Gateway Gazette

Mulled Wine from Local Winery among Top Selling Wines in Calgary and Area

MILLARVILLE, ALBERTA. Spirit Hills’ Bonfire, a young dry red honey wine designed specifically for mulling is among the bestselling wines this Christmas season in Calgary and surrounding areas. “Bonfire has been among our top selling wines since it was released. It is great to see how our customers embrace this mulled honey wine and to have one of our local Alberta wineries among our top sellers this season,” said Mike Shaddock, manager of Willow Park Wines and Spirits.

Bonfire - red wineBonfire is a young dry red wine crafted with Spirit Hills’ honey as the fermentable sugar and black currants and saskatoons for colour and flavour. The bottle comes with all the mulling spices and the recipe on the back label and is intended to be served warm like in the European winter and Christmas tradition. “We crafted this wine specifically for mulling,” said Ilse Bonjean, Queen bee at Spirit Hills. “It is a challenge to make a perfectly balanced mulled wine without losing the alcohol in the wine, and that is what we help our customers to do. The beautiful flavour of our prairie berries and the absence of harsh tannins are key to the success of Bonfire as a mulled wine. Even the many Europeans who grew up with this drink are buying it.” Dave Gingrich, the beer and honey wine manager at Willow Park Wines and Spirits described Bonfire like this: “One sip and this elixir will take your taste buds for a Christmas sleigh ride you’ll never forget”

The owners and wine makers of Spirit Hills, Hugo and Ilse Bonjean, admit that this success has taken them a bit off guard as several thousands of bottles of Bonfire have been flying off the shelves over the past month. “Within the first few days that we had the wine on the market it was becoming clear what was happening and we immediately allocated extra barrels and tanks to the production of Bonfire. We’re very grateful to our friends at the Fallentimber Meadery for lending us two extra wine tanks to beef up our production to keep up with demand and for the great support we have received from all the liquor stores that are carrying our wines. It’s great to have such cooperation within the industry,” said Hugo Bonjean, winemaker and beekeeper at Spirit Hills. The Bonjean’s moved from Belgium to Alberta 17 years ago and Hugo can trace his roots to seven generations of French winemakers. To this day the Bonjean vineyards still exist in the Auvergne, France.

Spirit Hills’ Bonfire was the featured wine last week at all Co-op Wines Spirits Beer stores and was the talk on QR77 Wine Wednesday with Angela Kokott. Ilse and Hugo demonstrated how to prepare Bonfire on the Global Weekend Morning Show past Sunday December 14th. Mike Roberts, Sommelier Coordinator Team Lead at Co-op Wines Spirits Beer said: “Spirit Hills is well known for producing dry style wines that can be very complex, layer in flavours and are intriguing. Spirit Hills wines are very food friendly and can be used for some wonderful food pairings. Bonfire will pair perfectly with warm bread pudding and other seasonal desserts.”

Spirit Hills integrates organic herbs and berries with ancient honey wine fermentation methods to produce the highest quality of wines with a distinct Alberta flavour. The Spirit Hills bees are sustainable managed and produce their honey from the wildflowers on the range lands of the pristine Rocky Mountain foothills. Spirit Hills’ wines can be found in good quality wines stores in Southern Alberta, among them all Co-op Stores, Willowpark, Highlander and Crowfood. Spirit Hills is open to the public for tours and tasting year-round by appointment. Spirit Hills wines are being served in about a dozen top restaurants in Southern Alberta that focus on local food.

For more information visit: www.spirithillswinery.com

To stay informed about ongoing activities and events visit: www.facebook.com/spirithillswinery

To order wine or schedule a tour and tasting contact Spirit Hills at (403) 933 3913

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