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Niche Wine Company

Niche news

If you love grapes, wine, and reading online, you are going to love it here. These pages are filled with stories about harvest, interviews with our winemaker, and tried and tested recipes we know will pair perfectly. 

Joanna Schlosser
August 9, 2019 | Joanna Schlosser

Food for Thought Vol. 1

Feeling inspired to make dinner is not always a reality but not to worry, Gary Faessler, the newest member of the Niche Wine Co. team, has got just what we need to get the flavour party started. This salmon dish and a little Pinot noir blanc is nothing short of a little summertime magic. Bon appetite! 

Poached Sockeye Salmon with Mixed Summer Greens and New Potatoes

What you'll need:

  • Fish (3 lb fresh sockeye salmon steaks)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs dill, thyme and oregano
  • 2 Tbs. Olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • Salad — Mix of spring greens (arugula, watercress, butter lettuce, red lettuce)
  • 14 oz. small potatoes
  • ½ seedless cucumber cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler       
  • Fresh dill chopped
  • 4 lemon wedges 


  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar

What to do: 

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice to a boil, then stir in salt. Turn off heat, add the salmon and cover pot with lid and let stand undisturbed until fish just separates from bones, about 10 minutes. Transfer salmon to a shallow dish with a slotted spoon and let stand until cool enough to handle. In the meantime, boil the potatoes in a pot of water for about 10 minutes, drain then plunge into cold water, strain and set aside. In a large salad bowl add the summer greens, new potatoes, and cucumber. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Carefully remove flesh from each salmon steak in pieces as large as possible, discarding skin and bones. Gently toss the salad with the dressing, divide between four plates and serve with the salmon on top. Garnish with fresh dill and lemon wedge.

Serve with a glass of chilled Niche Pinot Noir Blanc and enjoy!


Time Posted: Aug 9, 2019 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Food for Thought Vol. 1 Permalink
Joanna Schlosser
April 6, 2019 | Joanna Schlosser

BC Pinot Noir Celebration early bird tickets on sale now through May 1!

BC Pinot Noir Celebration early bird tickets on sale now through May 1! You're going to want to jump on this. Niche Wine Company will be there along with all our favoruite BC Pinot producers ( 50th Parallel Estate Winery | 8th Generation Vineyard | Arrowleaf Cellars | Averill Creek Vineyard | Black Swift Vineyards | Carson | Cedarcreek Estate Winery | Fitzpatrick (Bubbly Reception) | Hillside Howling Bluff | Joie Farm | Kitsch Wines | Laughing Stock | Lightning Rock Winery | Meyer Family Vineyards | Mirabel Winery | Mission Hill | Monte Creek Ranch | Moraine  | Nk'Mip | Noble Ridge | O'Rourke's Peak Cellars | Quails' Gate | Roche | Savard Vines | Scorched Earth (PASK) | Spearhead Winery | Stags Hollow | Stoneboat | Tantalus | TH Wines | The View Winery | Tinhorn Creek Vineyards | Unsworth Vineyards).

The event kicks off on August 17th with a sparkling reception and keynote address by Madeline Puckette, certified sommelier and author of New York Times Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine.

There will be a courtyard tasting salon with BC's top Pinot Noir producers complements exquisite culinary creations prepared by local Chefs from Joy RoadWaterfront Café and CateringFrankie We Salute You, Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery, Vice and Virtue, Start Fresh Catering and Vancouver’s Wildebeest followed by a cocktail-style dinner. Watch the rest of the evening unfold with live music featuring The Insiders and dancing under the stars. 

This year there will also be three in-class educational sessions in the morning hosted by winemakers, winery proprietors and leading industry professionals:

The Science of Wine: Free Educational Session hosted by UBC

Free (must book in advance)
9 a.m to 10:30 a.m
Saturday August 17, 2019
UBC's Okanagan Campus
Kelowna, B.C.

Breakout Session A: Pinot Noir from Coast to Coast
hosted by the BC Pinot Noir Celebration
$30 + gst per person (tasting included)
11 a.m to 12:30 p.m
Saturday August 17, 2019
UBC's Okanagan Campus
Kelowna, B.C.

Breakout Session B: Something Old, Something New
hosted by the BC Pinot Noir Celebration
$30 + gst per person (tasting included)
11 a.m to 12:30 p.m
Saturday August 17, 2019
UBC's Okanagan Campus
Kelowna, B.C.

Main Event
$125 + gst per person (until May 1st)
$140 + gst per person
3 p.m to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday August 17, 2019
UBC's Okanagan Campus
Kelowna, B.C.

A festival shuttle will be offered for $25 + gst per person round-trip from select locations in Kelowna. Must be purchased in advance. Get your tickets now and get ready to have some fun! 

