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Stewardson winery produces exceptional wine

Hidden among a collision repair shop, a marine outboard sales and repair place, and an ICBC claims centre is New Westminster’s only winery. When you visit Pacific Breeze Winery, you won’t find grapevines snaking over a landscape of rolling hills, but you will meet some of New Westminster’s most passionate oenophiles, and taste some truly exceptional wine.

Pacific Breeze started five years ago, and today employs about 15 people including the two original partners – Frank Gregus and Maurice Hamilton. Frank and Maurice’s passion for wine was kindled years earlier with the purchase of a basic winemaking kit, and the discovery of a lively local wine community. Today, their wines have won an astonishing 34 awards at some very prestigious international competitions, including three “Best of Class” wines. 

Frank recently invited Will, Jen and I down to the winery for a private tasting and tour, where we not only got to taste Pacific Breeze’s distinctive wines, but also learned something about the business of wine and winemaking.

Inspired by the French Garagiste movement, which prizes bold flavours over less distinctive, more traditional flavours, Pacific Breeze makes “winemakers’ wine.” Garagiste-style vinters coax unique tastes from meticulously selected, high-quality fruit from noted vineyards. This is boutique wine, not your average mass-market liquor store fruitbomb.

You won’t find Pacific Breeze wines at your local BC Liquor Distribution Branch, but you can purchase it from the winery itself, and you can taste it at a few restaurants – notably La Rustica and La Lorraine locally and  Hart Houseand Horizons in Burnaby. It’s also available in New Westminster at Moonraker’s Beer and Wine, River’s Reach Beer and Wine, Queensborough Landing Beer and Wine, and Quayside Wine Cellars. 

Pacific Breeze hosts monthly wine tasting events, as well as private tasting parties at the winery. 

We tasted a variety of Pacific Breeze’s wines, from a sharp Chardonnay with an ambrosial scent to a stunning ‘Rhone Style’ red with hints of butterscotch. We loved the 2006 GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) and the Vins de Garagiste so much that we bought half a case on impulse. A sales model built on first plying customers with wine is rather effective!

Note: Thanks to Jen Arbo for contributing to this post.

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Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a New Westminster writer and mother of three. She is the managing editor of Tenth to the Fraser, which she co-founded along with her husband Will Tomkinson in 2008.
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Posted in Eats and Drinks, New Westminster.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Hyack the Holidays: Mother’s Day gift guide | Tenth To The Fraser linked to this post on May 6, 2010

    […] special bottle or two from Pacific Breeze Winery, or sign Mom up for one of their wine tasting […]

  2. Local gift ideas for Valentine’s Day in New Westminster | Tenth To The Fraser linked to this post on February 11, 2012

    […] treat. Pick up a bottle of wine from the experts at Quayside Wine Cellar or go really local with Pacific Breeze‘s wonderful made-in-New West wines (I recommend their GSM blend and their Killer Cab if you […]

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