We’ve been forced to close our on-line store – for now.

If you been over to www.blackcloud.ca you will have noticed that the site is down. We shut it down voluntarily after a BC Control and Licensing inspector made it known in no uncertain terms that a crack-down on virtual wineries was happening and that Black Cloud, a brand of Serendipity Winery, was under scrutiny.

According to the powers that be, there is only one kind of winery in BC. That’s the kind that they license, and brands like Black Cloud, operating under the wing of another operation, are not going to be tolerated. They don’t like wine e-commerce to start, and operating a site without direct correalation to our parent license holder is making them, shall we say, concerned.

In a business environment that favours the landed, the financed and the established, it’s getting harder and harder to be an innovator and to create a winemaking environment that is a level playing field for people of all means and stripes. We have always operated under license and have always paid our share of taxes et cetera due.

Until this is straightened out, please contact us directly for any of your Black Cloud questions, comments or requests by email at info@blackcloud.ca or call our administration office at 778.476.1655

Liquor Updates: Wholesale Pricing

Black Cloud:

Curious about the new changes this spring to BC liquor?

Originally posted on Dorkuncorked's Blog:

My phone was ringing off the hook prior to and after the announcement by Suzanne Anton and the GM for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. The biggest, and really only, question is ‘What does this mean?’

There is a ton to talk about as the announcement involved Grocery Stores, Wholesale Pricing, Separation of LDB Retail from Wholesale, perhaps the item that will have the most short and long term impact is Wholesale Pricing.

Wholesale Pricing

Current System

Currently BC Liquor Stores do not purchase product from the Wholesale division of the BCLDB. They simply order it, it arrives and they retail it. Private stores do pay LDB Wholesale for their product. The price is a function of the BC Liquor Store retail price. In other words a discounted retail price is what private stores pay. The discount is based on the license type. Licensed Retail Stores (LRS) receive a 16% discount…

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Barrel Head repair – well, my last name IS Cooper.

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You may recall that I removed the head of a French oak barrel a few weeks ago to do an open top ferment of our 2014 Cumulus Nimbus Pinot Noir. Now it was time to put the head back on so I could re-fill it with #Pinot. Taking the head off was easy. Getting it back on so it would seal would be a bit more of a challenge.

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IMG_20141101_143412 I was careful to save the small custom nails that help keep the hoops in place. They don’t sell them yet at my local hardware store. I also prepared a thick, gooey flour paste that I used in the croze or groove the barrel head sits in to help seal the deal. I’d read somewhere that corn flour is used but I just used regular old Robin Hood.

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I removed the quarter hoop and the French hoop. That let the sun in but it was the only way the head could be manipulated back into place.

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Not such a neat job but I didn’t want to miss a spot.

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And here it is the next day – being tested with 225 liters of water over the next 48 hours. Not the slightest drip at this point. Success!

It’s Time to NAME THAT TANK!

So we got a new tank for Black Cloud and, like last time, we’re having a name that tank contest.  Winner gets wine, so does the runner up!  Honourable mention gets a coupon at our store.

Previous tanks were named: Tin Lizzy and P. No. Diddy.

Some background:

  • it’s made in Italy
  • It holds 1100 liters to the brim but four barrels worth comfortably
  • It’s a flat bottom storage tank with a tripod pedestal.
  • It has a clean out valve, a racking valve and a sampling valve.
  • It’s variable capacity. The lid can be lowered to the surface of the wine and sealed in place with an inflatable gasket with a handpump.
  • It’s made of stainless steel.

Time for #Take20

We don’t have a lot of “sales” in the traditional retail sense but we do like to reward our customers and attract new ones who really enjoy their Pinot Noir.

Yup, that’s all we make.  This year has been excellent and the new harvest is looking exceptional.  We’ve moved our administration offices and our production scene and there’s plenty more change on the way. We’re celebrating and giving everybody a chance to stock up their cellars with Black Cloud by knocking 20% off their order.

You can order through our online store at www.blackcloudwine.ca ,call us at the office (number below), or track us down in person! Use coupon code TAKE20

This is a good time to start thinking gift giving (how about a magnum of Altostratus?) and getting hold of some your favourite vintages before they run out.

Remember, Cloudy Club members get additional savings with this offer.  To become a member, just go to the www.blackcloud.ca site and subscribe to one of the 3, 6 or 12 bottle packages that we deliver three times a year.

If you’re in Penticton, why not drop by the Cannery Trade Centre and visit our new offices? We’d love to see you but do call first as we’re open by appointment or by chance during the fall and winter months. The number is 778.476.1655

Do You Have to Know About Wine…to Enjoy Wine?

Black Cloud:

A nation rich in wine history and tradition – also a nation where most people don’t know much about their national drink. Does that limit their enjoyment?

Originally posted on SB's Wine Blog:

The results of a big study about wine were released today, with much chagrin…it seems they surveyed people in France regarding how much knowledge they actually had about wine. And – zut alors! – over 60% didn’t know very much at all! The French were devastated by the news!

But after my chuckle, I thought…hold on…does it really matter how much you know about wine? Can’t you just enjoy it?

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized the answer was…you don’t need to know anything at all. Just what you like!

I mean, let’s think about it for a minute. Why does it matter?

“Enjoyment” doesn’t require knowledge…except of whether you are actually enjoying something or not, and that is an emotion.

