Romantic Tenthouse Suites By The Sea

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Stephanie Yuen

(For original Chinese version please log onto:

http://taiyangbao.ca/author/stephanieyuen/?variant=zh-hans

Summer is officially here. Too bad the sun still plays the hide-and-seek game with British Columbians.  Gloomy weekend calls for a relaxing indoor stay: play one or two board games, nibble on chocolates and snacks; and sip a glass or two of wine by the fire place…  And, if this happens to be inside the Tenthouse Suite at Rock Water Secret Cove Resort over atSunshineCoast, I can guarantee you the weekend will be as splendid as any sunny weekend spent under the golden ray.

Sunshine Coast, the name itself is already an invitation to having a good time! Could be a bonfire at the beach, camping by a river, a leisure afternoon by the pool, or perhaps a spa getaway in a luxurious resort. The 40-min only ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay validates the invitation, the very reason why Sunshine Coast has always been a hot vacation spot, more so during the summer months. 

Rock Water Secret Cove Resort, apparently a secret no more, happens to be a very popular holiday retreat for vacationers of all ages, and families too.  Activities such as boating, beachcombing and yoga at morn and dawn, swimming in the pool, hiking, biking, even take a water shuttle to the nearby Thormanby Island for an exploration are parts of the fun.  For those who want nothing but a relaxing holiday, simply stay in, read a book, listen to music or the waves, then walk over to the restaurant at mealtime.  The restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon Image

Located atSunshineCoast’sHalfMoonBay, the resort captures both the magnificent ocean view and the lush green and rustic hillside woodland.  Near the ocean front are cabins, poolside rooms, ocean view rooms, a gorgeously-designed swimming pool, the office and a gourmet restaurant. But it is the Boardwalk stretch leading to a dozen or so enchanting ‘Tenthouse Suites’ that is the highlight on the property.

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The Boardwalk composes of a wooded path curving along the hillside.  It looks like a nature trail decorated by breathtaking ocean view, trees and shrubs. The main purpose of this path is of course as the walkway to the Tenhouse Suites, but resort guests enjoy the picturesqe hike as part of the outdoor activities as well. Built amongst trees and slopes; and resembling royal Arabian tent dwellings, the very sturdy tenthouses with front porches are covered with off-white heavy-duty military canvas materials – fancy, unique and welcoming, these suites have been in high demands ever since they were erected. Image

Posh design, beddings and furnishing greet guests inside each tenthouse.  Equipped with bathroom and fireplace, the layout of the suite offers comfort and coziness. With starlit sky and dreamy rhythm of the waves, there is no other suite as romantic as these tenthouses. No wonder many newly-weds come here for their weddings, return for their anniversaries and getaways; others come here for their honeymoon and undisturbed holidays.  

Do make reservations, as early as you can please, especially during the wedding seasons.

http://www.rockwatersecretcoveresort.com

Where is Fort Berens – Canada’s newest winery?

Henry & Stephanie Yuen 

Everybody knows Okanagan is BC’s wine country, a beautiful place where many vineyards, wineries and orchards are proud to call home. With its picturesque lakes, mountains, orchards and gorgeous wineries, it is no doubt a popular destination to visit.

Yet, popularity carries a price tag! Real estates up there are not stagnant anymore, regardless whether it is for residential developments or for commercial establishments. The same applies more so when it comes to growing vines and making wines. As a result, high property value and operational cost spiral higher and higher, making a lot of winery business models unjustifiable and even suffering due to the high capital investment and operational costs in real estate.

So what do you do when you have a strong vision, a feasible winery business plan that will work only but if you can lower your capital cost? You go somewhere else!

That’s what Fort Berens Estate Winery did – they go to Lillooet, BC!  Proves that moving away from the wine country Okanagan to a relatively unknown BC town and totally unheard of ‘wine’ area for vineyard and winery operations is a sound strategic decision! Similar to Vancouver Island, theFraser Valley and the Gulf Islands, there are other pockets of regions around BC with suitable vine-growing conditions. 

