John Schreiner is a nice, white-haired, precise and soft-spoken man whose personality shines through in his writing. When he talks, he's interesting and entertaining and his writing voice echoes that.
This latest book complements his Okanagan Wine Tour Guide, which he has written three editions of since 2007. And, as an enthusiastic consumer of wines from the Victoria area and the Gulf Islands since 2006, I have to say, John, it was about time.
Yes, there are many more wineries in the Okanagan, where the wines tend to be more polished, more diverse and often of surprising quality. But the Coastal areas have their own story to tell, and Schreiner, as the dean of B.C. wine writers, is the perfect person to tell it.
He appropriately starts out by describing the history of wine on Canada's West Coast and then launches into the individual stories behind each winery. As someone who's followed Washington wineries since I moved to the state in 1976 -- when there were only six bonded wineries -- I found his stories about each both interesting and more than a little familiar, for they sound much like Washington state's struggle for recognition 30 and more years ago.
For the coastal wineries, as Schreiner notes, mostly have "remarkably low profiles." Indeed, despite more than 30 years of sipping wines from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and B.C.'s Okanagan, I have to admit I didn't taste my first Vancouver Island and Gulf Island wines until 2006.
Since then, I've tried to make up for that by regular trips to Victoria. And in all my future visits, John's new book (or subsequent editions) will accompany me. Anyone who wants to pretend to know and understand Northwest wines can no longer afford to ignore the Coastal B.C. wineries.
From Auxerrois to Zweigelt, John has done an excellent job of outlining the story to date. His new book is well worth the price.
This story was originally published September 15, 2011 5:54 PM.