Kitsch Wines in East Kelowna feels like home to Graham Pierce.

The talented winemaker wanted to join a young and edge winery with tons of possibilities and found it with Kitsch.

The business was started a few years ago by husband-and-wife team Trent and Ria Kitsch to produce wines with verve that would appeal to everyone from Gen Z and Millennials to Gen X and Baby Boomers.

“Quality is our number one objective at Kitsch,” said Ria.

“Bringing Graham on board speaks to this and also paves the way for exciting new opportunities.”

Some of those opportunities include planting new vineyards and a new purpose-built winery.

Currently, the winery, tasting room and shop is located at 3330 Neid Rd.

“I've had great respect for Ria and Trent since their ambitious launch of the winery,” said Pierce.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be joining the amazing team at Kitsch for the next step of the adventure.”

Besides making the wines at Kitsch, Pierce will also be general manager.

Pierce started his career at Vancouver restaurants and as culinary director at Summerhill Pyramid in Kelowna before studying winemaking at Okanagan College.

His first winemaking job was as an assistant at Mt. Boucherie in West Kelowna before becoming head winemaker there.

In 2008, he moved to Black Hills in Oliver where he really made his mark for the next decade as the winemaker behind Note Bene, the red Bordeaux-style blend that attracted a cult following and helped put big Okanagan reds on the map.

Most recently, Pierce was winemaker at Penticton-based Encore Vineyards, which has the Time, McWatters Collection and Evolve winery brands.

Since World Chardonnay Day was on Thursday, we should start our review of Kitsch wines with the newly released 2018 Chardonnay ($24).

It's a lightly oaked beauty reminiscent of cruncy apple, vanilla and grandma's sugar cookies.

Kitsch has partnered with charity Tentree to donate five mangrove trees for every bottle of Chard sold for planting in the village of Mahabana, Madagascar.

The salmon-coloured 2019 Pinot Noir Rose ($27) provides a blast of pink grapefruit to start, followed by the sweet-tart contrast of strawberry and rhubarb.

The 2019 Block Party ($21) appears to be a light rose, but is actually a sassy blush blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that will please with a palate of juicy orange, apricot and gummy bear candy.

The 2019 Pinot Gris ($22) is classic of the varietal with aromas and flavours of pear, lemon and honey.

*****

This is not the silver anniversary Stag's Hollow Winery in Okanagan Falls imagined.

“This year was meant to be very special for Stag's Hollow, celebrating our 25th birthday in 2020,” said sales and marketing manager Erin Korpisto.

“We launched a brand new website in February and were just in the process of getting various events set up to be hosted at the winery throughout the year when the COVID crisis really took hold of everybody's lives.”

While the new normal is sorted out, Stag's Hollow is concentrating on online sales and parking-lot pick-ups of new releases crafted by young winemaker Keira Le Franc.

Le Franc is particularly proud of the follow three summer sippers.

The 2019 Rose ($24) is a Stag's Hollow's first-ever blend of Syrah and Zweigelt and the results are classic strawberries-and-cream with a background of watermelon.

The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc ($22) has aromas and flavours of gooseberry, lime and pineapple and is billed as the perfect wine to pair with fish and chips.

The winery touts its 2019 Muscat Frizzante ($22) as a breakfast wine that can also easily be a brunch, lunch, dinner or anytime bubbly with its profile of quaffable nectarine, lime and jasmine.

As the year goes on and pandemic restrictions ease, Stag's Hollow hopes to throw some anniversary parties.

*****

Yes, Black Widow Winery in Naramata is named after the three-centimetre-long spider notorious for killing and eating the hapless male after mating.

Black widows are also feared because they are venomous, but in reality they rarely bite humans and even if they do it's more likely to cause a little bit of discomfort rather than death.

Black windows are welcomed and common in vineyards as a reminder of the South Okanagan's dessert terroir, which is ideal for wine grapes.

Black Widow also features the distinctive hourglass-shaped spider with the red dot on its back on all labels and even has some arthropod name tie-ins.

For instance, the 2018 Phobia ($32)is a red blend of Merlot and Syrah that plays off people being frightened of spiders.

No need to be scared of this wine as it's smooth with a plum-and-pepper profile that can be casual paired with pizza or burgers or go high-brow with rack of lamb.

Sparking Web 2019 ($25) is a lemon-and-papaya frizzante blend of Muscat Ottonel, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.

The 2019 Rose ($23) has aromas and flavours of refreshing pink grapefruit and watermelon.

And the 2019 Pinot Gris ($23) also has a coppery tint from the varietal's dark grape skins and an apple-and-lime profile.

With COVID restrictions loosening, Black Widow is opening its tasting room and shop at 1630 Naramata Rd. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

Admission will be limited to allow for social distancing and groups can be no bigger than six people.

The winery can also open by appointment ohn Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca.