With a satisfying crack and pop, the sword connects with top of the bottle and the cork flies off with a perfect little ring of cut glass around it.
“The key to sabreing a bottle of sparkling wine is no fear,” said Robbie Hundertmark, sommelier at Time Family of Wines in Penticton.
“It’s about technique, not force.”
My wife, Kerry, and I are at Time’s Sabre School, the only one of its kind in the Okanagan, to learn how to confidently sever the tops off bottles and drink
the results with a charcuterie board at Time’s new Orolo restaurant.
Two or four people are in each class and the cost is $86 to sabre a bottle of Evolve Effervescence or $100 for Brut, which includes the actual sabreing, learning about bubbles and then sitting down to enjoy the bottle’s contents with charcuterie.
For our experience, we used the provided Sciabola del Sommelier sword, but apparently any knife will do, it doesn’t even have to be sharp.
The chilled bottle is dried off, any foil and wire cage is removed, the seam in the bottle is located and then the sabre is run up the seam with conviction to connect with the lip of the bottle containing the cork to create a micro-fracture in the glass.
It’s actually the 42 pounds per square inch of pressure in the bubbles in a Prosecco-style sparkling or the 76 pounds per square inch in Champagne-style that blows the tip of the bottle and the cork off.
Sabreing dates back to Napoleonic times when French soldiers were given a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne to
go off to war.
Simply to be showy, the soldiers on horseback would gallop away, swords drawn to sheer the tops off the bottles.
Sabreing is still certainly showy, but it’s more celebratory now than warmongering. So, we celebrate Time Family of Wine’s refresh.
The winery in downtown Penticton in the refurbished former PenMar movie theatre, still has three brands, but one of the brands, Time, has been replaced with Chronos, which continues
to stick to the theme because Chronos is the Greek god of time.
New releases from Chronos include the 2020 Riesling ($28), Sauvignon blanc, ($28), Rose ($28), Chardonnay ($30), Semillon ($30) and high-end Ouroboros red blend ($85).
The two other brands have new labels — Evolve’s are abstract and McWatters Collection’s are traditional.
McWatters continues to showcase the legacy wines named after the previous owner, the late Harry McWatters.
Time Family of Wines is now owned by Ron and Shelley Mayert, who have been making changes, but keeping some
things the same.
For instance, Harry’s daughter, Christa-Lee, remained as general manager, but a new winemaker, Lynzee Schatz was brought on in 2019.
The winery itself on Martin Street is getting a bit of a revamp with two private conference-dining-tasting rooms upstairs called McWatters Suite and PenMar Suite.
Time Kitchen has become the more upscale Orolo restaurant, complete with updated patio, but the famous gourmet burger remains on the menu with chef AK Campbell at the helm.
A rooftop patio will follow next year.
Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover and a Canadian Wine Scholar. Email: email@example.com