If visiting Toro, stay in Valladolid. The city of about 300,000 has a great food culture and a beautiful city centre. The city is easy to navigate and is only a 30-60 minute drive to most of the wineries.


10. Some of WineCollective’s favourite wines from Toro are: Bodegas Elias Mora, ViñaGuareña and Terra D’Uro. There are still some ViñaGuareña Barrica available on Tannic!


Experience Destination Tours

Summer is now in full swing and it is time to get out and enjoy what beautiful British Columbia has to offer with numerous excursions to the Okanagan Valley via Destination Tours.


Destination Tours’ passion and expertise lies in creating unique, exciting tours and vacation getaways in our own Canadian backyard. Okanagan Wine Tours are a great way to experience the fine wineries in the Okanagan, some of which have been previously featured in your WineCollective packages.

As a WineCollective member, Destination Tours would like to offer $25 off per person off any of their tour packages by using the promo code “WineCollective”.

Destination Tours holds six different wine tours within the Okanagan region from our Kelowna to Summerland and Naramata as well as Whistler Getaways. In addition, with each unique tour, Destination Tours will find a variety of accommodations for you, minutes away from wine hot spots.

Each tour includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations
  • Visits to 4-5 different winery’s with over 25 tastings!
  • Included lunch at participating wineries.
  • Professional driver with wine and region knowledge and all rides in the AC touring vehicle.

To take advantage of this exclusive offer, visit to pick your tour and add in the promo code “WineCollective”. If you require any assistance, you can reach Destination Tours’ office at 1-877-507-5596.

Your first taste of Haiti with Café Xaragua

Rob Lehnert did not particularly have any sort of plan when he decided to start Café Xaragua in 2012. After travelling to Haiti during his final semester of University, Rob fell in love with the character and quality of Haitian coffee, and after returning home, was unable to find the beans no matter where he searched. Graduating with a business degree, Rob saw an opportunity to start his own business and bring Haitian beans to Canada, and so he did.


 One of Café Xaragua’s bean farmers. Photo credit: Tammy Love

Rob’s main goal with Café Xaragua, pronounced “‘Z’aragua,” is to maintain the culture of Haitian coffee right down to the foundation. The island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western third, was originally inhabited by the Taino Arawak people who gave the name to the region of Xaragua.

Though Lehnert did not originally expect to start a coffee business with his education, numerous trips to Haiti changed his mind and broadened his awareness of the coffee industry, leaving him with a true passion for the craft from farm to cup.

“When you see how much work goes into a cup of coffee, it brings a whole new perspective to coffee,” says Rob. “My trips to Haiti have taught me that there is a huge coffee culture in coffee growing regions, and it is very different from the coffee culture here in Canada.”


Rob (dressed in blue shirt) cupping with coffee farmers for Xaragua roasts.

Rob sources his coffee from a cooperative in Haiti. By managing his own imports, Rob is able to eliminate a ‘middle man’ and directly pay the farmers for their beans himself. Not only does this guarantee 100% Fair Trade beans, but it also allows for Rob to build relationships and trust with farmers.

During his second trip to Haiti, Rob remembers his first meet with a cooperative that he still works with today: “We spent about 6 hours on dirt roads, we crossed rivers, we drove on edges of cliffs and we had two flat tires. We then finally ended up at a coffee nursery and it was like a dream come true. We got out of the truck and walked down a dirt path which opened up to this beautiful lush coffee nursery. I will remember that day forever.”

Along with the farmers, Rob also works closely with Kienna Coffee Roasters, a previously featured CoffeeCollective roaster. When Rob was searching for a hub to roast his coffee, Kienna was eager to help Rob get started.

“Everyone at Kienna has years of coffee experience and I have been fortunate to build a great relationship with them. I have learned a so much by working alongside the owners of Kienna and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”


Every bean is hand sorted by farmers. Photo credit: Café Xaragua.

With the purchase of every bag of beans from Café Xaragua, a tree is planted in support of small scale Haitian coffee farmers. You can visit Café Xaragua online and register your tree to watch it grow! Your individual Tree ID can be found on both bags of beans sent to you this month.

