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Day 1 – Estate Series Bacchus 2022

An extremely rare grape variety

Welcome to Day 1!

We thought it would be fun to kick off our wine advent calendar with one of our most popular wines: Bacchus. Since it’s inaugural release in 2020, our Estate Series Bacchus is quickly becoming one of our fastest selling wines each year. And given its popularity, we made sure to save enough to include it in the advent calendar!

Bacchus is not a well-known grape variety. In fact, with only 50 acres planted in all of Canada, it’s one of the rarest around. Despite many people thinking that Bacchus is a hybrid grape (cross between a Vitis vinifera grape and another Vitis species), it is 100% Vitis vinifera. Bred back in 1933 in Germany, it’s a crossing between Riesling, Sylvaner, and Muller-Thurgau. However, it didn’t achieve protected varietal status until 1972, when it was released for cultivation.

We purchased the Conviction Ridge vineyard in 2018, and prior to that, I had never worked with this variety before. There’s always a bit of a learning curve when working with a new type of grape, but with so little of it planted in BC, and even fewer wineries making it (only half a dozen), there weren’t a lot of people to reach out to for guidance and advice. Left to my own devices, I decided to do three micro-harvests in 2018, each picked exactly 1 week apart. In the winery, I made each 1-ton batch of wine exactly the same: same press cycle, same settling period, same yeast strains, etc. The differences in the resulting wines, therefore, was a factor of the chemistry of the grapes at the time of harvest, and more specifically, sugar ripeness and acidity. This micro-harvest concept was repeated again in 2019, but with only two separate picks. Armed with some great data and a bunch of tasting notes, I’ve been able to find what I consider to be the sweet spot for the optimal harvest specs to produce the style of Bacchus we are becoming known for. And starting with the 2020 vintage, we’ve been producing one of the few dry-style single varietal Bacchus wines available in Canada.

For today’s food pairing suggestion, we are going with a simple pasta. This is typically a spring dish given the need for fresh spring vegetables, but it still works well in all seasons. It’s simple to prepare, but packed with flavours that are very complimentary with the wine.  If you’d rather try something a little more elaborate, we’ve also included a recipe for poached halibut that is out of this world!

Winemaking Notes

The Bacchus grape has noble heritage. A Vitis Vinifera cross between Riesling, Sylvaner and Muller-Thurgau, it produces intensely aromatic and powerful wines. The 2022 Bacchus is made exclusively from grapes grown at our Conviction Ridge estate vineyard in Kaleden. Hand-harvested early in the morning to preserve the acidity, the grapes were lightly pressed and then the juice was fermented in stainless steel to produce a clean, fresh style of wine. Aged sur lie in tank, with bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) once a month to build texture and body.

Tasting Notes
This wine offers expressive aromatics that include herbaceous and grassy undertones, and both orchard and tropical fruits. The palate is round and creamy with nice concentration and flavours of poached pear, thyme, sage, and pink grapefruit. There’s a bit of lime peel on the finish and a flinty minerality that persists to the end of the long finish.

Food Pairings
The freshness, aromatics and crisp acidity enables our Bacchus to pair well with many different dishes. Great on its own as an aperitif, it’s also awesome with coconut poached halibut with lime cilantro gremolata!

91+ Points – Carl Boucher (Carl’s Wine Club)

90 Points – John Schreiner

Wine Specs

Vintage 2022
Appellation Okanagan Valley VQA
Vineyards Kaleden
Acid 5.9 g/L
pH 3.1
Residual Sugar 5.2 g/L
Alcohol % 11.9
Production: 225 cases