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It’s time to celebrate. We’ve been open in the new premises since June 8 and worked out the kinks (we hope!) so time to raise a glass to welcome you to our new store. On Canada Day (July , 2011), we cordially invite you to drop in and be our guest at a wine and cheese tasting between 1-5pm. 

The new store is light, airy and spacious and we”ve had fantastic feedback on it from customers so far. If you have not been in please take the opportunity to take a peek at Bowen’s new retail experience.

Our featured winery for the tasting  is the Neck of the Woods. This is an local winery based in Langley, BC. Their wines are made from grapes grown in the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan. On deck will be their Blanc de Noir sparkling which has just won a Silver medal at the 2011 NW Wine Summit – Pacific Rim Wine Competition and a selection of their red wines.

There will be a selection of cheeses to taste alongside the wines and, of course, Canada Day cookies.

At 5pm we will draw the winners for the Grand Prize Granville Island Experience competition (see here for details)  plus some other surprise prizes.

We will be opening at at 10am on Friday, and everyday for July & August, with regular close at 11pm.

On behalf of Scott, Paul, David, Cordell and Maureen we look forward to seeing you on Friday.

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To celebrate our new location, please join us on Saturday June 11 between 1pm and 5:30pm to sample sparkling wine from BC, Spain and Italy.

With our expanded store opening we will have:

  • Much larger selection of beers, ciders and coolers including Budweiser 8 pack cans on special at LDB price (while stocks last), upgraded selection of BC craft beers and ciders
  • New wines from BC and around the world plus wine specials at $9.47, $19.47 and $29.47
  • Expanded spirits section with all the necessaries for the “Cocktail Cabinet”

Lots of events being scheduled too in over the summer including:

  • Wine and Indian Food with Qui Café
  • Sherry tasting
  • Port & Chocolate with Cocoa West
  • Riedel glassware – taste the difference between Riedel and other glassware
  • BC wine fest (August in conjunction with BowFeast)
  • Unusual Grapes #3
  • Howe Sound Brewing beer tasting
  • … and more

Hope we’ll see all our regulars and lots of new friends too.

In preparation for the new store opening I’ve been adding a bunch of new products in all categories. Here’s a brief summary and there are lots more to come after we get into our new digs.

Wine

Opera Prima – ultra cheap and surprisingly good Spanish sparkling wine. Great for Mimosas, Buck’s Fizz etc.

Lavit Rosado – agents unearthed a cache of this no-longer-available-in-BC Spanish sparkling rosé. One of my very long-time favourites (see the Desert Island video). Back for a very short time.

Cantavida Riesling –  super value Chilean dry riesling

Doma Chardonnay & Merlot – 2 big bargains from Chile

Backyard Vineyards Zweigelt & Riesling – good red from the local Fraser Valley. Riesling is very fruity.

Dirty Laundry Hush (rosé), Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer – New 2010 vintage. Hush is fabulous this year, 50% cab. Franc, deep pink and solid dark red fruit taste.

Cedar Creek Rosé – first time for a rosé from this significant BC winery. Think strawberries…

8th Generation – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Merlot. The sparkling chardonnay has sold out completely.

Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc – simply the best PB in BC

Stoneboat Pinotage & Chorus – back for the summer season again

Cassini Maximus – BC produces some great Bordeaux style blends. This one has extra heft too.

Fairview Bear – Big Cabernet Sauvignon from BC, will reward cellaring. Coming soon: Two Hoots, Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc too

Blandy`s Madeira – the brown wine of the Azores

& a new selection of draft Sake

Spirits:

Pyrat rum 750ml

Courvoisier VS cognac 375ml

Remy Martin VSOP cognac 750ml

Van Gogh Duble Espresso vodka 750ml

Red Breast pot-still Irish whisky 750ml

Bell’s Scotch whisky 750ml

Dewar’s White Label Scotch whisky 750ml

Jack Daniel’s bourbon 375ml

For the Cocktail Cabinet

Akvavit

Kirsch

Alizé Blue and Red

Créme de Cassis

Galliano

Coolers

El Jimador pre-mixed Margaritas

Beer

Ayinger Dunkel – German dark lager

Cooper’s Australian pale ale

Cider

Sea Cider – Victoria, BC’s great cider maker. Kings & Spies and Pippins are back in stock

Update 23/11/10: BC breathalysers are being recalibrated to o.o6. The law about 0.05 is unchanged so blow 0.06+ and you will be subject to new penalties. What happens between 0.05 and 0.06 is unclear but very much depends on the discretion of the police officer. I have checked with local RCMP and even they have no clear guidelines on this situation.

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Now the new drinking driving 0.05 rules are here, it is even more important to know about alcohol consumption and blood alcohol count (BAC). Exceeding the new lower level has serious consequences if you are caught and here on Bowen our local RCMP detachment seems to have become extra zealous.

