WEST KELOWNA — The best in the world.
That’s the honour West Kelowna’s Kalala Organic Estate Winery received for its Chardonnay Icewine at this year’s Chardonnay du Monde Competition in France.
“Oh, it’s feeling great,” says Karnail Singh Sidhu, owner of Kalala.
His 2013 vintage Chardonnay Icewine stood up to 300 international expert judges and went up against entries from all over the world.
Sidhu says the honour isn’t just about his winery. He believes it will help shine an international spotlight on the entire Okanagan region.
“It is good for us. It is also good for whole industry because the wine industry is fairly young here and any big award anybody gets, I think it boosts the whole wine industry,” says Sidhu.
Tibor Erdelyi has been with Kalala since it opened to the public in 2008.
He’s now chief winemaker and doesn’t hold back when asked the secret to making the world’s best Chardonnay Icewine.
“One thing might be the way we make the icewines over here; with the prolonged fermentation,” Erdelyi says.
Longer fermentation, Erdelyi says, brings more balance between sugar and acid content. It also makes for a little higher alcohol concentration than most icewines.
Still, according to the experts at Kalala, 90 per cent of winemaking happens in the vinyard.
“We have really nice vinyard in Westbank that produces excellent grapes, so from there everything adds up to make the best wine.”
Now that Kalala Organic Estate has reached the pinnacle of winemaking, the pressure is on.
Sidhu and Erdelyi say the other secret to making fine wine is to never stop learning and never stop improving – but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to take a moment to enjoy this success.