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Ex Nihilo
 
October 21, 2022 | Ex Nihilo

Top Reasons to Do a Wine Tasting or Tour in the Fall and Winter

 

Fall Okanagan Wine Tasting at Ex Nihilo

A Vineyard in the fall months is a sight to behold, especially in the Okanagan. As the foliage starts to show its autumn colours, and the grapes burst off the vine, beckoning harvest time, enjoying a wine tasting is a wonderful idea. Fewer crowds and milder temperatures are just a few reasons why you might want to embark on a wine tasting or tour at this time. Here are some more considerations, for those still on the fence.

A Winery in the Fall

For many wineries, visiting after the summer rush may allow you to observe some of the inner workings of the facility, from the harvest, to the winemaking process, to the bottling stage. In addition, you may be one of the first to taste a newly produced wine by sampling new releases that become available at this time! 

Okanagan Valley Grape Harvest

Veraison, or the change of colour of the grapes on the vine, is a beautiful sight as grapes take on their signature rich and appealing appearance, but once the grapes are ripe enough for harvesting the winemaking magic truly begins. Deciding when to harvest is an important decision, as the ripening process for a grape ends once it is picked. Harvesting a grape later will yield a sweeter taste than a grape of the same crop harvested earlier, as more sugar remains with the later-picked grape. Thus the date a grape is picked can contribute to the sweetness, flavour and alcohol content of the resulting wine.

At Ex Nihilo, wine tastings are available in the fall months and Chaos Bistro is open until October 29th, with special dinners and events throughout the winter season for our guests. Check our website for details, and subscribe to our entertaining and informative e-newsletter to keep on the pulse with what is happening at the winery during this time.

Enjoy a Winter Wine Tour

Wait, Wine Touring in the Winter?

No, you are not crazy if you are curious about wine touring in the winter. It is indeed a thing, especially in the Okanagan. Some wine tasters even swear by touring in the winter. Doing a tasting or tour in the winter is smart, as the main harvest is over and winemaking is in full force. 

Of course you don’t experience the stunning budding stage of spring, the vibrant colours of fall, or the summer heat, but winter has something special to offer visitors. Staff may be more available to answer your questions in depth and give you their full attention. There are often VIP or special events and experiences to take advantage of as well.

And it is icewine’s time to shine as the temperature falls and grapes are picked frozen off the vine. Canada is one of the countries at the forefront of icewine production, and Ex Nihilo offers a few icewines that you might want to explore. 

Winter Winery Events at Ex Nihilo

It is abundantly clear that there is much going on beneath the surface at many wineries in the winter. It is the perfect time to cosy up and enjoy a winter wonderland, with a glass of premium wine as you peer out at the vineyard quietly hibernating, and perhaps lightly covered in snow.

Note - Be sure to check a winery’s website before embarking as not all may operate to the public at this time, or may have reduced hours. At Ex Nihilo tastings appointments are recommended in the winter, but not absolutely necessary. 

Wine for Every Season

While the spring and summer put lighter white and rosé wines at the forefront, the fall and winter may bring focus to more full-bodied red wines that can be consumed warmer. Snuggling up with a glass of red wine in the colder months is common, but you can obviously enjoy any wine during any time of the year! 

Of course the type of wine we choose does not solely depend on the temperature outside, but many other factors, such as the seasonal foods and meals you are enjoying. Having a hearty beef stew to celebrate a bountiful harvest?  Perhaps pair it with a medium to full bodied red like our 2018 Privata Malbec, offering up notes of cherry, blueberry, star anise, and eucalyptus on the nose. Enjoying a rustic roasted chicken and veggies around the dinner table? A rosé may be an appropriate addition, and chardonnay can go well with many savoury seasonal foods of fall and winter. Overall wine sales are quite high in the winter, making it clear that people like their wine year round!

Okanagan Vineyard Ex Nihilo in the Fall

The Okanagan is known as a “four season playground” and the wineries in the region bring no exception. There is a common misconception that a winery’s doors close as the summer ends, but this is just not often the case. In fact some of the excitement is just beginning! For ideas of what to wear and etiquette for a wine tasting, check out our article “Wine Tasting and Touring Etiquette”. Doing a wine tour or tasting in the cooler months can be a very rewarding and fun experience. See you soon!

