There are plenty of things to celebrate at Upper Bench Winery & Creamery this summer. Cheesemaker Shana Miller has been selected from over a hundred applicants to take part in ACE Bakery’s Artisan Incubator. In June, Shana will travel to Toronto where she will meet successful chefs, publishers and food entrepreneurs eager to share their knowledge of the artisan food industry. Not only will Shana attend seminars and workshops, she will have the opportunity to introduce her cheese to a national audience. 

What better way to enjoy Shana’s cheese than by pairing it with her husband, Gavin’s new release red wines? He’s particularly proud of his Cabernet Sauvignon ($35.00). The first year they owned the winery- 2011- was a cold year. “We’re right on the edge of where it’s hot enough to ripen the grapes. They shouldn’t have ripened, but they did.” Gavin describes the wine as elegant. Black cherry, cassis, cedar, mint and cigar box with a kind of tarry-ness to it. He recommends pairing it with Shana’s Grey Baby or King Cole blue cheeses.

Upper Bench is also releasing a new Zweigelt ($23.00), which is not grown widely on the Bench. It has big fruit flavor – black current, cassis and chocolate. An easy to drink wine, it goes well with Shana’s Okanagan Sun2.

With their staple Pinot Noir, the new release Merlot ($29.00) completes the quartet of reds. Less fruity, the Merlot has a darkness to it with quite a lot of barrel influence. King Cole or Sun2 are Shana’s recommended pairings. Enjoy Upper Bench’s wine and cheese year round by joining the Wine and Cheese Club. You can choose “Wine Only” or “Wine and Cheese.” Each shipment of “Wine Only” includes 3 wines (2 bottles each). If you opt for “Wine and Cheese” you get the same wine options along with 3 pieces of Artisan cheese.

~ Sue Harper