Mark Hopley

Mark Hopley is the winemaker at Hester Creek Winery in Oliver.

Three whites, two reds and an inaugural sparkling.

Hester Creek Winery in Oliver is flexing its diversity with its fall releases.

They are the work of winemaker Mark Hopley and his assistant, Rebecca Ruggeri.

Fall is when people are still drinking whites because they don’t quite want to let go of summer.

But it’s also the time people are turning to reds as the days shorten and the temperature cools.

And sparkling, well, it’s a delight to drink, whatever the season.

Hester Creek’s first bubbles is the Prosecco-style 2019 Ti Amo ($20).

New-release whites include 2019 Character White ($16), a fragrant blend of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer; 2019 Pinot Blanc ($16), which has aromas and flavours of nectarine and dried apricot; and 2019 Chardonnay ($22), a quintessential lightly-oaked Okanagan Chard with a lemon-and-caramel profile.

The two new-release reds are both big, 2017 vintage and Bordeaux-style.

The Garland ($56) features aromas and flavours of blackberry, plum and cedar, and The Judge ($44) offers up cherry, fig and dark chocolate.

Five great imports

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know I’m an advocate of drinking both Okanagan and international wines to give your palate global context.

Five great imports worthy of finding their way into your glass are:

— Mo Sisters 2018 Rose ($25) is Australia’s most Instagrammed wine brand. The wine is delicious, but it gained additional cachet from the three Moularadellis sisters, Lauren, Victoria and Emma, who are social media experts, having cut their teeth first promoting their jewelry brand.

The Mo sisters are the daughters of Bill Moularadellis, the owner of Kingston Estate, one of the largest wineries Down Under.

— Bellingham, Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2017 ($27) from South Africa is a textured expression of peach and honey aromas and flavours.

— Belle Glos Pinot Noir Rose 2018 ($22) has a dry, creamsicle-and-pink-grapefruit profile.

— Veramonte 2019 Sauvignon Blanc ($14) from Chile is organic, fresh and crisp.

— Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier 2018 ($25) from California captures the best of both varietals for a wine with a pineapple-lemon-honeysuckle-and-ginger profile.

— You can’t miss Anna de Codorniu Sparkling Brut ($17) from Spain because it comes in a distinctive, stylish all-white bottle.

All these wines are brought into Canada by Andrew Peller Imports, a division of the same company that has Okanagan wineries Peller Estates, Wayne Gretzky, Sandhill, Red Rooster, Black Hills, Gray Monk and Tinhorn Creek.

All are for sale in the import section at Mission Liquor Store, the private retailer beside Save-On Foods on Lakeshore Road in Kelowna, where manager Dora Vetsch and assistant manager Anthony Cupello can always steer you in the right direction.

Bordeaux release

The Bordeaux are here, the Bordeaux are here.

Every year at this time, select B.C. government liquor stores create a sensation with the annual release of the latest vintage of famed red wines from France’s Bordeaux region.

Today is release day and socially distanced lineups are expected to form even though an online pre-order system was introduced this year because of COVID.

This year, it’s 2017 vintage wines that are being released.

B.C. government stores have long-standing relationships with wineries and wine cooperatives in Bordeaux, so they are always able to source the most desirable wines at every price point.

Of course, Bordeaux’s price point starts relatively high at $39 for a bottle of Chateau Ferran Pessac-Leognan and goes all the way up to $18,000 for a 12-bottle case of Duclot Bordeaux Collection.

You could drink some of these wines now, but most are meant to be cellared for five to 10 years.

The Okanagan stores participating are Orchard Park and Mission Park in Kelowna, Penticton Plaza and Vernon.

Library releases

Tomorrow is the last day to get your hands on rare, 2014 vintage wines from Kelowna’s CedarCreek Winery.

It’s called a Library Release because the winery uncovers some of the limited quantity of bottles it’s been aging for a special sale.

The 2014 Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay ($55), 2014 Platinum Desert Ridge Merlot ($80) and 2014 Platinum Desert Ridge Red Meritage ($80) are available at the winery or online at

Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover. Email: