Nostalgia, After 15 Years in the Okanagan

Are you ever Nostalgic about something in your past?  Your favourite home cooked meal by your mom?  How your lap-dog or lap-cat would sit with you till late while you were studying for exams? 

I and a few other wine media and Trade people had a virtual seminar with Nostalgia Wines about their wines and history.

Gina with Pinot Gris Grapes (credit Nostalgia Wines Inc)

Gina Fernandes Harfman with Pinot Gris Grapes (credit Nostalgia Wines Inc)

Gina and Sheila

For Gina Fernandes Harfman, who is the owner, winemaker, and fourth-generation South Okanagan family farmer, Nostalgia Wines is the name she selected for her winery located on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver. She and her business partner, Sheila Whittaker, grew up together in Oliver and have remained best friends.  Sheila is the GM and deals with the general public and outward-facing part of the winery, while Gina is out in the vineyards, in the winery or barrel room, making the best wine that she can. Sheila studied Journalism and worked around the world before returning back to Canada to work in wine for Philippe Dandurand Wines in Montreal and then Western Canada. Her studies in wine include the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) diploma, Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Scholar. They are a dynamic duo.

Gina’s Journey

Gina’s family had a vineyard and their family always drank wine, so she grew up with it.  But did not immediately get into winemaking.  She started off with a University degree in Fine Arts then went to Las Vegas to learn pinstriping and airbrushing, to customize vehicles.  You may notice that her Pin-up Series of wines have labels with retro-cool paintings by artist Ralph Burch showing muscle cars and pin-up girls from the past. 

Nostalgia Home Vineyard (credit Nostalgia Wines Inc)

Nostalgia Home Vineyard (credit Nostalgia Wines Inc)

Around 2009 Gina became interested in winemaking, took some classes, and started to work as an assistant winemaker at Cassini Cellars then began helping with the crush at Oliver Twist Winery in 2010, where she sharpened her winemaking skills, learning from the head winemakers. In 2012 Gina purchased Oliver Twist Winery, which leads us to today, 15 years after that purchase.  Looking back and being nostalgic, Gina decided that the winery needed a makeover, so Nostalgia Wines was born along with new wine labels, and tasting room updates. If you go to the Tasting Room, you will see many items from her family; things she is nostalgic about.  You may be nostalgic too and talk about things you remember as you sip a wine in the Tasting Room. 

Gina gets grapes from her Home winery, 14.5 acres, growing 9-10 different grape varieties. She also gets grapes from her parent’s vineyard (Harfman Vineyard), which covers 16 acres.  This vineyard grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.  She also gets Malbec and Viognier grapes from the Gablemann Vineyard; a small vineyard that covers 1.5 acres located on an elevated terrace. She currently produces 5,000-6,000 cases of wine each year.

A Selection of The Wines

A selection of their Nostalgia and Pin-Up Series wines were sent to the attendees of the seminar to taste along with Gina and Sheila.  I opened the:

  • Nostalgia Wines Kerner 2020
  • Nostalgia Wines Rosé 2020
  • Nostalgia Wines Merlot 2018
Nostalgia Wines Kerner, Rosé, and Merlot wines

Nostalgia Wines Kerner, Rosé, and Merlot wines

Nostalgia Wines Kerner 2020 – Gina calls this grape sunshine in a glass, and you can easily understand when you taste this wine. She grows about 4 acres of this grape on the home vineyard in different blocks covering sandy and rocky soils.  This wine has a bright medium lemon colour.  Sweet spices, candied lemon, and stone fruit aromas.  It is off-dry, soft and smooth with lower acidity.  Lime and stone fruit flavours, with a light acidic prickle and some pepperiness on the finish.  As the wine warmed in the glass I also picked up pears and tropical fruits.  Fresh fruit flavours for this wine. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Nostalgia Wines Rosé 2020 – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.  These grapes were all fermented separately then blended. The saignee method is used to produce this wine, with the juice coming from their top red grapes. This wine has a lighter red cherry / rhubarb colour in the glass.  Rhubarb and tart red fruit on the nose.  A medium-plus body, thicker and round in your mouth.  Nice red fruits, rhubarb, and strawberry flavours.  A touch of vegetal and pepperiness.  Soft acidity. I really enjoyed this wine.  You can too! 4.5 out of 5 stars

Nostalgia Wines Merlot 2018 – Gina has not been making Merlot wine yearly.  The last time was in 2014 and now in 2018.  This is a wine that is full-bodied, full of fruit, fit with firm tannins, and built to age for 8-12 years.  A blend of 95% Merlot (Home Vineyard, Oliver), 3% Cabernet Sauvignon (Harfman Vineyard, Osoyoos), and 2% Malbec (Gablemann Vineyard, Oliver).  It is a dull opaque garnet colour (an unfiltered wine I believe).  Lots of black fruits, black cherries, sweet spices, cedar, and dark chocolate aromas.  Full-bodied, dry and round, with fine tannins.  Juicy black fruit, cherries, cocoa on the mid-palate and sweet spices on the finish.  The wine lightens up a bit on the mid-palate.  A very concentrated wine. 4.5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars

All three wines are top quality in my opinion and would not hesitate to purchase them and share with friends and family.  I will be covering the remaining two wines, the Chantilly Lace sparkling, and the Family Collection Meritage in an upcoming article. And I will discuss the different labels for the three wine Series.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

2020 Nostalgia Kerner ($21.99)

Currently available for purchase online at nostalgiawines.ca, in-person at the winery and at select Save On Foods stores throughout the province. You may be able to find this wine at private wine stores throughout BC in the coming months. 

2020 Nostalgia Rosé ($23.99)

Available for purchase online at nostalgiawines.ca and in-person at the winery. You may be able to find this wine at private wine stores throughout BC in the coming months. 

2018 Nostalgia Merlot ($32.99)

Available for purchase online at nostalgiawines.ca and in-person at the winery. You may be able to find this wine at private wine stores throughout BC in the coming months. 

 

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.