Shanyn Ward is a WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) Diploma graduate and Okanagan sommelier. Image contributed

Wineology: What makes a winery great?

Check out Okanagan sommelier Shanyn Ward’s new bi-weekly column

What makes a winery experience great?

For some it may be how well manicured a property looks – how the landscape is kept, how perfectly the vines are tucked, the positioning of the flower arrangements or the aspect of the property to the lake.

Or, perhaps it is the personalized service you receive when you walk through the door.

It may be the one-on-one interaction with the tasting room staff that give you an accurate and in-depth explanation into why the vineyards are farmed in the way they are, or why the winemaker chooses to make the decisions he or she does.

Do you find it helpful to know what techniques are being practiced around the world and where wine trends are heading globally to understand our valley a little more? Does it ease your mind to know when farmers are following organic or biodynamic practices in the vineyard, or when wines have seen minimal intervention in the winery?

Over the years I have spent walking vineyards and visiting wineries and tasting rooms, I have come to the conclusion that simplicity can be the best approach. That is doesn’t matter if a vineyard is not perfectly mowed and the dandelion and clover grows happily amongst the vines. And if there are birds, bees, the sometimes annoying irrigation eating coyotes or the odd vineyard pest, it is okay to let them co habitat- because in the end, it is biological control and nature will sort itself out, as it has been doing since the beginning of time.

I appreciate seeing the workers in the vineyards or the owners of the property happy in their dusty work boots, or with dirty hands.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of walking into a beautiful winery restaurant, seeing the serving staff well groomed and tables laid out perfectly. And I know there can absolutely be a glamorous side to this wine industry.

However, when getting an idea about how a wine is produced- from vineyard to winery, I find it much more realistic to see the not so glamorous and flashy side. It gives you a little more appreciation when you sit down in your nicest suit or dress to eat freshly made beef tartare and oysters…or at least I think so.

What I am loving this week:

What wines I am loving this week come from an OK Falls based winery Synchromesh.

Every simple detail I just pointed out is what these guys do best. No flashy well groomed property, just really great wines, extremely knowledgeable tasting room staff who explain why each wine tastes like it does, and a laid back, easy going feeling.

Their Rieslings are some of the most sought after in the Okanagan and usually sell out by early summer.

Although considered a sweeter style, the Rieslings have amazing acidity, which balance the sugar in the wine. There are five to choose from, that all very slightly in style.

If you have the chance to visit them while their tasting room is still open, you will love the wines as much as everyone else, I’m sure!

Cheers!

shanynward@gmail.com

To check out past Wineology columns, click here.

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