Breakfast Blend

A full medium roast that also happens to be Rob’s favourite! Carefully chosen to bring out a rich body and smooth flavour, and made up of 100% Fair Trade certified beans. Fruity and clean finish.

Classic Blend

A deep and delicious dark roast. Fully rounded body with a superb chocolatey-rich aftertaste. This bold profile was designed for those looking for a stronger coffee flavour. 100& Fair Trade certified.

You can find Café Xaragua at various market locations across Canada, as well as online! We’d like to thank Rob for working with us and hope our members enjoy their first roast of Haitian coffee!

Wine ‘n Dine with VINES Magazine

2014 Holiday Package receivers have been patiently waiting for their first issue of VINES Magazine, one of the additional gifts added to WineCollective packages (of 3 months or more) this Christmas alongside our custom made dropstops and corkscrews.


VINES is a Canadian magazine for wine and food lovers. Whether you know nothing of the wine world, or are a sommelier, the magazine shares expert advice and insider tips that are sure to increase anyone’s wine knowledge and passion!

The March edition is the first of 6 issues that will be published and received by WineCollective gift receivers this year. The issue will include a look into fermentation in concrete eggs and details on a new ‘One Faith’ project, aimed at crafting First Growth style Bordeaux in the Okanagan. Additionally, you will also find a feature on Adam Hynam-Smith, host of Food Network Canada’s Restaurant Takeover.


We want to thank the VINES team in helping us bring their magazine to WineCollective members. We are truly excited and hope that through their enthusiastic articles on food, travel and of course, wine, our own community will become more engaged and obsessed with the industry of enjoyment!

If you are not a holiday package gift receiver but would love to discover VINES, please check out their subscription deals!

Exclusive feature from Schug Carneros Estate

WineCollective partnered with esteemed Sonoma producer Schug Carneros Estate, to bring our members an exciting offering. We are proud to showcase the WineCollective Cuvee Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Schug. These wines are exclusive to WineCollective members online, and available only at Highfield by WineCollective in Calgary.


2013 Schug WineCollective Cuvee

Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $29


2012 Schug Cuvee WineCollective


Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $27

Schug Carneros Estate

Owners Walter and Gertrud’s appreciation of wine came early in life, as both their fathers managed estates in Germany. The couple moved to California, where Walter worked for several large producers, such as Joseph Phelps. While living in St Helena, Napa and working as the winemaker at Phelps, Walter had the opportunity to produce produce under his own label. Starting with Pinot Noir, Walter began building the Schug brand.


The vineyards just south of Schug Carneros Estate.

Through it’s growth, Schug has remained a family ran business. All of Walter and Gertrud’s children are involved in the winery’s success. Axel Schug, one of Walter and Gertrud Schug’s three children, is responsible for the estate’s sales and marketing ventures. Axel hosted WineCollective late last summer, where we were able to learn more about the winery’s history and future.

Schug Carneros Estate is located in its founding location within the Carneros appellation. When the demand for Schug wines outgrew their production in Napa, Schug grew its acreage 1989 with 50 acres in Sonoma. Home to our exclusive cuvees, the Sonoma Coast enjoys a cool maritime climate, perfect for ripening crisp Pinot and Chardonnays! Of the sprawling 500,000 acres designated within Sonoma Coast, only 2% of the land is planted to vineyard. The majority (75%) of the vines are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Schug 3

View of the vineyards looking out from Schug Carneros Estate.

The Wines

After meeting with Axel Schug at the winery, we were confident that we had found a great producer to showcase an exclusive wine for WineCollective. Axel Schug toured us through the estate and poured the winery’s current releases. We were blown away by the quality, consistency and dedication of the Schug team, crafting exceptional and accessible wines.

The 2012 Chardonnay is a perfectly versatile Chard, with flavours of peaches, dried apricots, zingy white grapefruits and a hint of vanilla. The body is bold enough to entertain heavy pastas and roasted chicken, with just enough acidity and a long juicy finish.

