Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery

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By in wine education Comments Off on Wine as Cultural Artifact

Wine as Cultural Artifact

Here’s a thing to ponder: wine is a cultural artifact. Wine is something observed in a scientific investigation or experiment. Simply put; wine doesn’t present itself in nature.

Contrary to what some zealots will tell you, wine doesn’t want to make itself. Wine is a point on a scale of decomposition; winemakers preserve (though not indefinitely) the juice of grapes on a journey towards spoilage and decay.

The very act of harvesting grapes inserts the human in a way that ensures any resulting product becomes an artifact. Even if the vines aren’t tended during the growing season, even if commercial yeasts are not used; even if enzymes and sulphites aren’t added and the wine is bottled without stabilization or filtration, wine is still a cultural product.

The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote extensively about myth–the stories we create and share as a kind of cultural binding agent, fortifying our societal groups and communities. Lévi-Strauss’ writings on honey myths and mead are pertinent here: a honeybee’s hive that is nestled in the trunk of a tree can start to ferment without any human intervention, the resulting alcohol oozing into the hollow truck. This is a natural process. This is nature. However, when a human takes the same honeycomb, extracts the sugary liquid, and sets it to ferment in a wooden barrel thus creating mead, this is culture. Intentionality on the part of the human takes something from nature to culture.

Lévi-Strauss was a structuralist too. He acknowledged that elements of human culture can only be understood by way of their relation to a broader system. Humans make and drink wine not in isolation to other cultural practices; humans also market wine not in isolation to other cultural practices. Affirming our kinship with the natural world means acknowledging our roles and effects within it. Seeing ourselves as part of our ecosystems, and not merely observers of them, is key to understanding how to do (and be) better. This is especially true of the climate crisis; if we don’t see ourselves as part of the problem, it’s incredibly difficult to see ourselves as part of a solution. Humans, in our desire to both create and maintain culture, make wine. We should, therefore, absolutely question and reassess how our industry’s practices impact the ecosystems we are all part of. Seeing wine as an artifact of culture means shouldering the kinds of responsibilities that might evade our attention when wine is viewed solely as a product of nature, or of ‘natural’ processes.

By in tasting room events, things to do in courtenay Comments Off on The Farmer’s Kitchen Food Truck in 2021

The Farmer’s Kitchen Food Truck in 2021

It’s on! We’re really pleased to be welcoming back The Farmer’s Kitchen Food Truck this summer. With a focus on fresh and vibrant vegetable-based dishes, The Farmer’s Kitchen is just that—a celebratory seasonal kitchen that seeks to support the growers, makers, and farmers in our region.

The Farmer’s Kitchen Food Truck will be on site at Beaufort Winery on the following dates this summer:

Friday 2nd July, noon to 8pm

Saturday 3rd July, noon to 8pm

Sunday 4th July, noon to 5pm

Saturday 31st July, noon to 8pm

Sunday 1st August, noon to 5pm

Saturday 28th August, noon to 8pm

Sunday 29th August, noon to 5pm

If you have a tasting booked on any one of these days, we invite you stay a little longer in the picnic area after your tasting, grab a bite from the truck, and purchase a bottle from our store to enjoy on the lawn. If you don’t have a tasting booked, you are welcome to visit none-the-less! The picnic area is available for you too on food truck days. We’ll have chilled bottles and glasses at the ready.

This is a rain or shine kind of thing, so come prepared for all weather. Bring a picnic blanket or your favourite camping chair, and a good sunhat. If it’s raining, bring a pop up tent or similar shelter. Everyone will think you are VERY cool.

Whether you have a tasting booked or not, The Farmer’s Kitchen Food Truck is open to serve you some fresh and tasty dishes in take-out format. Tuck in on the lawn at Beaufort, or take some goodies home with you. Either way, we’ll have chilled bottles for you to purchase from our winery store.

No outside alcohol is permitted.


