Gran Appasso Rosso Passito is created by leaving Negroamaro, Syrah and Cabernet grapes hanging until semi-dry to make an intense wine with luscious wild berry and dark plum flavours and that seductive melange of wild herbal aromatics. Find it, and many others, at next weekend’s Wine, Brews & Blues Festival.

Upcoming festival sure to delight wine lovers

Organizers of Campbell River’s Wine, Brews & Blues Festival have busily re-invented the event

  • Apr. 24, 2019 1:30 a.m.

Moving into it’s 10th vintage, the organizers of Campbell River’s finest Wine, Brews & Blues Festival have busily re-invented the event.

On Saturday, May 4 at 4:30 p.m. corks will begin to pop at the Festival’s new venue – the ‘World Famous Painter’s Lodge.’ For the first time VIP packages will be available for $129 per person. These include an event ticket, early access and Signature Dinner – at Painter’s Lodge – with Wine and Brew Pairings.

More than two dozen wineries, wine brands and/or agents will be on hand to pour their treasures. An expanded selection of Vancouver Island craft breweries – from Campbell River’s own Beachfire Brewing to Victoria’s Hoyne Brewing – will also be teasing adventurous taste buds.

Wineries, agents and distributors will feature some of their best selling sippers as well as introducing their newest and most exciting offerings. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by breaking trends in the wine world as well as new organic and ethical initiatives.

La Riojana is Argentina’s largest wine co-operative and is one of the country’s top 10 wine exporters, producing a wide variety of award-winning FAIRTRADE and Organic wines.

The FAIRTRADE Mark was first launched in 2002 by Fairtrade International (FLO) to ensure farmers, growers and their workers in developing countries were able to receive not only a fair price for their products, but decent working conditions and practices. In particular they are often in need of a constant water supply and clean drinking water.

A trio of new wines from La Riojana sport exuberantly colourful labels. All 3 are certified Organic and FAIRTRADE approved. Believer Organic White $15.99 is a blend of Torrontes & Pinot Grigio. Believer Organic Rosé $15.99 is 100 per cent Syrah. Believer Organic Red $14.99 marries Malbec and Syrah.

As well as Vancouver Island wines from Comox’s 40 Knots Estate Winery, the Cowichan Valley’s Alderlea Vineyards and Averill Creek, there will be Shuswap wines from Tappen’s Recline Ridge and Similkameen Valley wines from Crowsnest Vineyards. Of course there will also be wines from various Okanagan Valley producers.

Hester Creek Rosé Cabernet Franc $19.99 is a full bodied, dry Okanagan Valley Rosé with aromas and flavours of grapefruit, rhubarb and strawberry with a touch of white pepper on the nose. This crowd-pleaser sells out every year, so think about tracking down a few bottles to see you through the summer.

In between sipping samples of delicious wines and cleansing your palate with lagers and ales, enjoy Vancouver-based actor, singer and blues guitarist Jim Byrnes. Multi-award winner, himself – Junos, Maple Blues Awards and Canadian Folk Music Awards – Byrnes will be accompanied by guitarist Dr. Lindsay Mitchell, founding member of the Juno award winning Canadian rock band PRISM.

Between Bynres and Mitchell’s Blues sets, find and sample Gran Appasso Rosso Passito $20.99. Growers in Italy’s southern Puglia leave Negroamaro, Syrah and Cabernet grapes hanging until semi-dry to make intense wines with luscious wild berry and dark plum flavours and that seductive melange of wild herbal aromatics – sage, rosemary, juniper and lavender – known as ‘macchia’ in Italy.

Lost, ignored or forgotten, ancient wine making techniques – developed by trial and error and passed on to sons and daughters – enhanced the final flavours of the wine naturally. Commercial yeasts were unknown and winemakers expected the grapes to ferment spontaneously. Small batches of wine were poured into clay amphoras buried in the ground to moderate the temperature of these ‘wild’ fermentations.

Opened in 2017 in downtown Kelowna, Ricco Bambino is “…a low intervention boutique winery, producing expressive, small batch, single varietal offerings without the additions of commercial yeasts or filtering agents and minimal to zero additions of sulphur dioxide”. Their wines will be available.

The initial tart, vegetal aromas coming out of a glass of Ricco Bambino Syrah $46.99 lean towards rhubarb, prickly white pepper and tomato leaf. Subtle hints of sour cherry and blackberry precede the flavours that tease the taste buds. Soft, supple tannins underpin salty, earthy, tarry notes of smoky bacon in every sip of this unabashedly natural and very dry red wine.

Ticket to the Festival are available for $75 through the Tidemark Theatre’s website. Dine & Stay and & Play packages are available through Painter’s Lodge.

WineWise will be presenting a couple of Lightning Tasting Seminars. See you there!

Reach WineWise by emailing or visit online at

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