Every time Dominic McCosker, the winemaker at La Frenz Winery since 2014, talks us though their wines, we grow to love the terroir driven wine with each sip. It is an Aussie family winery in their 22nd year of production on the beautiful Naramata Bench. They have been very consistent with the quality of their award-winning wines, with the commitment to sustainable farming, and with the belief that great wines are made from great fruit.
The consistency is in the winery team as well. It is always nice to see the same familiar faces in the small caring team of La Frenz. They are all so friendly and knowledgeable that you will feel right at home when you step inside the winery and come into a stunning view of the vineyards and the Okanagan Lake.
The only challenge is that their wines sell out too fast! It seems that the way to guarantee your selection of next new releases these days is to join their Wine Club, which is equally sought after. Direct sales to consumers have been a big focus for the winery even from the time before the pandemic, and just like a beautiful sit down tasting on their outdoor patio, they provide a customized and satisfying experience online to suit members preferences.
Whether you like their Portfolio wines (easy sipping style) or their Reserve wines (more complex and food oriented), it is easy to find the quality in the bottle from any of the selection.
We feel very lucky to have Dominic answer to our up close and personal 10 QUESTIONS as he talks about the wines, the vineyards and the life in the Okanagan.
Q1: How was your summer 2021?
Dominic (D): “As with everyone else, we had to deal with the Covid yet it has been great in a sense that it helped to develop our Wine Club even more. It has also been fun to see our wines have done well in wine competitions.”
Q2: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues today. How have the recent wildfires affected your business or your approach to winemaking and farming?
D: “For our vintage, it was a very dry start, a very dry spring, and a dry and record-hot summer. We did a lot more watering the fruit than we have done before. They look fantastic now. The duration of the wildfire in our region was not too long and it was early enough, so hopefully it hasn’t impacted on our grapes. We try to farm sustainably and we try not to have our farming impact on the nature as much.”
Q3: On top of the climate change, there is a pandemic. How do you see your winery evolving through the pandemic time and in a post pandemic world?
D: “Definitely the pandemic has been the biggest challenge for the front of the house – the wine shop. They are in direct contact with customers and they have to adapt constantly to changes. I don’t have much to do with that, but I know it has been difficult and stressful for them and they have been doing an amazing job.
We’ve accelerated our online presence through the Wine Club. This has been the main direction we wanted to go, and we are grateful that customers support us very generously.”
Q4: What is the biggest joy working in a winery?
D: “I really like seeing the evolution of the year in the winery. Starting out with the pruning, getting ready in the winter to the whole growing season, picking the fruit, making the wine, maybe aging the wine, and releasing of the actual end product. Seeing the whole process from the start to the finish, that is the most enjoyable thing. It feels very nice to be a part of the Earth that way.”
Q5: If you were not in the wine industry, what would you be?
D: “Anything to do with the travel would be great! I would love to do a safari in Africa the next chance I get to go on travel.”
Q6: What is your current favorite wine and how would you like to enjoy it?
D: “I would say Reserve Pinot Noir is my favorite wine. I call it ‘an iron fist in a silk glove’! I always really enjoy drinking it and I taste a new flavours every time. It reminds me of Vancouver Island’s rainforest. As it ages, and it can easily age 5 years or even more, it will get even more interesting and it will develop better and better. I would enjoy it with really good friends.”
Q7: “Where is your go-to-spots when you are off work?”
D: “I enjoy spending time with my daughters. I drive 2 hours a day coming from Kelowna on the weekdays, so when it comes to the weekend, I don’t want to drive anymore. We usually hang out and have picnics on the beach by the lake.”
Q8: How can people enjoy Okanagan in the fall?
D: “The fall is my favorite season. Whatever you do, it is all so gorgeous and there are amazing colours in the Okanagan, but I work everyday in the fall! As soon as harvest starts, I work full time in the next 2 months. That’s one tough thing about my job.”
Q9: How is this year’s harvest looking like?
D: “It looks awesome. The fruit looks clean and great. After the hot summer we had, it looks like a very nice autumn. Hopefully we can spread out the harvest time, pick the fruit at a nice steady pace and do all we want to do.”
Q10: In a few words, how would you best describe La Frenz?
D: “We are all passionate here. The founders, Jeff and Niva Martin, have put their heart and soul into building up the winery and it really shows through. We are a small team who all care about what we do and take pride in our wines we create and in experience we give.”