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Seaside Pearl Winery

Wine and church go hand in hand, as the blood of Christ and your first communion. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a winery built to look like a church. What may be surprising is that this little gem is located so close to home, within Abbotsford’s vast farm country.

Owned and operated by a wonderfully genuine husband and wife duo. He is in the back making the wine. She is up front showcasing it. And together they have to passion to have this endeavour endure.

The patio leads into the church-winery. A courtyard of patio chairs and old barrels sawed down to create side tables. An especially picturesque scene surrounded by a garden of wildflowers and with a fresh bouquet at each table setting.

Within the Chruch, it is just a romantic, a feminine breath across 2 stories. A mix of rustic foundations and modern decor elements, plus hand painted touches gives the open space character and warmth. Much like the owners and the staff present today. We would sit down and enjoy all that enveloped us, as we tasted our way through almost their entire library of wine. More on that below.

Our time ended with an exclusive look into their back of house operation, with a private tour of the cellar. This included an event hall space within a refurbished barn. Done up with larger wooden feasting tables, velvet upholstered cushioned seats, and crystal adorned chandeliers. This arena is available for event hosting and larger gatherings; one they intend to use more of in the future.

Past this was their cellar where all their oak barrels lie in waiting and their stainless-steel tanks stand tall. Here, we were lucky to get to witness the principal wine maker and owner tap a barrel for quality assurance, and taste it in the making. A syringe of wine drawn from one of the several barrels allowed to fermenting in oak.

And he even gave us a feel of what’s it like be wine, as we crawled within one of the fermentation tanks, that are cleaned out regularly. Truly a unique perspective and a great way to get better acquainted with the property and what makes Seaside Pearl so unique.

Outside of aesthetics, what sets Seaside Pearl Winery apart is their passion. Whereas other wineries simply pour, here they teach you about pour, marking the experience a lot more memorable, and the wines a lot more outstanding. We learned how to identify the wine based on colour and its “legs”. We learned how to breathe it in with a swirl, and most importantly what we are looking for when we apply the 5 S’s of Wine: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Savour. After all, how can you appreciate something when you know little about it.

The following are a few of the factoids I was able to retain.
When white wine is aged it becomes golden and honey colour, unless in oak. If you look at the edges of the wine within a glass, the clearer the edges, the more aged the wine is. This is as if the colour is receding from the edges and congregating at the centre, where it is the boldest.

After you give your glass a good swirling you need to take the nose of it away by taking an initial breath. The first whiff is alcohol and sugar. The second sniff is the actual scent of the wine. It is important to smell your wine, as it reveals more about the vintage than its taste. But if and when tasting, there are things that you need to consider.

You do so by holding your sip under your lips, letting it linger on your palate. Be sure to hold it in your cheeks and don’t swallow right away. The Beginning of the wine lets you know what to expect. The Middle is a more in depth conversation, where you learn its story, while getting to know its character. And the Finish reveals its quality and if you are likely to purchase it.

But the best tidbit I walked away with was how the shape of the bottle gives away what’s inside. A long and slender bottle is hiding a wine that is soft and smooth. A low and narrow vessel carries higher acidity. The more commonplace bottles are the ones you are most likely to pair with food. And the biggest wines deserve the biggest bottles with the largest shoulders.

Now equipped with what we were looking for, we were ready to taste that included a lovely curated charcuterie platter with farm fresh fruits and cheeses. Seaside Pearl originated in 2012 with a focus on hybrid grapes to ensure a higher level of success. Hybrid grapes are heartier and made for the Fraser Valley weather. Thus, ensuring that they have wine every year. All done French style, as is best for the grapes designated in their areas.

Our tasting began with their travel-ready “Daffodils”. Easily explained as wine finished off in a soda stream for that telltale effervescence characteristic of sparkling wine. This is the easiest way to add a little bubble to your can. The result, the wine drinks more like a cider with its subtle fizziness. And with this method you are able to taste, and course correct your product as you go. Adjusting as needed, before you add in the carbonation. Reasonably priced and served in a can, these are great on the go. Take them travelling or on a picnic. An easy single serving can that doesn’t go flat like a bottle of sparkling wine does.

The Pinot gris 2021 featured grapes from Canada’s dessert: Naramata. Done French style, where the skin of the grapes are left on flesh longer. The finished product is crispy and juicy, with a higher level of acidity. An easy going white with notes of apple and green grapes.

The 2021 Gewurztraminer is the sweetest of their collection made with the sweetest grape. Floral notes with lychee and melon at the forefront. Another French style wine prepared in stainless steel. Here, we learned that white wine is best just under room temperature. You pour it into a glass to warm it up, as the cold can mute a wine. This is a dry wine with the flavour of grapefruit rind to start. The next sip transitions to a spiciness with cloves.

Next is their Estate Petite Milo 2021. A medium bodied wine with lots of alcohol and medium legs. It is made using grapes known for being the “grandchild” of Sauvignon Blanc. With notes of fresh and vibrant cherries, giving you plenty of tannis in the cheeks.

Here we learned that there are 400 plus different colours of rose on the market. And the hue tells the story of the varietals. The darker the rose the darker the fruit. But as a rule of thumb, the longer the skin sits on the grape, the darker to juice. The 2021 Rose is a good mid point between white and red wine. Well balanced with the flavours of strawberry and rhubarb coming to the surface.

Their Florence Pinot Noir 2019 is a lighter burgundy red wine, aged in used oak. Lighter in body, but still retains its depth of flavour with raspbery and cherry notes.

The 2019 Syrah 2019 is younger in body. With the scent of black pepper it reads as a spicy red with the punch of staranise and cajun seasoning.

Cab Franc is a laid-back medium body red, father to Cab Sav. This one is done in used oak and ideal with a chill. It has all the characteristics of a Cab Sav but with an herbaceous finish and a dull peppery heat.

Our last taster was the 2019 Petit Verdot. The fullest bodied red of their collection and the one with the most amount of tannis. Your mouth pools with saliva to help regulate all the heavy and rich, dark berry of the wine.

In closing, not only is this Chruch-themed winery aesthetically pleasing, but it is a great stop to get a crash course on wine and wine appreciation. I highly recommend a visit and advise that you dedicate the afternoon learning about these local to Abbotsford wine and their wine makers. Certainly a hidden gem, if you have not heard of them before this post.

Seaside Pearl Winery
5290 Olund Rd, Abbotsford, BC V4X 1V6
(778) 856-1312

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