Time Posted: Apr 6, 2019 at 8:42 AM Permalink to BC Pinot Noir Celebration early bird tickets on sale now through May 1! Permalink
Joanna Schlosser
January 14, 2019 | Joanna Schlosser

Dine Around returns to Infusions at Okanagan College

Foodies, take note. Diners looking to sip Okanagan wines and savour locally-inspired dishes can once again pull up a chair and enjoy a new dinner menu from the creative minds of OC Culinary and Pastry Arts students and instructors.

Infusions restaurant at the Kelowna campus will be participating in Dine Around Thompson Okanagan which runs Jan. 16 - Feb. 3. Coordinated by the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association (BCRFA), the Dine Around Thompson Okanagan event is presented by Wines of British Columbia.

For $25, diners can enjoy a choice of starter, main and dessert, each with suggested local wine pairing (wine is extra). Infusions is open for dinner Tuesday to Friday, 5:30 – 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online through open table

Bites include beet and goat cheese napoleons or crab cakes to start, followed by New York striploin, prosciutto wrapped Ling Cod or wild mushroom shepherd’s pie for the main affair, capped off with Frangelico-infused crème brulee or a fresh lemon tart with torched meringue for dessert.

“The menu reflects the techniques and ingredients our students are working with right now, while tapping into their creative ideas and showcasing some of the flavours of the season in the Okanagan,” explains Culinary Manager Chef Vincent Stufano.

“Creating and cooking dishes for Infusions is an invaluable training opportunity for our students,” adds Stufano. “Opportunities like Dine Around pushes our students to step it up, and in turn gives us just occasion to showcase just how much energy, passion and talent our future chefs bring to the table.”

There is also no corkage fee at Infusions, so diners can bring their own BC VQA wine and have it opened at their table at no charge.

OC Culinary Arts students and staff will also be serving up small bites at the Dine Around launch party taking place at Okanagan College on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Tickets for that event are $40+ tax and available online at 

The Dine Around menu at Infusions will be offered until Wednesday, Jan. 30. From Thursday, Jan. 31 – Friday, Feb. 1, the restaurant will be closed for dinner to accommodate preparations for the Canadian Culinary Championships taking place on Feb. 1-2.

Okanagan College’s kitchens will once again serve as the backdrop for the Black Box Competition – a fast-paced trial that will see 11 of Canada’s top chefs work their magic with a cornucopia of mystery ingredients. As in past years, OC Culinary Arts students will once again have the exciting opportunity to serve as sous chefs to the visiting competitors throughout the various events that make up the two-day competition.

Time Posted: Jan 14, 2019 at 9:54 PM Permalink to Dine Around returns to Infusions at Okanagan College Permalink
Joanna Schlosser
November 4, 2018 | Joanna Schlosser

Netflix SOMM 3 PREMIERE Happening November 12

One of the top social media influencers in North America’s wine industry will be at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on November 12, 2018 to launch SOMM3, the latest edition of the cult wine film series. Madeline Puckette, author and illustrator of Wine Folly’s blog and books, was recently ranked just behind Decanter magazine by Social Vignerons (an online hub for wine industry news) for her influence on social media. With her popular illustrations and distilled wine information, Puckette’s graphical educational tools make it easy for anyone to learn about wine. Puckette narrated SOMM3, a provocative wine film featuring Decanter editor Steven Spurrier, renowned master sommelier Fred Dame, and wine critic Jancis Robinson.

The original SOMM is the most viewed wine film on Netflix to date. Okanagan wine lovers will be able to catch a sneak peak of SOMM3 in the OC Kelowna campus lecture theatre on November 12. Guests can enjoy wine (INCLUDING NICHE!) starting at 6 p.m.; the film screening will commence at 7 p.m. The film isn’t yet available online. Local social enterprise Start Fresh Kitchen is hosting the SOMM3 film release party, which will include a book signing with Puckette, garagiste wine tasting and local small bites direct from the Start Fresh Farm.  

“The film release is a great opportunity for our culinary and wine community to come together and geek out about wine,” states chef Micheal Buffet, owner of Start Fresh Kitchen. “Okanagan College is proud to sponsor this event and bring SOMM3 to the Okanagan, because the wine industry is of critical importance to the communities we serve,” states Jonathan Rouse, Director of Food, Wine and Tourism at Okanagan College. “It’s important to reflect on our industry’s history to shape the future of wine.”

Tickets are available online at (head to the Calendar to find the event). Tickets are $38 each and include film admission, wine tastings and small bites. Learn more on theFacebook event page. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Start Fresh’s culinary and farming employment projects.

