Cart 0 items: $0.00

News from Poplar Grove


Poplar Grove
November 10, 2022 | Poplar Grove

Cork Vs. Stelvin Method - Is one better than the other?


        For centuries, wine drinkers have been accustomed to natural corks as the closure of choice when it comes to sealing and storing bottles. The ritual of opening and assessing corks was commonplace in restaurants, and the corkscrew was considered indispensable for anyone who enjoys wines at home. In 1972 however, a new option emerged – the Stelvin screwcap. First used by Hammel winery in Switzerland, the Stelvin has now seen the world over and is commonly used on wines that receive acclaim at international competitions. Does the screwcap deserve the occasional unsavoury reputation it has garnered? To the surprise of many traditionalists, the answer is a resounding no. 

       As the wine industry continues to evolve, new and exciting technologies are invented and rigorously tested to establish new international standards. This has led to a multitude of studies regarding the nature of corks and their new Stelvin counterparts. The AWRI (Australian Wine Research Institute) has been particularly interested in the efficacy of Stelvin, as both New Zealand and Australia utilize these closures more commonly than cork. Having conducted both a longitudinal study comparing different closures up to 20 months of aging, and a comparative study of wines rejected for being faulted by the International Wine Challenge (IWC), Stelvin screwcaps were shown to be highly effective closures. In direct comparison, Stelvin was reported with approximately a 1.5% fault rate compared to 4.5% for natural corks. For the 20-month longitudinal study, Stelvin showed higher retention of freshness and fruit character and less risk of oxidation than natural cork. These findings indicate that, even for long-term storage, Stelvin screwcaps perform equally or somewhat superior to natural cork.

       The dreaded scourge of cork taint (TCA) is greatly reduced with Stelvin, but it is not eliminated as most consumers might imagine. It is still entirely possible to get a “corked” wine that is sealed with a screwcap, as the bacteria that cause cork taint can thrive in barrels, hoses, nozzles, and many other areas in a winery besides the corks themselves. While Stelvin screwcaps did show a slightly higher susceptibility to reductive aroma faults, natural corks showed an equally elevated susceptibility to oxidative faults. Neither is ideal, but current consumer trends show a higher tolerance for reductive characteristics than oxidation, potentially giving Stelvin an edge for the average consumer palate over natural cork.

        All in all, the case seems closed – Stelvin is here to stay, and many wines will end up being the better for it. While sommeliers and collectors will never abandon the corkscrew or the precious ritual of opening a perfectly aged bottle, most of us will be happier at the convenience of screwcaps, with the confidence that it’s every bit as delicious.


Time Posted: Nov 10, 2022 at 1:29 PM Permalink to Cork Vs. Stelvin Method - Is one better than the other? Permalink
Poplar Grove
October 18, 2022 | Poplar Grove

Our Take on Chimera Genetics

In the next week, we will be harvesting Pinot Gris from our Haynes Creek, Skaha Bench and Naramata Bench vineyards. We are very excited as this is our largest crop of Pinot Gris to date due to the 22-acre expansion planted by the Holler family over the last 2.5 years. While walking the vineyards this morning, we noticed more genetic variation in the grapes than prior years. This variation is known as chimera mutation. Chimera mutation demonstrates the relationship between all Pinot varieties - Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir and because of the natural ebb and flow of the vineyard, we are becoming more aware of it.

From our experience, the chimera mutation is seen to mutate Pinot Gris to Pinot Blanc in a hotter, drier climate whereas in cooler temperate soils the Pinot Gris mutates to Pinot Noir. In the first photo, we have one bunch that is mostly Pinot Gris but has partially mutated back to Pinot Blanc. On the right side of the cluster, you can see one grape that is half of each. The reasoning for this is still being discovered, what we know from our vineyards is that these genetic mutations happen because of the interaction between soil, temperature (both hot and cold), aspect, and overall stress on the vine. The second photo shows each varietal starting from left to right – Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir.  

Does this mean that the Poplar Grove Pinot Gris is not a single varietal wine?

Less than 2% of our plants are affected and the mutation does not compromise any overall flavour or quality. We do like to think that this makes our Pinot Gris just a little extra special as we believe in embracing the natural ebb and flow rather than fighting the natural happenings in our vineyards. 