Ask Harry McWatters, BC’s wine pioneer who consults on the project, he will agree that when there’s a good business plan, great resources and willingness to put in as much effort as required, even Lillooet can become the next wine-making region! To Rolf de Bruin and Heleen Pannekoek, the new arriving proprietors who took the first step towards putting Lillooet on BC’s wine map, it is a dream come true! Rolf and Heleen, a Dutch couple who came to BC to seek better living and to build a career with their vision to “create a sustainable winery that respects and honours the natural, historical and cultural heritage around us!” are the driving forces, the labourer and the founders of such daring attempt.

Traditionally a forestry town, Lillooet is a distance away from the Fraser Valley and Okanagan. However, the area is in the shadow of the coastal mountains so it enjoys similar semi-arid climate as Osoyoos in the Okanagan with various surrounding lakes providing the moisture for suitable grape growing condition.

Greeted by the whole town welcoming them with opened arms and sparkling eyes, For Berens Estate Winery started construction in 2008.  The winery produced its first vintages in 2011 from its 20 acres property.  The wines are true expressions of the unique terrior of Lillooet, the climate and their hardwork! Not known for growing grapes but rather melons, tomatoes and alfalfa, the soils and the climate are no doubt fit for vegetations, and now, a soon-to-be popular wine region, since the unique but encouraging conditions may well be the next big wine territory outside of the Okanagan.

You can sample their VQA 2011 Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir Rose from 100% BC grapes.  These are all great summer wines or meal starters that can create magical pairings with Raw oysters, Sushi rolls, Sashimi bites and other seafood dishes. For pairing Asian cuisine, the 2011 Riesling, with tropical and aromatic fruit notes, a spicy hint and mellow sips, pairs well Northern Chinese cold plates and S.E. Asian dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc of New Zealand

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Henry Yuen – Wine columnist (Original Chinese version please log onto http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/?variant=zh-hans

Sitting at home sipping a glass of wine when NHL is still going but no Canucks on TV is a downer. Something is not sitting right without one Canadian team in the final round to cheer for. After all, Hockey is Canada’s game. When it comes to sport, certain country seems to shine with dominance in certain sports. Such as Soccer in Brazil, Ping Pong in China, Badminton in Malaysia, Basketball in US and of course, Hockey in Canada!

Interesting enough, such distinction also applies to wine, at least this is my discovery as a result of what I have tasted and observed so far!

Each wine country or region will always have its imperative benchmark or flagship varietal, perhaps more than one kind. Argentina has Malbec, Australia has Syrah, Chile has Carmenere, France have Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Germany has Riesling, Italy has Sangiovese, South Africa has Pinotage, California has Chardonnay …etc. What about New Zealand? Sauvignon Blanc, I say. And many wine lovers will not disagree! As a matter of fact, a recent tasting of New Zealand wines confirmed my thought.

With a long span of vineyards stretching 1600km from north to south, there is an array of varieties such as Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling, to name a few, in New Zealand. Nevertheless, setting the glorious tone and the benchmark is inarguably their Sauvignon Blanc.

Planted only since the early 1970’s in Auckland, then in Marlborough few years later, Sauvignon Blanc may not have a long history in New Zealand, but the quality of this varietal has already been garnering international recognition at various wine competitions.  It has captured many savvy wine drinkers’ attention not just in the homeland, but in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Today, Sauvignon Blanc has become the country’s most widely grown varietal. In fact, I have yet to taste a less than satisfying Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. On the contrary, there have been more than a few ‘aah’ moments created by sipping chilled to perfection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  A classic example is the Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough sauvignon Blanc 2011 – fruity with citrus note, clean and crispy with seductive aroma, this one white wine pairs beautifully with Chinese pan-fried scallops with pea shoots, steamed whole fish with dried olive and ginger and sautéed spot prawns.

However, having Sauvignon Blanc as their flagship wine does not mean other wine varietals from New Zealandare are less desirable. For example, I have tasted some outstanding New Zealand Pinot Gris from Hawke’s Bay and Pinot Noir from South Island!