I received this press release from Phantom Creek Estates in the Oliver area about their latest vintage, plus the promotion of one of their staff to Oenologist. Below is the press release. Plus if you want to read about this harvest from other BC wine makers, you can click on my article link at the bottom of this article. Cheerio.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2018
2018: An Elegant Vintage Led by an Exceptional Team
Oliver, British Columbia: The 2018 vintage required patience and precision at Phantom Creek Estates, but rewarded with wines of restraint and elegance. The Bai family would like to thank their exceptional team, both in the vineyard and cellar, whose attention to detail and tireless pursuit of excellence is reflected in this year’s wines.
To that end, Phantom Creek is thrilled to announce the promotion of Calli Bailey to Oenologist. A graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Calli worked harvests in New Zealand and the Okanagan before joining Phantom Creek in August 2017. Alongside Assistant Winemaker Karin Grosstessner-Hain and Cellar Master Allison MacLeod, Phantom Creek’s experienced winemaking team is equally driven, talented, and passionate.
Although 2018 did not follow the typical arc of an Okanagan growing season, the end result was a more moderate growing season than in previous years. Budbreak was a week earlier than average, and continued with unusually warm weather in May, resulting in near record heat accumulation before June hit.
However, the season cooled considerably as the summer progressed, with one of the coolest Septembers in the last 20 years. “Fortunately, October rebounded with favourable temperatures that helped to push Bordeaux varieties over the finish line,” said Grosstessner-Hain. The vintage finished with near average heat accumulation for the Okanagan, falling just short of the 2017 growing season.
One of the reasons for the high quality of the 2018 vintage was the cooperative weather. “We had very clean fruit from all of our estate vineyards, and could let certain blocks hang longer if required,” said MacLeod. “At the same time, the moderate temperatures meant we retained acidity. In some cases, we were waiting for blocks to lose a bit of acidity before picking, which is not always the case in the South Okanagan.”
The challenge in the cellar, instead, was tannin management. “It was easy to over extract too much tannin this year,” said Bailey. “We were continuously monitoring our cap management, and made adjustments on a lot-by-lot basis as we tasted through each ferment. As a result, we found ourselves using more punchdowns than pumpovers. And, where we did use pumpovers, we decreased the frequency from 2-3 to 1 per day.”
The end result is wines that balance freshness with ripe fruit flavours and moderate alcohol levels. “I find the 2018 whites have great structure and varietal accuracy, with lots of raspberry and black currant in the reds,” said Grosstessner-Hain. “I think it’s a great vintage, with wines that are reflective of their respective vineyards,” concluded MacLeod.
With a number of extremely qualified candidates coming forward, Phantom Creek also hopes to announce their new Winemaker in early 2019. To learn more about career opportunities at Phantom Creek, visit the Careers page at phantomcreekestates.com.
The 2018 vintage may be far from release, but Phantom Creek’s inaugural wines will be released to the public in Spring 2019.
About Phantom Creek Estates
On the sunbathed Black Sage Bench in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Phantom Creek Estates farms exceptional wines from historic vineyards. The winery’s estate vineyards, including the acclaimed Phantom Creek Vineyard, are in transition to organic and biodynamic practices. By farming historic vineyards with care and precision, Phantom Creek produces wines that celebrate and speak to where they are grown. Today, we continue the tradition of producing single vineyard wines from these sites. The winery is projected to open in Spring 2019. To follow the progress, visit phantomcreekestates.com.
Follow Phantom Creek’s blog, Pressing Matters, at www.phantomcreekestates.com.