Time Posted: Oct 18, 2022 at 1:22 PM Permalink to Our Take on Chimera Genetics Permalink
Poplar Grove
September 30, 2022 | Poplar Grove

September 2022 Vineyard Update

We have had a slow but great start to September in the vineyards. The  daily temperatures of above 30° and cool night time temperatures these past few weeks has helped enable fruit development to thrive and make up for time lost from a cold spring. At this time, our vines have stopped growing and are now focused on ripening fruit for a harvest. During this time, water stressing the vineyards is crucial.

If watered too much, the vine will suck up every drop and the berry will grow bigger bearing low quality, diluted fruit. By being diligent in the vineyard, water stressing forces the vine to dig deeper into the soil to find the water it needs.This, combined with limited drip irrigation, allows for more concentrated flavours and overall better fruit quality. 


Birds can eat an estimated 10% of the wine crop here in British Columbia. Our Crew is currently working hard to put out netting in our starling prone vineyards to avoid losing too much of our crops. In addition to birds, our bear friends enjoy our grapes as well. Where possible, our crew has installed bear fencing to ensure the berries are protected.


The team is busy preparing for harvest in three weeks. We are expecting our Pinot Gris to start at the end of September and from there, we will be picking nonstop until the first week of November. The last fruit to be harvested is always our Osoyoos Cabernet Sauvignon and Munson Mountain Cabernet Franc. We are looking forward to another great harvest. 


Time Posted: Sep 30, 2022 at 5:42 PM Permalink to September 2022 Vineyard Update Permalink
Poplar Grove
December 14, 2018 | Poplar Grove

2018 Vintage Report – Late to Start, Late to Finish

Mother Nature plays a big part in what we drink. Here’s what she’s been up to in our vineyards: Crush 2018 concluded on November 15th and will go down as one of the less tumultuous on record, with a nice steady stream of fruit coming into the winery at peak ripeness. Our picking crews started way back on September 18th and harvest in our estate vineyards stretched out over 58 days, with 40 actual picking days.

Here’s our report:

The weather in the Okanagan was favourable for most of the 2018 season, beginning with a mild spring. Budburst was 2-3 weeks later than normal, but the continuing mild weather trend allowed for uniform flowering, which paved the way for balanced cluster development. A typical Okanagan summer (hot and dry) tested our vineyard crews who had to pay careful attention to irrigation regimes and leaf-to-fruit-ratios. Once again, meticulous farming and careful yield management has delivered exceptional wine quality.

In September temperatures cooled to below normal, especially at night. But as the saying goes, “the sun always finds a hole in the clouds over the Okanagan” and, by the time harvest commenced we had recorded enough warm, sunny days to match long-term average heat summation levels.  More favourable weather marked a rare “Golden October” and provided a long, unpressured harvest period which continued into the first couple of weeks of November.

According to winemaker, Stefan Arnason, “The steady pace of our 2018 growing season yielded balanced wines; the cool nights and warm days over an extended period preserved acidity and develped wonderful phenolic ripeness and flavour complexity.”

Time Posted: Dec 14, 2018 at 10:30 PM Permalink to 2018 Vintage Report – Late to Start, Late to Finish Permalink
Poplar Grove
October 26, 2018 | Poplar Grove

Big News for BC Wines

The release of Poplar Grove Legacy 2014 is good news indeed. A wine that sets new standards and serves as a benchmark for the style. The judges at the fourth annual Judgement of BC agreed: our proprietary red blend took top spot!

Said a jubilant Tony Holler: “Winning such a prestigious award validates what we’re doing in the vineyards.” He added, “prominent awards like this one enhance awareness and interest in the Okanagan Valley, our wineries and their wines.”
















A post shared by Poplar Grove Winery (@poplargrovewinery) on

DJ Kearney, head judge, wine educator and global wine expert had this to say about the winning 2014 Legacy: “It has that wonderful crossover character with old-world structure and quality and new-world fruit generosity and weight, and our signature acidity. It is so well made and so well balanced, a worthy winner.”

Poplar Grove Legacy 2014 is a Bordeaux-inspired blend originating from the following vineyard locations - Osoyoos 65%, Oliver 15%, Penticton 13%, Naramata 7 %.  The blend comprises 44% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot.

Time Posted: Oct 26, 2018 at 3:14 PM Permalink to Big News for BC Wines Permalink