COVID PRECAUTIONS

We are still physically distancing. We have lots of room at Beaufort so please keep 2m from staff and other guests. While our picnic area is entirely outdoors, we will be keeping an eye on capacity numbers to ensure adherence to the provincial health order governing gatherings. Masks must be worn inside the winery.

Our full COVID safety plan can be accessed HERE.

By in wine education Comments Off on Towards a better world of wine

Towards a better world of wine

Vine tying in spring

While some wine drinkers will be familiar with organic wine and the criteria necessary to label it so, other wine terms like ‘natural’ and ‘low-intervention’ have a more recent history in BC. This not only makes these terms trickier to define, it also leaves a lot of room for greenwashing and misrepresentation. Our advice? Learn about your favourite wine region, and ask pointed questions at your favourite wineries. 

With just cause, conventionally-produced wines–made with grapes from conventionally-managed vineyards–are subject to increased criticism. The productivist model is rarely sustainable, and these wines tend to be both less good for the environment, and for the people who drink them. The good news is that a growing number of wineries are committing to more sustainable models in the vineyard, and in the cellar. ‘Natural’ and ‘low-intervention’ wines, for example, are increasingly popular alternatives to conventionally-made wines. Producers in centuries-old wine regions are rejecting the narrow rules of their appellations to create young, fresh wines with low ABVs, funky labels, and a short shelf life. In many parts of Europe and the US, natural and low-intervention wines are almost mainstream. Natural (or natty) wine bars are popular in big cities like New York and Berlin. Even bars and restaurants in smaller cities like Victoria cater to a growing number of wine drinkers who are embracing a greater diversity of wine styles and tastes. But what exactly is natural wine? And what about low-intervention wine? And how, for that matter, do they differ from organic or even biodynamic wines? Let’s break it down:

For now, there is no internationally recognized definition or classification system for natural or low-intervention wines. This is, in equal part, cause for celebration, and concern. On one hand, wine growers and winemakers are free to create products without having to adhere to strict top-down rules about how they manage their vineyards and make their wine. On the other hand, ditto. Natural wine is an unregulated term that was born out of a distrust of established wine norms, wine industry additives, and rigid production methodologies (which are particularly challenging for small producers).

Generally speaking, natural wine is produced without the addition of, well, anything except grapes. Grapes (which are usually grown using organic methods) are picked, and ferment “naturally,” which is to say without the addition of yeasts, water, enzymes or bacteria, carbohydrate matter, or even sulphites (SO2). Perhaps controversially, some natural winemakers do allow for sulphite additions (it is worth noting that sulphites occur naturally during fermentation and that making a sulphite-free wine is impossible). There are no powdered tannins added to natural wine; no fining agents; nothing other than the grapes themselves. Barrels are often sidelined, too, in favour of more neutral concrete, steel, terracotta, or even plastic. As with any other wine, individual natural wines can range from exceptionally delicious to downright undrinkable. Low-intervention wine and natural wine are often used interchangeably, but theoretically at least, low-intervention wines allow the winemaker a little more latitude when it comes to additions in the winery and cellar.      

Organic wine production is strictly governed in most wine-producing countries, including Canada. Wine growers and winemakers work with certification bodies to ensure accountability and transparency in the vineyard and/or winery. Soil health and fertility is of critical importance in organic viticulture. The big no-nos are GMOs, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. In the winery, winemakers must ensure any additions make the certification grade.  

However, it is important to mention that the certification criteria for organic wine changes from state to state—there is no global standard for organic wine. If you purchase one wine labelled organic from Portugal and another labelled organic from Oregon, they are likely to have been made under two different circumstances of certification. For example, USDA-certified organic wines cannot contain any added sulphites. This is not true for wines labelled organic in BC. Another key consideration for BC organic certification is the differentiation between how the grapes are grown and then, how the wines are made. In effect, two certifications are required (one for the vineyard and one for the wine production space) before a BC winery can even use the word organic in their labelling. 

