Truth in labeling may be topical in the food industry, but vintners shy away from spelling out specifics on the bottle. So, when Upper Bench Winery and Creamery owner and winemaker Gavin Miller spotted a label delineating a wine’s oak regime in Baja, Mexico, he could taste opportunity. His new information label was born.
“It’s geeky stuff, but we make wine for geeky people, and I think we should be accountable,” he said.
Those who pick up the new releases—a purely estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, a Zweigelt and a rather nice Pinot Noir—will know exactly what is in the bottle.
“We’ve even put the sugar content on because I’m actually quite disappointed in this trend of adding sugar to red wine so people think it’s smooth,” added Miller, a purist.
He grows grapes organically, as he doesn’t believe in pesticides and chemical fungicides and says his philosophy is minimalist winemaking with a passion for flavour, meaning he believes good wines are grown, not made.
He and his wife Shana, an extraordinary cheese maker, walk to the beat of their own drum and they’ve created a wine and cheese club unique for the region. He selects three wines per shipment and Shana handcrafts a cheese for each selection. July’s Chardonnay inspired a cumin washed rind and they’re including their flagship Cab and King Cole for December.
Open year-round, Upper Bench Winery and Creamery is a staple South Okanagan stop. Learn more about the wine or join the wine and cheese club, at www.upperbench.ca.
~ Jennifer Smith