SOMM3 Film Synopsis

In 1976, Steven Spurrier held the Judgment of Paris, a blind tasting where American wines beat out the classic French wines and put wine on a global platform. Wine critics like Jancis Robinson, one of the most prolific wine writers, started to influence what wine people drank. And then there’s Fred Dame, father of the restaurant wine list and the man that made the sommelier profession what it is today. In SOMM 3, these three legends of the industry sit down in Paris to taste the rarest bottles of their careers. Meanwhile, Dustin Wilson gathers the greatest blind tasters of today in New York City for a secret tasting similar to the original Judgment of Paris, with the goal to see if any of the world’s Pinot Noirs can stand up to the greatest Burgundies of France. In the end, both tastings cross with results that could change the world of wine forever.

About Madeline Puckette

Once electronica producer and graphic designer, Court of Masters certified sommelier Madeline Puckette seamlessly blends art and wine into North America’s most popular wine blog. Puckette co-founded the Wine Folly website in 2011, and has since grown Wine Folly’s social media extensions and newsletter into some of the most popular wine resources on the planet. Puckette’s most recent book, “Wine Folly: Magnum Edition,” was in the top 100 books on Amazon the day it was released, and is considered a must-have resource for wine lovers.

About Start Fresh Kitchen

In early 2016, Start Fresh Kitchen took root with founder chef Michael Buffett in the central Okanagan. A chef on a simple mission, Buffett and his team began facilitating culinary education programming to inspire people about food. Recognizing a greater need within local social service organizations, the non-profit program has now expanded to include teaching of employment and necessary life skills, while creating access to long-term meaningful employment. Talented chefs throughout the community bring the same knowledge and skills into the spotlight of a collaborative, community-based kitchen. Start Fresh runs a small cafe in Landmark 2, caters events, and facilitates boutique cooking and wine tasting classes.

About Okanagan College

Okanagan College’s programs in Culinary Arts, Tourism and Hospitality and Viticulture and Wine Studies reflect the Okanagan Valley’s natural environment and focus on a quality learning experience that connects you with the people and places that make the Okanagan one of the leading food and wine destinations in North America. The Okanagan College learning model delivers industry-relevant real-world education from day one. Mixing a sound theoretical foundation with practical hands-on applied learning gives students the skills and savvy to hit the ground running. Okanagan College delivers quality education that ensures rewarding careers for graduates and a rich and sustainable future for the region and its communities. Okanagan College offers studies in viticulture, wine sales and winery assistant, and hosts the B.C. Wine Information Society Sensory Centre in Penticton, BC.


Time Posted: Nov 4, 2018 at 4:45 PM Permalink to Netflix SOMM 3 PREMIERE Happening November 12 Permalink
Joanna Schlosser
October 24, 2018 | Joanna Schlosser

Search Near Not Far with the WINES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA this fall

The Wines of British Columbia is a unique reflection of this spectacular province. Our winemakers strive to showcase the essence of terroir in their wines, something unique that can only come from the site the grapes are grown. BC wines show bright acidity and ripe, complex fruit, which can only be achieved through our unique climate.

This fall the BC Wine Institute will launch a campaign inviting consumers to “Search Near Not Far” and explore the unique differences coming from our defined wine growing regions.

“With the announcement of four new Geographic Indications there has never been a more exciting time for our industry we want to help consumers understand the differences in these growing regions and the abundance of wines that are produced in each.” —BC Wine Institute President and CEO Miles Prodan

The campaign invites consumers to explore the character within each BC wine region and to learn about the Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, and the four new regions Thompson Valley, Kootenays, Lillooet and the Shuswap. Each region will be profiled for one week on and across social media channels.

Search Near Not Far promotional materials will be seen in premium liquor retailers across the province, BC Liquor Stores and all BC VQA Wine stores located in Save-On-Foods stores. “We are excited to support this campaign. Our stores have the largest selection of BC VQA Wine in Canada and we love to educate and help our customers understand and explore the different wines from all of the regions within our province” said Steve Moriarty, Director, Save-On-Foods.

Other participating outlets include a selection of restaurants and local BC wineries. To enter please visit Follow us on Instagram @WineBCdotcom to enter and watch our stories to learn about a different BC wine region each week. Locate the secret word in the wine barrel and enter to win a weekly prize.

Quick facts about the BC Wine Industry:

  • BC is home to 929 vineyards
  • There are more than 10,499 acres (4,249 hectares) of wine grapes planted in British Columbia
  • BC’s grape wine industry has grown from just 17 grape wineries in 1990 to more than 275 today
  • BC’s wine industry employs about 12,000 people and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually
  • Each year, BC’s wineries welcome more than 1,000,000 visitors
  • Wines of British Columbia Trip Planner offers visitors an interactive touring app with personalized itineraries to explore the character of each wine region

About The British Columbia Wine Institute:

Since 1990, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking BC's wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing exceptional wine tourism experiences. The BCWI markets the wine and regions of BC; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC's wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of industry that contributes $2.8 billion in provincial economic growth annually.

