Thursday, October 09, 2008

Barrel of BC wine fetches $19,000


Imagine. Paying $19,000 for a barrel of wine. That's what one grape aficionado paid for a barrel of Nota Bene at a recent fundraising auction in British Columbia. According to wine expert and author John Schreiner, it's a Canadian record.

Nota Bene is a Bordeaux-style blend from Black Hills Estate Winery near Oliver in BC’s Okanagan Valley. Its made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes from Black Hill’s vineyards on the Black Sage Bench. Although it's sold out at the winery, it can be found at select wine shops and restos in BC and Alberta. The winery's website has a complete list.

Schreiner, author of 15 books on BC wines and its thriving wine country, says it’s the highest price ever paid in Canada. The closest to that was a barrel of Mosaic from Hillside Estate Winery near Naramata that sold for $15,000.

“I’ve checked with several people, and we’re certain that $19,000 is a record,” says Schreiner. “No barrel of Canadian wine has fetched this kind of money before. It’s very flattering to Black Hills and the BC wine industry. It’s a milestone.”

The wine was purchased at the Going Once, Going Twice wine auction in Penticton on October 4. The event raised $58,000 for the Oenology & Viticulture Program at Okanagan College.

FYI: A barrel holds 25 cases or 300 bottles of wine. Although the purchaser asked to remain anonymous and silent about his plans for the wine, Schreiner says the incredible rise in quality of BC wines means it’s possible the purchaser is a collector. “No matter who it is, he would understand that he has bought a bit of a treasure. There are trophy wines in BC now. We now have half a dozen, or maybe ten, wines in BC that collectors are starting to put in their cellars, and Nota Bene is one of them. I would think he’ll cellar it.”

Schreiner is currently working on the third edition of his popular book, Wineries of British Columbia.

Black Hills Winery in Oliver, BC
Photo by Sue Frause