Staying true to the techniques that have garnered it countless awards over the past two decades, the Wine Cottage is celebrating its 20th anniversary with yet another impressive medal count at the world’s largest consumer-made wine competition.
Competing amongst nearly 3,000 entries in the 2016 Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition, the Wine Cottage’s products took home two gold medals, two silver medals and even a Best in Show for their Peach Apricot Chardonnay.
“Our products won the most medals overall, including a Best of Show, and we had more gold medal winning lines than any other brand,” says Lyle, who’s also the Wine Cottage’s head vintner. “But the best part, in my opinion, is that anybody in the Comox Valley can make these award-winning wines themselves in-store.”
While some might be tempted to rest on their laurels after such a successful season, Lyle, Pam and the rest of the Wine Cottage staff have set themselves back to work. To add to their diverse collection of wine kits, this July they are introducing an ultra-premium, limited edition Super Tuscan blend called Eclipse Bravado, which Lyle promises is going to be “phenomenal.”
“We’re always looking forward,” he says. “We wouldn’t be where we are today if we accepted ‘good enough.’”
Twenty years ago, winemaking was merely a hobby for Lyle. Experimenting with ingredients and basic equipment was enjoyable, but not something he or his wife Pamela thought could promise a serious business. Soon, however, Lyle’s part-time hobby expanded into one of the Valley’s original winemaking stores.
“What we’ve always loved most about the Wine Cottage, other than getting to know so many loyal customers and great staff, is the consumer education aspect,” says Pamela. “We love to share our knowledge of wines, grapes and their origins, and what’s involved in the process of winemaking. There’s a real sense of pride when you sip a fabulous wine that you know you made yourself.”
“It’s been a wonderful business to be part of,” echoes Lyle. “We love our customers, and we especially love saving them money while creating world-class wines.” For example, he says, customers can make 23 litres, or about 30 bottles, of their gold medal winning Cabernet Sauvignon for just $225 in store.
“We’re always excited to share our passion for great wine with new customers,” says Pamela. “Most of our new customers are amazed by how easy is to make superb wines.”
The Wine Cottage is located at 130 Centennial Drive in Courtenay and online at www.thewinecottage.ca.