|Photo Courtesy Bench 1775|
Vintner, General Manager, Bench 1775 Winery
With a background in Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and a degree from UC Davis in Oenology and Viticulture it's of no surprise that Valeria Tait is a strong believer that good wine starts in the vineyard.
But farming is more than an applied science. One must combine facts, experience and feelings to get the most out of the land. A self-described romantic with a scientific education and many years working at successful wineries like Painted Rock and Poplar Grove has equipped Tait with the ideal skill-set to produce great wines, from the ground up.
Get to know Valeria and get to know the wines of Bench 1775 a bit better...
Key wines to try:
Chill: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Glow: 2013, 2014, 2015
Sauvignon Blanc: 2013, 2014, 2015
1. What do you enjoy most about making wine?
The variability that comes up every year because of climate differences and the effect that climate has on fruit expression.
2. What inspired you to become a winemaker?
When I tasted a fine Alsace Riesling for the first time as a young drinker (of sweet German whites) and finding out the differences between those two wine styles is the fruit and the way the wine is made. Eye opener to say the least – more like an epiphany.
3. What causes you the most stress during harvest?
The long exhaustive physical demands of harvest and trying to get everyone to treat the last bins of fruit as carefully as the first bins of fruit – and in a cold year, that the tannins will get physiologically ripe.
4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché?
Every cliché is my least favourite – in particular, when winemakers say the following: ‘ it’s about the terroir’ – of course it’s about terroir, there is nothing else. or ‘this wine is premium quality’ – most winemakers are putting their best efforts out there, let others decide what they think of the wine.
5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?
6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment?
Not surprisingly … wine.
7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why?
Wow – that’s not a fair question because all efforts are team efforts unless you are making 1000 cases literally with no physical help. I think it is fair to say that I have had a significant influence on Mission Hill, Painted Rock and Poplar Grove because of my approach that wine is made in the vineyard, meaning the fruit expression and ripeness in the vineyard drives the wine program.
8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines?
Too many – it depends on the time of year and my mood. Right now Bench 1775 Glow Rose and salmon, Bench 1775 Cab Franc with roast pork …
9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years?
The phenomenal growth in BC wine consumption and the dwindling supply of fruit.
10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference?
Depends on the wine. Screwcap for wines that I want to retain brightness and balance (the more delicate reds) and cork for wines that will evolve as they age and they need air ingress. I am a romantic – so natural cork will always have a place in my heart. The romance of opening the bottle, the people and communities that are kept alive by purchasing cork, the traditions!
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca