Friday, September 26, 2014

Get To Know... Gavin Miller

Photo by Lionel Trudel
Gavin Miller
Vintner, Upper Bench Winery and Creamery
Naramata Bench, BC

When you meet Gavin Miller you quickly soak-in his passion and pride for the wines he produces. Before opening his own winery (with like-minded partners) Gavin contributed to the success of notable Okanagan brands such as Painted Rock and Poplar Grove. With Upper Bench Winery, the same attention to detail and focus on quality  that helped make the other wineries must-visits for any BC wine lover is on offer. Thanks to this, Upper Bench will likely become the next must-visit winery along the Naramata Bench with the added bonus of an on-premise Creamery, run by his wife Shana.

Get to know Gavin a bit better and get to know Upper Bench's wines...
Key Wines To Try:
Merlot: 2011, 2012
Pinot Noir: 2011, 2012
Pinot Gris: 2011

1. What do you enjoy most about making wine?
The Vineyard, watching how it changes throughout the season. Trying to balance production to the strength of the season. Then capturing it all in a bottle.

2. What inspired you to become a winemaker?
I went back to school to learn about grape growing in order to go out and become a wine agent. After about two weeks of being tutored by the very passionate Bill Eggert. I no longer wanted to sell wine, I wanted to grow it. So began my new career, first in the vineyards then into the cellar learning from everyone I could find.

3. What causes you the most stress during harvest?
Harvest doesn’t really stress me. It is attention to detail that I find matters most, so a calm approach works best.

4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché?
"No Whimpy Wine around Here” comes to mind.

5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?
My Wife the “Big Cheese". (Editor's note: Gavin's wife, Shana Miller, runs the CFIA registered creamery attached to the winery. More on her story here.)

6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment?
Beer in the Hot Tub with the Big Cheese

7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why?
Tantalus Riesling, so much acid, so concentrated. I have really enjoyed watching this wine develop over the years.

8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines?
Saag Lamb with our Riesling or 2012 Merlot with Upper Bench King Cole

9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years?
Hopefully a return to dry wines and truth in labelling. I am really tired of tasting large amounts of residual sugar and having producers denying it, especially red wine, there is no place for sugar in red wine.

10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference?
Both have their place, I still think big reds are better under cork but  screw cap for all others

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014

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