Accolades & Gallery

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IF YOU WANT ECO-FRIENDLY, VENTURI IS THE REAL MCCOY

by Garth Eichel, Times Colonist, May 10, 2012

"At the risk of sounding cynical, there is something annoying about businesses that tie their products and services to altruism. We all want to be responsible citizens, but sometimes we make compromises. Marketing wonks know this. That's why once-meaningful words like "environment" and "sustainable vineyards" trumpet their stewardship of the environment, highlighting agricultural certifications alongside point ratings and medals they pick up.

Fair enough, but I wonder how many winemakers would go to the time, trouble and expense of sustainable agricultural practices if there wasn't some marketing payoff. Do their values flow from their wine, or does their wine flow from their values?

Venturi Schulze Vineyard in Cobble Hill is a study in the latter. Founded in 1987 by husband-and-wife team Giordano Venturi and Marilyn Schulze, the vineyard grew out of a dream the pair had to grow their own grapes and make their own wine using natural, organic and sustainable practices, long before it came into fashion. With only a van, an idea and a loan of $100,000 from Island Savings Credit Union, the pair quit their teaching jobs in Vancouver and purchased 15 acres of land, only four of which were suitable for vines. (Venturi Schulze purchased additional property in 1999 and now has 30 acres, 18 of which are under trellis.)"

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Accolades:

BRANDENBURG NO.3 NAMED BEST LOCAL WINE

While we do not enter wine competitions, we were honoured that our Brandenburg No.3 was voted Best Local Wine by "real people" in the Eat! Magazine's Readers' Choice Awards. We blushed when we read the commentary:

"Venturi Schulze: Courageous, confident, eccentric, uncompromising, distinctive. That sums up the owners, and the wines. Giordano, Marilyn and their daughter Michelle are hands on to the nth degree. Industry stalwarts, they've been farming and making 100% estate grown wine on their Cobble Hill site since 1987, sans pesticides. Their whimsically named wines (The Bad Boys, Terracotta, Brandenburg No.3) are as memorable to the ear as they are to the palate."

Eat! Magazine
 

"I just wanted to let you know that I finally had the pleasure of enjoying your 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir. I had been saving it to enjoy with the transplanted Californian who loves his Russian River PN's. He thought it was the finest PN he had ever sampled. I find it hard to argue. As far as I am concerned, your wines are now the finest made in Canada, and among the finest in the world."

- Joe Tamas, Customer
 

This fall I went to Italy and just had to buy a small and expensive bottle of 15 year old Modena Balsamic vinegar. I had a little taste test with some family and friends over dinner recently and your vinegar was way better! When I bought yours this summer I thought the lighter consistency would be a negative but it was definitely not. ... Thank you for a great product."

- Nancy Cooper, Customer
 

"As the afternoon came to a close, I had time for one last stop. While there are many wineries in the region, I needed to visit Venturi Schulze Vineyards, producers of the balsamic vinegar I so covet. All of the wines are grown, produced, and bottled on the premises without use of any pesticides or herbicides. While the tasting room is modest, the product speaks volumes. I loved the wines, but found myself really licking the balsamic—pure and delicious.

Most surprising to me was the verjus—pure, unfermented grape juice that is pressed from unripe or semi-ripe fruit. From the Venturi Schulze website, verjus has been "used since the Middle Ages as an alternative to lemon or lime [and] is enjoying renewed popularity as a versatile, vibrant condiment." While it can be used in salad dressings, sauces, and more, I enjoyed a sampling of terrific sorbet made with this magical liquid."

- Jay Friedman, Journalist

Have you ever had one of those moments at the dinner table when you realize that you are experiencing something extraordinary? Pam Freir wrote about our verjus in her October 20 2010 column in the Times Colonist, wherein she described making, with partner Chris Bayliss, various tantalizing dishes and beverages with our verjus, including a "chicken broth and verjuice gravy of such exquisite subtlety and refinement that we still, days later, shake our heads in wonderment and ask whether life could ever get better."

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For more recipes, visit: www.venturischulze.com/recipes