November 13, 2018
When it comes to the international wine industry, you might assume that wine makers from all over thew world are aching to move to France to head up a vineyard. So it might seem surprising then, to have a highly skilled French wine maker choose to relocate to Canada.
Caroline Schaller is the Executive Manager and Winemaker at Osoyoos Larose, a winery that was established in 1998 as a joint Canadian and French enterprise. She accepted a posting in BC's wine region in 2017 and has managed two harvests.
"I was working in southwest France and I heard they were looking for someone for their winery in Canada and I thought It would be a great challenge. So I applied and came here last year."
Schaller has 18 years in the wine business and has seen it all, but it was her desire to learn new things and have different experiences that helped her make the decision to relocate across the Atlantic, and all the way across Canada to Osoyoos, B.C.
"I wanted to improve my English, so that was part of it. "It was a challenge; it's a new country, a new way of life. Of course it's a beautiful country with a lot of interesting wild animals compared to France, so it was a big change for us," remembers Schaller.
Under Schaller's guidance Osoyoos Larose makes two wines—Pétales d’Osoyoos and Le Grande Vin— in what Schaller calls the 'Bordeaux way'.
"It's a very classical way," she explains. "We pick the grapes separately, we ferment them separately and we look at the terroir to see the potential of each.
Then we age the wine and we like to do the blending of the five different grapes after. It lets us work on the taste."
Pétales d’Osoyoos is a lighter wine, explains Schaller, and it's easy to drink. It makes a lovely apertif or as a sip with lunch, but it also stands up against meatier dishes too. It's at its best now, promises Schaller, and doesn't require any aging.
Le Grande Vin, is made in a Grand Cru style and it's more concentrated, according to Schaller.
"The grapes are more concentrated and there's more tannins. There's a good balance between the volume and the tannins, so you can age it or drink it now with beef or duck confit, or a beautiful strong cheese."
As for some of the biggest differences between making wine in France versus making wine in Canada?
"The styles are basically the same, but here we've had to learn to harvest with the snow at times."
Osoyoos Larose Pétales d’Osoyoos and Le Grande Vin are available at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
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