The BCWI represents all wineries in British Columbia to grow the premium market share for the Wines of British Columbia, while driving awareness of our world-class wines and tourism product - currently drawing 1,000,000 visitors with $600 million in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact every year. For more information about BC Wine Institute's programs and services, please visit

For details on the Wines of British Columbia, go to, like the Wines of British Columbia Facebook page and follow @WineBCdotcom on Twitter and Instagram.

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2018 at 10:23 AM Permalink to Search Near Not Far with the WINES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA this fall Permalink
Joanna Schlosser
October 19, 2016 | Joanna Schlosser

Harvest Happenings

Did you know that all Niche Wine is produced entirely from grapes grown by Hugh and Mary Vineyard? This small piece of paradise is located in West Kelowna and owned and operated by James’ parents, Kathleen and Jerry. With the help of friends and family, we harvest these grapes in small batches, and once they are harvested, James happily spends long days earning his grape-stained palms and wet, muddy boots. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is actually. That being said, I would be lying if I said I could remember a year where everything went according to plan. Here is a little look inside #BCHarvest2017.  The good, the bad, and the beer. 

It takes a village

We are making a sparkling for the first time this year [insert fist-pump emoji here] so harvest started almost a month earlier than normal. This early start made for warm days and the happiest harvesters. Honestly, we had an incredible group of friends and family that arrived weekend after weekend, eager for fresh fall air, grape-picking giggles, and a glass of wine (or two) with lunch. James will be the first to tell you that harvest is the MOST wonderful time of the year but the opportunity to experience it with such a stellar group of people, well it really doesn’t get better than that.

The chaos will be consistent

Something I did not know before I entered the wine business is that farming is actually really dramatic. Trying to maintain some level of control over what is happening in the vineyard is made almost impossible by the sheer force of Mother Nature’s will. Even the ‘perfect’ growing season can usher in unforeseen pitfalls like off-the-chart brix, overflowing tank space or uncontrollable birds.
In 2010 we had two baby cubs break into the vineyard. They ate one ton of grapes (yes, an entire ton) in one night. This was also the worst growing season the Okanagan had seen in years and many speculated the fruit would not even ripen. The drama of 2010 was quickly eclipsed by the wasp infestation in 2013. Swarms of wasps could be found attacking grape clusters in the top vineyard causing all kinds of damage. The tank space crises of 2014 was probably the most intense as it coincided with the birth of our son (talk about a perfect storm).
All that to say that 2017 was actually pretty mellow. Sure, we had cold and rainy days in the rows, and yes, there was the occasional hiccup on the crush pad but in the grand scheme of things, it was a good year. Given the fact the wine isn’t yet bottles, I think we could go as far to say, it is the best year on record… until proven otherwise.

It is totally possible to find a diamond in the rough

My parents were in town for Thanksgiving long weekend and were a couple of the happy harvesters who pitched in to pick the Pinot. My Mom’s short stature makes her an excellent and efficient picker and my Dad loves driving around in the camo ATV (I mean, who doesn’t). After a long morning of chatting between rows, we broke for lunch. It was only then that my Mom realized she had lost the diamond from her ring… somewhere in the vineyard. The search began.

A small group of pickers took to the top vineyard, combining the rows. Others were on hands and knees in the picnic area where lunch was served. As I dumped her purse on the table, frantically searching, I distinctly remember thinking ‘there is no way we are going to find this thing”. It was just then that I heard someone yell from the top vineyard, ‘FOUND IT!”.
People who love to eat, are in fact, the best kind of people

Grape harvesting is hungry business.

This year we were spoiled by the culinary artistry of Julian from One Big Table. One Big Table is a cooperative-owned grocery store dedicated to providing seasonal fruits and vegetables, free-range meats and eggs, artisan cheeses and bread to its members on a daily basis. They look for the small, the unique, the traditionally made ingredients that reflect what British Columbia has to offer and obviously, we LOVE that. Julian set up shop in our picnic area the first Saturday of Harvest and served hot soup, killer sandwiches, and hearty artichoke pizza that exploded with flavour and paired really well with the pinot noir.

We were also lucky to have David and Allison (@Spatulamedia) in the vineyard over a series of weekends to capture the magic. This dynamic duo support BC food and wine like nobody’s business. David’s ability to capture, in film and photo, the real feels is amazing. Not only is he responsible for all these beautiful photos you see here but also this short interview with James.
[insert video here]

Stay tuned for more news on how the 2017 vintage is coming along and when the bubbles will be ready!

Time Posted: Oct 19, 2016 at 9:03 AM Permalink to Harvest Happenings Permalink Comments for Harvest Happenings Comments (210)