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West Kootenay Winemakers Press On with the Help of the Nelson Italian-Canadian Society

Every year, winemakers worldwide eagerly anticipate the end of September as the time to make a new vintage of wine. And in the West Kootenay, winemakers were worried they were going to miss their annual opportunity because an area retailer would not be bringing in the coveted grapes and wine juice from California this year.

Despite the uncertainty of getting any product, The Nelson Italian-Canadian Society stepped forward with the help of many of its avid winemaker members and offered to organize an order of California wine grapes and wine juice.

Messages were sent out via the Society’s email list and Facebook page with details and pricing. It did not take long before responses and phone calls started flooding in with people eager to put in their order for grapes or wine juice.

Through the Society’s order, local vintners secured their supply of coveted varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Sirah, Chardonnay and more. The response in orders was large enough to fill a 53-foot transport trailer with 72,000 pounds of grapes and juice. That translates to 586 36lb cases of grapes, 210 23L pails of juice and four 200L barrels of juice.

In the past, wine grapes and juice would arrive in Nelson via distributors in Calgary or Kelowna. But since the NICS order was so big, the truck drove up directly from California to Nelson and arrived on Friday, September 18 where it parked in the Nelson Chamber of Commerce building parking lot.

The next morning, the parking lot transformed into a makeshift produce depot where the individual orders were handed out the respective winemakers. Buyers came from Kaslo, Hills, the Nelson area, Trail area and Christina Lake to pick up their orders.

Within two hours, NICS volunteers worked to unload the transport to fill a fleet of local pick up trucks, trailers, and cars and ensure all orders were complete. As the last order drove away, the only thing left to indicate there was any activity was a few odd grapes strewn on the tarmac that fell from cases.

The NICS would like to thank its volunteer members, the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce for providing the use of their parking lot to unload the trailer, and Rona Maglio’s for providing a forklift and driver to unload the trailer.

What would go better with a bottle of homemade wine?

Pasta with homemade sauce, of course. In early December, the Society is planning another tasty authentic Italian tomato sauce fundraiser. 

Details will be posted on the NICS Facebook site: @NelsonItalianCanadianSociety or people interested may email nelsonitaliancanadiansociety@gmail.com.