First, this link will open the Official BC BAC chart. With this you, in theory, can calculate whether your consumption will take you over the 0.05 limit and how long before you’ll be back under it. However, there is a HIDDEN TRAP if you rely on this solely.

Note that the chart is based on standard drinks. For the record a standard drink is reckoned as either a) 12oz beer or b) 1.5oz of spirits or c) 5 oz of wine (roughly equivalent to one fifth of a standard 750ml bottle). However, for the purposes of setting standard drink sizes the servings make an assumption about alcohol levels in each serving. For beer that is 5%, spirits 40% and wine 12%.

The hidden problem is that your actual drink at standard serving size may contain considerably more or less alcohol than given in these charts. In some cases this may mean you are consuming more alcohol than you think.

Consider the following:

Most spirits and beer servings contain exactly the alcohol prescribed in the standard servings. Some beers especially IPAs and specialty imports can have more alcohol though. For instance Quebec’s Fin du Monde has 9% so one glass of that is nearly the equivalent of 2 beers.

Wine, however is a different matter altogether. Looking around our store I’d estimate the average bottle of wine runs to about 13%, no big deal – but variations can be significant. Those big Australian Shiraz can often come in at 15% or above, so one glass is the equivalent of 1.25 standard servings in alcohol content. If you are a 125lb female just one glass of this wine will push you to 0.05%. A 175lb male drinking two of these would be well advised to not drive for 2 hours from the time of the first drink.

So what can you do?

1. Ask the server what the ABV (alcohol by volume) on the bottle is and factor that in to your calculations. The ABV is displayed on every bottle. If you are a bar or restaurant you should be considering adding ABV information to your drinks lists.

2. Try wines that have less alcohol. For instance the very popular Dr. Loosen Riesling has only 8.5% ABV (most Rieslings run between 8 and 11%). That’s just about 1/3 less than the standard measure so not only is it reasonably safe to have one glass – at any weight – and drive straight away, for most it will allow you to have a couple and not run the risk of blowing over o.o5 (but check your weight against the BAC chart first). Another suggestion is one of our best selling white wines, the Gazela Vinho Verde that has only 9% ABV.

Nowadays you really have to be very scrupulous about not only how much you drink but what you drink. There is precious little margin of error at 0.05 and the Holiday Season roadchecks are coming up fast so there’ll be even more chances to lose your car and license. Your best choice at any time is simply not to drink and drive. Take Transit, a cab or nominate a DD from your party.

If you are in our store please ask us to recommend good lower alcohol wines for your party or event.

We are open 11am to 11pm every day in December except:

Christmas Eve (Dev 24) OPEN EARLY at 9:00am, CLOSE EARLY 9:00Pm

Christmas Day (Dec 25) Closed

New Year’s Day (Jan 1) OPEN LATE 1:00pm, CLOSE NORMAL 11:00PM

We are open for the normal 11am to 11pm time on both Boxing Day (Dec 26)  and New Year’s Eve (Dec 31)

‘Tis the Season to be Merry

Time for the elixir known as Sherry

Nothing says Xmas like the wine from Jerez

But needs better PR,  I says

The wine your grandma drank each night

Has many styles, ferment’d to delight

Chilled Fino, the light dry one, with pre-dinner nibbles

And sweeter Amontillado might give you the giggles

Quaff dark Oloroso to enhance Christmas cake

Sip Cream as a nightcap, won’t keep you awake

Pair V.O.S to ice cream or vanilla brulée

Your tastebuds will awake, and say “hey, hey, hey“

Amaze and astound with dessert so wonderf’l

By pouring Pedro X as  partner to trifle

Including in cocktails makes you trés chic

Ole! Something different, an interesting tweak

Oh golden sherry –  oft overlooked taste

So versatile for cooking, won’t go to waste

Rediscover the wine made by Solera

With tradition and craft – Viva Espagna!

‘Tis the Season we all make merry

Go on, I dare you, uncork a Sherry

Have a safe and fun Holiday Season

Cheers

Paul Rickett

Last Saturday we hosted an in-store tasting of 3 South African wines picked by our wine guy, Paul Rickett and included Moreson Blancs de Blancs brut,  Graham Beck Gamekeeper’s Reserve Chenin Blanc, and Glen Carlou Grande Classique Cabernet Merlot. All the wines were delicious but the star of the show for most was the Graham Beck Chenin. Delightfully crisp, it was a great wine to match with Thanksgiving dinner. We’re going to try and get some more in but this wine was imported into BC as a one-off and may not be available any more.

Next in-store tasting will be in November and will feature wines from Bleasdale Winery in Australia. This has been owned by the Potts family for 5 generations. Alerts will be sent by twitter (from www.twitter.com/paulrickett) and by email. If you’d like to subscribe to our eGrapevine email newsletter, please send an email to pdrickett@hotmail.com.

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