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Time Posted: Oct 21, 2022 at 11:30 AM Permalink to Top Reasons to Do a Wine Tasting or Tour in the Fall and Winter Permalink
Ex Nihilo
 
August 16, 2022 | Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo’s Best Kept Secret: The Privata Series

Ex Nihilo Privata Wine Series with Winery Dog

Magic marries mystery with Ex Nihilo’s Privata wine collection, showcasing the unique character of this family-run winery.  A winery brimming with possibility and excitement, Ex Nihilo strives to keep you on your toes when it comes to wine flavours and profiles. Did you know that Ex Nihilo has a “secret” wine? For those who appreciate a little mystery in life, the Privata Red may just be what you have been looking for.

Privata Red Okanagan Wine Ex NihiloPrivata Red | Label by Jet Harder

Privata means private in Latin. This is fitting as the Privata Red is a confidential single varietal or blend, depending on the vintage. Although it is clear it is a red wine, limited details are available for the taster. The message behind it all? Don’t prejudge the wine before it has a chance to hit your palate. Every winemaker and winery has a little something different to offer a classification of wine. Judging based solely on the variety of grape used is remarkably limiting.

This open-minded philosophy extends to the other wines in the series as well even though they are not secret.  Winery employee and daughter of the Harders, Nina Harder tells us “The amount of times I have converted “non chardonnay drinkers” to our chardonnay would surprise you!”

Wineries Near Me Ex Nihilo Privata ChardonnayPrivata Chardonnay | Label by Jace Harder

Guests are encouraged to try the wines in this series with an open and curious mind.  This is in essence the spirit of a wine tasting, to fully taste the wine, appreciating each nuance, and you don’t have to be a sommelier to do this. For the moment, throw out everything you thought you knew (or didn’t know) about a chardonnay, or malbec, and experience the wine as it is before you.

Vineyard Near Me Ex Nihilo Privata MerlotPrivata Malbec | Label by Jagger-James Harder

On The Label

It is well known that Ex Nihilo’s origins are heavily steeped in the appreciation of art. Husband and wife team, Decoa and Jeff Harder named their winery after a famous sculpture by Frederick Hart, named Ex Nihilo, meaning “Out of Nothing” in Latin. This sculpture clearly inspired the couple during their travels when they encountered a replica in a San Francisco gallery. A love for art continues to permeate Ex Nihilo as carefully selected works can be found all around the winery.

Original Ex Nihilo Sculpture Ex Nihilo | Artist - Frederick Hart

The Harders’ fondness for art does not stop there, however. When first coming up with an idea for a label for the Privata Red, Jeff Harder brainstormed many art inspired possibilities until an epiphany struck him. He found himself staring at a finger painting created by his young son Jet, hanging on the pantry door. He knew in that moment that the finger painting had to go on a wine label!  Since then all three of Decoa and Jeff’s sons have graced the series with their art creations, Jagger with the Privata Malbec, Jace with the Privata Chardonnay, and of course Jet with the Privata Red.

Ex Nihilo The Harder BoysDecoa Harder, Jace Harder, Jeff Harder, Jagger-James Harder and Jet Harder

So what is on the horizon for the Privata wine collection at Ex Nihilo?  Rumour has it the three Harder daughters may one day share the torch and provide artistic creations for future labels. One certain thing is that the Harders are very proud of this one of a kind wine series. Come in and experience the magic yourself with a wine tasting at the winery or take the plunge and order from our online wine store. It may just surprise you!

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Time Posted: Aug 16, 2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Ex Nihilo’s Best Kept Secret: The Privata Series Permalink
Ex Nihilo
 
May 25, 2022 | Ex Nihilo

Raise Your Glass To National Wine Day

Celebrating National Wine Day at Ex Nihilo

Every day is wine day, right?  Well maybe not, but May 25th is. It’s National Wine Day! Take this opportunity to learn about all things wine, and grab an idea or two on how to responsibly commemorate this special day.

National Wine Day

Just how was wine invented?

Statista defines wine as, “an alcoholic beverage produced by fermenting grapes and sometimes other fruits or plants”. It is really hard to pin down exactly how and when wine came to be, but it is believed by some that wine may have been invented by accident between 6000 and 3000 B.C. or earlier, in the area that is now modern day Iran and Georgia, when stored grapes were fermented by wild yeast. 

