Introducing the Wine Gems of Canada to the U.S

BY FRANCIE LOW | PHOTOS BY ALINA ROZ PHOTOGRAPHY

Of the many great wine regions in the world to experience, there is a must-add to the list: the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia Canada. Increasing awareness and accessibility to the spectacular up-and-coming wines is a personal quest for Canadian native, VJ Gandhi, founder, and CEO of Kascadia Wine Merchants, an online marketplace showcasing some of the very best Canada has to offer.

In 2014, VJ moved to the Bay Area to be with her new husband and soon-to-be business partner, Vishal Gandhi, a California native. She promptly noticed Canadian wines were missing from retail shelves and restaurant wine lists, aside from the expected delicious ice wines. Since then, it has been her soul’s mission to change that reality. She researched import regulations and built relationships with top Canadian wine producers to “reinvent how wine consumers in the U.S. see, taste, and experience Canadian wine,” said VJ.

By the end of 2017, Kascadia Wine Merchants initiated a soft launch and it’s been steadily growing since. The name, Kascadia, was inspired by the Cascade-mountain range extending from southern British Columbia to Northern California, connecting her old and new homes. Each wine is personally selected by VJ to ensure the highest quality wines are represented. She knows when a wine is right as her love of Canadian wine grew out of her many summers vacationing in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. The accessibility to incredible local wine left its mark on VJ.

The region is flush with fruit trees and grapevines, in a gorgeous mountain-lake setting, known as the fruit bowl of Canada. The area is quickly transitioning from orchards to vineyards due to the excellent grape-growing climate and soil. The earth is rich in minerals and nutrients, a carryover from the melting glaciers of 10,000 years ago and eroding mountain rivers and previous flooding. Minimal rainfall and long hours of sunshine already make this an optimal area for vineyards, but the impact of a warming climate is taking the quality crops to another level.

“Talented and elite winemakers from across the globe are seeking opportunities to work in Canada, and are delivering exquisite results,” said VJ.

Hence, the explosion of award-winning boutique wineries in what is now one of the top wine-growing conditions in the world. Smaller productions mean greater care and attention to creating artisanal wines, many of which are organic and sustainable. Chardonnay, Syrah, and the seeming favorite, Cabernet Franc, makeup the greatest portion of varieties in the Okanagan Valley.

Kascadia Wine Merchant’s portfolio is proud to represent the hidden gems of British Columbia, as well as, the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. The wines are in high demand from discerning wine connoisseurs to renowned restaurant owners. This is good news, as VJ is well on her way to expanding the wine horizon to include Canada in her new-found home in America.

FOR MORE INFORMATION www.kascadiawinemerchants.com