La Dolce Vita: Hot on the trail

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Several years ago, after the Creston Valley Advance and most other Kootenay newspapers were purchased by Glacier Media, I had a visit from one of the company’s corporate top dogs. Were there any other publications that I would recommend that Glacier should consider purchasing?

Only one title came to mind, but I had to tell him Glacier had missed the boat. Wine Trails had been purchased from its founder/publisher only months earlier by Black Press. Now, because our newspaper, too, has become a Black Press publication, I feel somewhat vindicated, and happy that we are all part of the same family.

I’ve been buying Wine Trails, sometimes as a subscriber and other times when I find it on store shelf. It has been a wonderful source of news about wineries in BC and I have always enjoyed learning more about the wineries, their owners and winemakers, and getting information about new releases.

Under the editorship of Jennifer Schell-Pigott, the bi-monthly publication has thrived and it now has a new glossy magazine format, a nice step up from the stapled newsprint tabloid form it had until recently. And, because it is a Black Press publication, it has a good on-line presence, too.

New and archived editions of Wine Trails can be found at www.winetrails.ca. Reading the online editions are a pleasure, with their full-colour photos and enthusiastic articles about a subject the excellent stable of contributors clearly love. The August online edition features stories on Summerland’s Bonitas Winery and  the upcoming Festival of the Grape in Oliver, a couple of really, really good looking recipes and a section by the Wine Trails “Jam Goddess”. There is enough information to sink one’s teeth to but I have to admit I want the real thing in my hands. Wine Trails doesn’t seem to show up in Creston retail stores, so I’m sending off to get a subscription.

I suppose I could ask for a complimentary subscription but, as my boss says, I’m cheap. Not cheap as in not wanting to spend money, but in making sure that we keep close tabs on our expenses at the newspaper I run. So I’m going to spend $15 of my own money and get Wine Trails just like anyone else who wants to know about what’s happening in wineries throughout the province. It will be money well spent and all the more so because of the recent addition of the words “Food and” to the title. As a guy who likes to cook and loves to eat, I’m a sucker for any publication that includes stories about food. My home bookshelves teem with recipe books and others on food-related topics. It’s a bit of an obsession, to be honest.

When I first started reading Wine Trails there were about 60 wineries in the province and Vancouver Island was only in its infancy as a winery region. I would plan our trips by using the paper’s convenient maps and it didn’t seem like an impossibility to end up having visited all of the wineries in the province. Now, with 196 wineries and counting, it simple isn’t feasible to think I can get to them all. But I can learn about them by reading, and Food and Wine Trails is one of the best sources of information.

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.