How was wine invented

Christian monks had a role in making France one of the best wine making countries in the world. They took detailed notes on different varieties of grapes, growing methods & practices. In the new world region, i.e the Americas, it is believed that the Indigenous people may have played a part in wine’s emergence. However it came to be, it appears to have been a bit of  a group effort and a happy invention, as people all over the world continue to enjoy this staple beverage.

Okanagan Valley Vineyard Ex Nihilo

History of the Okanagan Valley Wine Region  

Ex Nihilo is located in the Okanagan Valley wine region of B.C., which has an interesting history, starting with Father Pandosy, a Frenchman who recognised the fertility of the land. He grew and produced wine for sacramental uses at the Oblate Mission in Kelowna in 1859. Following this, more wineries emerged until prohibition slowed down the growth somewhat.  As time went on however, wine makers in the valley began experimenting with hybrid grape varieties. This resulted in a marked increase in the quality of wine in the area and a vibrant industry and scene began to take hold.  

History of the Okanagan Valley Wine Region

The rest is history as, according to Forbes, 85% of B.C.’s wine is produced in this magical area, which resides between the 49th and 50th parallel, the same latitude as Champagne, France and Rheingau, Germany. Consisting of about 9,000 acres of vineyards, it is Canada’s second largest wine region with over 185 wineries. 

BC Wine Stats Okanagan Valley Wine

The Wine Industry in Canada and British Columbia

The wine industry is certainly substantial in Canada. According to Statista, red varieties are most consumed, but of course Canadians’ enjoyment of this diverse drink does not stop there. Retail sales of wine in Canada are forecast to exceed 13.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, showing that Canadians like their wine. According to per capita sales, consumers in Quebec purchase the most wine and those in Saskatchewan purchase the least. What's more, due to its colder climate, Canada is the top producer of Ice Wine in the world. 

Below are the Top 10 white and red wines produced in B.C. according to the Wine Growers of BC:

White: Red:
  • Pinot Gris
  • Chardonnay
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Viognier
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Ortega
  • Ehrenfelser
  • Blattner Whites
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Syrah (Shiraz)
  • Gamay Noir
  • Maréchal Foch
  • Malbec
  • Petit Verdot
  • Zweigelt

 

Celebrating International Wine Day

How to Commemorate National Wine Day

It may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but here are some creative ideas to capitalise on the day!:

  • First and foremost, come enjoy Happy Hour with us at Ex Nihilo if you are in the area.
  • Do a wine tasting or two and discover something new.  Use this occasion to try a new wine that you may not normally have considered.
  • Visit a winery restaurant and pair tasty culinary bites with premium wine choices.
  • Pick up your favourite wine to enjoy it with a friend.
  • Plan to host your own wine tasting party.
  • Learn more about wine making processes, tasting, pairing, and more. You can start by reading through previous articles in this blog.
  • Book yourself a future tour or wine tasting to look forward to. 
  • Sign up to be part of a wine club, like ours at Ex Nihilo.  And while you are at it, sign up for our newsletter below!
  • Try a wine and yoga class in your area.

Ex Nihilo Lake Country Wine

Additional Wine Days

Believe it or not, there are quite a few days throughout the year to celebrate wine, included on the National Day Calendar:

1. National Drink Wine Day – Feb. 18
2. National Mulled Wine Day – March 3
3. National Bubbly Day – First Saturday in June
4. National Moscato Day – May 9
5. National Rosé Day – Second Saturday in June
6. National Strawberry Rhubarb Day – Third Saturday in July
7. National Wine and Cheese Day – July 25
8. National Prosecco Day – August 13
9. National Orange Wine Day – October 6

Ex Nihilo Okanagan Valley Vineyard

The Legacy of Wine

Wine is considered by some to be a symbol of transformation, a concept which we can observe throughout all stages of the growing and winemaking process. What’s more, it has influenced cultures throughout time, and connected people from all different walks of life.  A much beloved and diverse beverage of choice, the world of wine is one that could take a lifetime to fully explore as there is always something new to learn. So take a moment today to join those around the world and raise your glass!

