Bella Wines

2019 – something different

And now for something completely different from Bella.

Since our first vintage in 2011 we have stayed true to our focus and only made sparkling wine from two grapes: Gamay Noir and Chardonnay. Back in 2011, Gamay was considered a “blending grape” here in BC and most people thought we were crazy to choose that as our red grape over Pinot Noir, a Champagne standard. Back then we had no problem getting Gamay, no one really wanted it. Now fast forward: #gogamaygo is a real thing and it has become harder and harder for us to source fruit, let alone organic fruit. As of 2019 only 178 acres, of the total 10,260 acres planted in the province, were Gamay Noir. There are many reasons why small producers struggle to get fruit: consolidation in our industry, large players setting up shop and wanting to come out swinging, virtual wineries popping up and want this hip “new” grape. Whatever the reason, it has been a real struggle for us to grow to our desired 3500 cases using only Gamay and Chardonnay.

We need to adapt to grow. We need to come up with something different …

Imagine how weird? exciting? interesting? our path will be if we contemplate using other grapes? We’ll always be a bubble house but what new grape should we invite to this party? This new path allows us to consider:

  • fruit from unique sites that we’ve been curious about;
  • supporting smaller, local growers that are experimenting with weird varietals;
  • many times we have to take the fruit from the entire vineyard just to get the Chardonnay and Gamay and now we can play with the other varietals on the property instead of (a) passing on the vineyard or (b) having to sell fruit we don’t use;

The opportunities are endless – just like the thought process you go through when you’re starting a new winery.

Speaking of new, we didn’t want brand confusion so this “something different” needs to have a new label! If you’ve been to the farm, and our tasting room, then you know the biggest characters here, outside of our bull dog Buddha, are our pigs. We name them each year and they have crazy unique personalities. They watch over the back Gamay block and encourage us to do different things, be flexible and adapt. This first label is dedicated to them – well, to Sal (aka Salami) who was quite the instigator.

Something Different allows Jay to deeper explore the creative tendencies he brings to our sparkling wine program …

2019 Something Different – Piquette

In France, a long time ago, laborers and vineyard hands sometimes got paid in grape pomace (the pressed pulp, skins, seeds, etc that is remaining in the press after we have pressed off the juice to make wine) which they then took home, added water and allowed to ferment.  This created a low alcohol wine with a gentle spritz.  Think of it as the “wine spritzer” of the 19th century.  We heard about this style and decided to try it ourselves and it is quite yummy!  We used the pressings from the mariani gamay and a muscat dominated aromatic, added water and, well, voila! Piquette!  This is crushable go-go juice for summer patios and, with low alcohol and “bi-product pricing” of $15.90, this will fly.  We hope to make more of it, if demand allows it.

THE PRODUCT

  • Method: Ancestrale, not disgorged (contains original lees)
  • Ingredients: Grape Pomace, Water
  • Released April 1st, 2020
  • Product 750ml: CSPC +69422 | SOLD OUT | 750 bottles | 6.2% Alcohol

2019 Something Different – Marj

Kathleen, our Assistant Winemaker, named Marj. We met some locals (Naramata Village – just up the road from us) last year who literally took possession of their house/vineyard during harvest and had no idea what grapes were on their site or what to do with them.  We looked at the mish-mash of interplanted varietals and can honestly say we didn’t know either.  To help them out we took all the fruit, co fermented it and topped it up with riesling to make a juicy ancestrale bubble.  Marj, the reliable aunt who wore the conservative twin-set that you knew there was a lot more going on with her but never got the chance to truly get to know.  This is a one off as the owners are now trying to figure out what they have so they can make their own wine going forward.

THE PRODUCT

  • Method: Ancestrale, disgorged, no dosage
  • Ingredients: Grapes, 20 PPM Sulphur
  • Released April 1st, 2020
  • Product 750ml: CSPC +69416 | SOLD OUT | 300 bottles

2019 Something Different – Aromatics

We quietly made this exclusively for Juice Bar in the 2018 vintage to see if the world could handle a non-Gamay/Chard offering from us. It was the test run for the Something Different series and as it was really well received we decided to continue. This is a white aromatic blend, so really floral and crisp, from fruit sourced in Naramata Village.

THE PRODUCT

  • Method: Ancestrale, not disgorged (contains original lees)
  • Ingredients: Grapes
  • Released April 1st, 2020
  • Product 750ml: CSPC +69425 | SOLD OUT | 200 bottles | 8.4%

2019 Poppyshake Cider

Keeping with the theme of thinking outside of the box this vintage, our Assistant Winemaker Kathleen, along with her husband Dave Levesque, made this dry, ancestrale method, ambient ferment, unfiltered, unfined cider from the heritage apples on our property alongside crab apples and ambrosias.  Immensely crushable, this cider, with a classic apple and lime flavor profile, was meant for drinking on hot days in August.

THE PRODUCT

  • Method: Ancestrale, disgorged, no dosage
  • Ingredients: Apples
  • Released August 1st, 2020
  • Product 750ml: CSPC +74969 | $20.80 | 720 bottles | 7.1%
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