KELOWNA - After years of covering B.C.’s wine scene, Jennifer Schell is now on the other side of the business, releasing her first line of wines, Schell Wines.
The author of The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker - An Okanagan Cookbook, and editor in chief of B.C. Food & Wine Trails Magazine, Schell is no stranger to Okanagan wine. She has partnered with Nagging Doubt Winery’s winemaker Rob Westbury to create a chardonnay, and a red blend.
“I’ve been a chardonnay fan my entire life, so it just made sense for it to be our first wine,” says Schell. "The red will be released in about six months."
The idea came after last year's Garagiste North Small Producers Wine Festival, when Schell decided she wanted to be a part of the festival, not just as an organizer, but as a winemaker.
“I just thought I want to be garagiste too,” she said. “It’s always been a dream of mine, so I just thought let’s do it, it’s possible.”
Schell approached her brothers with the idea and they were immediately on board.
Schell’s family grew up on an apple orchard in Southeast Kelowna. So by using grapes from Kitsch Winery, Schell was able to stay true to her roots.
“By getting the grapes in our neighbourhood, where we grew up, we felt like it was the closest thing to having our own winery,” she says. “It really is a family project.”
Even the label, designed by Schell's artist niece Hillary Schell, draws from the apple orchard theme.
"We've already decided to double the chardonnay batch for next year," says Schell. "Now I understant the cost and expense that goes along with winemaking, but the excitement and thrill of having your own wine is really addictive. There might be a real Schell Winery one day, you never know - it could happen."
Schell will be pouring her chardonnay at the Garagiste North Small Producers Wine Festival in Penticton this Sunday, Aug. 27 along with 30 other wineries.
Recently chosen by the London Financial Times as one of the top five new wine festivals in the world, Garagiste North brings together small scale wine makers, that produce under 2,000 cases per year, using 100 per cent Canadian grapes.
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