Chef Natasha Schooten

Savour - - SUMMER CONTENTS - By John Schreiner

in­ter­sec­tion Win­ery owner Bruce Sch­midt laments that the se­vere win­ters of 2008 and 2009 killed nearly half of the 20,000 vines he had just planted. “Ei­ther you are a farmer or you are not,” he says. “What do you do about it? The only way is to do the best you can and forge ahead. You’re not go­ing to stop.” He re­placed the vines and in­stalled frost fans. Af­ter the more be­nign win­ters since, In­ter­sec­tion’s four hectares (10 acres) reached full pro­duc­tion in 2012. “I can imag­ine how much more wine we would have made, and the in­come [we would have earned],” Bruce sighs. “But that is just two years out of many.” With the vine­yard set­back over­come, In­ter­sec­tion has enough wine to at­tract at­ten­tion. Af­ter re­leas­ing a few hun­dred cases in each of the last two years, the win­ery bot­tled 2,500 cases in 2013, the ini­tial tar­get of its busi­ness plan. It also opened a tast­ing room for the first time in the mas­sive pack­ing house now serv­ing as the win­ery at the in­ter­sec­tion of Road 8 and High­way 97 south of Oliver (hence the name). While Bruce, a 1975 physics grad­u­ate from the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia, may still have a thing or two to learn about vine­yards, he is a le­gend in Cana­dian wine mar­ket­ing. In the early 1980s, he turned Calona Vine­yards’ Schloss Lader­heim into Canada largest-sell­ing white wine. Born in Kelowna in 1952, Bruce earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in physics at the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia in 1975 but went al­most im­me­di­ately into the bev­er­age in­dus­try, start­ing with Mol­son’s and mov­ing to Nabisco Brands in 1978. Nabisco had owned Calona since 1971. Bruce was part of its team of sharp young mar­keters un­til 1985, when he left to man­age the “Expo 86” ac­tiv­i­ties of ad­ver­tis­ing agency Bur­son-Marsteller. He moved on af­ter Expo to a va­ri­ety of en­tre­pre­neur­ial ven­tures in science and in fi­nance. “Ba­si­cally, sales and mar­ket­ing has been my tal­ent base,” Bruce says. “I have used that in a num­ber of ar­eas.” In science, he has started or run sev­eral com­pa­nies with in­ter­ests in biotech­nol­ogy and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Even af­ter launch­ing In­ter­sec­tion, he has con­tin­ued work­ing in the sci­en­tific field. “But in some ways, I don’t think I have left the wine busi­ness,” he says. “I have al­ways been con­nected in some way to some­one who is sell­ing wine, mak­ing wine, or what­ever. I have al­ways had this in­ter­est in a vine­yard. In fact, in 1992, I helped Blue Moun­tain fi­nance their start-up.” He headed a com­pany that had a mi­nor­ity in­ter­est in Blue Moun­tain for 18 years. “Blue Moun­tain has been a great teacher of how you do things right,” he says. In 2005, he ac­quired a four-hectare (10-acre) orchard be­side the

high­way south of Oliver. The fruit trees were re­placed with vines and the sturdy pack­ing house was turned into an ef­fi­cient win­ery. The ma­jor­ity of plants are Mer­lot. Bruce be­lieves the vine­yard pro­duces dis­tinc­tive and ex­pres­sive fruit flavours. Wine­maker Dy­lan Roche, who joined In­ter­sec­tion in 2012, shows off the Mer­lot by mak­ing four dif­fer­ent wines — a rosé, two ta­ble wines and an un­usual Amarone-style wine from air-dried grapes. That also shows off Dy­lan’s ver­sa­til­ity as a wine­maker. Born in Van­cou­ver in 1976, he be­came pas­sion­ate about wine while work­ing in Bur­gundy as a bi­cy­cle me­chanic and tour leader with But­ter­field &

Robin­son. He added a Bur­gundy wine and vini­cul­ture diploma to his Cana­dian ur­ban ge­og­ra­phy de­gree. Be­tween 2003 and 2011, when he re­turned to Canada, Dy­lan made wine in New Zealand, Bur­gundy and lat­terly in Bordeaux where he was wine­maker at a small es­tate. Mak­ing Okana­gan wine is not a big stretch. “I am pleas­antly sur­prised here,” Dy­lan says. “The more I taste here, the more I find that the shape of the wines is closer to what we tasted in France than it is to [New World] wines.” In ad­di­tion to the Mer­lot wines, his fo­cussed port­fo­lio at In­ter­sec­tion in­cludes Sauvi­gnon Blanc; Mile’s Edge White, a blend of Viog­nier and Sauvi­gnon Blanc; and Caber­net Franc. “We do have a very small block of Caber­net Franc,” Bruce says. “This is sort of fu­ture wish­ful think­ing. In my mind, it is the next grape — it is a sen­sa­tional grape for the val­ley.”

Bruce Sch­midt and Ginette Ber­trand

Wine­maker Dy­lan Roche

Win­ery dogs Tia and Bac­chus

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