One of Jesus' most impressive party tricks was turning water into wine.

Now Doug and Dawn Reimer of Kelowna's Mirabel Vineyards want to do the opposite.

The couple has pledged to donate $2 from every bottle of of their wines sold to new charity Wine2Water.ca to provide clean drinking water to villages in Uganda.

The Reimers have also guaranteed to pay for all overhead costs, so all money raised goes directly to water projects, not administration.

As well, the Reimers are challenging other wineries, retailers and restaurants to get involved and donate $2 from every bottle sold to Wine2Water.ca.

"This charity has been five years in the making," said Dawn.

"We were looking for the right opportunity to connect our wine to a bigger purpose. Clean water for those that desperately need it in Uganda and Wine2Water.ca is that bigger purpose."

The Reimers have teamed up with Jeff Golby, CEO of ActsForWater.ca, to customize Wine2Water.ca.

He's been to Uganda and helped a 10-year-old boy named Albert make several three-kilometre round trips a day to fill two cans each with 40 pounds of swamp water to bring back to the family's mud hut.

"It's an extremely time consuming and inefficient way to get water that's of such poor quality it will probably make the family sick," said Golby.

"Money from Wine2Water.ca means we can tap into an aquifer high in the mountains to supply clean water through a gravity-fed system into a reservoir and pipes and eventually taps at community centres and homes, serving a whole area of up to 10,000 people."

Other wineries, retailers and restaurants wanting to get involved can check out Wine2Water.ca and email Jeff@Wine2Water.ca.

The reception launching the initiative was at the Reimer's Tuscan-style estate on the vineyard in East Kelowna.

Mirabel's excellent Rose, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were served to pair with appetizers by chef Rod Butters of Raudz Concepts, the restaurant group that operates Raudz Regional Table, Micro Bites+Bar and Sunny's Modern Diner in Kelowna and Terrafina restaurant at Hester Creek Estate Winery in Oliver.

Mirabel wines are only available online at MirabelVineyards.com.

*****

Vibrant acidity and mouth-watering freshness are the common denominator in all of the whites and rose Mission Hill Family Estate's new chief winemaker Ben Bryant had a hand in crafting.

 – New for the West Kelowna winery for the 2018 vintage is a Reserve White Meritage ($22) comprised of 51% Sauvignon Blanc and 49% Semillon.

Sauv Blanc and Semillon is the traditional white blend in France's famed Bordeaux wine region.

However, in France the percentage of Semillon is usually much less.

Bryant decided on a higher component of Semillon to give the White Meritage texture and a honeyed profile to elevate the Sauv Blanc's grapefruit and apricot aromas and flavours.

 – Mission Hill's stand-alone 2018 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($22) straddles the line between New Zealand-style brashness and French-style restraint.

As such, it offers up an elegant palate of gooseberry, lime, passionfruit and lemongrass.

 – Watermelon flavours in Rose is an increasingly Okanagan characteristic.

The Reserve 2018 Rose ($21) starts off with bright watermelon, but also offers the raspberry and classic strawberry and cream you expect from a well-made pink.

 –  The 2018 Reserve Pinot Gris ($22) has additional texture and creaminess, thanks to being 25% fermented in French oak barrels.

The barrels were used before, so the oak taste was soaked out of them.

That means the fresh fruit aromas and flavours of peach, pear and lemon were maintained with a hint of spiciness.

 – The Terroir Collection label of Mission Hill was designed for wines made from the top 3% of grapes from specific vineyards displaying unique microclimates.

That means only the best fruit from the winery's property on Oliver's Black Sage Bench is used in the Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard 2017 Chardonnay ($45).

It's a deftly oaked and elegant Chard with aromas and flavours of pear, lemon and spice.

*****

CedarCreek winemaker Taylor Whelan undoubtedly had summer on his mind when he crafted these three refreshing whites and exquisite rose.

All are Platinum series releases, meaning they are the best, limited-production wines the Kelowna winery makes and the only way you're likely to get your hands on them is at the winery, by being a member of the Platinum Wine Club or order online.

 – Whelan believes rose should be elegant.

So the 2018 Platinum Block 1 Pinot Noir Rose ($30) is pale pink to match the pink grapefruit aromas and flavours you initially get in the wine, followed up by strawberry, watermelon, lemon and mineral zest.

 – The 2018 Platinum Border Vista Sauvignon Blanc ($30) is the winery's first Platinum Sauv Blanc.

And it's rightfully special with New Zealand-style gooseberry and lemongrass and French-style lime and grapefruit.

 – Not many Okanagan wineries make Ehrenfelser, the German cross of Riesling and Sylvaner.

CedarCreek does it expertly, turning out a 2018 Platinum Block 9 Ehrenfelser ($30) lush with orange, honey and floral notes.

 – You can drink the 2017 Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay ($35) now or cellar it to enjoy up to 2025.

If you imbibe now you'll appreciate the apple, lemon and floral profile.

If you hang on a few years, you'll be rewarded with an evolution of tropical fruit hints, such as pineapple and mango.

*****

Steve MacNaull is a reporter at The Okanagan Weekend. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca.

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