stability trials,” Bremmer said.
Not testing can have serious consequences.
“If white wine has too much protein, it gets cloudy. An excess of tartaric acid in a red wine forms crystals that look like broken glass,” Devins explained.
The Okanagan laboratories are all VQA-certified by the B.C. Wine Authority.
Before submitting a wine to the VQA panel which meets once or twice a month in Penticton, winemakers must present the results of a battery of tests from a VQA-certified laboratory.
“I can get 10 wines on Friday and the results are needed for a panel meeting on Monday. I do a lot of late night and weekend work,”
Saskatchewan also use their services.
“The rapidly expanding craft cider industry is another source of new customers,” said Durisek , who owns Howling Moon Cider House in Oliver with his wife. “A few home winemakers produce enough volume to warrant the cost of tests by a professional lab,” Devins said. The customer base of the Penticton Wine Lab has grown to be large enough to justify Devins hiring a laboratory technologist whom he is training.
Greg Devins, owner of Penticton Wine Lab, switched from analyzing water to wine because “wine people were having way more fun than I was.”
said Durisek, whose turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours.
Okanagan Wine Lab also offers packages for wine being exported to China, India and the European Union. There is considerable interest in exporting as indicated by the number of increasing calls for service Durisek is receiving.
“The B.C. market is only so big. If we’re going to grow, we need to be on the worldwide wine map and break down trade barriers between provinces at home,” he said.
Both Devins and Durisek sell reagents, cellar chemicals and equipment to winery owners who have their own on-site laboratories. The two men are friendly competitors.
“We agree that there is more than enough work to go around,” Durisek said.
In addition to standard analytics, Mount Kobau offers a grape sampling and testing service.
“In the fall, I sample grapes in the numerous vineyards in the Okanagan and Similkameen for maturity performing pH, titratable acidity and sugar content as well as an assessment of disease and crop load,” Bremmer said.
An independent third party report is often necessary for growers to receive payment, she explained.
The couple work together on grape sampling which is done for any winery wherever located that purchases grapes from local vineyards.
8 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2016
Most of the clients of all three laboratories are small to medium sized wineries located primarily in the Okanagan and Similkameen. Wineries in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and some as far north as Prince George and east to
At the present time, Bremmer and Durisek do all of the analytical work themselves at their respective laboratories.
However, Durisek hopes to hire an assistant in the near future. “Our business has been fairly consistent with enough growth to allow me to analyze two days per week with the remaining time focused on our vineyard and volunteer work for the grape and wine industries,” Bremmer said. She and John have no plans for business growth or retirement.
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