Is it Cabernet or Merlot? Is it tannic or not? Will it age? Is it a Grand Cru or VQA? Really…who cares if you…

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A trip to a French barrel factory

We seldom get a chance to see where some of the things we use on a daily basis come from.  So as a winemaker, I was thrilled to visit Dargaud & Jaegle in Romaneche Thorins, France this spring as a guest of Eric Fourthon and directorJean-Marcel Jaegle to tour the amazing facility that builds some of the best wine barrels in the world.
Eric spent a few years in the Okanagan Valley working at a local barrel maker.When he returned to France, he left an open invitation to look him up. So we did.
After a brief welcome from Mr. Jaegle, we started our tour.
At one time, before plastic and cheap steel and other modern materials, goods moved in barrels or casks made of wood.  Whether it was nails, biscuits or mackerel; when it had to ship a crate or a barrel was the only way to go.

These days, your new sneakers don’t come packed in barrels but beverage producers still make use of this ancient packaging custom to enhance their product.

If you drink a little wine now and then, especially red wines, you may know that many wines spend a period of their development in barrels made of wood, for the most part, oak.  The barrels impart flavour and allow the wines to grow more intense over time due to evaporation and transpiration.
In my role in the cellar, I’ve been treated to endless glossy images and dazzling videos of the barrel making process.  But until you actually visit, it’s difficult to appreciate the artistry and dedication to quality that occurs at every step of the barrel’s creation.
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Oak from selected forests is stored in the yard where it ages over a set period, often for two years or more.

 

 

 

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Strict rules are in effect for the oak yard. Spacing and height are regulated. One person’s stacks of valuable oak are another’s fuel for a damaging fire.

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At every step, care and attention is paid to spotting defects in the oak. Here the rough cut staves are inspected for flaws.

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Each piece of wood and each barrel can be traced back to the yard stack it came from, and from there, the forest it was cut from. At this point the staves are still straight and are ready to be bent into their familiar shape.

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The barrels are placed in extremely hot water for a set time period and then sent directly to the machine that pulls them into shape.

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The still steaming barrel has a steel cable placed around it and the wood is pulled into shape. Temporary bands are at hand to be placed over the newly shaped barrel when the procedure is complete.

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Newly assembled barrels get more attention while they wait to have the ends formed for the addition of the heads.

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Barrels heads are assembled on this table before their circular shape is cut.

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At the end of the process, barrels are wrapped and identified with the name of the purchaser for shipping. On the day we were there, a number of these barrels were destined for Stryker Vineyards in California.

Black Cloud Pinot finds a new home: Winemaker Bradley Cooper brings micro-winery to Serendipity

For immediate release, July 23/2014

 

Suggested tweet: Unmatched Black Cloud #pinotnoir from @blackcloudwine moves to @winespiration with winemaker @bradinator. #bcwine

 

PENTICTON, BC: Okanagan winemaker Bradley Cooper is making a move down the Naramata bench, and bringing his unmatched Pinot Noir, Black Cloud, to a new spot.

After nine vintages with Township 7, Cooper will soon join Serendipity Winery to enhance its portfolio of award-winning BC wines, and production of Black Cloud will move with him. “We started Black Cloud six years ago with less than 500 cases, and our Pinot will continue to be a small production,” says Cooper. “We’re excited to keep it in Naramata and I am looking forward to having a new home for our Pinot at Serendipity.”

The 2008, 2009, and 2010 vintages of Black Cloud’s Altostratus, a new world style elegant Pinot Noir, are available through the Cloudy Day (www.blackcloud.ca) wine club, along with the 2012 Fleuvage, a light-bodied Pinot from an exceptional growing season. Two vintages of Red Sky, a lively rosé, are sold out.

Black Cloud is exclusively Pinot Noir, with grapes sourced entirely in the Okanagan. As Cooper joins Serendipity as its winemaker, Black Cloud will remain a private label, managed by himself and his partner Audralee Daum, with its production at Serendipity.

Cloudy Day Wine Club members will continue to have first access to Black Cloud releases, with limited bottles available elsewhere, including private wine stores and restaurants. As a small producer, Black Cloud joins a number of other smaller wineries and wine clubs at Garagiste North: Small Guys Wine Festival on September 14, a new event on the BC wine circuit, focussed on “garagiste” style wines, a phrase coined in France for small, risk-taking producers. “We’re proud to be all Pinot, and Black Cloud will always be a small lot,” says Cooper. “Serendipity is graciously supporting our label, and I look forward to future vintages as their winemaker.”

Cooper has spent the last decade producing critically-recognized BC wine, both reds and whites, at Township 7, and has provided winemaking expertise to Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lilllooet, The McWatters Collection , Time Estate Winery and Bonitas Winery in the Okanagan, among others. He began his winemaking career with Hawthorne Mountain, now See Ya Later Ranch, in the 1990s, and will continue to advise Township 7 through the upcoming harvest.

Black Cloud is currently renovating an administration space, set to open later this summer, in Penticton’s historic Cannery Trade Centre.

*** For more information:

Bradley Cooper, Winemaker/Partner

Black Cloud/Daum Cooper Winery Services Ltd.

250-490-7314

bradley@blackcloud.ca

www.blackcloud.ca

 

blackcloudpinotnoir.com

Allison Markin All She Wrote Consulting

250-488-8274

ask@allshewrote.ca