As part of Vancouver’s Dine Out Festival, right before the BC Wine tasting started, a team of BC Wine Experts took the stage to discuss whether BC wine should be made to age or to drink. Taking place at the beautiful brand new UBC Alumni Centre, both teams arrived in style, including some panelists who danced (and singed) their way into the debate.
Team Made to Age had Sid Cross (Bon Vivant), Severine Pinte (Winemaker, Le Vieux Pin) and the one and only Howard Soon (Master Winemaker, Sandhill), all vying that BC Wine gets better with time. Wine is known to be made to aged with elaborate tasting notes made through the aging process. Aging wine also allows for a fully stocked cellar that is very rewarding. However, the most interesting aspect of aging wine is that with each year you age, you can get different aromas and more depth.
On the other side of the stage, team Made to Drink, Karen Gillis (Winemaker, Red Rooster), Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond (Director of Sales & Marketing, ENCORE Vineyards) and David Scholefield (Wine Advisor, Okanagan Crush Pad) tried to convince us that BC Wine is made to consume now! From the time you purchase your bottle of wine, the majority of consumers “age” it for a few minutes, or up to 4 hours. Most people simply purchase wines to drink immediately. However, the major argument is that the BC wine industry is still young and we need to exist as an industry first and provide wine that is drinkable now, then can look at producing wines to age.
Winning this debate by a landslide, Team Made to Drink took home the covenant cup, agreeing that yes, aging wine gives you a social aspect of wine BUT you can have that same love and gathering with friends with wines that are drinkable NOW.
However, even though I do consume a lot of wine now, I absolutely LOVE to age my wine. Not only do I want to see if the wine will get better with age, there is just something so beautiful (yet very stressful..) about deciding when to open it and who to open it with. These bottles always have the best stories and people appreciate when you share it with them- a great way to start (or end) any evening.
If you are looking to age some BC Wine, I suggest aging a Reisling for 2 years, or Syrah for 6 years. It may be hard to put that bottle away for sometime and not consume it now, but trust me, it can and will get better with time and be even more enjoyable!