The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from 5 vineyards within the Sonoma Coast AVA, including Ricci, Stage Gulch, and Schug Estate vineyards. The Pinot balances rustic notes, ripe berries and savoury herbs and minerality. The elegance will impress Pinot-lovers, while containing enough bold character to also impress the apprehensive.


Vineyards to the north of Schug Carneros Estate.

The WineCollective Cuvees are an exclusive opportunity to own a wine from Schug Estate that has been carefully selected by the WineCollective team, directly at the winery. We are proud to be able to offer our members the opportunity to enjoy this Pinot Noir Chardonnay from a premium producer at an exceptional value. We are excited to feature both these wines to WineCollective members at a price substantially below market, one of the benefits of our sourcing wine direct. These wines will be available to members through the online members-only store, Tannic, and at Highfield by WineCollective until they sell-out. We would like to thank the team at Schug for helping to create a memorable wine experience!

Revana, a perfect gift for the holidays.

On a recent trip to Napa this fall, we were fortunate enough to be hosted at Revana Family Vineyard. Our guide led us through a tasting of current release Revana Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Revana’s sister wines, Alexana from Oregon. If ever touring Napa, we highly recommend booking a visit at Revana. The winery is just off Highway 29, and only a couple minutes from down-town St Helena.


Revana is owned by cardiologist, Dr. Madaiah Revana, who purchased the property in 1997. With the assurance of vineyard manager, Jim Barbour, Revana’s first vintage was produced in 2001. The 2007 vintage was awarded 97 points by WineSpectator and ranked number four on the Top 100 Wines of 2010. After a decade, the estate has grown into one of the most well-known Cabernet producers in Napa. There is high demand for each newly released vintage, with the approximate 1,200 cases selling out year after year.


The Revana Cabernet Sauvignon is made with 100% estate fruit, all harvest from the 9 acres that surround the winery.  The vineyard is planted with several clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. We have previously received a small allocation of the 2010 Revana, which sold out on Tannic almost instantly. Today, we have a unique opportunity to showcase the 2009 and the 2011 vintages in small supply on Tannic.

If you were lucky enough to get a bottle or two of the 2010 vintage, this is a rare and special opportunity to build a an instant vertical! There are a few key differences between each of the vintages, mainly the change in winemakers from 2009 to 2011. Heidi Barrett was previously head winemaker, with 2009 being her last vintage with full leadership of Revana. The 2010 is a bit of a mix between Heidi Barrett’s legacy and Thomas Brown’s vision. While 2011 is distinctively in the Thomas’ style.


2009 tasting notes from the producer: “A supple blend of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2009 vintage is opulent and well-balanced. Dark and dense in color with aromas of lavender, cassis and earthy wild berry, this wine displays great depth. It boasts stunning concentration on the palate with dark cherry, cacao, coffee bean and a hint of caramel. Finishing with full-bodied tannins, this wine exhibits an undeniable finesse.”


2010 tasting notes from the producer: “The 2010 is a gorgeous vintage; an incredible balance of richness, density and elegance and a welcome start to Thomas Rivers Brown’s tenure. The nose is infused with aromas of dark cherries, chocolate, sage and a touch of toasted brioche that captures the elegance of the year. The lush palate wraps around deep, generous fruit flavors balanced by notes of baking spice and herbs. Plush tannins frame a concentrated core of cherry and plum. The round, seamless finish reveals stunning depth. Showing well now, this sophisticated wine will continue to age gracefully for many years to come.”


2011 tasting notes from the producer: “Deep garnet in the glass, the 2011 Revana Cabernet has a lively, bright nose with hints of blackberry, floral cherry, and pipe tobacco. On the palate the wine has an incredible brightness, bursting forth with cherry, dried cranberries and well-integrated oak. Traces of rose petal and tea leaves compliment the velvety tannins. Plush and juicy, the 2011 is well-balanced and begs to be enjoyed now.”

Visit Tannic today for your Revana wine package!