While robust and resilient farming practices and soil fertility are at the heart of both organic and biodynamic wine, biodynamic wine production often exceeds the minimum requirements for organic certification. The Biodynamic Association defines biodynamics as a “holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition.” Demeter, the global certification body for biodynamic wine, ensures integrity in the vineyard, as well as in the winery and cellar. 

It’s an exciting time for our wine-producing regions in BC, and a doubly exciting time for wine drinkers who choose to support local. Given the nebulous nature of some wine terms (especially when they appear in a winery’s marketing strategy), the best way to get to the bottom of what’s in your glass is to visit the wineries in your area. Ask questions about the climate (and how it’s changing); ask about vineyard management; weed control, and grape varieties. Ask about practices in the winery and cellar. Since more than a passing interest in chemistry is required to understand wine making processes, ask why as well as what: What are sulphites and why might a winemaker need to add them? What are commercial yeasts and why are they more important in some climates than others? Invoke a childlike curiosity to complement your adult drinking age and with any luck, learning to drink better wine will be the work of a lifetime.

By in winery news Comments Off on We’re Hiring!

We’re Hiring!

***EDIT***

This position has been filled. Thank you to everyone who took the time to apply.

Tasting Room Associate (part-time for 2021)

Beaufort is a family-run winery and Organic vineyard 10kms north of Courtenay. We’re up to some great things in the winery, and certainly in the vines, having received the first Organic vineyard certification on Vancouver Island in 2019. We make exciting, clean wines that speak to our region and to our efforts. Our team in the vineyard, winery and tasting room is small, talented, and passionate about our cool, coastal climate. We are looking forward to meeting you!

Description:

We are seeking a part-time Tasting Room Associate for our busy guest season. Our tasting room and wine store is open from April through September on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 5pm. A part-time position is offered (18-24 hours per week) and weekend availability is essential.

Responsibilities:

  • Greet guests and facilitate wine tastings; inform guests of Beaufort’s farming practices,
    winemaking methods and wine styles. A successful candidate will facilitate excellent guest
    experiences with efficient, prompt and friendly service
  • Promote Wine Club and other winery products
  • General cleaning tasks and product restocking
  • Operate POS
  • Possible light vineyard and cellar work during quieter periods
  • Ensure all safety protocols and house policies are followed (COVID, liquor service, WorkSafe etc.)

An ideal candidate will:

  • Love working as part of a small, dedicated team
  • Have excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Be able to lift 40lbs
  • Have an attention to detail and presentation (while being on their feet for extended periods in a
    fast-paced hospitality environment)
  • Have a genuine interest in regenerative farming, wine and hospitality (plus a desire to learn even
    more)
  • Have successfully completed a Serving it Right certification

$18/h, plus tips and lots of wine perks

Please send a cover letter and resume to katie[at]beaufortwines.ca

 

By in Uncategorized Comments Off on TASTINGS IN 2021

TASTINGS IN 2021

Sure, there’s still snow on the ground in the Comox Valley, but we’ve just opened our booking portal for tastings in 2021. If you’re keen to have something to look forward to (we know exactly how you feel!), head to our booking pages to secure your preferred date and time.

You can access the booking portal here. You can’t even imagine how excited we are to see you again soon!

By in recipes Comments Off on Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay is the final cocktail instalment from our collab with Sheringham Distillery, so we’re making this one extra. Head over to our Instagram for info on a sweet giveaway. Big thanks to Mike Norbury for the recipes, and to Danika Sea for photography and styling. We hope you’ll enjoy recreating these cocktails at home over the holidays. Be sure to tag us in your social posts!
Florencia Bay
1 oz Seaside gin
1 oz Beaufort vermouth
3 dashes Ms. Better’s Cypress Bowl bitters
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz lime juice
¾ oz Oolong Honey ( 2 parts local honey, 1 part hot oolong tea)
Combine all ingredients, shake, double strain. Serve on the rocks in a camping mug or copper cup. Garnish with a toasted marshmallow and chocolate shavings.
By in recipes Comments Off on Nootka Sound

Nootka Sound

One way to deftly sidestep the gin v. vodka martini debate is to include both. Bond’s vesper is shaken of course, but this recipe deviates from the Casino Royale original and calls for a stir. If ever there was a cocktail to showcase the elegance of Vancouver Island’s craft spirits and vermouth, it’s Mike Norbury’s Nootka Sound. Photography and styling by Danika Sea.

