Stock up on Rosé said Sandra Oldfield at The BC Wine Information Centre to Enjoy Year Round

Stock up on Rosé said Sandra Oldfield at The BC Wine Information Centre to Enjoy Year Round

By Roslyne Buchanan.

While many wine enthusiasts laud “Rosé all day” sentiments, Sandra Oldfield, Elysian Projects Inc., advised attendees of The BC Wine Information Centre’s session ‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’ that it’s a good idea to stock up to enjoy “Rosé all year round”.

Sandra Oldfield. Photo from:

Sandra is the founder along with her husband Kenn Oldfield of Elysian Projects Inc., established “to give a hand up to BC wineries and tourism businesses.” Consultation is offered in organizational effectiveness, business analysis and planning, recruitment, mentoring, innovative sales and marketing. Corporate philosophy is: “At the heart of every project they accept is the belief that people come first and from there success will follow.”

The founder of the often trending #BCWineChat on Twitter, Sandra has been bestowed many accolades:

  • Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women—Trailblazers and Trendsetters, 2016
  • Canada’s Safest Employer, Hospitality, 2016
  • BC wine industry Founders Award, 2016
  • BC Restaurant Hall of Fame, 2018

With roughly 30 years in the wine industry, she made 20 vintages at Tinhorn Creek Winery becoming its CEO. Currently, she’s on the Minister’s Council for Tourism in BC; founder of Fortify, a business conference for the beverage industry; and presents seminars like ‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’.

Luke Whittall, BC Wine Info, introduces ‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’ seminar with Sandra Oldfield. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

For those of us lucky to snap up tickets for this wine tasting seminar (limited to maximum of 20) at The BC Wine Information Centre, Sandra shared expertise in the Rosé winemaking process and theories on why it’s so popular.

“Why people think of Rosé as a summer wine only is beyond me,” said Sandra. “I love sipping it in the middle of winter so thoughts of warmer days, fresh blossoms and seasonal fruit brighten my day.”

She noted how well it pairs with winter soups cutting through rich layers and highlighting fresh flavours.

All set up for ‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’ seminar tastings. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

According to Sandra, when White Zinfandel fell out of favour, it was “no pinks for a long time”. Finally, as winemakers started using Provence-style it regained stature. “Quite frankly, Rosé saved a lot of vines – those planted in the wrong places such as frost pockets. If the grapes are picked earlier as they often are for Rosé, they work beautifully once the sweetness gets over the bar of green pepper.”

Because they are quite easy to make in terms of speed, Rosé wines can be produced to head quickly out the door and boost revenues. The downside is they sell so fast it breeds more. Many wineries that never dabbled in Rosé are making them, which is great as long as the wineries don’t abandon other favourite wines.
Sandra along with Donna Faigaux, manager of the wine information centre, selected seven for the seminar representing variations in the method of making Rosé.

BC Wine Info Centre Manager Donna Faigaux pours Arrowleaf Cellars Summerstorm 2017. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

On arrival, we were poured Arrowleaf Cellars Summerstorm 2017, made with whole cluster Zweigelt grapes pressed only to extract a small fraction of colour. It was aged in neutral oak with secondary fermentation in a Charmat tank producing a fruity sparkling wine with fine bubbles. Aromas of strawberry, rhubarb and pink grapefruit were intensified with light sweetness on the palate and a refreshing, dry finish.

The next two used the press method in which red grapes are made like a white wine, purposefully for Rosé. The Le Vieux Pin Vaila Rosé 2018, made from gently pressed Pinot Noir entirely steel tank aged, had pale salmon colour with aromas and flavours of rhubarb, pink grapefruit and plums. The Fort Berens Estate Winery Rosé 2018 blended Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir grapes with a splash of Muscat. It displayed luscious flavours of strawberries, raspberries and cranberries with some spicy tones.

Lineup of wines tasted at ‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’ seminar. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

We moved to the Saignée method, which translates “to bleed” and entails bringing in the grapes to press and draining off some juice from the tank to ferment separately to make the wine. Using only Pinot Noir, the Meyer Family Vineyards Rosé 2018 offered early fruits such as strawberry, raspberry, saskatoons and red currants. Culmina Saignée 2018 was a Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It had delicate honeyed peach, red plum and rhubarb on the nose evolving on the palate to red fruits and kumquat citrus flavours.

Fruit, nuts, cheese, pickles, spreads and crackers presented to enjoy with Rosé. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

The Stag’s Hollow Winery Syrah Rosé 2018 was made in two lots: Syrah was pressed, cold settled then racked in stainless; and Saignée method was used with Syrah/Viognier co-ferment. After fermentation, the lots were racked and blended. Strawberries and cream followed by ripe stone fruit and citrus hit your nose and palate resulting in a savoury, dry finish.

Presented last was Intrigue Social Rosé 2018 incorporating Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Merlot, and Rotberger grapes. It was the sweetest of the group of Rosés presented and full of berries, candied apple, watermelon, and perhaps gummy bears.

‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’ seminar with Sandra Oldfield in progress. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Attending such a seminar reinforces the wide variation in taste among people. Each wine proved to be a favourite of someone. Some preferred the sparkling, others richer reds or lighter pinks, some crisp and dry, and others fruitier and sweet. “Vive la difference!” as the French say.

Following the presentation, a board of fruit, nuts, cheese, pickles, spreads and crackers was brought out for attendees to enjoy with another pour of their choice of presented wines. This casual component allows an opportunity to mingle, to ask the presenter more questions, and to browse the shop to purchase wines and merchandise.

Insider’s Tip: On the night of the seminar, The BC Wine Information Centre offers a discount that includes wine and some merchandise. You can stock up on the wines tasted as well as any other wines on sale in the store.

I’m not sure just how many representations of BC Rosés The BC Wine Information Centre stocks, however, I can tell you after perusing the shelves there’s no reason to go this winter without some!

Upcoming seminars are July 25 ‘Small Batch Wines’ with Tyler Harlton; and August 15 ‘Natural Wines’ with Ann Sperling. Tickets available at

Featured photo: Attendees linger at ‘Nifty Shades of Rosé’ seminar with Sandra Oldfield. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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Roslyne Buchanan (aka Roz) Roslyne Buchanan is a regular freelance contributor to food, travel, wine, home and lifestyle magazines. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine Trails, WestJet Magazine, OpenRoad Driver, Savour, Niche, Destinations Travel Magazine, My Van City, and Based in Penticton, she enjoys spectacular views of forests, vineyards, lakes, and hills beyond and regular visits from wildlife. Enchanted by the food and beverage industry and all things culinary as well as recreational pursuits such as travel, golfing, skiing, hiking, tennis and snorkeling. For her it’s the perfect balance to pursue her passion for writing with integrity and joy to share firsthand experiences. Most of her adventures are shared with her husband, Mark and when they’re not out exploring, they are managed by two felines Baja and Floyd. Find her personal blog at, follow her on twitter @RozDB and Facebook @roslynebuchanan


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