Time Posted: May 25, 2022 at 12:15 PM Permalink to Raise Your Glass To National Wine Day Permalink
Ex Nihilo
 
April 28, 2022 | Ex Nihilo

Wine Tasting and Touring Etiquette: And Exploring Lake Country’s Beautiful Scenic Sip Trail

Ladies enjoying a wine tour at Ex Nihilo

With the wine touring season beginning to ramp up in the Okanagan (April is BC Wine Month), it is important to understand the ins and outs of tasting and touring. Wine touring and tastings can be a joyous way to connect with others, explore the region, and learn about the wines in the area. There are not a ton of hard rules to enjoying a tour or tasting, but here we offer some etiquette, along with general tips that will help you get the most out of the experience.  

Exploring the Ex Nihilo vineyard

When and how many wineries to visit?

When planning out your day, this can vary by region and how close the wineries are together, as well as how intimately you want to explore each winery. In the Okanagan, most full day packages offered by tour companies include 4-6 wineries. If you can, you may want to start with the furthest winery from where you are staying and work your way back, so you are closer to home at the end of the day. 

In terms of the seasons of the year, this can depend on the region you are in. In the Okanagan, many wineries are open year-round, and each season has something unique to offer the wine tasting experience, such as hot weather and picturesque views in the summer & milder temperatures, coupled with the beauty of budding vines in the spring.

Enjoying an wine tasting in Lake Country

The Tasting Experience - Sight, Smell, Taste: Savour, Don't Rush

Whenever you decide to go, try to give yourself time to enjoy what each winery has to offer. If you can, dine at the restaurant; explore the vineyard; and discover the special offerings unique to each winery, (such as Ex Nihilo’s Creatio art exhibit!).  

Be ready to ask questions at each winery, and go with an open mind. In terms of consumption, don't overdo it, and make a bit of a plan of what wines you want to explore. You can also use the practice of spitting.

Okanagan wine tours

Some General Tasting Tips

It is recommended to work from light to heavy wines and to cleanse your palate in between. Make sure to sample wines that you may not usually try to open your mind, not just your trusted favourites, and be sure to enjoy some food throughout the day with your wine as well.

When tasting, ask yourself a series of questions. For example, is this wine sweet?  Is it heavy? Are the flavours somewhat balanced? Reference the tasting tips below for further questions to explore.

How to properly do a wine tasting

The Tasting Process

There is a myriad of advice out there on the tasting process, but here is a good starting point from Tour DeVine and the Wine Atlas of Canada:

  • Look: Tilt your glass ever so slightly to observe the colour, clarity, and appearance. Young wines hold their colour to the rim and older wines begin to fade at the edge. White wines also gain a bit of a more golden colour with age. Red wines lose some of their deep colour over time.
  • Swirl: Swirling helps the esters in the wine to rise to deliver the wine's aromatics. Swirling also helps you observe the wine’s viscosity. More droplets sticking to the side indicates higher alcohol content.
  • Smell: Focus on the aromas as you bring the glass to your nose. Ask yourself what you pick up on & do not pick up in terms of smell. Imagine what the wine might taste like before-hand just based on the smell. 
  • Sip: As you sip, roll the wine around slightly in your mouth for a short amount of time, savouring it. First, you will notice the sweetness as it washes over your palette and the tip of your tongue -where sweetness is registered. The back of the tong picks up the acidity or the bitter aspects of the wine (tannins). Tannins soften with age. The weight of the wine in your mouth also tells us something. Heavier wines contain more alcohol than a lighter wine.

Bachelorette Party Wine Tour in the  Okanagan

Random Tips & Winery Etiquette 

  • Hold your glass by the stem to avoid affecting the temperature of the wine and smudging the glass, which will affect your ability to judge the wine’s appearance.
  • Bring a small notebook to take notes.
  • Check the weather ahead of time and dress appropriately. Wear dark clothing to avoid stains and check the dress code at the wineries you plan on visiting before leaving. Avoid wearing dangly sleeves that may knock over a wine glass, and wear comfortable shoes for getting around.  Also consider bringing a small purse or bag to stash your guide, notebook, water bottle, sunglasses, and other essentials.
  • Avoid wearing fragrance as it competes with the aroma of the wine.
  • Feel free to tip the pourer.
  • Call ahead if you are with a big group.
  • Come to sample, not just to party.
  • Don’t talk over the guide, and take turns with others on the tour for questions.
  • Pick out a bottle or two on your way out to help support the winery and enjoy your favourites at home, but consider bringing a cooler and don't leave it in a hot car.
  • Call to check ahead if planning on bringing a pet.
  • Do not drink and drive!  Invest in a tour experience or have a designated driver.
  • Take a few pictures to remember your experience.