 

Nootka Sound

1 ½ oz Sheringham Seaside gin
1 oz Beaufort vermouth
¼ oz Sheringham vodka
2 dashes Ms. Better’s Orange Tree bitters

Stir all ingredients over ice before straining into a chilled coupe. Express the oil from a 1” piece of lemon peel over top and garnish with a dried rose bud (or a Nootka rose petal if the season allows).

By in winery news Comments Off on Pinot Noir Release & Holiday Hours

Pinot Noir Release & Holiday Hours

Contrary to what Angela Carter once proposed, anticipation isn’t always the greater part of pleasure. We can say that with conviction because… 2018 Pinot Noir is here and the wait is finally over!

Terroir—from the French terre, meaning land—is a valuable concept in appraising Pinot Noir on Vancouver Island. A narrow understanding of terroir will invariably include reference to the soil composition in a given wine region or vineyard. A more holistic comprehension encompasses a multitude of factors that affect a wine’s phenotype: everything from climate (sunlight, temperature and precipitation) to topography (elevation, slope and aspect), as well as hydrology, and even the scale and type of human intervention in the vineyard and winery are considered. Pinot Noir is a grape that, given the right circumstances, loves to tell the story of where it’s from. In cooler climates like ours, it’s a grape with a robust following and oodles of potential. We’ve been looking forward to sharing this one with you for a while.

We used 100% Vancouver Island grown fruit (sourced from Cherry Point vineyard in Cobble Hill) for our first ever single varietal red Pinot. In the glass, it’s more deep pink than red. The nose is all cherry cola, and cranberries, and those red toffee-dipped apples at Halloween. On the palate, Island acidity is a jovial counterpart to huckleberry, cranberry and clove. Some fine silky tannins add texture & just a little weight on the finish, balancing an otherwise bright mouthfeel. Aged in premium French oak barrels for 16 months. This is a Pinot to pair; try it with wild mushrooms or cedar plank salmon. This is a TASTING ROOM EXCLUSIVE; 2018 Pinot Noir is available online and in-store only.

12% alc./vol.
3.3g/l RS (dry)
93 cases produced
$29.90 in the tasting room

We also wanted to let you know that the winery store will be open on the following dates in December (10am to 3pm all dates): 4th-6th, 11th-13th & 18th-20th. While the STORE will be open on the above dates for wine and gift card sales and pick-ups, we WILL NOT be hosting tastings on-site this holiday season. Our tasting room is just too cosy (and the deck too chilly) to safely and comfortably host guests at this time of year. However, we still have a few virtual tasting appointments available — click HERE for details.

By in recipes Comments Off on Zeballos Inlet

Zeballos Inlet

Riffing on a classic Americano, Mike Norbury’s Zeballos Inlet is a delectable and thirst-quenching gin-based highball; bright, citrusy white vermouth and the delicate botanicals of Sheringham Distillery’s Kazuki are buoyed by the addition of lavender soda. Great anytime, as long as there’s a bowl of salty potato chips nearby! Photography and styling by Danika Sea Design. Recipe by Mike Norbury.

Zeballos Inlet

1 ½ oz Beaufort vermouth
½ oz Kazuki gin
3 dashes of Ms. Better’s Trans Canada bitters (or orange bitters instead)
4 oz dry lavender soda

Build in a Collins glass and serve long, on the rocks. Garnish with a lemon wheel and add a reusable straw.