Map of the Scenic Sip Trail

Lake Country’s Scenic Sip Trail

The Lake Country region has much to offer those interested in wine touring and the Scenic Sip Trail is one such gem in the area. Experience it by hiring a Okanagan wine tour company, or on your own, responsibly.  Enjoy world class award-winning wines and views along stunning Okanagan, Wood, and Kalamalka Lakes.  This charming trail consists of 8 wineries:

50th Parallel, Ex Nihilo, Gray Monk, Peak Cellars, Ancient Hill, Intrigue Wines, Arrowleaf Cellars, Blind Tiger, O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars

With vineyards, orchards, rolling countryside, and remarkable wines, this is a great way to spend a day. Check the website for activities and events on the trail. 

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Time Posted: Apr 28, 2022 at 11:45 AM Permalink to Wine Tasting and Touring Etiquette: And Exploring Lake Country’s Beautiful Scenic Sip Trail Permalink
Ex Nihilo
 
March 30, 2022 | Ex Nihilo

The Versatile Charm of Rosé: The Saignée Process, & the Release of the Fabulous Vampata Rosé at Ex Nihilo!

Okanagan Rosé at Ex Nihilo

There is no wine more charming than a crisp rosé.  Not only striking and intriguing in colour, the flavours and aromas offered by a lovely rosé are something to behold. One of the oldest wines, rosé’s popularity has experienced a resurgence.  There are entire festivals dedicated to this wine classification, and with such versatility, we can understand why!

Rosé is probably best known for its’ fresh, fruity quality.  Best served chilled, it is most popular in the spring to early fall, due to its refreshing essence. The area of the world most known for this wine is the Provence region of France, but there are plenty of great rosé wines throughout the world, especially right here in the Okanagan.

Rose Wine Tasting at Ex Nihilo

What are the Distinguishing Characteristics of a Rosé?

Rosé wines have a low to medium alcohol level with bright acidity.  Various varieties of red wine grapes are used, sometimes in a blend. Some grape varieties used include Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah and more! Rosé can be sparkling, sweet, or dry, and is broken down into many different types such as:

  • Provence Rosé
  • Pinot Noir Rosé
  • Zinfandel Rosé
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
  • Syrah Rosé
  • Grenache Rosé
  • Tavel Rosé

The Classifications of Rose

Common Methods of Making Rosé 

Some people think that rosé is just a mixture of red and white wine, and sometimes it is, (this is called the blending method).  This is most often not the case, however, and except for Rosé Champagne, actually, a practice sometimes frowned upon in the industry.

In the maceration method the grapes are destemmed, sorted, and left to rest/macerate with the juices for up to a few days until the optimum level of pink colour is achieved.  The skins are then removed and the wine is made from the remaining juices.  Maceration is the most popular method used to produce rosé, but a newer method, the Saignée process has gained popularity and it brings rosé to a different level. 

What is the Saignée process?

The saignée (“sohn-yay”) process produces a slightly richer rosé, and  involves the removal of a portion of the juice, increasing the proportion of skins in contact.  The resulting concentration results in a more vibrant colour and a bit more tannin.

Rose Wine and Food Pairing
A Rosé Inspired Picnic With Ex Nihilo's Furry Pal Pyper

Rosé Food Pairings

While sipping this versatile wine, there are many great pairings. Look to dishes such as duck, salmon, and lamb.  Soft cheeses, such as goat, incorporated into a charcuterie board are also a great option.

How Rose is Made

Release of the 2021 Vampata Rosé at Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo is excited to release its 2021 Vampata Rosé, a crisp pink delight, produced with the saignée process from pinot noir grapes.  Enjoy summer in a glass, with aromas and flavours of strawberry, cranberry, grapefruit, rose hips and gooseberry. Order it from our online store, or venture down to the winery to grab a bottle, or two?

Time Posted: Mar 30, 2022 at 10:30 AM Permalink to The Versatile Charm of Rosé: The Saignée Process, & the Release of the Fabulous Vampata Rosé at Ex Nihilo! Permalink
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